Malachi Ritscher R.I.P.

last saturday chicago resident malachi ritscher set himself on fire to protest the war in iraq. this was metioned in almost no newspapers and in those it was mentioned only as a short notice. well, thankfully it has been boingboinged and a bigger part of the world now knows about this heroic protest. what a great thing blogs truely are!

on one of his websites ritscher has published his own obituary and a mission statement/suicide note. at first i thought this was kinda weird, but when i read it i was deeply moved. reading up on this man’s life and diving into his thoughts made me realise, that ritscher truely was a free spirit. and he reminded me of the many beautiful friends i was fortunate enough to meet during my stay in san francisco 1986-1992. during that time i met such an incredible number of truely openminded and radical people; something i should not be so lucky to repeat after moving back here to overrated europe. in europe people are radical in limited ways. a life like malachi ritscher’s shows how much further this can be taken, translating a radical political stance into music, poetry, spirituality and even hot sauce – i would love to get that recipe! and for ritscher it even meant deciding the time and place of his own death and making it somehow “useful”.

quite a few of my friends from san francisco would, hypothetically speaking, write similar obituaries – with the possible exception of the suicidal tendency. and obviously i dont mean to say, that they should write obituaries or set themselves on fire. what i do mean to express is, that in the midst of the US bashing we should never forget, that some of TEH smartest and most radical minds are also living over there; and yes, it was easy to forget this fact lately, when only the most gruesome of news made it to europe. and things are still looking very grim. let us please not overrate the recent election results; even democrat icon hilary clinton “had to” go all gang-ho patriotic in celebration of her re-election.

so, dear malachi ritscher, your message was received and appreciated. you are a true hero in my book. may you rest in peace.

What is one more life thrown away in this sad and useless national tragedy? If one death can atone for anything, in any small way, to say to the world: I apologize for what we have done to you, I am ashamed for the mayhem and turmoil caused by my country.

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.