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stories  53 - 60

BENNY STORIES

1970 - present

 

THE SEARCH FOR WORLD PEACE

 

 

There is no magic formula for achieving world peace quickly. But it can and must be done if humankind is to survive on this little planet. Stimulated by trauma and despair and the prospect of imminent death at the age of fifty, I set about to do whatever I could to help create a more humane and tranquil world. After prodigious study, I concluded that the framework had to be built around law, courts, and enforcement. I embarked on a new career as an unpaid lobbyist for peace. The UN became my workshop. My weapon was my pen, and my tools were books, articles, public lectures, media interviews, and university courses where I spread my gospel. This is how one individual has tried to change the world.

starting a new career

getting aggressive about aggression

aggression defined by consensus

 

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Story 53: Contemplating Life and Death in Puerto Rico

 

In 1969, on arriving at the airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, I was carried off a plane on a stretcher on instructions of an unknown doctor who entertained the notion that I might be on the verge of death. It was a rather severe winter and I had promised my wife and our 15 year old daughter Nina that we would take a little vacation. By the time we arrived at New York’s Kennedy airport, the snow was coming down hard. Soon the field was completely closed down. We had a choice of accommodations: we could freeze in the seat of an unheated plane or we could freeze on the airport floor. For two days and nights the new PanAm terminal was jammed with irate passengers sprawled over every available space. No planes or rescue helicopters could land. Soon, all eating facilities were stripped as though by famished vultures. I tramped through deep snow searching the airport for food for my hungry family. When, after three days, the order finally came across the loudspeaker that our plane was ready for takeoff, the passengers would have let out a cheer, if any of them had any strength left.

 

The flight, loaded with weary passengers, was uneventful until we began a turbulent descent into San Juan. A man in the seat in front of me signaled a stewardess that he was feeling faint. Fortunately a passenger in the adjoining aisle announced that he was a doctor. After a brief examination he concluded that the passenger needed no further attention. Seeing all this, I informed the good Samaritan doctor that I too was not feeling well. He felt my wrist, looked very puzzled, then frantically told the stewardess that he was unable to find my pulse, that I was possibly having a heart attack, and I should be rushed to a hospital as soon as possible. Remembering our descent into Berlin by parachute (that might have been the subliminal cause for my anxiety), I guess I should have been grateful that I didn’t have to jump out the rear door. I had read somewhere that a patient having a heart attack should not move since even the slightest motion might prove fatal. I did not stir a muscle. As soon as the plane touched down, medics rushed in and whisked me into the waiting ambulance. From there on in, my immobility was so precise that it might have been taken as a preview of my next life.

 

My poor wife and anxious daughter were crowded into the ambulance with me. I provided so much entertainment that no one thought about our luggage. I was soon unloaded at the nearest hospital. I had no reservation. They had no room. The Intensive Care unit was also completely occupied. The best they could do was to put me on a gurney in the hall. They did provide a young Puerto Rican nurse to ensure my presence among the living by keeping her fingers on my pulse. I guess that if it stopped beating she was to make the gurney immediately available for somebody else. It was nightfall. My wife and daughter had no luggage, very little cash, and no place to stay. I had the credit cards. They finally found a small motel nearby, and the only thing left for me to do under the circumstances was to try to get some sleep and hope for the best.

 

In the morning I was feeling fine. I knew there was a waiting list for the Intensive Care section, so I talked to my attending physician and urged him to release me so that I could rejoin my family who were concerned about my health and their luggage. He finally agreed to release me on parole, but I had to promise to stay close to the hospital in case another emergency should arise. My wife found space in a very nice hotel next door to the hospital. The next two weeks were spent lolling in the sun, chatting with my family, and watching the waves. I spent the time on Candado Beach contemplating life and death, and the possibility that my time had run out; and perhaps I had been given another chance.

 

The Puerto Rican experience may have been the last straw needed to push me toward a clear conclusion about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Perhaps it was just a case of mid-life crisis. I decided that life was too short to spend it doing things that provided no satisfaction. I don’t mean that every moment must be filled with pure joy, but one should look forward to going to work in the morning knowing that the time will be spent productively in pursuit of a worthwhile goal. Despite inevitable and unavoidable frustrations, I mostly enjoyed my work on behalf of the victims of crimes against humanity. Now, having spent over two decades as a pioneer in those endeavors, I felt I should gradually turn the reins over to others. I did not wish to stay on to scrape what seemed to me to be the bottom of the barrel. Our four children had all received a good education and were growing increasingly independent. By living frugally, we had managed to save some money which we had invested cautiously. I had no fear about striking out in a new direction. But what should it be and how to go about launching a new career at age 50?

 

It seemed to me that I should try to build on what I already knew. I had seen the horrors of war. I learned about the mentality of unrepentant mass murderers who were prepared to kill large numbers of innocent people in order to achieve their own misguided goals. I knew about war crimes trials and the rule of law. I had witnessed the suffering of humankind and I knew something about the new ideas called “Human Rights.” Most important of all, I recognized how inadequate were the means available to curb the evils that continued to dominate human society. I considered it quite hypocritical to condemn genocide and other crimes against humanity as long as there was no court to try the offenders. It seemed an enormous tragedy to denounce war as the supreme international crime, yet allow wars to flourish. If I could harness my experience and my legal training to help fashion a more humane and peaceful world, that would be a goal worth pursuing. Even if the goals could never be attained in my lifetime, it would still be worthwhile if some progress could be made. How does one man begin?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story 54: Starting a New Career

 

Before embarking upon my new career, it behooved me to discuss my thinking with others who might have some less grandiose and more intelligent thoughts. The idea that wisdom comes with age is something that never dawned on me while I was young, but the thought became more attractive with each passing year. Never having taken a course in international law, it occurred to me that before displaying my ignorance to my elders I should do some exploratory work in a good library. I did not wish to appear like a chick coming out of his shell and announcing that he has discovered the world. Fortunately, there was no shortage of books written by distinguished authors who could find solutions for every problem and problems for every solution. Perusing such volumes convinced me that it would be prudent to focus my attention on subjects that related to work I had already done. I would pick up where Nuremberg left off. I could begin my new endeavors by seeing what needed to be done to establish a permanent international criminal court to hold the leading planners and perpetrators of the supreme international crime—aggressive war—to personal account.

