On My 88thBirthday: A Reflection

13 Nov
  • [Prefatory Note: I took part in a stirring program here in Berlin earlier this evening in support of three activists from Palestine and Israel
  • who face criminal charges for disrupting a meeting featuring Zionist denials of Israeli crimes against humanity. Two of the three who face these charged are Jews born in Israel, and one a Palestinian born in Gaza, whose family was in audience, including his father who was in an Israeli
  • prison for 18 years. It was an inspirational event that discussed with depth and insight the obstacles to support for Palestinian rights encountered in Germany because of the persistence of German guilt about the Nazi past. In my remarks I tried to convey the understanding that the only true way to erase that sense of the past is to oppose the ongoing Israeli crimes of states rather than be complicit by choosing to be silent in the face of evil. I post a poem that I wrote earlier today, and read at the end of my talk, perhaps a self-indulgent conceit on my part, but I share it here as a way of thanking so many friends near and far who sent me the most moving birthday greetings throughout the day, which made me feel that we who are supporting the Palestinian struggle are part of a growing community that will prevail at some point, and the two peoples now inhabiting Palestine can finally live in peace, and with dignity and equality. All of us agreed that peace can only happen once the apartheid structure of the present Israeli state is fully dismantled and a spirit of true equality for Palestinians and Jews is affirmed and implemented, not only for those living under occupation, but for Palestinians confined to more than 60 refugee camps, to those millions long victimized by involuntary exile, and by the Palestinian minority in Israel.]
  • On My 88thBirthday: A Reflection 

    To be almost 90

    And happy

    With good health


    Feels criminal

    Amid Satanic happenings

    Raising Images too dark

    To be real


    Children in Gaza

    Are shot to death

    Friday after Friday

    By official assassins


    Khashoggi’s murder

    An unspeakable crime

    Yet no more than a problem

    For hard men of power


    Events so dark

    And so numerous

    Casting shadows


    Will despair be our fate?

    Is this truly our world?

    Are we even meant to survive?


    My hope– to live

    Long enough to shout

    An everlasting ‘No’


    And may so affirming

    Become my last word

    Become my testament

    Of hope for all beings




    Richard Falk


    November 13, 2018





37 Responses to “On My 88thBirthday: A Reflection”

  1. ray032 November 13, 2018 at 5:16 pm #

    Happy Birthday, Richard. May it be one of the Best. Live Long and Prosper!

  2. Lena November 13, 2018 at 5:25 pm #

    Happy birthday sweetest man in the world! They say God loves justice more than anything else. Thank you for a life pursuing justice.

    On Tue, Nov 13, 2018 at 5:57 PM Global Justice in the 21st Century wrote:

    > Richard Falk posted: ” [Prefatory Note: I took part in a stirring program > here in Berlin earlier this evening in support of three activists from > Palestine and Israel who face criminal charges for disrupting a meeting > featuring Zionist denials of Israeli crimes against hu” >

  3. Kata Fisher November 13, 2018 at 6:17 pm #

    Dear Proffessor Falk, You have put tears in my eyes and spirit – by your free mind and conciance. That’s exactly what my conciance is witnessing on this side of Atlantic. Still, I can’t even begin to shear what my conciance is witnessing, – not only terrifying revelation, but also terrifying judgments upon the wicked. Please don’t pass on any soon – until it is accomplished what you suppose to do. Peace be with you and no other Peace they shall get – or shall be given to them. May all Strenght and Grace of True Spirit of Justice be with you – that anoiting shall never leave you, as it is and was with your anchestors.

  4. Safiya November 13, 2018 at 6:38 pm #

    Cheers to a man whose life long work on justice and equality speak to his genuine character! Happy Birthday, Safiya

  5. john s ahern and Barbara November 13, 2018 at 8:03 pm #

    Happy Birthday, Richard. We miss seeing you folks at the tennis courts. How are you doing with your new knees?

