'World citizen' pioneer Garry Davis dies
Peace activist Garry Davis, who dramatically renounced his US citizenship in the dark days of the Cold War and founded a government for self-declared "world citizens" like himself, has died.Updated: Jul 29, 2013 22:07 IST
Peace activist Garry Davis, who dramatically renounced his US citizenship in the dark days of the Cold War and founded a government for self-declared "world citizens" like himself, has died.
Davis passed away in the New England state of Vermont, where he had lived for many years, last Wednesday, the executive branch of the World Government of World Citizens told AFP on Monday.
He would have been 92 last Saturday.
A one-time Broadway actor who flew B-17 bombers over Germany in World War II, Davis was 26 when he walked into the US embassy in Paris in 1948, renounced his American citizen and declared himself a citizen of the world.
The Cold War was heating up, the Berlin air lift was about to begin in a matter of weeks, and Davis -- like many people in the aftermath of World War II -- dreaded the prospect of a third global conflict, this time involving nuclear weapons.
In a move that stirred up lots of publicity, he disrupted a session of the UN General Assembly in Paris in September 1948 and called for the newly-formed world body to transform itself into a single government for the entire planet.
His idea attracted support from the likes of physicist Albert Einstein, novelist Albert Camus and humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, and more than 20,000 people turned out for a rally he organized in the French capital.
In 1953, in a small town in Maine, the stateless Davis declared the foundation of the World Government of World Citizens, with the World Service Authority as its executive branch.
"As human beings, we are all world sovereigns, the social and physical popular expression being world citizens, and no nation or power is able to deny that sovereignty or to deprive us of one iota of it," he stated.
Lacking papers from any traditional government, Davis traveled on a "world passport" issued by the World Government, promoting what came to be known as the One World Movement -- and getting arrested on several occasions as he did so.
Based in Washington, the non-profit World Service Authority still issues machine-readable, 30-page World Passports which, it says, have been stamped with visas by more than 150 countries "on a case-by-base basis."
One passport has been issued to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and another to National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden after his US passport -- though not his US citizenship -- was revoked.
Assange is holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London to avoid extradition to the United States, while Snowden -- wanted by the US government for espionage after he revealed the vast scope of NSA Internet and phone surveillance -- is stuck at a Moscow airport, seeking asylum.
First Published: Jul 29, 2013 22:00 IST