An adieu to the late Ramsey Clark

Along with all of you, which is a great honor for me, this is an adieu from Greece to the late Ramsey Clark:

a rebel with a cause, with many good causes, in the epicenter of which was justice for Palestine;

a universal comrade to us all around East Mediterranean and further beyond, as in his long life he supported the struggle of the peoples in 120 countries;

an adieu to the man who as the USA Attorney General said that: “Equality is the mother of justice. If there is no equality in law, then there is no justice.”

That is why, while serving in the leadership of the USA Justice Department, he helped drafting against racial discrimination the two historic US Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968, as well as the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. That is why he sued for the first time in American history against segregation and employment discrimination in the South, but also in the North of the USA. He called the civil rights revolution “the noblest quest of the American people in our time” and walked along Dr. Martin Luther King in the civil rights march from Alabama to Mississippi in 1965 against both the State Police terrorism and the KuKluxKlan terror.

As an Attorney General he took stand against the capital punishment and declared a moratorium of all federal executions. When Robert Kennedy was his “boss” in the Justice Department, going against Kennedy’s will he opposed wire-tapping even against the Mobsters. He is said to be the only person ever in power in the USA who was not afraid to stand up to J. E. Hoover and his FBI.

In the USA corridors of power his star was raising spectacularly. He was expected to be even among the future USA Presidents.

And then he knew that mere legal equality and enforcing it were not enough. In his book “Crime in America” he focuses on the real causes of crime: poverty and economic and social inequality. Later on he will write: “We talk about civil liberties. And we have the largest prison population per capita on earth. Can the world’s greatest jailer be the freest country on earth?”

During the next presidential election Nixon presented his promise to throw Ramsey Clark out of the Attorney General’s Office as his main campaign target. When Nixon won, Clark didn’t resign, so Nixon had to fire him. Then along with like-minded friends he went into private legal practice and established a, virtually pro-bono,  law firm: they vowed they would each win no more than a skilled worker’s wages, 50.000 $ per year. Through this law firm they embraced the causes and legally defended nationally and internationally everyone who was in need of them: Among them, Alaskan Natives, Vietnam war resisters, the prisoners who rebelled in Attica prison, peace and disarmament activists like the Harrisburg 7 and the Plowshares 8, the condemned to life imprisonment Native Indian leader Leonard Peltier, the policeman Frank Serpico who exposed the depth of the corruption of the NYPD, the PLO before a USA court against charges of hijacking and the death of an American citizen, Milosevic before the Hague International Tribunal contrary to his demonization and the “orange revolution”, Sadam Hussein against the fiasco of an unfair trial, the Cuban 5; and a great number of prisoners sentenced to death against their execution.

Of course, since earlier on he knew that lawyering was not enough.

So in 1972 he suddenly travelled to Hanoi while the USA bombed to dust water dikes and hospitals; and came back to speak about the USA being guilty of grime war crimes. He was threatened to be charged for high treason.

In 1980 he went to Tehran in violation of the travel ban and participated in a conference exposing the USA support of the  former Shah’s, Mohammed Reza Pahlevi’s regime and its crimes against the Iranian people.

In the Gulf War he  crossed along with the film-maker Jon Alpert the whole Iraq while it was carpet-bombed, creating the film “Nowhere to Hide” – the only uncensored film exposing the reality behind the so-called “collateral damages”.

The same reality he exposed in the NATO war against Yugoslavia, when along with the film-maker Gloria La Riva he found himself in Belgrade at two different periods under the bombardments, both creating the film “NATO targets Yugoslavia”.

He met with the Zapatistas in Mexico and called their armed struggle “the shot heard through the world”.

He embraced the cause of the Palestinian people and wrote a complex book, “Palestine and Lebanon at the Crossroads: Occupation and Resistance” containing not only unreported crimes against humanity perpetrated by the USA and Israel through eyewitness reports, but also an expose of the huge underlying political & economical interests in the region.

He charged the USA for war crimes against the people of Libya for their airstrikes and against the peoples of Granada and Panama for their military invasion.

He was the only one who at the end of the Vietnam war in 1975 declared that the Vietnam war was not still over – not till the USA economic sanctions are lifted; which happened 19 years later.

He fought against the sanctions which killed more than one million of Iraqi people before the USA invasion.

He fought against the USA imposed sanctions everywhere in the world; from Cuba, whose regime and outstanding results he praised highly, to Yugoslavia, from Venezuela to Syria.

In books and films he exposed the economic sanctions for what they are: a deadly mass-murder weapon against civilians and civilization; not an alternative to war, but the first phase of war.

As the title of the film about Ramsey Clark by Joe Stillman goes, we’ll never forget his “life of principle.”

We’ll never forget Ramsey Clark.

Or, as we say in Greece for people of his caliber: Ο Ράμσευ Κλαρκ ζει. Ramsey Clark lives on.

My warmest condolences to his family.

Athens, 24.04.2021, participating to the Arab International Virtual Memorial Service for the late RAMSEY CLARK, Honorary President of the Arab International Forum for Justice in Palestine

Nadia Valavani, former Alt.Minister of Finance, Greece