53 Rue de l’Amiral Mouchez
MM. President and Government Chief of Countries
Mrs. & MM. Directors and Secretaries General, Managing Director, & Presidents of Organizations
Paris, March 27th, 2001
Dear MM. Presidents and Government Chiefs,
Dear Mrs. & MM. Directors and Secretaries General, Managing Director, & Presidents,
Referring to my different letters of June and November 1999, and April, June and November 2000, I would like to make few more remarks and forward you the result of my trial against the French administration.
The development of certain technologies has important intellectual implications, which affect and influence (or should…) greatly our behavior. How fast people, groups of people or populations ‘understand’ these implications and their consequences can vary, of course, depending on different factors, but pretending ‘we’ do not understand (or refusing to try to understand) is not only unethical, but also very detrimental to the entire humanity, so it should be denounced every time it is possible. To explain this I would like to use an example.
We probably would all agree that a ‘technology’ that had one of the greatest impacts on humanity in the 20 century was the atomic bomb. Everyone does not yet understand all the intellectual implications of this ‘invention’, even if some ‘large’ countries have tried, in the past ten years, to demonstrate and explain them more clearly. By reading Mr. Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace Speech of December 8, 1953, we see that some of these intellectual implications were already fairly well understood at that time, by some at least.
However, if we look at the years that followed until the mid 80, we see that not all the implications and their consequences had been clearly understood by all, even in the two ‘largest’ countries USA and former Soviet Union. These two countries have been frequently criticized and they even recognized themselves some of their mistakes, but I do not intend here to go in detail through every wrong decision and justified that it was wrong given the level of knowledge they had acquired or technologies they had developed although it could be worthwhile.
Au contraire, I would like to look at what they did right. An important direct intellectual implication of the development of the atomic bomb is that we must ‘colonize’ other planets (you surely can justify this point on your own). But unlike (or like) the colonization of the Americas in the 15-century, going to live on other planets is not a 10 or 20 years project, not even a 50 years project, but a 200 years project. So, if the USA and former USSR made mistakes, they did not fail to start this important work.
It is not just the work of the few courageous men who went in space, but also the work of the technicians, engineers, managers, politicians, and the schools, universities and professors who taught them well, it is the effort of an entire country. So we probably all agree that the humanity can be grateful to these two countries for having started ‘this project’ as early as possible, and grateful to the other countries that joined them later and now support their effort in one way or the other.
And, of course, we should not forget that this work was made possible only because the previous ‘civilizations’ or group of people, the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Arabs, the Romans, the Chinese, had done their share of work too. Without geometry (or some other ‘techniques’) you do not sent any rocket to the moon. The Internet and more generally the information technologies have also great intellectual implications that should affect and influence greatly our behavior.
Like for the atomic bomb, some people say that if we are not careful, it can be a ‘division’s’ factor, instead of being a factor of progress, and they are right. The proposal I presented you describes some of the benefits it can bring, but ‘some’ did not even comment it yet! And my status of poor and the way the idea was presented should have been full of promises, but instead so far it has been a reason to discard me! So I would like now to make few remarks concerning the Internet that may not be so obvious for ‘non-computer’ specialists.
The Internet is ‘one big’ computer application composed of many servers, networks, and ‘clients’. There are about 380 Millions people using this application, and according to some specialists the number of users doubles every two years (it doubled in China last year). This means that in 4 years we may have about 1,5 billions people using it. The number of users is now significant enough for you to pay a careful attention to some of the ‘philosophical’ consequences of the Internet.
The first point I would like to make is that when you develop a complicated computer application, small changes (not necessarily costly) may have a great impact on the efficiency of the system. The second is that the arguments that justify a proposed solution or changes are very important because it is critical to understand and ‘control’ the relations between the different components and the impact of changes on the users’ objectives. Finally, as you have seen it with the proposal, even ‘professional’ people can fail to see important ‘small’ details.
