“We pointed the most powerful telescope ever built by human beings at absolutely nothing, just because we were curious, and discovered that we occupy a very tiny place in the heavens.”
Just because we were curious….
You’ll often hear people say that the size and complexity of the world and the universe around us makes our individual lives seem petty and unimportant by comparison. Yet I’ve always believed that the opposite is true….
If I said that the fact that you are one of the 6.7 billion people alive today, sharing in the legacy of the many more billions who have come before you, on a single planet among hundreds of billions of galaxies full of planets — is something that makes your life more significant, not less … would you understand what I mean by that?
IA-Forum: [Would] you please comment on the recent murder of Natalia Estemirova?
Mr. Satter: This is part of a whole string: Stanislav Markelov, Anna Politkovskaya… One of the signs of the cruelty or the lack of morality of the Putin regime is the fact that their protégé, Kadyrov, is really absolutely free to murder anyone he wants to, to torture, to kidnap with complete impunity; whether it’s in Chechnya, whether it’s in Russia, whether it’s in Vienna; as long as he keeps the situation under control for the leadership in Chechnya. This was a woman who was monitoring the human rights situation in Chechnya. She was a colleague of Markelov, who was a colleague of Politkovskaya. So who’s behind it? We know that Kadyrov said the people who are disappearing are being murdered. These are people who are his opponents and enemies.
And don’t expect any serious effort to investigate. When Markelov was killed along with Anastasia Barburova—in broad daylight near the Christ the Savior church on a crowded street—no one thought it worthy of comment until nine days later when Medvedev did an interview with Novaya Gazeta and said something. This shows the character of the regime. Bearing that in mind, an American president should not bend over backwards to praise Putin and to praise the Russian leaders. They are not deserving of that.
In a world that sometimes seems to have gone mad, it’s reminder of what human beings can accomplish when they are free to live, create, work together … and sing.
Here’s the English translation of Friedrich Schiller’s Ode to Joy (written in 1785), which Beethoven adapted and used in the symphony, the composer’s “musical representation of universal brotherhood.”
Oh friends, not these tones!
Rather, let us raise our voices in more pleasing
And more joyful sounds!
Joy, beautiful spark of gods
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter drunk with fire,
Heavenly one, your sanctuary!
Your magic binds again
What custom strictly divided.
All men become brothers,
Where your gentle wing rests.
Whoever has had the great fortune
To be a friend’s friend,
Whoever has won a devoted wife,
Join in our jubilation!
Indeed, whoever can call even one soul,
His own on this earth!
And whoever was never able to, must creep
Tearfully away from this band!
Joy all creatures drink
At the breasts of nature;
All good, all bad
Follow her trail of roses.
Kisses she gave us, and wine,
A friend, proven in death;
Pleasure was to the worm given,
And the cherub stands before God.
Glad, as His suns fly
Through the Heaven’s glorious design,
Run, brothers, your race,
Joyful, as a hero to victory.
Be embraced, millions!
This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
Must a loving Father dwell.
Do you bow down, millions?
Do you sense the Creator, world?
Seek Him beyond the starry canopy!
Beyond the stars must He dwell.
Western governments have piled pressure on Russia to catch the killers of a renowned rights activist, as campaign groups accused Moscow of turning a blind eye to abuses.
The United Nations also joined calls today for a thorough, “transparent” investigation of the killing of Natalya Estemirova, whose bullet-riddled body was found in Ingushetia yesterday, only hours after her abduction in the neighbouring republic of Chechnya.