Roger Léger

Roger Léger

M. Roger Léger est un membre de longue date de l'Association humaniste du Québec.  Il est professeur retraité de philosophie, auteur et éditeur. Il a déjà siègé également au conseil d'administration de la Fondation humaniste du Québec

 Une fois n’est pas coutume, nous publions sur ce site une lettre en anglais. Mais attention, pas n’importe quelle lettre. Roger Léger un de nos distingué membre de longue date, a pris sur lui d’écrire cette missive à nul autre que Bill Gates le fondateur de Microsoft et grand philanthrope. Pour Roger, Bill Gates est l’homme de la situation pour créer et rassembler les chefs d’états et personnalités du monde entier dans le but de créer rien de moins qu’un conseil mondial de la paix. Nous avons trouvé cette lettre inspirante et c’est pourquoi nous désirons la partager avec vous. Si suffisamment de gens en font la demande, une traduction française de la lettre suivra.  

Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu                                                    January 11, 2015


Bill and Melinda Gates,

There are only two persons I can think of to send this letter to. You must receive hundreds of letters every day, so I am sorry to bother you with this one. But maybe after reading it you will pardon me for the intrusion.

As everybody else, I was shocked by what happened in Paris last week. But I think we should take a larger view of what is happening in the world today. During those same three days of the shootings in Paris where 17 persons died, 2000 persons were massacred and 16 villages were destroyed in Africa. And how many persons died and how many villages were destroyed in Ukraine, in Syria, in Iraq, in Libya and in Yemen, this last year and this last month?

For me, what is more threatening is the new Cold War that will become hot if we continue in the same direction. We should, we must stop the permanent confrontation of the Western World with Iran, Russia and China, and the wars since 2003. It will probably take decades to solve the Middle East problems created by the insane invasion of Iraq in 2003. But let us not repeat the same mistake elsewhere; as it seems we are prepare to do in Ukraine, after doing it in Libya and are doing in Yemen.

If the First World War in 1914, where at least 16 million people died, a war that gave rise to the communist revolution in Russia, to Hitler in Germany, and that reorganized the world under the western « leadership », and eventually to the Second World War where more than 50 million people died, if that horrendous war of 1914 was due to the miscalculation, irresponsibility and the short-sightedness of the political leaders of the time, how can we not see that the same thing is happening today?

The West’s response to the attack of September 11 2001 in New York resembles the one made by the European Powers to what happened in Sarajevo on June 28 1914. Our political leaders, it seems to me, are making the same mistakes as the political leaders of old. And surely are making bigger ones.

More than 1 000 000 Iraqis died since the American invasion of Iraq in 2003; the country was physically, socially, economically, and now culturally, destroyed; more than 2 000 000 Iraqis fled their homeland; but most of all, the occupying Forces, instead of trying to end or neutralize the religious and cultural divisions between the different parts of Iraq, exacerbated it, institutionalized it, did horrible crimes against humanity to a people who for most of them only wanted dignity and liberty, and now Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites are in mortal combats for decades to come. Nearly 5 000 U.S. military personnel were sacrificed in Iraq, about 3 500 “International Occupation Force Troops” died in Afghanistan; and how many Afghans lost their lives since 2001?

The West and its allies destroyed Libya; Syria is being shamelessly shattered to pieces. People die by the hundreds every day and every night in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, in Yemen, not to mention some other countries in Africa. Death and Chaos are everywhere in many parts of the World. Either by natural catastrophes, organised crime or by simple human impulses, thousands died every year on all the Continents.

Not satisfied by those deaths and destructions, the West, led by the United States, is on the march in Ukraine. More than 6 000 people, mostly Civilians, were killed in the Eastern part of the country since the Coup in Kiev in February 2014, and more than 1 million Ukrainians are refugees in Russia. Arms and troops are being sent to the region on false pretexts. Instead of working for Peace we prepare War.

When will “we” stop? Those recent wars were not necessary and not “just”, and the war the West want with Russia is not either. It is not true to say that wars are with us since time immemorial and will therefore be with us for centuries to come. We can decide not to go to war. 

And it is a fallacious and specious theory that says that it was, it is and that it will be by wars first and foremost that Humanity progresses. Believing this superficial theory, some, therefore, say: let’s go to war! Dieu le veut! It’s our manifest destiny!

