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“The World Is My Country” , an inspirational film.

Friday, January 5th, 2018

One Page flier here:World Is My Country004The World Is My Country002 Jan. 26 – Feb. 1.
Sign up for pass code here. Include “CGS” in registration box.
You can probably watch the film on your home television. Everybody’s system is unique. Ask your nearby tech whiz – grandkids are great sources – to help you connect one to the other. Here’s an on-line tipsheet.
January 26 through February 1, 2018, the new film, The World Is My Country, will be available, free, on-line, in a special password-protected site for Citizens for Global Solutions. You’ll be able to share the CGS password with others, so they can see the inspiring story of Garry Davis, “World Citizen #1”. I strongly encourage you to at minimum view the film, and to share this communication about it.

I first learned of Garry Davis and plans for this film project in 2011, and from early on have remained active as a volunteer in, and contributor to, the project.

In the fall of 2012, I showed a very early draft of the film to a dozen high school students in St. Paul – I wanted to see how they’d react to a story told by a 90 year old man, about his adventures which began more than 50 years before they were born. It was there that I observed that this story would attract and keep the interest of young people. The World Is My Country is a permanent demonstration to today’s and future generations that citizens can and do make a difference.

All ages, I have learned while watching subsequent audiences view the film, find the film both interesting and inspiring.

The World Is My Country is the story of a young song and dance man who enters World War II as a bomber pilot. His experiences caused him to rethink the notion of war as a means to solve problems. Garry Davis is that man, and he tells his story in person at age 90. The film features rare footage of events like the opening sessions of the United Nations in Paris in 1948, and the passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. More than half of the film is devoted to addressing the idea of solutions which are open and usable by ordinary citizens as ourselves.

Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS), an organization in which I’ve long been active, has been involved since the beginning and sponsored the very successful World Premiere of “The World Is My Country” at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival in April, 2017. The filmmakers were very pleased with the success of this CGS sponsorship – as you can see here. That’s why they are offering this free week – to invite others to help sponsor the film at other film festivals, or even hold their own mini-film festival showing three or more uplifting films about global solutions. The free-week movie will state that it is a Film Festival Screener and can’t be copied or reproduced.

I helped arrange for Twin Cities public TV (TPT) to see the screener – and they liked it so much they want to broadcast it. However, TPT can’t do so until the filmmakers raise $35,000 to upgrade rights to the historic footage from “Film Festivals Only” to “All Rights and Media.” Arthur Kanegis, the director of the movie, explained to me that footage houses have preserved all the amazing historic footage in cold storage over the decades. Therefore, they charge high prices for filmmakers to license it. His plan is to raise the money by getting lots of people involved in showing it in film festivals around the country. He hopes viewers will pre-order the DVD and buy screening kits, T-shirts and other items to raise the funds needed to be able to show the film on PBS stations across the country, show it in theaters, and distribute it on sites like Netflix and Amazon.

To pre-register for the free week click here and spread the word. Also, look for the website and password at this blog on January 19. This special film will accessible to anyone with the password and access to the internet from January 26 to February 1.


The most recent newsletter of Citizen for Global Solutions MN can be read here: CGS-MN Newsletter 2018 January final. The national CGS website is here.


Coincident with the film is a year long exhibition entitled 1968 at the Minnesota History Museum in St. Paul. It is a very interesting exhibition.

Directly related to both the film and the exhibit was a project of a bipartisan group of Minneapolis-St. Paul area leaders from 1964 forward which directly connected with Garry Davis, including in 1968. You can read and watch evidence of this project here (Lynn Elling, and the film Man’s Next Giant Leap); and here.

A history of Minnesota’s efforts with World Citizenship can be read here: Minnesota Declarations002, especially pages 3-10.

Related Post, Sunday Jan. 7, here

Dick Bernard: Three Opportunities At 100 Days of MAGA

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

The end of April marks the 100th day of MAGA (“Make America Great Again”).

If you are even a tiny bit concerned about our future as a planet of people, here are three programs that are worth your time, more information accessible at (Global Solutions Minnesota*) All information at home page of this website.

