‘Friedrich Schiller: Inspiring People To Be Greater Than Their Destiny’By Helga Zepp-LaRouche and Dennis Speed
Helga Zepp-LaRouche Opening to International Peace Coalition
Nov. 10—Schiller Institute founder and chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche made the following remarks to open the Friday, Nov. 10, 2023 meeting of the International Peace Coalition. She was introduced by Anastasia Battle:
ANASTASIA BATTLE: Welcome, everyone. This is the International Peace Coalition. This is the 23rd week of our meetings. We appreciate everyone joining us today. We have folks on from all over the world, and we’re bringing people together from many different ideologies, many different nations, languages, cultures. Please remember to be respectful. We’ll have a selection of people who will be giving presentations, proposals, ideas, reports. We definitely want to encourage new people to come in during the open discussion period, which will come after the prepared remarks.
With that, I would like to ask one of the initiators of the International Peace Coalition, Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder of the Schiller Institute, to give a general overview and her thoughts for today.
HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Hello. It is very difficult, but the situation in Gaza right now is escalating to an almost unbearable point. The latest news coming from the Chinese CGTN TV is that the IDF is bombing several hospitals in the north of Gaza, and most importantly, the al-Shifa Hospital, because they say that, underneath, there would be the headquarters of Hamas. They also report that there are more than 60,000 people in that hospital looking for shelter. So, you can imagine what is going on there.
The Iranian Foreign Minister commented on this, saying that the scale of the suffering inflicted on the civilian population in Gaza means, almost unavoidably, a total escalation of the conflict. He told that to his Qatar counterpart, the Foreign Minister of Qatar. There is obviously the danger that this conflict can explode at any moment. There is the military side of it. We discussed in previous weeks already, that you have the two U.S. aircraft carriers, you have—unusually announced—the nuclear-fueled Ohio-class submarine—probably the USS Florida—which is also cruising in the region. Obviously, all of this deployment only makes sense from the standpoint of a widening of the conflict involving Iran. We have said many times that if it comes to that, then all bets are off, as to where that will go: It could lead to a global nuclear war in the worst case.
Now, there is obviously the human side of it, which I think, in many ways, affects every human being on the planet. I think Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, said the fact that the Israelis are not differentiating between Hamas and children, means that all our humanity is at stake. He says that normally in all the reports coming from conflict areas, the casualties of children are normally in the hundreds. But in this case, in an extremely short period, it is already thousands and thousands of children dying in Gaza.
I think what we have to do is to really make a huge, huge effort. In some places, it is almost forbidden to mobilize for a ceasefire! Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, these are all countries that are trying to put a gag order on anybody who is demanding a ceasefire. But I think the situation is such that we have to absolutely escalate the international peace efforts. I could not, unfortunately, find out more about the Chinese proposal for the immediate peace conference for Southwest Asia. The Chinese have made such a proposal; there is a certain hope that maybe the meeting next week between President Biden and President Xi Jinping, which is supposed to take place in San Francisco in the context of the APEC meeting, that that may lead to some agreement—but that’s a week away.
So, I think what we have to do is to really try to wake up the conscience of the population, that as many forces come out to try to really stop this. This has consequences, already, for a very long time. There are reports by CNN about cables, which got into their hands from American diplomats in the region, who were writing to the State Department that this whole development already means that the United States has lost the Arab world for at least one generation. But it’s not just the United States. I think it’s all the countries that are condoning and being quiet without intervening will have the same fate. Unfortunately, they are sitting mostly in the so-called Global North.
There are many initiatives. The Pope was talking with Iranian President Raisi, and many other diplomatic activities. But this is obviously not enough to stop this incredible situation going on in Gaza. So I’m appealing to all of you: Try to get more people. We have to become the absolute visible majority, for this to stop. The proposals which we have put on the table—an immediate ceasefire, an immediate Mideast peace conference as it is proposed by China and Russia; and then, there must be an immediate economic development plan—the Oasis Plan proposed by my late husband, already in 1975, has to be put on the table in the context of extending the Belt and Road Initiative into Southwest Asia, so that every single country has an economic benefit from working together and establishing a durable peace.
Now, let me mention one last thing. Today, we have the 264th birthday of Friedrich Schiller. He is the German poet after whom the Schiller Institute is called. We are celebrating his birthday every year since the creation of the Schiller Institute, and also today. In many cities around the world, we are celebrating his birthday by reciting poetry, by playing great Classical music, by evoking the image of man which Schiller stands for, in the most beautiful and powerful way. And I think this is very important, because when mankind is confronted with such an incredible crisis of our own humanity, where we are about to lose it, if we don’t act to stop this horror, then it is important that we remind ourselves of the most noble ideas which humanity has produced in the past.
I think that what is most important right now is for many people—individuals and hopefully elected officials, but also ordinary people—to think and act on the level of the Sublime. We cannot take sides where the emotions are carrying us away. We have to absolutely work in such a way that we bring about a peace, which comes from the recognition of the humanity in all human beings involved in the conflict and in the world, and to act decisively.
Schiller has given the world so many beautiful ideas, like how to transform people from ordinary citizens who don’t think about what is going on with the fate of humanity, by using Classical art, by using the Classical drama, to elevate people, to put themselves in the shoes of the heroes on the stage of the Classical drama, to think that is it they who are responsible for the fate of generations to come. I think there are too many people being indifferent and saying, “I cannot do anything anyway.” And to think in terms of Schiller, the image of man, that it is the task of our existence—as he puts it—to become “a beautiful soul.” A beautiful soul is somebody who does what is necessary by free will, for whom duty and necessity, passion and duty are the same thing. In the letters about Kallias, he writes that this is the case for the Good Samaritan who, when he sees somebody in need, in this case the man by the wayside without shelter, without clothes, he gives him his clothes, and he brings him to safety in the next city; who completely does not think about himself, but only thinks about what this person needs in this moment: And I think we all need to have the hearts and minds of Good Samaritans in this moment.
That’s what I want to say for the moment.