 

One of the first persons with whom I discussed my new plan was Dr. Jacob Robinson. He was a very distinguished elderly jurist who, among other scholarly pursuits, represented Israel on the Legal Committee of the United Nations. After discussing my thinking, he recognized that what I was seeking was a new calling that could absorb my energies and mind and still serve a useful social purpose. He expressed some regret that I was drawing away from the very useful work I had been doing, but concluded that what I had in mind was a worthwhile goal even if its achievement would be very difficult. He cautioned that while the subject of an international criminal jurisdiction had been on the UN agenda since the organization was founded, it was nowhere near acceptance by the world community. He gave me his blessing and wished me luck.

 

I also had occasion to meet Rene Cassin, a leading proponent of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for which he had received a Nobel Peace Prize. Cassin was a distinguished Jewish lawyer who had escaped from Paris with General de Gaulle when German armies invaded France. He was being honored by a luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, and there, Faut de mieux, I served as his translator. We remained in touch for many years. I admired his persistence and courage, and his example encouraged me in my decision to work for a more humane world. Of course, I also discussed my plans at length with my friend and law partner Telford Taylor. He too had been drifting away from the practice of law in New York and teaching part-time at various universities. He suggested that I consult with Professor Myres McDougal of Yale.

 

Professor McDougal, of Mississippi, was one of the most outstanding legal scholars in the world. “Mac,” as he was known to his friends, was quite exceptional. His focus was on human rights. Most international law teachers were stodgy ex-diplomats dealing with the law of treaties and the protection of sovereign states. “Human rights” was not in their job description. They seemed to forget that, in a democracy, governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. McDougal was part of a new breed of law teachers who recognized that law was not static, but had to adapt to meet the needs of a changing society. Other professorial pioneers included Louis Sohn at Harvard, who wrote the classic World Peace Through World Law, Lou Henkin and Oscar Schachter at Columbia, as well as Tom Franck at New York University. They advocated the revolutionary notion that all human beings were endowed with fundamental rights that should be protected by the rule of law. I liked that idea. I think that a fellow named Thomas Jefferson had liked it too.

 

In January 1970, I wrote to Professor McDougal, and told him that I wanted to devote the rest of my life to the quest for world peace. He was rather surprised by my particular interest in preventing the crime of aggression and creating an international criminal court. He explained that he, and his co-author of Law and Minimum World Public Order, spent at least a year’s time on their chapter dealing with aggression, that it was their best intellectual work, and that no other reader had ever commented on it. He invited me to visit him at Yale. Since no one but me had noticed the profound analysis by this great professor I began to suspect that my work would not meet with widespread public acclaim. Since I had already concluded that stopping war-making was the most important problem in the world, I would not be not deterred by the anticipated difficulties and indifference.

 

I do not mean to suggest that I was alone in my determination to seek a more humane world. Quite the contrary, there were countless individuals and organizations concerned with peace and human rights. I wanted to find the most effective way that I could apply my experience in advancing the common goal. At first, I thought it might be best for me to go back to school to learn what I had missed while away fighting the war and setting up restitution programs. McDougal suggested that I had enough education with my Harvard doctorate and that I was probably too old to be accepted for a teaching career. He did not indicate how uneducated or young you had to be to qualify for such positions. Instead, he suggested that I think, read, and write on the subject. I followed the learned professor’s advice. I had already thought about it, but I figured it wouldn’t do much harm if I thought some more. I had already read quite a number of books dealing with related topics, and I was prepared to read many more. I was, however, not prepared to write about anything until I knew more about what I was supposed to be writing about.

 

My next step was to sink myself in additional studies. I went underground, so to speak. The best source for information about world peace could be found in books stored in the locked basement three stories under the main library of the United Nations. In order to gain access, I managed to get a pass as a member of a Non-Governmental Organization accredited to the UN. The Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations was happy to list me as one of their representatives. Many agencies are delighted to accept your services if you are willing to work for nothing. Later, I represented the American Society of International Law (ASIL), which was a much more neutral and less provocative affiliation. It did not take long for me to discover the old League of Nations archives. I managed to be entrusted with a key to the vast treasure trove, and the librarians allowed me to remain in the cellar alone studying the dusty archives to my heart’s content. In my long hours of toiling amidst the musty records, I learned what plans were made to maintain peace after about 20 million people had been killed in World War I. I read all the minutes of all the meetings and all the related books and articles I could lay my hands on. It was like being in Paradise—with books instead of apples.

 

In addition to my intensive research, I attended lectures, meetings, and conferences at the UN and elsewhere dealing with related topics. I joined many organizations dedicated to creating a more peaceful world. Since these were all non-remunerative, I also had to keep up with the paid assignments I had from The Claims Conference and the United Restitution Organization which required me to attend meetings in Europe. At no expense to my old organizational clients, some of my time abroad was also spent studying at the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg and at UN meetings in Geneva. I justified such diversions by rationalizing that if I could help build a world free of Holocausts, it might be more valuable than trying to squeeze additional reparations from Germany. Some of my former colleagues thought I had gone nuts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story 55: Getting Aggressive About the Crime of Aggression

 

At least 40 million people were killed in World War II. It dawned upon those in power in 1945 that perhaps there could be a more peaceful way to manage world affairs. To be sure, the same thought had occurred to world leaders in 1919, after only 20 million were slaughtered in World War I. The fact that twice as many people were killed in the second war as in the first, raised some doubts whether nations were heading in the right direction. It was not very reassuring to note that world wars were being listed by successive Roman numerals. So the wise men whose countries had conquered Germany and Japan put their wise heads together to devise a wise new system to protect future generations “from the scourge of war.” The powerful United States took the lead in devising an improved institution for peace. One of the persons the U.S. turned to for assistance was Sidney Pasvolsky, a man practically unheard of before or since

 

Pasvolsky was not known as a wise guy. He was a minor official in the U.S. State Department who was assigned to draft a new constitution designed to maintain a more peaceful world. Sidney turned first to the Covenant of the League of Nations as the logical legal precedent to serve as a guide. True, the United States had never joined the League of Nations—ratification had been blocked by a handful of conservative U.S. Senators. To make the new dish more palatable, Sidney used his creative imagination to vary the recipe by changing around some of the important names. Instead of calling the new statute a “Covenant,” he suggested it be called a “Charter.” Instead of calling the controlling body “The Council,” he recommended calling it “The Security Council.” The “Assembly” was renamed “The General Assembly.” The “Permanent Court for International Justice” was simply called the “International Court of Justice.” Some of the new names and stylistic alterations were longer than the old ones--but some were shorter. It sort of balanced out in the end. It still wasn’t a very tasty dish.

