「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


Garry Davis: world citizen

By Kip A. Cates


Many inspiring people have worked for peace. Most are relatively unknown. This is the story of one such person: Garry Davis.

Garry Davis was born in the United States in 1921. He came from a show business family, studied drama in college and became a Broadway actor. His dream was to use comedy to bring laughter to the world.

Garry's dream was interrupted by World War II. He was drafted by the U.S. Air Force and trained as a bomber pilot. During the war, he dropped bombs on German cities, killing hundreds of innocent civilians.

After the war, Garry was unable to go back to show business. He'd seen too much death and destruction to become a comedian. He felt angry at the stupidity of war, guilty about killing others and worried about the nuclear arms race.

He began studying peace. He concluded that the main cause of war is nationalism. Wars begin when aggressive nations start conflicts and send soldiers to fight under the motto "My country, right or wrong." In contrast, he envisioned people living in peace under the slogan "One world."

Garry was eager to act. His friends told him to be patient. But Garry couldn't wait. He argued that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson hadn't waited to gain freedom from Britain. They'd taken the initiative and declared independence. He felt that a similar action was needed for peace.

In 1948, Garry went to the U.S. Embassy in France. He handed in his passport, renounced his nationality and declared himself a "citizen of the world." His dramatic act was immediately broadcast around the globe. Messages of support arrived from Albert Einstein and Albert Schweitzer.

An international group of supporters grew up around Garry. He addressed the United Nations, then held a "world citizen" rally attended by 20,000 people. Thousands of letters poured in from around the globe, many addressed to "Garry Davis, World Citizen, Paris."

Next, Garry created a "world passport" and used it when he was invited to India. Applications came in from refugees, intellectuals and students around the world. Since 1948, almost a million people have registered as "world citizens" with Garry's organization, the World Service Authority. That's more than the population of nations such as Fiji, Iceland or Luxembourg!

Garry Davis passed away this year at the age of 91. He experienced the horrors of war, but dedicated his life to peace. His life as a "world citizen" wasn't easy; he was often arrested, imprisoned or deported. Yet, he passionately believed that youth should take action to stop war and promote international understanding.

I first met Garry at an international peace conference in 1995. Each year, I teach my students about his life and work. His dramatic story deserves to be better known, in school textbooks and TV documentaries. When people asked his nationality, Garry was always proud to say, "My country is the world."



The Japan Times ST: September 13, 2013

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




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