1. Tomorrow (Thursday) evening, April 20, at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, Minneapolis, Dr. Roger Prestwich speaks on “Brexit, the EU and rising European Nationalism.” 6:45 p.m. Free and open to the public.

(click to enlarge photos, double click for greater enlargement.)

2. Sunday afternoon, April 23, is the World Premiere of “The World Is My Country“, the amazing story of Garry Davis, World Citizen. Show time is 2:30. Best advice to be ticketed and at the theater no later than 2:10 p.m. St. Anthony Main Theatre, Minneapolis. More here (link to theatre box office in second paragraph). Box office 612-331-7563 Tickets required for this event.

Garry Davis (on screen from Vermont via Skype), Lynn Elling, film producer Arthur Kanegis and another guest share thoughts on the pursuit of world peace at St. Anthony Main Theater on January 6, 2013.

3. Monday evening, May 1, at Gandhi Mahal Restaurant, Minneapolis, Shawn Otto addresses “Science, Law and the Quest for Freedom in the Age of Trump.” Mr. Otto’s book, “The War on Science. Who’s waging it, why it matters and what we can do about it” has just won the 2017 Minnesota Book Award for non-fiction, general. Shawn Otto is well known and respected in the Science community. Reservations required for this limited seating dinner meeting. $25 per person, $15 for students. Reserve by contacting Dick Bernard, dick_bernardATmsnDOTcom, or by mail at Box 25384 Woodbury MN 55125, or 651-334-5744. This is the 5th annual of the re-initiation of World Law Day, which began in 1964, and went on for about 30 years in the Twin Cities. Each event is filled with opportunities for stimulating conversation.

Shawn Otto August 10, 2016

* – all these events are sponsored by Global Solutions Minnesota, an organization of which the writer of this post is vice-president. We wish we could claim foreknowledge in planning these events at what is ever more apparent, a crucial moment in history, but all three came together in the random way that such things happen.

We need to be well informed. These are excellent, in differing ways, for us to inform ourselves not only about problems, but solutions, and how we can impact as persons.

Absolutely, these will be excellent events, chock-full of good and especially timely information, led by presenters who are very knowledgeable.

If you can’t go to all three, how about sharing the wealth, and find someone else to cover the other two, then talk about what you learned afterwards!

For those with an interest in the preservation of a global community, peace and justice, these can seem like very dark days. Each of these sessions will stimulate participants who wish to be more knowledgeably involved.

#1250 – Dick Bernard: “The World Is My Country”, the Garry Davis story

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

“When the people lead, the leaders will follow.”
York Langton*

Today begins the 2017 MSPIFF (Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival). The schedule promises “350+ films & events”.

I highly recommend one film among the many options: “The World is My Country“, which has its World Premiere at the St. Anthony Main theater in Minneapolis, 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 23. In order to accommodate possible overflow crowds, the festival has scheduled three screenings. So if you want a seat at the World Premiere, get your tickets early. All necessary information is on the Festival site accessible here.

Along with the World Premiere of The World is My Country will be an eight minute short adapted from the Minnesota film: Man’s Next Giant Leap. The was made especially for this Premiere by Arthur Kanegis and his Associate Producer Melanie Bennett, who edited it mostly from a 30 minute film made back in the 1970’s. Take a look – you’ll be pretty amazed to see what our governor, mayors and other officials had to say about World Citizenship. The short can be viewed here. The Minnesota Declarations of World Citizenship can be viewed here: Minnesota Declarations002

The World is My Country is the remarkable story of up and coming ca 1940 Broadway star Garry Davis. It deserves a full house at each of its three showings. Garry Davis, then into his 90s and very engaging, tells his own life story in the film, which is richly laced with archival film from the 1940s forward. Among the many snips from history: the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rightss at the United Nations, in Paris, 1948.

New York Times front page July 29, 2013. Garry Davis pictured in lower right.

I wrote about this film on April 8, and again after its work-in-progress preview, also at the St. Anthony Main, on January 6, 2013. (See here and here.)

