Campaign for Universal Peace

by Peter Kasser



Peace is not a Dream. Peace is a Project

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The Saviour


3 Wishes

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Last Wish

There is a right to live. And there is a right to die.

In the case of the right to live, things look more or less straightforward, in the sense that Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly stipulates that "Everybody has the right to life, liberty and security of person" (while I have to say that I think it rather odd to combine such disparate concepts within the same article). And in Article 25 (never too late), it is clarified that everybody has a right to an adequate standard of living, "including food, clothing, housing and medical care", and so on. We might call this a right to a "decent" life. - What that means in practical terms when some judicical court condemns a criminal to death, or when some government sends its citizens to war and certain death, is altogether a different story.

In the case of the right to die, things look less straightforward. In most countries, the reasoning goes that there isn't any such right, it's nature, or God, or fate, or the doctors, or (bad) luck, or whatever, who decides when somebody dies, but not the individual concerned. In some countries, there exists a very restricted kind of "right" to die under certain limited conditions, along the line: "Well, if you're so ill that you're going to die anyway, we herewith grant you the right to die." That's nice, but somehow not really to the point.

My last wish here on earth is that humanity at large grants the unequivocal, unconditional right to die to every person (including me, of course...) who chooses to die by his own free will, at the moment of his choice, and by the method of his choice.

We have learned to assume responsibility for our own life. When does this responsibility end?

It is my firm conviction that it is an absolute and fundamental, unconditional human right that people may choose their own moment of death, if they so wish.

Death is part of life, it is the last act of living on this earth, so to say. So, if we're really serious about assuming full responsibility of our own life, we should have the courage to also assume full responsibility of our own death.



During my travels around the world, I came across the religeous community of the Jains. Jains (like Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs) believe in reincarnation, whereby a person is reborn after death, and the merits and demerits of his former life define the fate of his new life.

For Jains, the ultimate purpose of life is to break through this circle of endless reincarnations, and to reach a state of eternal freedom - freedom from pain and suffering - freedom from wants and desires - a heavenly bliss that they call Nirvana, or Moksha. And they have developed a pretty smart technique to reach that goal with a minimum of effort, and with no risks attached. They simply decide to starve themselves to death. The argument is simple enough: Since the main reason to reincarnate is the desire to live (meaning, in its most basic form, to eat and drink), the solution not to reincarnate is to stop eating and drinking.

This technique of starving oneself to death is called Santhara.

Now, I'm not a Jain, nor do I intend to become one. In fact, I'm quite un-religeous, even though of course I am very much interested in religions and their aspirations. But I must confess that this Jain technique of starving oneself to death has cought my attention, I honestly think that this is one of the most honorable, dignified, worthy methods of ending one's life in a self-determined, strong, willful, responsible way, causing no harm to anybody, but marking a strong sense of purpose and responsibility at the end of a fulfilled life.

It is my wish to die by Santhara, at a moment of my choice. This is my last wish on earth.

In the name of Peace and Justice, thank you!