 

The U.S. draft was discussed with the leading victors at a Washington estate called “Dumbarton Oaks.” The fact that the name began with the word “Dumb” was not encouraging. On a garden wall there was a more ominous inscription: “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.” The revised U.S. text contained a few substantive changes, such as calling for the creation of an international military force to safeguard the peace. But that was made contingent upon another agreement being reached among the Great Powers; and so, it never happened. It also called for a review conference within 10 years to consider needed amendments; that was ignored. An encouraging new provision prohibited of the use of armed force—except in very narrowly defined circumstances of self-defense. Under the Covenant, and throughout history, warfare had been perfectly legal. The right to go to war had always been seen as a glorious means of assuring aggrandizement and survival of the fittest. According to the Nuremberg judgments, unauthorized war-making, which had previously been a national right, was condemned as an international crime. Unfortunately, that very significant concept would also be ignored in practice. The draft then came before a conference in San Francisco where all Nations were invited to express their views. They were allowed to sign the Charter on June 26, 1945, pretty much as the U.S. proposed.

 

The Charter also contained a new provision regarding voting. The League of Nations could act only by unanimous consent of its members. Thus, each one had a veto power. That practically guaranteed paralysis on any significant issue. The Charter for the new organization, misleadingly named “The United Nations,” provided that only the five major victors, the U.S., UK, USSR, China, and France, should have a privileged veto power. Although the Charter affirmed that the Organization was based on “the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members,” it was obvious that some were more equal than others. It was an unfortunate political reality that unless the U.S. retained a unilateral right to veto any UN enforcement action, the conservatives in the Senate would block ratification, as they had done after World War I. Conservatives, by definition, are slow to accept change. Deliberately ambiguous language proved acceptable if it could be interpreted to suit everyone. So it came about that the effectiveness of the UN Charter as a law binding all nations was doomed from the outset. The public was misled into believing that a new era of peace through law was on the horizon.

 

The 1945 plan for future peace had two basic components. One was the UN Charter that prescribed humanitarian aspirations to govern the future. The second required a system of enforcing the rule of law as laid down in the Nuremberg Charter. It was like a stool with two legs: the UN structure was inadequate, and the Nuremberg mandates were vague. Other defects were there for all to see. The world organization had no independent financing. It was dependent upon its members for contributions. It had no enforcement mechanism or independent military force as envisaged. It could only act when its self-appointed five “Permanent Members,” with different social and political systems, were all in agreement. Surely, this would not be an effective organization to maintain peace among competing nations. But that’s as far as sovereign states were willing to go at that time. Considering the built-in obstacles, it is quite remarkable that the UN has been able to accomplish anything. The cathedral of peace needed a stronger foundation, but it could only be built one stone at a time. Changing the way most people think and act is not a transformation that can be accomplished quickly or easily. Don’t blame Sidney Pasvolsky. He was only the messenger.

 

When the first General Assembly of the United Nations convened in New York in 1946, it declared that genocide was an international crime that should be punished. It also affirmed the validity of the Charter and Judgment of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. The most important step forward at Nuremberg was the decision, as a matter of existing international law, that aggression—illegal war-making—was “the supreme international crime.” Nuremberg also made clear that Crimes Against Humanity would “never again” be tolerated, and those responsible for wartime atrocities would be held to account in a court of law. The General Assembly called for the appointment of committees to codify international criminal law, and to move toward the creation of the needed new criminal tribunal. In due course, the desired committees representing various combinations of nations began their meetings. And they talked. And they talked. They were still talking 25 years later.

 

For almost a quarter of a century, distinguished jurists from nations all over the world were talking about how to define one word—“aggression.” They had halted consideration of a more comprehensive Code of International Crimes because they were unable to agree on a definition of the main crime. If there was no Code, there was no need to work on the creation of an International Criminal Court to interpret the non-existent Code. So they talked some more, and got nowhere. The cold war was the excuse to put all three topics—the definition, Code, and Court—in the deep freeze. Meanwhile, wars were raging all around the globe, and young soldiers and countless civilians were dying while hoping for the more peaceful world they had been promised.

 

I could not avoid feeling frustrated as I began my regular attendance at various UN aggression committees. The fate of humankind had been entrusted to them, and it was time for me to get aggressive about defining aggression! In addition to collaring diplomats in UN corridors, I began to write memos and law review articles exposing what was happening, and suggesting various ways to get out of the quagmire in which distinguished representatives were wallowing.

 

Some delegates did not take kindly to my meddling. I recall an incident around 1971 when I was attending Aggression Committee meetings at the UN in Geneva. I was sitting quietly by myself in the balcony when the distinguished delegate of Egypt, then at war with Israel, rose and demanded that I be evicted, since it was a closed meeting.

 

The Committee Chairman, Bengt Broms of Sweden, was a fine gentleman who knew me well. He seemed rather speechless by the unusual request. The day was saved by Cyprus, whose Ambassador, Zenon Rossides, had always been a strong supporter of an International Criminal Court. Its representative, a chain-smoking Cypriot named Dinos Moushoutus, rose and declared that he was inviting me to come down and join his delegation. After clearing with the U.S. delegate that I would not be violating any laws, I became an unpaid representative of Cyprus for purposes of that meeting. The Egyptian, Ali Teymour, was later promoted, I guess, to be what I called “the Doorman” at the UN. He greeted important guests at the entrance door, escorted them to the General Assembly chamber, and pointed to the seat where they were to sit while waiting to be called to the podium. As far as I could tell, he did that pretty well. I bore him no grudge since he was not responsible for his limited mental capacities. I remained determined to do whatever I could to get over the definitional hurdle that was the pretext for blocking progress toward the establishment of an International Criminal Court.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story 56: Aggression Defined by Consensus

 

The definition of aggression has played a vital role in world history. Haile Selassie was a man I admired. I never met him but I saw him on film and read his speeches. He was a small man with fiery eyes and was known as “The Lion of Judah.” I can never forget his appearance before the League of Nations in 1935. The Fascist Dictator, Benito Mussolini, invaded Abyssinia (now known as Ethiopia) and claimed it as a province of Italy. It was a clear case of outright aggression. Emperor Selassie addressed the Council of the League of Nations, reminding them that the Covenant pledged all members to maintain the peace by imposing comprehensive sanctions against the aggressor nation. Outlawing aggression by disabling the law-breaker seemed like a workable system—but there was a loophole. There was no definition of aggression. There was also no institution to enforce the obligation.