The consequences of these points are that if someone presents an innovative solution to one of your problems with logical arguments that seem to obtain a wide support, ‘you’ cannot humiliate him (by refusing to recognize his competence for example or other). You cannot say that an idea is innovative, interesting, and that the associated proposal is well formulated, and at the same time let the person who makes the proposal in difficult situation. You have in I.O. and in N.I. of Statistics people that work daily on ‘these problems’ and make money for that.
‘They’ are not stupid because ‘they’ did not present the idea or solution before, but ‘they’ become stupid and humiliate themselves, if ‘they’ or ‘you’ insinuate that the one who proposed it is. Although I have never worked in an International Organization or a National Institute of Statistics, I was able to propose you a solution to one of your problems together with a set of arguments that was overall widely accepted. I have demonstrated you that I have a good understanding of a subject that is of importance to you.
If the proposal was so easy to make, why did the very intelligent people who work permanently on the subject never manage to make it themselves? Don’t you think that they should have done it when you look at the support letters? Some of the letters proved that some had not even understood what it meant. How can you be sure that I did not notice other mistakes or misunderstanding of yours! If I were able to propose an idea widely accepted once I can probably do it another time! (in fact I do)
If you give me credit for (or reward) the work I have done and the explanations I brought you, you encourage this kind of initiative and make sure that I (or others) will explain you other mistakes you may make. Everything is there on the Internet and everyone can see it, and since the internet strategy of International Organizations concerns everyone on earth, if you exclude someone who has proven he could help you, you hurt not only the person you exclude and you, but also the 6 billions people on earth.
Before, only a limited number of persons (mostly high level managers) had all the information on specific problems, so it was difficult, if not impossible, for other people to give appropriate arguments justifying a specific strategy. But now since many informations are displayed on the Internet, anyone can study almost any problem. You cannot reject serious proposal or a person without explaining your reasons, especially when you invest several hundreds of billions (of taxpayers money or individual’s donations) to improve the ‘world’s situation’.
When I made my remarks concerning Mr. Wolfensohn and Mr. Annan resignations, I forced myself to bring you several logical and ‘scientific’ arguments justifying my suggestions, so that you know that my goal and motivation are ‘legitimate’. Obviously, at this day, these arguments did not convince the persons concerned. I perfectly understand how difficult it may be to hear these remarks, but we must think about these millions of people who start their lives with a life expectancy of 40 or 50 and about the article 1 of the ‘DUDH’.
Mr. Wolfensohn is not the only I.O. managers above the limit, Mr. Johnston has been recently appointed for another term, 6 months before the end of his term and his 65 birthday, I believe. The President of European Central Bank, Mr. Duisenberg, has also passed the 65 years limit. So the decision to announce a resignation for that particular reason is not easy, but it is critical for the progress of humanity. In France, for example, you have many people who exaggerate in this area although we have a high unemployment level (see att.).
In the 19-century, miners used to work 60 hours a week (10 hours per day, six days a week) while the ‘managers’ worked only few hours per week. The employees organized themselves, created unions and improved their work conditions for the benefit of all. But now the managers often work more hours/week (60) and many more years than the employees who work 40 hours or less /week, and ‘retire’ earlier. We have created differences in the other way around and if we are not careful, we will go back in time instead of continuing to progress.
By looking at the statistics some of you may think that 56 years after having defeated the Nazi’s ideas, we have created the world they had dreamed about. The Nazis believed that they belonged to a superior race, this belief justified (intellectually), in some way, the fact that they could humiliate and exterminate the ‘inferior’ people (Jews,…). They, of course, also took economically advantage of the ‘situation’ before they exterminated them! It really looks like ‘we’ have done exactly the same thing on an even wider scale.
‘We’ have created a world with two types of men. The ‘sur-hommes’ who get to live longer and have the chance to work longer and accumulate more wealth for their children than the others, the ‘sous-hommes’, who get to live shorter lives, and work less time. This is not only true at the international level but also, to a lesser extend, at the national level (see att.) where there are differences of life expectancy among social classes. In France, employees live on the average 6,5 years less than managers and unemployed have also higher death rates.
