The day he died, my organization got a hand-written letter from Pete Seeger, the 94-year-old iconic folksinger who departed last month after decades of inspiring us onward with his peace and justice ballads.
Now with his loss, we realize it is quite a gap to fill. Indeed, one political cartoon showed a hapless banjo player reading his paper’s page: “JOB OPPORTUNITY: New Pete Seeger needed. Must start immediately.”
What were his final messages to us? In an article last week entitled, “I’m Through With Big Things,” Seeger was quoted as saying, "Be wary of great leaders. Hope that there are many, many small leaders.” We know of his work to clean up the Hudson River, as well as his call for all of us to get involved at the local level. If he was disappointed in greater things, it was perhaps no wonder—for decades he suffered severe disappointments on the larger scene—a country which blacklisted him, record companies and television stations that marginalized him, and a youth culture and civil rights movement that passed him over when they became enamored by cooler music and more strident activism.
Ben Ferencz is an inspiration to many members and supporters of GlobalSolutions.org, world federalists and human rights advocates worldwide. For those unfamiliar with Ben, he was the youngest member of the Nuremberg legal team in 1945 which prosecuted the Nazi leadership.
Like many young men and women in the U.S. armed forces today, he had enlisted as a soldier and served in Europe where he witnessed terrible atrocities being carried out as part of the Holocaust. As the Allies realized the scope of the horrors being committed, a war crimes team was set up. With his law studies background, Ben was assigned to this team, visiting the concentration camps afte their liberation, interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence of war crimes. Following his discharge from the U.S. Army, he was recruited to join the team at Nuremberg and was assigned as the chief prosecutor for the Einsatzgruppen trial, the ninth of the twelve Nuremberg cases carried out by the Allies.
North Korea’s state control over where people live and work, and the practice of arbitrarily arresting and executing citizens evokes images of the “Hunger Games.”
Sadly, it is without the "Games" aspect -- just state sanctioned death. A brief look of the Human Rights Council (HRC) summary of North Korea depicts citizens subject to revolting, inhumane punishments. There are stark parallels between North Korean society and that of Nazi Germany. (This is not a violation of Godwin's Law; that comparison was made by no less than John Everard, the former UK ambassador to the authoritarian state.) However, the key differences, such as not being outwardly aggressive, make it nearly impossible for the international community to stop North Korea’s crimes against humanity.
It’s days like these that I am dismayed at what the American public chooses to focus its attention on. The buzz on Capitol Hill seems to be on anything but the worst humanitarian crisis in recent years that is taking place in Syria. The multitude of humanitarian issues resulting from the civil war there will be the discussed during peace talks next Wednesday (January 22), and the United States' role in addressing them is being carried largely by Secretary of State John Kerry.
Mr. Kerry and his team have their hands full, maybe overflowing. A few of the most pressing issues the State Department is handling include: preparing the stage for Syrian peace talks; maintaining promising relations with Iran; continuing efforts in Israeli-Palestinian peace; and working with Russia, which is perfectly opposed to U.S. interests on each matter. What’s more is that these complex concerns are intricately intertwined. Secretary Kerry's capabilites will be put to the test, but I feel secure he is up to the challenge; the coming months will either result in historic diplomatic achievements or a humanitarian and regional security disaster. The scale of importance is huge – absence of progress would likely demoralize all other diplomatic efforts in the region.
For those who would like to celebrate the life of Edward Rawson, the detailed arrangements are below. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, a contribution in his memory may be made to GlobalSolutions.org in support of the Edward Rawson Fellowship Program to allow recent college graduates an opportunity to promote active citizen engagement in global institutions and governance while developing leadership skills in government relations, communications, and grassroots outreach. Click here to learn more about Ed's life and to leave a personal comment that will be shared with the family.
Friday January 10th, 2014
Joseph Gawler's Sons
5130 Wisconsin Ave, NW
Washington DC 20016
Saturday January 11th, 2014
St Johns Episcopal Church
6715 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101
Following funeral service
6813 Redmond Drive
McLean, VA 22101
Information, death notice and obituary to be posted on Gawlers website under Edward Rawson
With the passing of the old year, we lost a beloved friend, benefactor and leader, Edward Rawson. He passed away quietly at his home in McLean, Virginia surrounded by his family. He would have been 100 this February. We knew him as Ed, Mr. Rawson and Grandpa. For so many of us he was “my friend” and “my teacher.”
Ed has been part of Global Solutions movement from the beginning. He attended the 1947 founding of the United World Federalists in Asheville, North Carolina. Ed was the World Federalist Association’s (WFA) Treasurer for 20 years, retiring in 1996. He served for several years as Executive Vice President of the Campaign for UN Reform, and served until his passing as a Trustee of the World Federalist Endowment Fund, which he helped to establish. He was a past president of the WFA DC Metro Chapter, past chair of the WFA Executive Committee, and a recipient of the WFA "Presidential Award". Received a B.A. from Harvard University and a J.D. from Yale Law School, he served abroad with the State Department and Agency for International Development, and eventually as AID coordinator for relations with other federal agencies.
What if you could help prevent the next Rwanda, Darfur or Syria? Would you?
Time and time again as atrocities unfold, the United Nations Security Council is called upon to act but cannot due to the threat of a veto by one of the permanent members. It’s time for that to change.
It’s time for countries to agree that permanent Security Council members have a “Responsibility Not to Veto” when it comes to genocide and other mass atrocities.
GlobalSolutions.org has just launched a petition to asking President Obama to be part of a discussion about the responsible use of the veto at the Security Council.
We envision a Security Council that works. Imagine a Security Council that pledged not to use the veto in situations of genocide and other mass atrocities. That’s a world we want to live in. Unfortunately, permanent Security Council members have used (or threatened to use) their veto power far too often. The veto power stopped immediate life-saving action in the Rwandan genocide, Darfur, and Syria.