 

Under the League Covenant, each nation could decide for itself whether aggression had occurred. France and Great Britain controlled the oil that powered Mussolini’s tanks. If they had cut off the oil supply, as they were pledged to do, the tanks would have been stopped in their tracks. But the self-styled “Great Powers” feared that Italy might strengthen its alliance with Germany, where a re-armed Hitler was busy threatening the world. So the two trusted nations surreptitiously reneged on their pledges. It does happen that, from time to time, diplomats who pretend to be statesmen are guided by Machiavelli’s reference to “nefarious or villainous means.” The rule of law was by-passed for reasons of political expediency. Why risk national security for some far-off African colony? Selassie stood defiant as he put the Council of the League on notice: their failure to stand together to repel the clear case of aggression would be a harbinger of their own demise. It was 1935 when he warned, “One day, you will all be somebody’s Abyssinia.” For their betrayal, France and Great Britain got what they had hoped to avoid: their countries were smashed and the world was plunged into the most devastating war in human history.

 

Nations should have learned after the first World War that failure to prevent aggression could be bad for their health. Yet, despite the finding of international courts after World War II at Nuremberg, Tokyo, and elsewhere, the delegates who sat on the many UN committees that were supposed to define the crime of aggression did practically nothing. They were under instruction of their own Foreign Ministries to protect their own national interests. The sad truth is, that powerful states were not yet ready to entrust their security to any untested international body. Those who didn’t have the power could not bring about needed changes, while those who did have the power were not ready to give it up. It was the same old story that Thucydides had written about centuries ago. I refused to believe that countries that survived the ravages and barbarities of two world wars would continue, in the nuclear age, to insist upon military might as the main protector of their national destinies. As a former combat soldier and Harvard lawyer, I had an unshakable conviction that law is better than war.

 

I began to write articles and books designed to outline new legal foundations for the maintenance of world peace. The American Journal of International Law, the Columbia Law Journal, the International and Comparative Law Quarterly, and a host of other highly respected publications carried my pleas for change. I published several compromise proposals to try to help the UN committees carry out their mandates to agree on a definition of the crime of aggression. I distributed copies to all of the delegates and met with many of them with specific suggestions that seemed to be welcomed, particularly by the smaller States. I doubt if it did much good, but I don’t think it did any harm, either. The breakthrough came as the cold war was beginning to thaw. Arguments became less rancorous, and the outlines of possible compromise proposals began to appear.

 

In 1974, I realized that the Special Committee on Aggression was finally on the verge if reaching agreement. I invited my wife to join me at the UN to witness the auspicious occasion. It was on a Good Friday, which was a good omen. As I anticipated, after the usual speeches of self-praise, the delegates agreed that a definition of aggression, that had been so thoroughly debated for so long, could be spelled out and accepted by consensus. I told my wife to look around at the empty visitor’s gallery. I pointed out that we were the only two persons in the large conference room who were not being paid to be there. When the delegates later assembled for the official photograph of those responsible for the historic achievement, the Chairman invited me to stand with the group. Since I had no official position whatsoever, I was honored to do so. But I had no illusions; the bottom line of the definition, after all those years, was that aggression is whatever the UN Security Council says it is. The five Permanent Members, those most capable of threatening the peace, would decide whether the use of force was criminal or not. The hawks insisted upon being the guardians of the chicken coop. Powerful nations would rather be free to commit aggression than to define it in any legally binding way.

 

On December 14, 1974, the General Assembly representing 138 States, routinely resolved to accept the consensus definition without a vote. In 1975, I published my two-volume work Defining International Aggression—The Search for World Peace. I had only intended to write an article for the Harvard Law Review, but when I discussed it with Professor Louis Sohn, he suggested that I make it a book. Oceana Publications said they would be glad to publish it, providing it was two volumes instead of one, making it more likely that libraries would buy the imposing product. I did as requested. My next two books were also two volumes each. Never judge the stature of a man by his height and never judge a scholar by the weight of his writings.

 

Since my books covered the definition of aggression in meticulous detail, I will only summarize some highlights here. The heart of the difficulty lay in the unwillingness of the international community to create any effective legal mechanism for the mandatory settlement of irreconcilable disputes. To gain acceptance by consensus, it was necessary to adopt language that was so exquisitely ambiguous that all sides could interpret it to their own advantage. In the final analysis, it was left to the Security Council to decide when aggression by a State had taken place. Many lawyers worked long and hard to achieve such an uninspiring conclusion. The UN definition was little more than a sieve. Yet, it reflected the irrepressible human desire for peace protected by a rule of law.

 

The main accomplishment of the 1974 consensus definition of aggression is that it removed the barrier that had been used as the excuse to halt work on the draft Code of Crimes and the creation of an International Criminal Court that had been mandated by the General Assembly in 1946. The UN General Counsel, Eric Suy of the Netherlands, with whom I had co-authored a publication on the ICC, lost no time in reminding the delegates that they could now proceed to deal with the issues that had been allowed to lie dormant for decades. By that time, most of those present had forgotten the objective of their labors. The U.S. representative argued that they were simply composing a non-binding declaration that the Security Council might want to look at sometime. They ignored the fact that they were laying the foundation for an international criminal code that was expected to be comprehensive and precise. Despite the shortcomings, with the cold-war over, the way was cleared for nations to resume work on the next steps—preparing a new criminal code and creating a new international criminal court.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story 57: Writing for World Peace

 

If “the pen is mightier than the sword,” the choice of weapons suggests that the adage is not of recent vintage. Not owning a quill, I turned to a typewriter, and went in search of an enemy carrying a sword. I suspected that I might face a better-armed and more formidable foe. Many observers derided my efforts by calling me “The Man of La Mancha.” I was not deterred, but rode forth, like Don Quixote, to fight the unbeatable foe with many books and countless legal articles. The greatest threats to world peace do not come from swords. “Wars,” we are told, “come from the minds of men.” The inability to reconcile deeply-held convictions is what drives nations and people to kill and be killed for their particular ideals. Those who boast that they are rational human beings should have learned that you cannot kill an idea with a gun. An idea can only be vanquished by a better idea. It dawned on me that it might be a good idea to produce some ideas that made more sense than the senseless killing that continues to mar the human landscape.

