[Blog/Appeal] Open letter to Pres Putin -Free the Arctic 30 and members of the Pussy Riot Rock band By Jose Mario De Vega

Free the Arctic 30 and members of the Pussy Riot Rock band

October 13, 2013

Hon. Vladimir Putin
President
Russian Federation

Dear Sir:

I am writing to you as a humanist and as a fellow citizen of the world. I certainly believe that this open letter coming from a lowly lecturer of Philosophy from Southeast Asia will not go unnoticed, because indeed, a noble intention and a humanistic endeavor will always bear fruit!

Mario De Vega

I also vehemently believe Sir that the right thing to do under the circumstance is to directly write to you, because it is only by appealing to your reason that you will unleash your humanity and compassion.

Sir, as an obnoxious and man of truth, I admit that straightforwardly that I am not a great fan of yours. In fact, I am utterly critical of your administration and wary of your regime.

Yet, having said that and despite the fact that I do not have a high regard to your political leadership and bureaucratic machination, let me also state for purposes of the records, personally and formally that with regard to the handling of the Syrian question, you have proven your mettle, sense of purpose and inner worth at the world stage.

Sir, needless to state, the world owes you and your government a lot, because of your political acumen, careful deliberation and diplomatic tact, you and your country has averted the possible eruption of World War III.

On that utterly important universal note, Sir, let me state directly that I thank you and Russia, on behalf of all humanity for all your efforts and contribution in averting a world-wide catastrophe and mass misery on a global scale.

Sir, the main purpose of this letter is not to blow your horns or to inflate your ego, but rather to ask you in a very humble manner the dropping of the dubious and flimsy charges against the Greenpeace activists which are currently in your territory and custody.

The antecedents and facts of this case is not in dispute, nonetheless for your reference and information, please do allow me to quote from the statement of the Greenpeace themselves:

“On September 18, a small group of Greenpeace International activists approached the Gazprom Prirazlomnaya oil platform, in the Pechora Sea off the Russian coast, to engage in a peaceful protest of Arctic oil drilling. Two activists were detained and held overnight on a Russian Coast Guard vessel.

“The following day, September 19, the Russian Coast Guard illegally boarded the Greenpeace International ship Arctic Sunrise while in international waters. All 30 members of the crew were held under armed guard for 5 days as the ship was towed to the port of Murmansk. Upon arrival, the activists were taken from the ship and held by authorities on land.

“On September 26th, 28 of our activists, along with a photographer and videographer who were documenting the action, appeared at a preliminary court hearing in Murmansk, where most of them were remanded in custody for two months, facing investigation for possible piracy. We are demanding the immediate release of all activists, our ship, and an end to offshore oil drilling in the Arctic for good.”

Mr. President, I implored you to show your humanity and sensitivity to the call and wishes of the people of the world; please release those individuals which are now known universally as the ARCTIC 30.

Sir, “the crew of the Arctic Sunrise were protesting at the Prirazalomnaya for purely unselfish reasons. As the ice is retreating, oil companies are moving north to drill for the fuels that are causing the ice to melt. The Arctic 30 were acting out of a deeply held conviction that this is a risky enterprise, when an oil spill would be catastrophic for the entire region. They should not be charged with such a serious crime as piracy for taking peaceful, safe action to protest the dangerous industrialization of the Arctic.

“Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Nobel peace prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel have joined hundreds of thousands of people across the globe calling for the release of the Arctic 30.”

Mr. President, needless to state, I am also writing to you personally to add my voice and show my solidarity to those people in detention at your country.

Sir, in the name of humanity, please released them unconditionally and immediately.

Sir, if I may remind you, during the height of the Syrian crisis, when the imperialistic and militaristic US government are hell vent on militarily intervening on the said country without just cause and again bypassing and disrespecting once again the United Nation Security Council; you did not let the historical moment and the momentous event to unfold without doing anything.

You stood your ground, raise your voice in a diplomatic tone, yet in a very firm manner and make it known all over the world your clear stand and reasonable position on Syria.

Not only that, Sir, you earn my respect and admiration when you personally went beyond what is normal and typical and that is when you yourself wrote an open letter addressed to the American people.

I certainly believe without the slightest element of doubt that that crucial time is your greatest moment at the world stage.

Now, Mr. President, Sir, I humbly beseech you to please exhibit and show again your humanity and statesmanship. Please show your humanitarian consideration and executive compassion to those environmental activists being detain at your jail.

Mr. President, to quote from the letter for you of the Executive of the Greenpeace International, Mr. Kumi Naidoo:

“Their fate is a matter of global concern. Therefore, I would come to you with an offer. I am willing to move my life to Russia for the duration of this affair. I would offer myself as a guarantor for the good conduct of the Greenpeace activists, were they to be released on bail. They, we, Greenpeace, do not believe ourselves to be above the law. We are willing to face the consequences of what we did, as long as those consequences are within a nation’s criminal code as any reasonable person understands that code to be.

“It is clear from your own statements that you do not regard the activists as pirates, although that is the charge levelled against them. You, in common with millions around the world, know that in being accused of piracy they are charged with a crime that did not happen, that our activists are accused of an imaginary offence. Indeed, you have previously said that you have admiration for groups like Greenpeace, and that our protests inspire sympathy in you. Were our friends to be released on bail, I offer myself as security against the promise that the twenty-eight Greenpeace International activists will answer for their peaceful protest according to the criminal code of Russia.

“The law, as we both know, does not apply the offence of piracy to the actions of peaceful protesters. I therefore ask you to use any avenues of action open to you as President of the Russian Federation to request that the excessive charges of piracy against the detainees are dropped, and that any charges brought are consistent with international and Russian law. I also respectfully ask that the two independent freelancers, who are not Greenpeace members, be immediately freed.”

Hence, please release them, Sir! There only fault, if you can call it so is the very fact that they are being truthful and so passionate on their mission of protecting and saving the environment for our future generation, because to paraphrase a time honored saying: We do not inherit this earth from our ancestors; we are merely borrowing it from our children.

Lastly, Sir, besides the Arctic 30 activists, I am also pleading to you personally to pardon and release from prison all the members of the Pussy Riot Rock band!

Sir, if ever they have committed an offense or a crime, it is my firm view that by virtue of the time that they have already spent in jail; it is about time that you show your leniency and compassion to those girls.

Their families had already suffered enough and I believe Sir, the time now is right and ripe for you to free them.

Sir, please do something; lift your finger and grant them their liberty.

The world is watching Sir, please do the right thing! SHOW YOUR COMPASSION FOR HUMANITY!

Respectfully yours,

Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

Philosophy lecturer
College of Arts and Letters
Polytechnic University of the Philippines

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