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From Cornelio Sommaruga, Switzerland. (Letter).

You kindly published a generous `profile' on me in your August/September 2002 issue, under the title `A passion for the human family'.

The journalist, Andrew Stallybrass, correctly reports that I was particularly saddened by the personal attacks on me as being anti-Semitic. He also relates the history and the details of what happened, when I was called on, in April 2002, by the Secretary General of the United Nations, to be one of the three members of a fact-finding team for Jenin, in the Occupied Territories.

During the 2002 Caux conferences, and particularly at the official celebrations to mark the 100 years of the Caux-Palace on 7 July, I gave some concluding remarks at the invitation of the moderator during a panel on `Learning the lessons from the past'. I spoke after Professor Egon Mayer, of New York City University, himself born in Caux in December 1944 as the son of Jewish refugees from Hungary interned in the house, and Professor Bronislav Geremek, who witnessed the deportation of his own father to Auschwitz from the Warsaw ghetto, and who himself participated as a child in the famous uprising. I felt then that the Holocaust was so present in the minds of the several hundreds of participants. I returned briefly to the polemics against me in the media, and said that I wished to forgive the journalists who had quoted incorrectly from a report of a private meeting, without ever taking the trouble to check back with me. In the spirit of Caux, I went on to ask the forgiveness of Jews for any hurt caused by my psychological mistake in speaking of the request of Ceylon/Sri Lanka to have their own symbol recognized in the Red Cross Geneva Conventions: the swastika.

I thought that your readers might be interested in this footnote to this story.

The editors welcome letters for publication but reserve the right to shorten them. Please write to `For A Change', 24 Greencoat Place, London SWIP IRD. E-mail:


The index for Volume 15 is now available from Maria Grace, 15 Lewis Walk, Newbury, RG14 6TB, UK. Tel/fax 01635 47196, price 2.00 [pounds sterling]. Or
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Publication:For A Change
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Geographic Code:4EXSI
Date:Feb 1, 2003
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