The battle field today is not only Europe, but the whole planet Earth, and the adversaries have nuclear arms. There was no one who could stop the war in 1914, and there was no possibility of stopping the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Who can stop the next war with Russia, or the destabilisation of countries that desperately need help more than regime change? Something is missing in the global leadership or governance of the world.

What can we do to counter the decisions of our political leaders to go to war? Remember, Madame and Mr. Gates, the many demonstrations in 2002 and 2003 on all continents asking not to invade Iraq. Nothing came out of those massive public demonstrations.

I started this letter by saying that there were only two persons I could think of to send this letter to. And I mean it. So here is my proposition to you: I implore you to do something, to launch the World Council for Peace, to make a simple phone call to, say, Michael Gorbatchev, the Dalai Lama, to all the Nobel Peace Prizes, to Pope Francis, to all the responsible religious and political leaders of the planet, to the many « sages » on every continent.

And ask them to unite and speak together, in one voice, to the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, to the US Congress in Washington, to the House of Commons in London, in Ottawa, in Australia, to the Duma in Moscow, l’Assemblée Nationale in Paris, in Berlin, in Beijing, in Tokyo, everywhere where it counts.

No more unnecessary wars! Millions of people will gladly follow you all. There will be Councils for Peace in every country, quietly but firmly asking their government not to participate in any unnecessary wars. And I cannot see any reasons to go to war today between “Great” nations.

Tensions and disagreements must be solved by compromise and diplomacy between civilized nations, not by the drums of war. If a Super Power wants to lead the world, it should have at the center of its core principle of its international relations the principle of cooperation with and respect for other nations, an unshakable working desire for peace, not a politics of domination, disinformation and continuous provocations and the desire for war.

Supposed realists say that States have only national interests. If that is so, then who takes charge of, who cares for Humanity’s interests?

Are these sayings empty and hypocritical words for those in the West who say they are the followers of Christ: “Thou shall not kill”, “Love thy neighbour”, “Do not do to others what is harmful to you; this is the Law and the Prophets”? And the concept of just wars should not be hypocritically used to launch unjust wars that kill people unjustly.

Peace on Earth! The dawn of this impossible/possible dream must starts now. Bill and Melinda Gates are, I think, the persons apt to start the urgent and necessary journey towards peace. To say no to wars today, is also a very efficient way to fight poverty and destruction and violence of all kinds.

The horror and futility of wars is that they do more harm than they can eradicate, as Emmanuel Kant rightly said.

To fight terrorism at home and abroad is necessary, but to start unnecessary wars, organize our own terrorism abroad that creates terrorists by the thousands, is miscalculation, irresponsibility, short-sightedness and foolishness of the highest order.

We must remember Dwight Eisenhower’s address to his nation when he left office: the greatest danger to our democracy and to a peaceful world order is the industrial-military complex existing in our midst.

In matters of Peace and Wars in our times and age, it is a necessity to prepare a peaceful world and to work, to fight for it peacefully, and only with the force of arms in the last resort.

Peace or Catastrophe! That is the question.

It is the task of a realist to dream of another world; it is a necessity.

Organized crime and criminality of all kinds will be with us for centuries to come, but governments should not be criminals themselves by engaging in futile, immoral and unlawful wars, in lies, in torture, in assassinations, in murders, and in crimes against humanity.

And nowadays, simply put, war, any war, should be declared, is a crime against humanity. Just wars are a rarity, and an unjustifiable war is an absolutely immoral absurdity when belligerents have nuclear arms. The human costs of war in our modern society that has so sophisticated and powerful arms – nuclear or not – make wars sheer crimes against humanity.

Madame and Mr. Gates, again, Peace or Catastrophe. That is the question.

At the beginning of this Millennium and this Century, our goal and our task should be to implement the Millennium Project, not to make this Century our last.

Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” (H.G. Wells)

“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” (Thomas Paine)

“The problems of the world cannot be solved by sceptics and cynics whose horizons are limited by the most evident realities. We need men and women who can dream of things that never existed.” (John Keats)

« A dream you dream alone is but a dream, a dream we dream together is reality » (John Lennon)

“A long journey always starts with a small step.” (Lao-Tzu)


Roger Léger

Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec



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