Garry Davis? I didn’t know he existed until his name came up at a lunch in June, 2011. Filmmaker Arthur Kanegis was in town, and a friend of his invited four of us to lunch. It was there that Garry Davis came to life for me. A WWII bomber pilot, his brother already killed in WWII, Davis couldn’t justify killing by war as a solution to problems. In 1948, he gave up something precious to him, his U.S. citizenship. He said he did it as an act of love for the United States, following in the footsteps of our founding fathers who gave up being Virginians or Marylanders to be citizens of the United States of America. He declared himself a Citizen of the World, and ignited a movement promoting world citizenship beyond even his imagination. He took a huge risk he lived with the rest of his 93-year life.

From there, I’ll let the film tell the rest of the story.

I was enrolled, that day in June, 2011, and had a small opportunity to see the dream evolve, and now return to the screen for its World Premiere in Minneapolis.

In the fall of 2012, I received permission to show an early draft of the film to a group of high school students in St. Paul. How would they react to ancient history (WWII era film and characters)? Very well, it turned out. They liked what they saw.

About 100 of us participated in Work In Progress test of the first draft of his film in Minneapolis, at St. Anthony Main, in January 2013. The reaction was positive.

Again, I asked permission to show the preview to a group of retired teachers meeting in Orlando, and they liked what they saw. And on the same trip I showed the in-progress film to the Chair and Founder of the U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation. He was very attentive and liked what he saw.

Time went on. Last summer, I attended a private showing of the film, now nearing completion. The process of making a film is tedious, I found, simply from occasional brushes with this one. To make a film is to take a big risk. Now it has earned its time “in the lights” for others to judge.

I do not hesitate to highly recommend this film, particularly to those who feel that there have to be better ways of doing relationships than raw power, threats, and the reality we all face of blowing each other up in one war after another. This is not a film about war; it is about living in peace with each other.

The key parts of the film focus on Garry Davis in his 20s and 30s, roughly the late 1940s through the 1960s. It’s an idealistic film, especially appropriate for young people, with an important place for positive idealism in todays world.

“The World is My Country” does not end with somebody dying (though the real Garry Davis died 6 months after that first preview I saw in 2013). Rather, its call is for solutions other than war or dominance.

Viewing this film is an investment, not a cost. It brings meaning to the timeless quotes of Margaret Mead – “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world indeed it is the only thing that ever has”; and Gandhi – “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”

Applications for World Passports will be available for those interested at the film.

Here is the first, last and only e-mail I was ever privileged to receive from Garry Davis, Jan. 7, 2013. He died 6 months later.

(click to enlarge)

Garry Davis (on screen from Vermont via Skype), Lynn Elling, film producer Arthur Kanegis and another guest share thoughts on the pursuit of world peace at St. Anthony Main Theater on January 6, 2013.

On taking risks (from a Church bulletin in Park Rapids MN 1982) (attributed to William Arthur Ward):

Attributed to William Arthur Ward

York Langton was a Minnesota Corporate Executive in wholesale business, and often used this quotation in talking about relationships in the 1960s.

“When the people lead, leaders will follow” is a common sense axiom in business. If people want a product, they buy it; if they don’t, they won’t. Fortunes are made by following this simple truism.

The same is true in political relationships. If people make unwise decisions in choosing their leaders at any level, they face consequences.

So, “when the people lead, leaders will follow” is an important one for all of us.

#756 – Dick Bernard: Two Powerful Messages about War and Peace.

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Please see special note at the end of this post.

We are a society that preaches Peace and reveres War. Evidence of this is around us everywhere, every day.

In recent days I had two experiences which helped greatly to put this into dissonance into sharper focus, and provide an opportunity for reflection. If you are interested in the issue of War and Peace, the contents of this post, far beyond the words in this column, might prove stimulating for you.

GARRY DAVIS: On July 24, 2013, Garry Davis passed away.

You’ve never heard of Garry Davis? Until three years ago, neither had I. Still, on July 29, 2013, the New York Times carried a long article about him on page one of their New York City Edition. He is someone I’m very glad I came to know, albeit very late in his long life.

New York Times front page July 29, 2013.  Garry Davis pictured in lower right.

New York Times front page July 29, 2013. Garry Davis pictured in lower right.

Following are some commentaries about Garry Davis from many places, all written within the last two weeks. The only descriptors I feel a need to provide about Garry Davis are: WWII United States Bomber pilot in the European campaign; aspiring Broadway star; “rock star” for Peace and a new way of solving problems without bombs.
The New York Times front page article July 29, 2013: G Davis NYT 072813001
The Los Angeles Times, August 1, 2013: G Davis LATimes 080113002
The Japan Times, July 30, 2013: G Davis JapanTime 073013003
Rene Wadlow brief biography of Garry Davis (excellent): G Davis R Wadlow 073113004
Athena Davis describes her Dad, Garry Davis: G Davis Athena 080113005

In sum, I think these assorted commentaries give a fair description of why Garry Davis merited such attention at his death.



Coincidentally, just days after hearing of Garry Davis’ death, we were visiting our friend Annelee Woodstrom at her home in rural Ada, MN.

Annelee grew up in Hitler’s Germany, just 18 years old when Germany surrendered in May, 1945. At least twice, at Regensburg, and later at Munich, she was far too close to being under some of those bombs being dropped by the Allies, basically the British RAF and the American Army Air Force.

Annelee has a unique perspective on Germany of Hitlers day, and has written successfully of her experience as a non-Nazi German in WWII. Her book, War Child, is still available.

On our recent visit, Annelee gave me a book, “The Allied Bombing of Germany 1942-45, FIRE and FURY” by Randall Hansen.

The book grabbed me, and I read it all during our visit. I highly recommend it.

Garry Davis dropped some of the bombs, and the conflict between leaders about whether to area or strategic bomb makes for compelling reading.

Garry Davis went from bomber pilot to passionate advocate for a system which would at minimum, lessen the probability of war.

The cast of characters who made the decisions about dropping bombs in WWII was a short one, with few names, few readily recognized: names like Harris, Portal, Spaatz, Eaker, Speer, Goring….

Take the time to read the obituaries about Garry Davis and then read the book about the war in which he initially enthusiastically participated.

Then assess where you are, personally, on the issue of War and Peace, and why….

NOTE: I was one of those who had an opportunity to preview the work-in-progress full length film of Garry Davis’ life in January. What I wrote then is here. Subsequent to that blog, Garry Davis sent this, G Davis email 010713006, the first and only correspondence I ever received from him.

Special Note from Arthur Kanegis, producer of in-progress film about Garry Davis:
Our short film about Garry won Best Global Documentary in the New York International Film Festival. You can watch it on the left side here. However the full documentary cannot be released publicly until we’ve raised enough money to purchase rights to the historic newsclips, finish the on-line edit and hold our grand première. Also you can read Garry’s book by the same name here.

Now is a key time for you to join in and make a difference – we need funders, volunteers and people in the industry to join in with finishing the production, distribution and marketing. If you are considering a large donation, email me with your agreement to keep the movie and the password confidential and I may be able to let you have a private online preview.

Click here to make a donation now. Thank you for making a donation to Garry’s favorite charity case – humanity!

#744 – Dick Bernard: Some Proposals for this Fourth of July

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune has a good quiz to test your knowledge of the U.S. The column, including link to the test, is here.

Heritage House, Woodbury MN Summer 2013

Heritage House, Woodbury MN Summer 2013

Today, July 4, is supposed to be a simple kind of day in the U.S. My daughter described it well: “grillin’ and chillin'”.

This particular July 4 is a tad more complicated, if one wants to pay attention to complexity. Edward Snowden is a man sort-of without a country in the Moscow airport; the President of Bolivia was detained somewhere since his plane was suspected of harboring Snowden; and then there is something going on in Egypt, whether bad or good depends on the interpretation. A good long summary of Egypt is here for anyone who wishes.

And then there is a matter of our own less than pristine history. A surprising post I saw yesterday about a monument to a major American mistake in one war came in yesterday. The writer is not a “usual suspect” for this kind of essay. You can read A Memorial to a Mistake here.

We don’t like to own mistakes….

There is tradition for us, today. Ordinarily the theme is some variation of War, down to the Fireworks tonight “the Bombs Bursting in Air….”.

