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“Securing World Peace Through
Embracing the Common Aims of Mankind”

Schiller Institute Conference
Saturday, September 10, 2016, 12 noon – 4:30 pm
New York Cit

Conference Page:  Program and Video Links

Conference Report Press Release

Media Advisory Announcing Conference

Invitation to Conference


Helga Zepp-LaRouche    Jeff Steinberg

Richard Black    Bashar Ja'afari    Walter Jones

Questions and Answers



SPEED:  Our next speaker is only able to stay for a few moments.  People from the Schiller Institute are very familiar with him.  And people from around the world are very familiar with him.  And I'm not going to give any introduction more than to use his name, which itself has now become, increasingly, a standard for justice, fairness, and clarity, when it comes to matters of law and universal law, and that is, former Attorney General Ramsey Clark.

RAMSEY CLARK:  Thank you, Dennis and a wonderful audience. It's good to see you on a notable day, when a ceasefire has been declared in Syria in a struggle that's not been adequately noted by the world, and the Lord willing, will hold.  I've been going to Syria every year, more than once usually, for more than 10 years now, and you've never been able to get through from you drive in from Lebanon; you never can get through customs on both sides without hearing artillery in the distance.  Which means it's very close to Damascus, the border being 50 miles from Damascus.  And the artillery closer to the place where the highway enters Syria from Lebanon is less than that.  So peace may be coming to that part of the Holy Land, as some call it, after a long and too-often unnoticed, unremembered, deadly struggle.

The history of Damascus is almost a history of  Western civilization, and its struggle to bring us together, and particularly, its capital, Damascus, may be unequalled in history.  Even at the Great Mosque, one of the three minarets that surround it, is names for Jesus.  You go to a lot of mosques, and you'll never find a minaret named for Jesus, that I've been able to discover, except at this 700- or 800-year-old well, the religious site is even older than that, because many early Christian leaders, St. John among others, are buried there. But today it is a memorial to what might have been the possibility, but today seems more and more the probability that we'll finally have the heart to learn to live together with dignity and respect and love.

This time last year, about a month earlier, I guess, I was in Damascus, and you could hear the distant artillery every night, unrelenting, not 15 or 20 miles away from the perimeters of the city.  The city was carrying on pretty much normally.  Its Old Town:  I've done too much travelling in my life, but the diversity of places I find with a longer, deeper, more diversified and beautiful history than Damascus.  And the fact that in the mosque, the oldest mosque in the country, in the heart of Old Town, has one of its minarets named for Jesus Christ, shows that it is possible to live together.

I've been to mosques and churches all  over the place, and that's the only one I know that honors with its highest symbols, a Christian.  A mosque that honors a Christian with one of its three spires to Heaven.

And now a ceasefire and hopefully peace for a country that has suffered far more than we've been informed.  Every day violence, and all this time you couldn't get from the border on the southern edge of Lebanon and the southern edge of Syria, to the capital, without hearing distant artillery fire.

We're been pretty lucky here in this country!  You've got to live near an artillery base to hear artillery fire, and I doubt there are more than a few thousand people in our country living in such a location.

With the heart of this great, old city, where one minaret of three at the Great Mosque honors a Christian, as I said, John the Baptist; reaching out, caring, and understanding that if you have to resort to violence to have your way, whether your way happens to be right or wrong, generally both sides believe their way is right not always, but.

And then there are some countries where the people are so busy with material things they don't even pay attention to what is right or wrong, they're looking more to stock market reports than they are the international news on violence or the U.S. military budget.  Did you  ever wonder what we could have done with our military budget, if we had applied it to infant mortality?  Yeah.  The numbers of babies, of infants, that needlessly die in two-thirds of the world or more, maybe four-fifths, it's staggering!

And how are people aware, that's part of the problem, probably a major part of the problem; the greater part is that people are feeling helpless, "what can I do" you know?  "And besides that, I got priorities:  I got kids to feed, and mortgages to pay, and football games to watch..." [laughter]

But the times are changing.  I'm an optimist.  I've been accused of being able to walk off the edge of the planet and you'll hear me singing as I fade into the distance, "We shall overcome..." [laughter] I believe it.  No matter how bad things get, I'll believe it, because I don't think if you don't believe it, you can be a part of the solution; but you'll be a part of the problem. And we all have an obligation to stand up on the issue of peace.

Our military budget represents a tragic assault on human dignity.  And divert it to infant mortality, you could save millions of lives, of our most precious citizens, Save the Babies.  That was a great song: I love that song, "Save the Babies."  Who's the guy who sang it?  He's always cracking, does anyone remember?  No one's old enough OK, just me.  How embarrassing.  Y'all ought to read more history, you know? That's embarrassing, you don't who wrote the song "Save the Babies?"  It's a good song, it's a good tune, and you can tell it's a good moral and at least I think so.  So, if we'll all remember that we're failing to save the babies.

I travel to places where misery is greatest.  I'm not smart enough to go to Paris, except passing through.  And misery around the world, particularly in Third World countries, our failure to aid Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly, and other parts of the world, is an enormous reflection on our character, because the priorities of our government, if we're a democracy, reflects the priorities of we, the people.  And I would hope our priority would be, probably number 1, "Save the Babies."  Peace involves saving the babies, too you know.  Those babies grow up and get killed, or some of them don't even grow up, they get killed in the hospital or at home when a bomb falls where they're untimely born.

Our peace has been so long and so secure, that we don't realize what it's like to live in a place, living in or threatened by, or recent memory of, violent warfare.  And the amount of money we spend on military is absolutely, not only criminal, but incomprehensible.  And our research and development:  We're not satisfied with our technology for death, can you imagine that?  I mean Hiroshima was a pop-gun, to what we can do now.

An informed and honorable and involved people would stand up and say "No! Not just my tax money, I don't mind that.  But the principle of the thing!  We, the people of the United States have better things to do than prepare the rest of the world for wars in our interest, and arm the world and live with war as a means of solving problems."

Our hearts have to tell us that we will not tolerate the use of violence as a means of solving problems.  And until we stop our own government, from spending the billions and billions of dollars that it does on militarism, and aiding what we call "allies," in their capacity to we say "defend themselves" by attacking their neighbors, we'll be a major part of the problem, and not the solution.

"Save the Babies" is a great song, too, but it's a good way to conceive of where to begin. But I'd like to see our country stand up and say "We've been lucky."  We're over here where the land was free we had to kill a few Indians, but it didn't bother our conscience, they were on land that we wanted. And our freedom has permitted us to expand in almost  an infinite variety of ways, not the least of which is, improving our capacity for homicidal violence.  We still spend billions on that.

And we can do better.  My time's up. Thank you.

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Next: Richard Black