 

For twenty long years and more did I labor in the vineyard of speakers and seekers of peace. Being a Prophet of Peace is not very profitable, but the work is steady. While carrying on my efforts to save the world from self-destruction, it was also necessary somehow to save my family from starvation. I could not afford to allow my research and writing to impair my obligations to the few paying clients that still required my assistance. The small royalties earned by writing books could have inspired other authors of learned legal tomes to seek more lucrative employment, such as selling hamburgers at McDonalds. I resisted the temptation. Man does not live by hamburgers alone.

 

My 1975 book, Defining International Aggression, was well received and was honored as a “Best Academic Book.” It was followed up by a spate of law review articles expounding on the subject so that readers would not be obliged to buy the expensive two volumes. I never forgot that, during my student days, law books were often beyond my financial reach.

 

My writing for peace was interrupted when Professor Yehuda Bauer of the Hebrew University persuaded me to write a book about the efforts to obtain compensation from German industrialists who had exploited concentration camp inmates. My involvement in the legal and moral claims against the responsible German companies was unique. Professor Bauer’s plea to tell the whole story could not be turned down. Less Than Slaves, published by Harvard University Press in 1979, won several national prizes, was translated into German and Japanese, and was the basis for a German television production. It also called for a more humane world. To be sure, remembering the Holocaust is important, but preventing the repetition of similar horrors is even more important. My studies and writing on world peace were eagerly resumed.

 

My next two volumes, An International Criminal Court—A Step Toward World Peace, were published in 1980. In addition to the comprehensive narrative, it included copies of original documents and speeches made on the subject during the past century. It was an invaluable source book for serious scholars who had neither the time, ability, nor the inclination to bury themselves in the stacks below the United Nations. Copies of all of my books were donated to the UN Law library. I learned that Diplomats and Delegates are book-lovers—the UN librarian repeatedly asked me if I could provide additional copies, since those that had been on the shelf had mysteriously disappeared.

 

A few years later, a new young staff member in the Legal Division, Virginia Morris, introduced herself and asked whether I was the person who had authored the book on the International Criminal Court. When I confessed my culpability, she expressed her delight and proudly declared that she had bought the two volumes for $75—out of her own money. I liked her immediately. I thought that only my wife had read the book.

 

Virginia soon became the most knowledgeable person at the UN regarding the court. When the UN Security Council finally decided to set up a special Criminal Court to try those responsible for crimes against humanity committed in the former Yugoslavia in 1991, Virginia Morris was one of the first to draft the statutes for the new ad hoc tribunal. Within a matter of months, the formation of such a court was approved. I happened to be in Geneva visiting the International Law Commission when the Security Council text was faxed to them. As soon as it was received, the administrative assistant, Armella Ferrara, handed the copy to me, saying, “Here, this is your work.” I was grateful for her kind consideration and I felt richly rewarded.

 

I persuaded Virginia to write a book on the Yugoslavian tribunal. She did so, together with another rising star, Michael Scharf, who had resigned from the State Department. I found a publisher and wrote the introduction to the two-volume study. To my great delight, they both became prolific writers in support of international criminal courts. Michael became a Professor at Case Western Law School and a leading supporter of international criminal courts as he rapidly advanced in academia and world renown. It’s always reassuring to find a man with an open mind—particularly when he agrees with you.

 

After my two-volume book Enforcing International Law—A Way to World Peace was published in 1983, my good wife Gertrude suggested that I stop producing such big tomes and write something that normal human beings could understand. In fact, I regarded my previous comprehensive compendiums as my notebooks. From them, I reached the conclusion that civilized societies, of every size, were based on three foundations: clear laws to define what is permissible or impermissible; courts to interpret the laws and serve as a medium for settlements; a system of effective enforcement. Each was dependent upon the other. International law, courts, and enforcement were part of an evolving process that had not yet reached maturity. Following my good wife’s advice, I wrote A Common Sense Guide to World Peace. It was only 100 pages long and was published in 1985. I summarized the basis for my conclusions and described what had been done, what should be done, and what could be done to create a more rational and humane international system. The title was inspired by Tom Paine. I regret that he was unable to read it, having died about two hundred years ago.

 

George Washington wrote that without the inspiration of Paine’s pamphlet “Common Sense,” the American Revolution could not have succeeded. Paine died a pauper and was buried in an unmarked grave located a few miles away from my home in New Rochelle. After visiting the Tom Paine Museum that was erected nearby. I discovered that, after he was disinterred, his bones were sent back to his native land of England. As far as could be ascertained, the shipment was then lost. I suspect that one day, someone will try to clean out the Left Luggage Department of the British National Railways and will find dear old Tom. His writings taught me that the true patriot is not one who says, “My country, right or wrong!” but rather, he who will support his country when it is right and have the courage to speak out when it has lost its way. There are too few men like him around today.

 

The Common Sense Guide was respectfully dedicated to “those leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union who will have the courage and the wisdom to overcome their fears and reconcile their differences so that all who dwell on this planet may live together in peace and dignity regardless of their race or creed.” That was the recurring theme of all of my writings since I first peered into the Hell of the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. The short book argued for the elimination of all nuclear weapons, and quoted President Dwight D. Eisenhower, my Supreme Commander in war, and other great American statesmen and generals who recognized the imperative need for a more peaceful world order. It stressed the benefits of more caring and sharing and the need for better institutions of international governance. The book noted that it defies common sense to have a policy that makes human survival dependent upon the threat of human destruction. Reason should have rejected a world security plan based on a theory that was both genocidal and suicidal. I refused to believe that humankind could invent the means of destroying the world, yet lacked the intelligence to prevent it from happening. How to achieve the peaceful goal? Well, that required more books, and that’s another story.

 

 

 

 

 

Story 58: Teaching for Peace

 

It was never my ambition to become a law professor. As the Nuremberg trials were ending, the University of Nebraska offered me a professorship to teach criminal law. I declined the offer without hesitation. Making law seemed more important than teaching it. About 35 years later, one of the Professors at Pace Law School, Blaine Sloan, who retired from the UN, urged me to join his faculty as an Adjunct Professor. I had no idea what an Adjunct Professor was. Since our son Donald and our youngest daughter, Nina, were enrolled in the law school at that time and it was near our home, I agreed to teach “The International Law of Peace” one evening a week. Some clients still required my services abroad, and Germans might be impressed by a moniker like “Herr Professor Doktor.” The fancy new title was rather inflated.

 

My doctorate had cost me $15. The Harvard Law School awarded me a Bachelor of Laws degree (L.L.B.) in 1943. I already had a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree earned from the College of the City of New York in 1940. To keep up with other universities, and not wishing its alumni to appear inferior, Harvard decided to replace the LLBs, with a J.D.—“Doctor of Laws.” A notice was sent to those holding a Bachelor of Law degree offering to exchange it for a new “Juris Doctor” diploma. All that was required was to send $15 for the English version or $20 for the Latin text. Since the English was comprehensible, and also cheaper, I opted for the English. There are countless wise people whose formal schooling is limited. Academic degrees don’t impress me much. But the Harvard bargain was irresistible. It’s not every day that one can get a Doctor of Laws degree for only $15. I soon learned that the title of “Adjunct Professor” that sounded rather impressive was rather deceptive. It was a disguise for a new form of slave labor. An Adjunct’s pay was a fraction of what a tenured professor received, and the fringe benefits were impressively non-existent. I called it “A Junky Professor.”

 

My classes at the Pace Law School started in 1985 and were well attended, with rave reviews from the students. My own books were the primary texts, but the class was required to read The New York Times “Week in Review” on topics related to international peace. There was never any shortage of “hot” subjects to be debated. Some students suspected that I was fomenting international crises just to illustrate the topics covered by the assigned readings. No faculty member ever visited my class. Their indifference was overwhelming. Blaine Sloan had retired, and I was not a member of the inner circle. It came as rather a shock when the Law School Dean sent me a brief notice that, because of lack of funds, my class was not being included in the curriculum for the following year. The Dean explained that it was customary for Adjuncts to last only one semester. Recalling student riots against the Vietnam war, some members of the tenured faculty suspected that anyone teaching about “Peace” must be a trouble-maker. I didn’t want to disappoint them.

 

When rejected at the bottom, I go to the top. I promptly wrote to the Chancellor of Pace University, Dr. Edward Mortola. Since the only reason given for the abrupt conclusion of my academic career was lack of funds, I enclosed a check for my full salary. They could have my teaching services for nothing. It was made clear that if he was unable to reinstate my class, the check should be returned. As expected, after a few weeks, the Chancellor returned the check with a rather apologetic explanation that he couldn’t interfere with faculty decisions. Concurrently, I had been busy trying to create a “Pace Peace Center” with contacts all around the world. The Chancellor and President of the University and a dozen law faculty members who did not wish to be left out of anything that sounded impressive had agreed to have their names listed on the advisory and supervisory boards. I sent each one a copy of a response I had received from an even-higher authority. New York’s Cardinal O’Connell, whose assistance I had solicited, gave me his blessing in a letter addressed “Dear Ben.” It did not take long before I was informed that my class was reinstated for the next semester and I could remain an underpaid Adjunct Professor as long as I wished.

 

Teaching is a learning experience for teacher as well as students. When Iraq, led by brutal dictator Saddam Hussein, went to war against Iran in the late 1980’s, U.S. sympathies were with Iraq. Iran had outraged the American public by holding its innocent citizens hostage. About a million young Iranians boys were shot down by Iraqi soldiers equipped with the best weapons the U.S. could provide. Mothers of the slain were filmed proudly displaying photographs of their martyred children. I asked each member of my class, many of whom came from abroad, what we, as international lawyers, might have done to prevent the senseless loss of innocent lives. No one had any useful answer. When adversaries are vilified and opponents are prepared to kill and die to uphold their own ingrained beliefs, no one can protect them. Nationalism and religious convictions trump the power of Reason. Every war in history has had an ending, but most wars end only when the parties get tired of killing each other. Utter defeat is another option, but it is the most destructive one. It would certainly be more humane and logical to end disputes before war begins. The UN Charter lists seven specific procedures for the peaceful settlement of disputes or any “other peaceful means of their own choice.” But the Charter, that all nations are legally pledged to uphold, is largely ignored.

 

The third year law students who chose to study “The International Law of Peace” were generally grateful for the inspiring experience. They recognized, however that before a more rational world could be established, many years would have to pass and many minds would have to change. The students’ immediate concerns were how to graduate from law school, pass the bar exams, and find a paying job as a lawyer. When they signed up for the course, they were warned that there would be no questions on the bar exam regarding world peace, and law firms recruited young lawyers who might bring in paying clients. If they wanted a career trying to improve the world, they should look urgently for a rich parent or even a rich spouse. Most found it necessary to look for a better paying job. It was always clear that it would take more than teaching a few students for a few hours a week to bring about the changes needed to save civilization from its own annihilation. My classes continued until 1990 when I decided that it was not the most effective use of my time. There had to be better ways to teach peace. The Peace Center became the next primary focus of my peace-making endeavors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story 59: The Pace Peace Center

 

Above a portal in the Harvard Law School library is an inscription that has become my credo, “Make us effective and useful in the cause of peace and justice and liberty in the world.” The words came from Elihu Root, a very distinguished U.S. Secretary of State and War and the founder of the American Society of International Law. It seemed an appropriate theme for a Pace Peace Center (PPC) at the Pace University School of Law. After all, the word “Pace” in Latin or Italian means “Peace.” Its clearly stated goal was to engage in scholarly interdisciplinary studies and activities designed to enhance understanding of what was needed to move toward a just international society under law. Regrettably, neither the University nor the Law School showed any interest in being associated with such a strange institution.

 

Most faculty members could see no connection between law and peace. The PPC was accepted with great hesitation only after I gave assurances that all activities would be subject to supervisory control of tenured Professors, and it would cost the school nothing. The Peace Center undertook to raise whatever funds were required for its operations. The entire staff of the Peace Center consisted of an unpaid Executive Director, whose name happened to be identical with my own, and an Executive Assistant who happened to be my unpaid wife. The main office happened to be at the same address as my home. My able Assistant had an extra room built on the house. I managed, through correspondence and former contacts, to be able to list at least a dozen other peace groups throughout the world as collaborators with the PPC. In many minds and in many countries, an impression was created that Pace Law School was located in our home.

 

The first problem, obviously, was fundraising. I perused all the publications that listed foundations and others that made donations for peace-related causes. I sent letters or spoke to everyone I could think of, informing them that I was embarking on a noble new endeavor that needed financing. It was made unmistakably clear that none of the money would go to me personally in any form. Most of my solicitations were not even acknowledged. A few former clients sent me checks of small denominations. Many foundations and institutions sent me their regrets and nothing more. Many more sent me their best wishes. It seemed that money could be raised aplenty to erect a building or a pavilion or even “a chair,” to glorify the name of the charitable donor. I never quite understood how one sat on an invisible “chair.” “Peace” seemed too unattainable to justify any cash investment. I deserved a new title as “The world’s worst fundraiser.”

