The Silent Death

Malachi Ritscher 1954-2006, his own obituaryI have tried to write this commentary all day, yet each time I began, depression overtook me. On November 3, less than 3 weeks ago, a man set himself ablaze in Chicago to protest the US government’s wars. In effect, he was protesting against the American people too, for allowing these wars to be continued over and over again.
At age 52, Malachi Ritscher certainly had seen his country repeatedly ignore the suffering that its politicians and generals were inflicting on the other peoples of the world. He had been an antiwar protester for years, and yet the American people seemed little to have changed during his lifetime.

He hoped to help change all that with the dramatic sacrifice of his life. That decision and action, as gruesome and horrible as his death certainly was, is not alone what has me depressed though. It is simply that we have failed him once again, even though through his efforts he hardly could be said to have failed others, as he tried repeatedly to change the horrible society we live in through less dramatic means.

So why have we not hear about this courageous and totally desperate act? That is quite simple. The corporate media decided to keep it secret from us. Yet word begins to leak out, and IndyMedia is now helping inform people about what was done by Malachi to try to move us out of our pathetic cynicism and apathy. Word is being whispered here and there about what Malachi did, and the secret will come back to haunt those who kept it silent.

What was the media’s excuse to hide this man’s sacrifice away from us all? Simple. They treated his protest of our society’s war making and criminality, as if it was merely the action of a suicidal madman killing himself because of personal depression. No protest there, doesn’t mean anything what he did! How sorry are they, these assholes, to decide for us the meaning of this man’s actions! How much more does it say about their own motivations, than about Malachi Ritscher’s? How sick and controlled we have become for this silence and censorship to be let stand? How sad, that even this act of setting oneself on fire, fails to move us. Or at least to move those in the corporate world that control information flow and news.

It makes me yet more ill to think that the decision to keep this man’s protest hidden from us, was made principally to not effect the US mid-term elections that were to be happening a couple of days later. How petty, how disgraceful, the real reasons and real motivation of the US media to not broadcast news of what Malachi had done to himself. Malachi took his final action out of self sacrifice, and his drive to make a statement, simply in order to try to move our country into action to stop the Iraqi madness. Keep it local, keep the meaning of it distorted, all so that Bush and his minions might fare better at the polls! That was the counter response from the media. Make Malachi look sick and deranged, instead of a very decent human being. That’s what makes me so very depressed. I’m depressed because the US seems so hopeless, and this sad event just goes to underline our societal decay, yet once again.

Malachi Ritscher posterHis friends have organized a campaign to get news of his death out to the press. Write to the local rags and see if it helps since all we can do is keep trying? It is a shame that with Malachi Ritscher gone, we have one activist less. We have one genuine human being less. We have one less person who cares about others. He tried to change things, and many of us do care. It’s just that neither our press, nor our politicians, nor our economic elites care. It is common folk like Malachi Ritscher that actually do concern themselves most often about others in the world and not just themselves. And they desperately try to find ways to make a change possible. They are the true patriots, not the war mongers.

1 thought on “The Silent Death

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *