Open letter to President of United States of America, drawing immediate attention and positive engagement or both domestic and world peace, mitigating climate change and related issues by North East Dialogue Forum
Mr. President Sir,
Greetings from the North East of India (NEI) which is bounded by Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and Myanmar and linked to the rest of India through the Siliguri Corridor commonly called ‘the chicken’s neck.’
The North East Dialogue Forum (NEDF) brings together a number of non-government organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the region comprising of eight Indian States, viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura through sharing concerns, issues, struggles as we engage in helping others less fortunate irrespective of differences in ethnicity, religion, colour, caste, culture and language, so as to realise life in all its fullness - physical, social, mental which includes livelihood, health, education, justice and related issues like environment, impact of climate change, mega-dams, mining, etc., including inclusive peace.
Our engagement primarily is to identify with their struggles for equality, rights, justice and peace.
The reason that we have taken this liberty and courage to write to you is (a) the United States of America is the oldest democracy in the world; (b) that what takes place in the U. S. and/ what the U. S. Government and its people decides upon affects the entire world and; (c) today, there are many events taking place around the world including within the U. S. A. itself, which are sending out imminent signals of catastrophic consequences unless we make course correction in many of our policy making and direction of governance for so called ‘development’ , money making enterprises and peace building through instilling fear psychosis.
Therefore, Mr. President Sir, we would like to place certain matters before you, your Government and your people, which we believe that you are very much aware of and is/are very much concerned as we are.
1. On climate change:
We are indeed baffled that you and your Government have withdrawn from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change of COP21 for we had high hopes that the U.S. would provide leadership and encouragement on taking the Agreement forward. However and optimistically, States are responding positively to take it forward but it warrants a united effort to combat and mitigate climate change, particularly, human induced climate change since warnings given way back in the 1500s were not taken seriously or cast aside because of human greed.
Your Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and your administration should be bringing out guidelines and/ norms for carrying out industrial activities not contributing to air, soil and water pollution, global warming, thereby enhancing climate change with its adverse impact affecting planet earth and the global community, including others of creation whom God had placed on this earth and for humans to be just and conscientious stewards of all that inhabit this earth and wide universe.
We need to bring change together by working together and journeying together.
2. On banning nuclear weapons, guns:
Mr. President, most of us appreciate very much your breaking the ice with North Korea with the hope that follow up negotiations is still going on and expectantly, we will have a nuclear free world in not too distant a future.
It is believed that most Americans do remember J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the A-bomb. When he witnessed the artificial nuclear explosion near Alamogordo on 16 July, 1945 his mind went to verses in the Bhagavad Gita (XI. 12), a religious book of the Hindus and paraphrased aloud, “Now I am become death, the Destroyer of Worlds.”
As Chairman of the General Advisory Committee of the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, he had lobbied for “international control of nuclear power to avert nuclear proliferation and a nuclear arms race with the (then) Soviet Union.” He even hand delivered a letter to then Secretary of State, Henry L. Stimson on 17 August, 1945, i.e. nine days after the bombing of Nagasaki in Japan, “expressing his revulsion and his wish to see nuclear weapons banned.”
“Like many scientists of his generation, he felt that security from atomic bombs would come only from a transnational organization such as the newly formed United Nations, which could institute a program to stifle the nuclear arms race.”
In July, 2017, Oppenheimer’s wish came true when the United Nations adopted the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and all nations should ratify this Treaty, without making any excuse and still come together for making this God created planet, a nuclear free world.
This begins with stopping to mine atomic minerals and allow the ‘ rainbow serpent’, (uranium as called by the aboriginal Australians) to sleep on to eternity under the canopy of soil, stones and rocks for once it is disturbed and waken up from its slumber, there will be hell to pay (the unshaken belief of aboriginal Australians).
It may be mentioned Mr. President that we have just received news that South Africa has decided to replace nuclear energy by renewable energy.
However, it is not only nuclear weapons and nuclear energy that we must discard but all kinds of ammunitions, including guns.
General Mikhail Kalaishnikov, inventor of the A. K. Rifle, in his old age, said thus: “I’m proud of my invention, but I’m sad that it is used by terrorists ... I would prefer to have invented a machine that people could use and that would help farmers with their work, for example, a lawnmower. .. I always wanted to construct agriculture machinery.” A month before he passed away in December, 2013, it is reported that he wrote to the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church for forgiveness and repenting for having invented the A. K. Rifle.
Mr. President, it is for governments and world leaders to take the initiative and more importantly, for you and your Government to act retrospectively for the future and security of humanity.
3. On Indigenous Peoples:
Mr. President, we express our deep appreciation for the United States Government having endorsed the U. N. Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples
(UNDRIP) as initially, it had reservations against the Declaration when it was adopted on 13 September, 2007.
In your having endorsed UNDRIP, perhaps you are continuing with the famed Six Point Plan of George Washington for the indigenous peoples of the United States, believed to number some 5.2 million in population with 560 Indian tribes recognized at federal level and some sixty plus tribes recognized at states level.
Those Six Points are:-
1. Impartial justice toward Native Americans.
2. Regulating buying of Native Americans’ land.
3. Promotion of commerce.
4. Promotion and experiments to civilize or improve Native American society.
5. Presidential authority to give presents.
6. Punishing those who violate rights of Native Americans.
We believe that the terms “American Indians”, and “Native Americans” are used interchangeably to describe the indigenous communities in the U. S.
As the goal of UNDRIP is for working “alongside Indigenous Peoples to solve global issues, like development, multicultural democracy and decentralisation” and to “protect their cultural heritage and other aspects of their culture and tradition (so as) to preserve their heritage from over controlling nation-states,” it “will “undoubtedly be a significant tool towards eliminating human rights violation against the planet’s 370 million indigenous peoples and assisting them in combating discrimination and marginalization.”
We look forward to your removing bad job conditions in the reservations, exploitations and environmental destruction, lack of education and employment, ill health - both physical and mental, poverty, dying tradition and language, and that your positive intervention, will usher in a new vision to build a confident and robust indigenous community through their local tribal governance and by traditional wisdom with modern inputs where tradition and modernity will complement each other.
4. On American Fraternity:
As the oldest democracy, you have had many Presidents, some names are remembered by the global community for their contribution, (1) to good governance within the United States thereby leaving behind legacies for others to follow, both inside the U. S. and beyond and; (2) to world peace and human welfare and security.
Among the many great leaders that the U. S. has produced, we are oft reminded of Abraham Lincoln’s definition of democracy in that “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people” in that those holding reins in democratically elected government and lawmakers are accountable to the people since they have been elected to serve the interest of all, irrespective of ethnicity, language, colour, race, gender, faith, class, origin, etc. During another occasion, the same Abraham Lincoln had said “The people — the people — are the rightful masters of both congresses and courts — not to overthrow the constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it.” (extract from Speeches at Columbus and Cincinnati during 16 & 17 September, 1859)
At Springfield, Illinois, on 20 November, 1860, he remarked thus: “Let us at all times remember that all Americans are brothers of a common country, and should dwell together in the bond of fraternal feeling.”
These words are a big challenge to work for removal of poverty and inequality, systemic racism in schools, offices, court system and elsewhere whereby both institutional and structural racisms prevail, taking compassionate care of the aged, the orphan and destitute, the homeless, the stateless, the displaced, the unemployed, victims of natural calamities of gun culture and many others.
May God grant you grace, strength and wisdom to usher in peace and justice to all in the U. S. A. and to extend to the whole world.
Thank you very much for your time and patience Mr. President.
(Mr. U Nobokishore)
Secretary Consultant (Hony)
(Rev. Dr. P. B. M. Basaiawmoit)