‘We’ cannot justify these results only with AIDS, there has been and will always be new diseases or medical problems. And ‘we’ cannot forget that recently ‘we’ protected the ‘sur-hommes’ of Kuwait and let 800 000 ‘sous-hommes’ in Rwanda be massacred. And ‘we’ cannot forget either the ‘special’ role of ‘Elf’ in Africa, its political influence and its participation in the different corruption scandals or the recent scandal over the sale of weapons to Angola against the UN resolution…
‘We’ have to ‘recognize’ these facts and must have no rest until all the people on earth have the same life expectancy at birth, because we want all the people on earth to start their lives ‘equal in rights’. So, independently from all the arguments I already brought you, ‘we’ must ask international organizations managers to refuse a new appointment after the limit of 65 or at an age too close from this limit to demonstrate our commitment for this objective, and of course, G8 leaders and countries should also show the example in this matter.
After my letter of June 23, 2000, Mr. Wolfensohn made a speech at the Ecosoc on July 5, 2000, he describes how he and some other I.O. managers are attacked by the civil society. He says: ‘in today’s world, we find civil society constantly attacking Mike Moore and myself and the IMF for the things that we do, whatever we do. This is hardly a basis for cooperation’. He was ‘attacked’ and placed himself on the victim side although he is not at all a victim, au contraire, he has perfectly understood the ‘system’ and had a successful career.
Yes the people benefited from his intelligence, yes it is difficult to be President of the World Bank, but to live with less than a dollar a day or even two is very difficult too. Mr. Wolfensohn does not have to keep on working at such a high position after the retirement limit of 65, instead of helping the people, he is hurting them. Does he think he is the only one who can assume the responsibility? It would be very sad for the world, if this was the case, and again it would show that he (and ‘we’) had little success at training the new generations.
Mr. Chirac had a very similar attitude in December last year, he was criticized by some politicians and the press after the accusations of fraud made against his party, the RPR, and himself, by Mr. Mery or others. He was asked to respond to the accusations, and came on TV. After talking about 20 minutes on general problems, he finally talked about the accusations and mentioned that he was a victim of all this because according to the French constitution, he is the only person who cannot bring an action for libel against someone.
He was ‘attacked’ and placed himself as a victim of the ‘system’ or constitution. Mr. Chirac is not a victim, he had a very successful career, he owns a castle in the center of France and has more money than a great majority of the French People, he even already collects his retirement pension although he earns one of the highest salary in the administration as we have seen it already. Moreover, if he really feels he is a victim, he is among the very few people that can propose changes in the constitution and this is even why the French people pay him for, to improve our institutions, laws, and administrations.
‘We’ do not want a President of the World Bank or a President of France to be a victim, in fact ‘we’ do not want anybody to be a victim. To avoid it ‘we’ must be more strict concerning the age requirements attached to these high level public positions. I was sorry to read that Mr. Annan (63, ‘soon 65’) was seeking a new 5 years term. Of course, the idea of ‘conscience of the world’ he introduced may have various meaning, a man’s life does not even have the same value in different parts of the world.
But the report of the UN on Rwanda gave him a part of responsibility. We can imagine two possibilities, either Mr. Annan had not imagined that this massacre could happen (it is difficult for many people to imagine that some people would want to exterminate 800 000 persons), meaning he and his collaborators did not evaluate the situation clearly or correctly before it happened, so he could not present well enough the situation to the different countries representatives mainly involved or even his ‘superior’ the Secretary General of the time.
And in this case ‘he’ has made what could be called a professional (or technical) mistake which lead to the death of 800 000 civilians, and his resignation is the least he could offer. Or he did predict that a massacre would happen, but did not explain it firmly or well enough to the main countries involved, by putting his resignation at stake for example. The death of 800 000 persons is worth the resignation of a man of honor, don’t you think! And in that case, he should resign now to correct his eventual lack of determination at the time.
In Portugal, a minister recently resigned after the death of 20 people. The government had been informed several times that a bridge might fall and kill people, but it did not take the necessary steps to avoid it, so the minister felt he had to assume a part of the responsibility. Moreover, knowing all the problems Africa has to face (conflicts, AIDS, …), don’t you think that Mr. Annan, who has the support of African leaders, could now be ‘used’ more efficiently and full time in Africa, instead of working at saving the peace in the middle east or Macedonia!
