Thoughts from World Citizen Garry Davis

February 2, 2003

Seven humans left Earth on January 16, 2003. They did not return. Forty miles from the planet's surface, seven human hearts stopped beating shortly after 9 a.m., February 1st, 2003. As the news of their tragedy spread throughout the human world, multitudes of other hearts began to beat in the sympathy of shock and grief. Hearts have no nationality, nor do tears, prayers...or souls. These need no passports or visas to reach heaven.

The twelve children tragically bereft of their expired parent, bonded in sudden sorrow, are the mirror of the anguish of our two billion children remaining on earth who face the heritage of possible nuclear holocaust or the daily ravages of poverty and disease.

The seven astronauts saw our home planet as it was: whole, indivisible and solitary. And marveled. Astronauts in the past, including Neil Armstrong—who said, on July 16. 1969, as he stepped off Apollo's ladder onto the moon's surface, "One small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind"—have undergone revelational changes in their political constructs when viewing the planet from hundreds of miles in space. National frontiers and their rationale of which alleged security and war are the dominant, appear to many space travelers not merely fictional but symptoms of a mindless often fanatical social disorder.

Payload commander, Lieutenant Commander Michael Anderson, when asked in an interview why he risked space travel, said "For me, it's the fact that what I'm doing can have great consequences and great benefits for everyone, for mankind," Kalpana Chawla, aerospace engineer, in a 1998 interview with India Today, said, "When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel that you are not just from any particular part of land, but from the whole solar system." The view from space inevitably leads to a "one world" reality. Space is, after all, 83 miles from each and every human.

"Should the human exploration of space continue?" remains the burning public question of the day. But the answer is dynamically connected to a prior question of humanity's survival as a species. If space exploration is a viable mission for the human race as such, then world peace is the determinant condition of an affirmative answer.

Both parts of the equation in turn relate to our primordial allegiances in this century when leaving Earth itself is part of our daily yet striking reality. World citizenship, with its familiar governmental guarantees, is thus the essential reciprocal social and human prerequisite.

President George Bush spoke movingly yesterday to the world's people saying that "The same creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven we mourn today.,"

That same creator also knows the names of all humans who, in Bush's words, "assumed great risk in this service to all humanity."

In the name of the seven whose hearts no longer beat with ours yet whose spirits remain with us, who gave their lives that humanity continues to survive, let world citizenship be our credo for the risks we all face in the coming days. To remain fettered by a less than holistic or planetary mindset is a denial of the universal spirit of the human heart and soul.


World Government House

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