Lecture by Peter Davidse, Rome summer 1997, on the invitation of John Ewbank.
Introduction When we would look at the Earth from the window of a space station, like the Russian ‘Mir’, the world is tranquil, undisturbed and amazingly beautiful. Most of us have the experience of looking out of an aeroplane window. Also at the normal flight altitude it is almost impossible to distinguish the frontiers between countries. Some cases are easy: if a so called ‘natural border’, such as a river or a mountain range, has been chosen. Otherwise we see no difference in the landscape, with a few exceptions, the great wall between China and Mongolia, the iron fence between the US and Mexico and formerly the concrete wall that divided Europe. I choose this introduction to illustrate a profound process that is taking shape: that of development towards world citizenship.
1998-2000 : a historic window of opportunity to build World Democracy
(888 words not including title and bio) by Troy Davis
Fifty years ago today, my father, a young and angry American World War 2 veteran, and a bomber pilot who had bombed Brandenburg and Peenemünde, declared himself a Citizen of the World. To drive the point home, he legally renounced his U.S citizenship which to him represented exclusive national sovereignties, a political concept conceived in the horse-and-buggy age and responsible for the largest butchery of all times : the 60 million deaths of World War 2. This symbolic act of renunciation and of claim to world citizenship made headlines around the world and started a popular movement which reached huge proportions in late 1948 and 1949. Nearly a million people wrote to register themselves in the International Registry of World Citizens which he founded, and personalities of the times, Einstein, Camus, Schweitzer and many others, supported the action of this “homme de la rue”, as the leading French paper Le Monde called him. Unfortunately, the cold war, and particularly the start of the Korean War, killed the tremendous popular enthusiasm for this idea.