 

The strange thought entered my mind that perhaps the U.S. government might be interested in contributing to world peace. Each military branch of the United States has its own “Academy.” Presumably, each such Academy teaches their recruits how to wage war. But there has never been a U.S. Peace Academy to teach them how to avoid war—which is undoubtedly the most effective way to protect them. In the 1980’s, a young man from Washington, named Milton Mapes, took the lead in trying to correct this shortcoming. I joined his team. The Pentagon and the State Department didn’t like the idea of a new institution muscling into their turf.

 

Eventually, Congress, in a common way to avoid action, appointed a Commission that held hearings across the nation. It confirmed the obvious conclusion that the American public was in favor of peace. In 1984, Congress approved the creation of a research institute to study the question. The U.S. Institute of Peace was dependent upon Senate approval of its members and Congressional approval of its annual budget of about $10 million. Having testified at a public hearing in support of the law, and having been present at its first public meeting, I lost no time in submitting a request for a grant on behalf of the Pace Peace Center.

 

We proposed to assemble leading legal experts to examine the pros and cons of specific proposals put forth in several books and speeches by Soviet Premier Michael Gorbachev, who was trying to end the cold war. In our nation’s capitol, Gorbachev’s initiative was not greeted with the jubilation it should have evoked. Instead, it met with official skepticism, derision, and scorn. At the UN, the American representative, a retired General who boasted that he spoke seven languages, called Gorbachev “a Trojan horse,” and demanded that nations “defang the pernicious Soviet attempt to undermine the Charter.” There is, or should be, an adage: “If a fool can say foolish things in seven languages that doesn’t make him a wise man.” The Pace Peace Center request for a grant from the U.S. Institute of Peace to explore Gorbachev’s peace proposals was rejected. When I phoned the Institute for an explanation, I was told that it was too contentious. They did approve a grant of $10,000, which paid for a bibliography of law books on peace that was done by a student of mine. It became obvious that the Pace Peace Center could not count on financial support of the politically sensitive U.S. Institute of Peace.

 

Of the limited amounts collected by the PPC, the first thousand dollars went to the Pace Law library to buy books on peace and law. Liaison was established with other branches of the University and with similar institutions around the world. A luncheon, to which the entire law faculty was invited, was attended only by the two criminal law teachers, who seemed to enjoy the meal and conversing with each other. In June 1990, we invited half a dozen experts from the Soviet Union to attend a week-long colloquium at the Pace campus in Pleasantville, New York. Other participants included authorities from the UN and some prominent peace advocates. A Pace law graduate, on a trip to Russia, volunteered to recruit the suitable experts and greet them at the airport. When the plane landed, none of the expected guests was on board. We learned that seats on Soviet planes would only be provided on a space available basis. But they couldn’t determine if there was space until the doors were shut, by which time it was too late to seat any new passengers. It wasn’t exactly a very auspicious beginning.

 

The next day, a member of the Soviet Lawyers Association in Moscow, Professor Rais Touzmohammad of Uzbekistan, arrived. Since he was alone, we put him up in our home in New Rochelle. He frightened the neighbors when, at the break of dawn, he went galloping around the garden in scanty bathing trunks. He was the best of the bunch. After breakfast, I put a cheap recording machine in the center of the dining room table and we began to talk about how we could reconcile our two governments. After a few hours, we sent our son to Connecticut to pick up another lawyer who had arrived from the Institute of State and Law in Moscow. Dr. Galina Shinkaretskaya, who had flown in via Washington, was waiting at the train station in Stamford. By nightfall, three other birds flew in from Kiev. They had all written books related to law but, at dinner, they seemed more interested in getting drunk.

 

The show then moved out to Pleasantville where the format of recorded conversations continued for several days. When the sessions were ended, our Soviet guests were taken to a roundup session at the UN and given some spending money to see New York. PPC paid all costs. If we solved any problems, it escaped my notice. I had to dash off to Europe. I asked my wife to have the tapes transcribed for review upon my return.

 

When I got back, the unpaid “Special Assistant to the Executive Director,” reported that she had been unable to find anyone who could comprehend the heavily accented Russian-English. I asked her not to tell anyone of my return and went into seclusion with a recently acquired computer and about 20 reels of unintelligible gibberish. When I emerged a few weeks later, I took the edited manuscript to my publisher who produced a 200 page book World Security for the 21st Century. It received a bad review in the American Journal of International Law. I agreed with the reviewer. Conferences among persons with no authority, with other people who have no authority, might be a way to pursue peace, but not to attain it. Besides, the Peace Center was running out of money and my benevolence was feeling the strain.

 

I hated to ask for donations and was not prepared to spend my time as a beggar. I had sent monthly financial statements and reports of activities to the Pace Law School administration where they were dutifully filed by a gentle nun properly named Sister Felicitas. She always gave me her kind blessings. That’s the most I ever received from the School. I don’t think anyone else at the School ever looked at those reports. Gradually, I allowed the Pace Peace Center to become moribund, which means it was put to sleep. The Peace Center is resting peacefully. I doubt if anyone in the Pace Law School noticed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story 60: Reaching Out for the Public

 

Recent discoveries of DNA, about which I know practically nothing, revealed that all humans, as well as beasts, are almost identical; yet it remains unclear why some people are willing, or eager, to kill others whose ideas, color, nationality, or religious persuasion may not be the same with their own. If we are to avoid planet earth becoming just another lifeless particle in an infinite cosmos, a way must be found to diminish the senseless slaughter that continues to ravage our common planetary home.

 

After A Common Sense Guide to World Peace was published in 1985, I received a strange phone call from a man who began by saying, “This is Ken Keyes calling from Coos Bay, Oregon, and you are the hundredth monkey!” My response was, “What number are you calling?” He explained that he had written a small book, The Hundredth Monkey, which postulated that fundamental changes in thinking and behavior are brought about when a certain critical mass is reached by persons who are striving for one particular goal. He used the verified example of monkeys who struggled for generations trying to learn how to remove sand from sweet potatoes. At a certain point in time, one unknown monkey, identified fictitiously by being called “The Hundredth Monkey,” discovered how sand could be washed from potatoes. Almost simultaneously, monkeys all over the globe independently made the same discovery. A critical mass had been reached which, through some unexplained process, triggered universal awareness of the vital information. The Keyes book was more than monkey-business. It was a widely disseminated appeal for ending the nuclear arms race. After reading my Common Sense Guide, the caller concluded that my book could provide the missing “critical mass” needed for world peace. He asked permission to print it in a million copies—provided there was no profit to either him or me. Never having been a monkey before, I concluded that he was crazy.

