Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Conference on Dignity/Humiliation Missed

"The desire for recognition unites us human beings."
(Dr. Evelin Lindner, Making Enemies, Praeger Security International, 1954)

Henrik Arnold Wergeland was a renowned Norwegian poet and prose writer who worked against discrimination. The Minister of Culture in Norway, Trond Giske, as part of the Wergeland Heritage,has announced 2008 as the "Year of Diversity" in Norway. "This vision is relevant for a number of cooperation partners in Norway," he added, "such as the Oslo University, International Summer School, the Nobel Institute, the Peace Research Institute of Norway, the Oslo University and the Nansen Academy".

As I write, in celebration of the "Wergeland Year," the 11th Annual Conference of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies is taking place in Oslo, Norway coordinated by its founder/director Dr. Evelin Lindner. As a member of the Conference, I was invited by Dr. Lindner who graciously wrote, "We appreciate highly your willingness to contribute to our workshop. Your participation is of extreme importance to our meeting and we are certain that your contribution will have important reverberations not only for your work, but also have fruitful impact in your wider field."

Anticipating a problem on obtaining a Norwegian 15-day visitor's visa on my World Passport, I wrote to King Harald V on April 23, 2008:

King Harald V
Det Kgl, Slott
N 0010 Oslo 1

Your Majesty,

I write to inform you of my proposed visit to Norway, at the invitation* of Dr. Evelin Lindner, founder/coordinator, to attend the 11th Annual Conference of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies to be held in Oslo beginning 23rd June as part of the "Wergeland Year for Human Dignity." (I enclose my talk at the 2007 Workshop at Columbia University).

Prior to my request for the requisite visitor's visa, in order to avoid any misunderstanding, I take the liberty to quote a personal bio penned by Dr. Lindner to fellow participants:

"(Garry Davis) is a former US Presidential Candidate, and peace activist who created the first 'World Passport.' A former World War II bomber pilot and Broadway actor, he renounced his American citizenship in Paris in 1948 to become a 'citizen of the world.' Davis founded the World Service Authority, which now issues the passports-along with birth and other certificates-to applicants. Davis first used his 'world passport' on a trip to India in 1956, and has been variably admitted into...countries around the world after using his world passport. Up to 150 countries have accepted the world passport at one time or another. In France, his support committee was co-founded by writers Albert Camus and Andre Gide and the Abbe Pierre (quoted from wikipedia)".

The World Passport above-mentioned derives from an article in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations December 10, 1948: "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." The Charter further obliges Member-States to "Observe and respect fundamental human rights.." in articles 55/56.

I attach a partial list of "Honorary World Passport" holders among whom you will find eight Nobel Peace Laureates. Apropos, a group of "Global Elders" chaired by Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela and including Jimmy Carter, Muhammad Yunus, Aung San Suu Kyi and Kofi Annan, initiated by Sir Richard Branson and human rights activist Peter Gabriel, have launched a human rights campaign "to empower global citizens to protect the first ever comprehensive agreement on human rights among nations."

"Human rights are not a privilege," the Group claimed, "They are everyone's entitlement..So as we approach the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Rights, we now have the opportunity to enforce the Declaration's principles assuring that every single woman and every single child enjoys the rights of all human beings."

I am reminded that the Norwegian Constitution in Article 110c provides that "It is the responsibility of the authorities of the State to respect and ensure human rights. Specific provisions for the implementation of treaties hereof shall be determined by law."
I have the honor and pleasure to enclose my book, World Government, Ready or Not!

Please accept, Your Majesty, the expression of my most cordial and respectful one world regards,


On May 4th, upon presenting myself at the Norwegian Consulate in Washington, D.C., I was refused a visa on the basis that Norway "does not recognize the World Passport as a valid travel document." Ditto for the Swedish consulate the next day. (I mentioned to the Swedish Secretary that, following the Peenemunde raid on August 24, 1944, I was interned in Sweden along with my B-17 crew.)

The irony of this refusal is implicit in the following points re the evolution of the World Passport itself:

First point: The WSA World Passport is the only successor to the Nansen Passport, created by Norway's Fritjof Nansen in 1919 following the Soviet revolution in 1917 when tens of thousands of so-called "White Russians" had to flee to Europe to escape death from the Communists. Nansen was Norway's delegate to the League of Nations and both a humanitarian and explorer. He was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1922 for this action.
Second point: When World War II began in 1939, the League was disbanded and the Nansen Passport Office closed never to reopen. But the refugee population proliferated following the war.
Third point: The UN itself did not authorize the reestablishment of a passport agency for the world refugee population now in the millions. (The UNHCR does not issue passports to refugees).
Fourth point: A treaty was finally signed in 1956 by certain nations authorizing them to issue a "Refugee Travel Document" to individuals to whom they arbitrarily assigned refugee status. Millions of refugees were excluded and remain today either in camps or in prisons. (UNHCR "official" figures: over 20,000,000).
Fifth point, Following the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948, as a "common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations," the World Service Authority was founded in 1953 to promote and service articles sanctioned by the declaration, specifically article 13(2), the right of freedom of travel. Thus the first World Passports were issued as of July, 1954.
Sixth point: To date, over 750,000 World Passports have been issued on public demand with both de facto and de jure recognition from over 150 nations, including Norway.*
*See The World Passport is filed with the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal.

(Note to Norwegian and Swedish citizens: Both King Harald V and King Carl Gustav XVI have since been "issued" honorary World Passports which acceptance has been duly acknowledged via return postage. While King Gustav acknowledged the accompanying letter, King Harald has not yet deigned to reply. It should be noted that while neither king enjoys executive power according to their constitutions, one of the most globally-publicized functions of both is to present the yearly Nobel Laureate prizes to the self-declared "world citizens" selected by the Nobel Committees whether for "peace" or other world community accomplishments).

It also goes without saying that the participants of the Conference on Human Dignity and Humiliation did not travel to Norway identified solely by World Passports.

(Additional footnote and final irony: Norway has given refuge to a certain number of Iraqi refugees who fled from the ongoing conflict in their country. Recently the World Service Authority has been receiving World Passport application forms from them downloaded from its internet web

Personal afterthought: (Posted 7.1.08) While the conferencees in Oslo have a humiliation case at their intellectual and actual doorstep as it were, this particular issue herein described is minor compared to critical issues of humiliation worldwide such as nuclear weaponry, global warming, male-female relationships, homelessness, poverty, rival tribalism and war, etc. etc. Then the question of who is being humiliated and who is humiliating is complex with many levels. Are we, who take human rights seriously attempting to claim them being humiliated by national "leaders" and their underlings who defend the fictional frontier world or are they in turn being humiliated by their own affiliation with, say, the United Nations which in principle provides the very human rights agenda for we, the citizens of the world?

At least, Dr. Evelin Lindner and her coterie of globally-minded intellectuals have opened this critically-important and dynamic discussion. More power to them!


  1. At best this could be described as ironic. In reality it is a tragedy for those attending the conference who, in my opinion, should publicly boycott the event with a letter campaign to the dishonorable King.

  2. I agree with you Stephen!