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Conversations with a Bhutanese Minister and plea of Leniency for the Kings Bay 7

Publication date: 21.09.2020
Author: Jeffrey Levett

In My Funny Quarantine I told my cyber-audience in the Arts that as the pandemic coronavirus was emerging I started a one on one conversation with the Minister of Education of Bhutan Mr. Thakur S. Powdyel, who told me that the purpose of his government was to pursue the happiness of its citizens, a concept first proclaimed in 1729. This well before the world shaking "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité" during the French Revolution, thoughts now part of the national heritage and Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness written in the American Constitution, which can only be secured by government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Speaking from Athens in Lockdown, 2020, I held it was a special time for Educators to ponder the Educational system in which they work and the instruments they use including interdisciplinary public health. With my audience I shared extracts from my Ode to the coronavirus: Endings, turnings-yearnings and new starts……. One breath ago, an eternity gone by, We escaped the rains and raucous winds of a typhoon, Escaped as well high fiery flung volcanic ash from deep innards of the earth…….. to Greece I say, do not unlock stay put awhile, Lay low, protect the loved ones that you know, While in the words of a Nobel noble poet, just a little more and we shall see, Almond trees in blossom, Marbles shining in the sun. Don’t throw away again the glory accumulated there, coronavirus is not fair. The poet gives, hope, almond blossom. Killing hope is an unforgiveable sin.

Throughout lockdown I maintained communication with Powdyel to discuss Greek philosophy, the case of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 and the future of the WHO. We told stories and about Socrates, his humor and advice as the first Citizen of the World; He said to young people, fall in love, get married! If it works, great! If not, become a philosopher….. Having listened to a soldier sing outside his death cell, he asked for an encore. The soldier baulked saying “Forget it old man soon you will be dead”. “That’s the point, said Socrates, “I have a chance to learn one more thing before I die”.

Some results emergent from conversations with the Minister of a small Buddhist country in the Himalayas; I was better prepared to ask for leniency for the 7 Catholic activists and to contemplate bringing within reach, a non-breachable WHO.

Jeffrey Levett

Vice President
World Philosophical Forum 

Enclosures :

My Letters to Judge Lisa Godbey Wood regarding the Kings Bay Ploughshares 7:
6 June 2020 & 26 July 2020
Reaching for a non-breachable WHO, 4 July 2020

Golden Laurel WREATH

Award to the WPF from the Greek Government

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