 

Hoping to avoid further involvement, I asked Mr. Keyes to send me a memo. To my surprise, a few days later, his response arrived. He had indeed successfully published many books on how to enjoy life and find happiness and how to build a better world. He offered to provide a lively style and promised that nothing would be done without my prior approval. We corresponded only by phone and mail. The first edition of PlanetHood, The Key to Your Survival and Prosperity, appeared in 1988. The cover noted “In cooperation with Ken Keyes, Jr., Author of The Hundredth Monkey.” The invented word “PlanetHood” was to indicate that the notion of “Nationhood” had to be enlarged by a broader vision that included all inhabitants of the planet. It proclaimed “The ULTIMATE HUMAN RIGHT” to live in a peaceful world free from the threat of nuclear war. It listed eight steps that could save the life of every reader. In contrast to my heavily footnoted legal tomes, the Keyes production reached out to the general public with bold declarations. The text was supported by citations from well known personalities whose quotations were inserted in boxes on every page. The introduction noted that the book was not copyrighted and anyone was free to reproduce it without any obligation to the authors.

 

Ken was a great public relations man. The books poured off the press. If bought by the hundreds, it cost only 70 cents per copy; a thousand or more could be had for only fifty cents each, including shipping. Once, at a conference of peace organizations, I was approached by an elderly lady who told me with pride that she had bought a thousand copies of PlanetHood. I thanked her and asked which organization she represented. She said she belonged to none. I asked whether she just read one copy after the other. “Oh, no,” she laughed, “on Sundays I take them down to Broadway and sell them for a dollar apiece. All of the money earned is used to buy more books.” Hundreds of thousands of copies were sold or given away. Some high schools used it as a textbook. The tiny outreach book seemed to be having a greater impact on the public mind than all of my legal volumes combined. Its widespread acceptance came as a great surprise. I looked forward eagerly to meeting my new collaborator who was responsible for the popular style and the massive distribution. I was in for another surprise.

 

The book was already flourishing when Ken called to say that he was coming to lecture in New York and he would be pleased if we could meet. He explained that he couldn’t afford a hotel, but would appreciate being picked up in Rye, a town near New Rochelle, where he and his wife, Penny, would be staying with one of her relatives. Of course, I agreed and invited him to my home for dinner. He got fair warning that I wasn’t much of a cook. My wife had already escaped from the cold New York winter by fleeing to our small hideaway in Florida. When I arrived to pick up my guests, Ken’s wife, a robust and smiling young lady, met me at the door and asked me to wait until she came back with her husband. In a few minutes she returned, carrying in her arms a beaming old man with a neatly trimmed beard and sparkling eyes. Ken Keyes, the man who was so full of love, hope, and optimism, was quadriplegic. He weighed 70 pounds and was completely paralyzed. His legs were like useless ribbons. He could just about scribble his name if a paper was held below his hand. He could not lift a spoon to his lips. Penny sat in the front seat, with Ken strapped to her lap as we drove off to what became a warm and enduring friendship.

 

Ken Keyes was an inspiration. He had contracted polio after having served in the merchant marine. His mind remained sharp and creative and filled with dynamic vitality. He treated his disability with the contempt he thought it deserved and never let on to any of his readers that he was handicapped in any way. My class at Pace Law School was privileged to meet him. I pushed his wheelchair from Grand Central station to the United Nations where his name was well known as The Hundredth Monkey author. A little reception was arranged in his honor. As I held the microphone down to his wheelchair, he spoke movingly of the need for an improved UN and a more humane world. He inspired the audience by saying, “We must all be like Atlas, holding up the world.” I followed with a brief challenge: “If this man is prepared to be like Atlas, by what right do we do less?” Perhaps all human beings should ask that question of themselves.

 

By 1991, we had issued several revised editions of PlanetHood and close to a million copies must have been in circulation. Someone brought out a beautiful French edition and it was rumored that there was one in Russian, too. Books were important, but not sufficient to alter ingrained ideas that are widely held by many people of different backgrounds. It is unavoidable that people will have differences of opinion, but those differences must not be allowed to manifest themselves in homicidal acts. It seems there is nothing more difficult that having people with firm convictions change their minds, even if it is obviously in their own interest to do so. PlanetHood was a simple “outreach book.” It did more to educate the general public than all of my heavy tomes. Defining International Aggression, An International Criminal Court, and Enforcing International Law had all been recognized by eminent legal authorities as laying a foundation for a more rational world order, but without broad public support, their impact was limited to scholars and a limited number of other strange people.

My search for world peace continued simultaneously on multiple tracks. On April 12, 1999, a TV Film, “The Nazi Killing Squads” hosted by Bill Kurtis, was seen by over 2 million people. It featured my views on international justice. I wrote countless Letters to the Editor and many articles in respected journals to support the call for a humane world under law. The leading Encyclopedia of International Law published by the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg carried three of my articles. Other encyclopedias and law reviews did the same. I lectured in dozens of schools and universities all over the country and in Europe. Some of them offered an honorarium. There were countless unpaid television and radio interviews. Wherever I went, I preached the need for new thinking. Bible breakfasts in churches usually earned me blessings; in synagogues I could also take home the bagels.

 

My lectures almost invariably met with enthusiastic reception, particularly among young people, but audiences were relatively small and self-selected advocates of peace. My views were reaching a larger public, but it was still not enough. Some professors who shared my goals had expressed appreciation for my work, but challenged me to explain just how those shared objectives could realistically be achieved. I accepted the challenge. My attendance and research at the United Nations continued unabated, as did my contacts with countless numbers of nonprofit organizations concerned with human rights and world peace. There was no end to conferences, seminars, panel discussions, and assemblies in remote places. It gradually dawned upon me that my reach was greater than my grasp. I had to sharpen my perspectives. If I hoped to make any significant impact, I would have to limit myself to only a few specific points in the vast matrix of world problems that needed to be resolved. That meant writing one more big book explaining how global survival could be achieved, and then a shift in my focus from the general to the particular areas to which I would devote my remaining time and energies.