A pretty typical musical version would be this song sent to me by a friend not long ago. It is very patriotic. Good tune. But I left this comment “Such an angry self-righteous song. I’m an honorably discharged Army vet from a family full of military vets. My uncle went down on the Arizona at Pearl Harbor. Saddam Hussein and bin Laden were our useful “friends” years before 9-11-01…how soon we forget. I’m lifelong U.S. and I love this country; but we are part of the world, not above it or in dominion over it.”

I’ll see if my comment is “approved”. I posted it July 2, 2013 at 8:30 p.m. CDT.

I’m a patriotic guy, but my patriotism is canted somewhat differently than the singers and fans of that song.

Just for consideration, I’d like to propose looking at some alternatives to a war-based celebration of our Independence.

All you need to do is to take a look, and make up your own mind:

1. I’m proud to be a Founding Member of the U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation.

The Founder of this foundation, Dr. Michael Knox, is a friend of mine, and he noticed some years ago on a visit to Washington D.C. that there were no end to memorials to War, but reminders about Peace were in short supply.

Michael and I do not agree in all particulars about his project, but we are totally on the same page about celebrating Peace at least similar to our obsession with War.

Take a look, and consider becoming a member of the Foundation, and letting others know about this fledgling and important group.

2. A photographer and journalist I know, John Noltner, is continuing a nationwide project for which he has already achieved significant success.

I asked John for something I might add to this post. Here are John’s words about his project:

“What does peace mean to you?

It’s a question I have been asking people for the past four years for a
collection of portraits and personal stories called A Peace of My Mind.
The goal is to find the humanity in every person…even our adversaries.
Perhaps through hearing the stories of some who are like us, and others
who are quite different, we will be able to see past the rhetoric that
confounds our national dialogue and develop a more compassionate way of
engaging with the world…in our own families, our neighborhoods, and the
international community.

To hear some of the stories of people working toward peace, follow this link.”

Invest some time in learning about this project, and consider contributing to its success.

3. The Snowden affair reminds me of someone I’d never heard of till a couple of years ago, Garry Davis, who was a U.S. bomber flight crew in World War II. And after his brother was killed aboard a Destroyer off Italy, his bomber group bombed one of Germany’s large cities.

Davis could not get out of his mind the sense that one senseless killing – his brothers death in War – simply begat another – his bombing Germans.

He knew there were innocent victims down there below him, people like himself, and like others he knew. After the War he decided to renounce his U.S. citizenship and became a Citizen of a World, with tragi-comic results. He became a citizen of everywhere, but was accepted as a citizen nowhere.

He had idealistic intentions. His only crime was wishing to renounce war between nations as a solution to problems, and for a time he had a huge following of people equally sick of war, having just experienced World War II.

People working together to solve problems became Davis’ mantra.

His is a fascinating story. He is still living, but at 92 frail. Indeed, a movie of his life is in preparation – I’ve seen a long preview of it. You can watch the trailer here.

Watch the trailer – it’s 7 minutes – and consider contributing to the completion of this very important film of witness to peace. Here’s the link to do so.

4. Peacestock. Finally, for interested persons in the Twin Cities area who are interested in the policy topic of Peace, consider Peacestock on July 13, in rural Wisconsin not far from Red Wing MN. Here’s the link for that program. I’m a long-time member of Veterans for Peace.

#713 – Dick Bernard: Some thoughts after World Law Day, May 1, 2013

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

About 40 of us gathered at the Gandhi Mahal Retaurant last evening, May 1, to Reflect On World Peace Through Law.

The event was one of those that just came together; in this case, less than three weeks. Law Day has been a part of the American tradition since at least 1958, when President Eisenhower proclaimed it, and in fact Law Day was made part of U.S. Law in 1961.

Of course, May 1 has many different emphases:

There is the annual May Day Parade in South Minneapolis, both serious and whimsical – we often attend: (This year it is Sunday May 5). I highly recommend it.

As a Catholic kid in the 1940s, I remember May Day for May Baskets, and “Mary, Queen of the May”; May Day is a long-time international Labor Day. In the Communist days in the USSR and the Soviet bloc, May Day was a day to parade out military hardware in huge parades….

I suppose someone knows exactly why President Eisenhower proclaimed Law Day for May 1, 1958. My personal speculation is that the proclamation had something to do with the successful launch of Sputnik by the USSR in October, 1957. There needed to be a counter to the Soviet May Day.

Whatever the reasons, competing themes give an opportunity to fight over what May Day is or should be…

The May 1 event I was part of was an opportunity to reflect on World Law and its relationship to Peace.

As best as I can tell “World Law Day” has been a particularly Twin Cities interpretation of Law Day (and a most relevant interpretation).

May 1, 2013 evolved into an opportunity to honor the contributions of our elders who possess much accumulated wisdom.

World Law Day was formally celebrated in Minneapolis-St. Paul from at least 1964 through 1996, and was largely the creation of several persons, including Lynn Elling. (page four of the 2013 program has a timeline: Law Day Prog May 1 2013001

David Brink (93) former President of the American Bar Association was our speaker May 1; an impromptu decision was made to call the event the “1st Annual Lynn and Donna Elling Symposium on World Peace Through Law.” Donna passed away in June, 2011, but Lynn, at 92, was there, less than 24 hours returned from two weeks in Vietnam with his adopted Vietnamese son, Tod.

(click on photos to enlarge)

Lynn Elling May 1, 2013.

Lynn Elling May 1, 2013.


Elder Rev. Lyle Christianson introduced Mr. Brink; Rev. Lowell Erdahl and Joe Schwartzberg, other prominent elders in the peace and justice community were in attendance, and an in-preparation film about World Citizen Garry Davis, 92, and ailing was screened after the event.

If there is to be a “2nd Annual” World Law Event on May 1, 2014 (it’s a Thursday), will depend on the interest of those who attended May 1, and others whose interest may have been stimulated by two commentaries in the May 1, Minneapolis Star Tribune. The commentaries, by Joe Schwartzberg and Jim Nelson, lay out the history and in effect the case for a continuing World Law Day.

Take the time to not only read the commentaries, but to add your own comment. And get active.

Where do you stand?

And if you’re a Twin Citian, consider giving Gandhi Mahal some of your business. They are serious about community orientation (and an excellent restaurant, too!)



#674 – Dick Bernard: The War for Peace…

Monday, January 7th, 2013

UPDATE Jan. 7, 2013: note comment at end from Garry Davis.
UPDATE Aug, 2013: Garry Davis passed away at the end of July, 2013. See this post.

Sunday [Jan 6,2013] I was privileged to be among nearly 100 people invited to a private preview of a very special eye-opening film, which has the potential to inspire the public with a new way of looking at the world.

In the documentary, which is still in development, World Citizen #1 Garry Davis engaged us with his fascinating life story. A riveting story-teller, he told us how his quest for a different kind of world began during World War II, when in the wake of his own brother being killed in action, he found himself killing German brothers and families in B-17 bomber runs on German cities.

He couldn’t see any sense in killing others to avenge the killing of his brother and this changed his life. He came to see no real sense in even national borders. In the end, he felt, people have to relate to other people, and figure out ways to get along, otherwise our human world cannot survive. Borders were artificial fences, especially as they defined countries.

His actions made him controversial.

The in progress film about Davis, which I think will be a very important one, develops the story of what happened later in Davis’ life, and how his commitment to peace could be a template for us all.

The screening was co-sponsored by Global Solutions Minnesota, World Citizen (founded by Lynn Elling and others in 1972), A Million Copies, and Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers. The Film Society of Minneapolis and St. Paul was also co-sponsor and great host for the event, which was presented in their theater at St. Anthony Main, Minneapolis.

Of course, life is not always simple. Paradoxically, on the same Sunday of the screening, another “war” was about to break out.

President Obama is nominating former Sen. and Vietnam War veteran Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense, and the issue appears to be drawn on whether Hagel will be sufficiently tough as a representative of American interests. Much will be said in coming days. Here’s a good summary of the first salvos.

This nomination battle is well worth watching.

Garry Davis is still very much alive, at 91, and at the screening on Sunday was Minneapolitan Lynn Ellling, near 92, who remains a lion in the quest for World Citizenship and Peace.

After the screening, about half of us stayed for an interesting Skype conversation between Garry Davis and Lynn Elling and others on the topic of world citizenship.