I don’t think that any logical or moral arguments could have changed Mr. A. Hitler’s mind concerning the extermination of Jews and some other people in gas chambers. He had this ‘supreme’ and ‘useful’ belief that he belonged to a ‘superior race’, was a ‘sur-homme’, so it was right to humiliate and exterminate people he gave the rank of ‘animals’. Likewise, it ‘seems’ that no argument can convince Mr. Wolfensohn, Mr. Johnston, or Mr. Duisenberg, …, to show a greater respect for new generations and keep lower profile at (or soon) 65.
But I would like to say to Mr. Bush, Mr. Putin, Mr. Blair, Mr. Amato and Mr. Schroeder, that when they send their airplanes over Iraq to liberate Kuwait, or over Kosovo, or over Chechnya to fight terrorism, innocent civilians die in the name of justice and progress. It certainly requires courage to take these decisions and I am not questioning them. But if you can take these decisions, you should find the courage to tell Mr. Wolfensohn, Mr. Johnston, Mr. Duisenberg,…, they must ‘retire on time’ to bring more justice and progress to the world.
I deserve a job in an International Organization more than these men do. I have demonstrated that I could propose a (overall widely accepted) solution to one of your problem that none of these men could have proposed although it concerns the efficiency of their organization. And I need this job to simply ‘eat’, while these men have already ‘won’ the right to retire. Moreover I have other remarks to make concerning your Internet strategy and more general problems that you will find ‘innovative, interesting and useful for everyone’ again.
But I can only make new remarks, if you first reward my work on the first proposal and encourage France to stop the degrading treatments it has reserved me so far. You will find attached the result of my trial against the French administration. The judgement of the Supreme Court contains lies again, it rejects my application and put me in even more trouble. I have complained at the European Court for Human Rights, but you are also judges, and you do not need the results to make up your own mind on the wrong doings.
I copy my letter to Mr. Lefevre from the journal ‘Le Soir’, and to Mr. Lindsay Owen- Jones, President of L’Oreal, to whom I forwarded the proposal and my previous remarks. As some of you may know, Mrs. Bettencourt, often referred to as the richest woman in the world, is an important shareholder of L’Oreal. About 14 years ago, she and the Board gave the highest responsibility to Mr. Owen-Jones, a young manager. ‘He’ has made the company grow and progress regularly, and at the same time ‘preserved’ the wealth of shareholders.
And of course, you all know that Mr. Gates, 44, the richest man in the world, has managed ‘his’ company since its creation. These two cases do not prove anything, but they support the remarks I made and they show that trusting young ‘men’ at high level of responsibility does not necessarily imply poverty. To defeat poverty is one of ‘our’ main objectives, isn’t it! Finally, some of these issues concern the religious communities, this is why I copy my letter to a representative of at least one of them, Pope Jean Paul II.
I remain yours sincerely,
Mr. George W. Bush, President of the United States
Mr. Vladimir Poutine, President of the Russian Federation
Mr. Yoshiro Mori, Prime Minister of Japan
Mr. Gerhard Schröder, German Chancelor
Mr. Giuliano Amato, Prime Minister of Italy
Mr. Tony Blair, Prime Minister of England
Mr. Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada
Mr. Donald J. Johnston, OECD Dr. Jacques Diouf, FAO
Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, WHO Mr. Carlos Magarinos, UNIDO
Mr. Horst Köhler, IMF Mr. Mike Moore, WTO
Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, UNESCO Mr. Juan Somavia, ILO
Mr. Romano Prodi, European Commission Mr. Youri F. Yarov, CIS
Mr. Kofi Annan Mr. James D. Wolfensohn
Copy: Pope Jean Paul II
Mr. Harri Holkeri , President of the General Assembly of the United Nations
Mr. Lindsay Owen-Jones, President of L’Oréal
Mr. Pierre Lefevre, Chief Editor of Le Soir
Attachments: Trial’s results and remarks.