(click on photos to enlarge)

Garry Davis (on screen from Vermont via Skype), Lynn Elling, film producer Arthur Kanegis and a guest share thoughts on the pursuit of world peace on January 6.

Such a topic, Peace, is not a simple one, and there are differences of opinions of how one achieves lasting Peace, but the importance lies in the potential good of the conversation, and of working together to resolve differences.

Garry Davis – and his counterpart Lynn Elling – experienced War up front and very personally in WWII, and neither considers War an option for achieving Peace.

In the War paradigm, which the upcoming debate over Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense is all about, the only conversation will be about the Power of one nation to dominate others, in my opinion.

I had seen an early draft of the Davis film in October, 2012, and it caused me to do reflecting on my own about the issues raised, long before the January 6 preview.

Indeed, Davis was and still is “controversial”.

So, too, were Nelson Mandela who endured years of prison before becoming a world hero; and more recently Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Laureate from Myanmar who couldn’t accept her award in person for fear that she wouldn’t be allowed back in her own country, and endured 21 years of house arrest within her own country, and made one of her first public international statements to the Nobel Peace Prize Forum at Augsburg College in Minneapolis in March 2012. Most recently, she had as a house guest, President Obama.

There is a very long list of “controversial” people who have made a difference and can be role models for us.

Being controversial is often very desirable and good.

I also remembered a couple of sentences written by Martin Luther King Jr. in his book, Why We Can’t Wait, published in 1964, shortly after the assassination of President Kennedy.

King had not long before endured the Birmingham Jail and some months later gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the Washington DC Mall.

He wrote this in his book:

“I am reminded of something President Kennedy said to me at the White House following the signing of the Birmingham agreement.

“Our judgment of Bull Connor should not be too harsh” he commented. “After all, in his way, he has done a good deal for civil-rights legislation this year.”

Immediately following these sentences, King says this, a message to all of us: “It was the people who moved their leaders, not the leaders who moved the people….”

We of that generation tend to forget a crucial fact: at the time of this conversation, Martin Luther King Jr was 33 years old; President John F. Kennedy was 46.

When Lynn Elling MC’ed the event where Minneapolis and Hennepin County became the first World Citizenship city and county in the United States on May 1, 1968, Lynn was 47 years old. Three years later, in March, 1971, Minnesota as a state became World Citizen. Mr Elling was heavily involved in both actions, which were non-partisan and had a very impressive list of bi-partisan supporters.

Lynn Elling at Minneapolis City Hall May 1, 1968 opening the event where Minneapolis and Hennepin County declared themselves World Citizenship Communities, and where the United Nations flag flew alongside the U.S. flag.

Minneapolis/Hennepin County MN Declaration of World Citizenship signed March 5, 1968, dedicated May 1, 1968

Lynn Elling with the Minneapolis Declaration at Minneapolis City Hall, Dec. 22, 2012. Photo compliments of Bonnie Fournier of the Smooch Project

Minnesota Declaration of World Citizenship March, 1971. photo courtesy of Bonnie Fournier, Smooch Project

The future is with the young. We need to help them choose a path which will give them a positive future.

UPDATE Jan 7. 2013: received from Garry Davis:
Hi Dick,

Great blog! Loved it! So happy you referred to my personal “history” site ( a real archaic opus compared to what one sees today, but still containing some interesting archival material). For instance, under “World Citizenship Movement & the World Government,” in the 3nd para. starting “In 2 years over 750,000 people registered, etc.” you will note “In June, ‘mondialized’ Cahors.”

This small southern French town (famous for its wine) actually started the “Mundialization Movement” from which the 1971 statement of “Mundialization” of the State of Minnesota derived followed by the State of Iowa on October 25, 1973. (For the full list see here). [NOTE: Minneapolis and Hennepin County MN mundialized March 5, 1968.]

Colonel Robert Sarrazac, former Maquis during WWII and my principal “organization” in Paris, was the author of the first “Mundialization” declaration.

Maybe a footnote could be added to fill out this important item.

Looking forward to having the pleasure of meeting you in the Spring.

Warmly, in one global village,