    • Richard Falk November 13, 2018 at 11:12 pm #

      Thanks, John and Barbara. Surgery was successful. Now live without pain. Hope
      to see you soon at the tennis courts! We return to SB on Nov. 20th after a nine
      month absence. Warm greetings to you both from frosty Berlin. Richard

  6. Kata Fisher November 13, 2018 at 8:16 pm #

    “You vimpires, you shadows of Satan – you shall be accursed in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth”. “Change your conciance or you shall inherit the hell, and cast irons of it.” That’s in my conciance – and it does not stop, Professor Falk.

  7. Fred Skolnik November 13, 2018 at 9:25 pm #

    Invoking Satan, calling Israelis vampires and reciting the I Hate Israel mantra word for word for the hundredth time overshadows any inclination a balanced person might feel to wish you well on this occasion. Shame on you.

    • Richard Falk November 13, 2018 at 11:16 pm #

      If you can learn one thing, there is no ‘hate’ in my heart or head.
      There is a wish for decency. That begins with accepting the humanity
      of the other, and taking responsibility for the crimes of the self.
      If you truly love Israel you would want it to live in truth. Its failure
      to do so situates the locus of shame.

      • Fred Skolnik November 14, 2018 at 12:08 am #

        But your “truth” is simply not true and that is what I have shown time and again and that is what youi have evaded. And please don’t talk to me about humanity. As I’ve pointed out in the past, I’ve had more human contact with Arabs in a month than you will have had in your entire lifetime. It is for me that they are real human beings while for you they are an abstraction.

      • Richard Falk November 14, 2018 at 1:45 am #

        You might benefit from reading Saramago on blindness..

      • Fred Skolnik November 14, 2018 at 1:59 am #

        None of this will change the actual facts of the matter. The Arabs initiated and lost two wars. Wars have consequences. As a consequence of these two wars, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians (and Jews) were displaced and Arab territory was occupied. As a consequence of refusing to make peace, Arab territory continued to be occupied. As a consequence of engaging in terrorism, the Palestinian population was subjected to all the legitimate measures required to fight terrorism (security roads, the security fence, roadblocks, checkpoints, curfews, arrests). If they want a state of their own, which will be called a Palestinian state just as Israel is called a Jewish state (and if Jews are allowed to live there they will have to countenance a Palestinian flag, a Palestinian national anthem, Palestinian national holidays and an immigration policy that favors Palestinians), they will have to return to the negotiating table and negotiate an end to the conflict along perfectly reasonable lines that are understood by everyone.

      • Kata Fisher November 14, 2018 at 10:49 am #

        A note: negotiate an end to the conflict – with the simplest understanding to all: manage your cuts – whenever you can.

        Can you really do that?

        Its humanly impossible, and it is humanity at loss.

        But it is possible.

        Otherwise it is humanity at loss.

      • Force the invaders into New York, the Jewish State November 15, 2018 at 2:27 pm #

        [If you can learn one thing, there is no ‘hate’ in my heart or head.
        There is a wish for decency.]


        YOUR ACTIONS AGAINST THIS ZIONIST CRIMINAL MAKE OTHERS TO THINK THAT YOU DESERVE IT. Bouth complementary to each other just because of the same ‘tribe’.

        No wise man will act in such a coward and dumb way. Both deserve each other.

        You should read the following paper by Atzmon, to know yourself better. Learn about yourself as a ‘jew’ by Atzmon:


        Jewish Politics in America – A Post Political View
        [Naturally, Jewish ideologists are at the helm of the Identitarian revolution. Maybe more well known is the fact that a chief funder of that revolution is financier George Soros and his Open Society Institute. Soros may genuinely believe in the Identitarian future: It is cosmopolitan, it is global, it defies borders and states but far more significantly, it also serves to divert attention from Wall Street and capitalist crimes: as long as Identitarians fight each other, no one bothers to fight Wall Street, Goldman Sachs and corporate tyranny. Soros didn’t invent this strategy, it has long been called ‘divide and conquer.’]

    • ray032 November 14, 2018 at 10:35 am #

      No, shame on you, Fred!

      The only thing Jews, Christians and Muslims is the Devil rules this world, using Divide and Conquer to maintain Supremacy.

      • ray032 November 14, 2018 at 10:36 am #

        No, shame on you, Fred!

        The only thing Jews, Christians and Muslims agree on, is the Devil rules this world, using Divide and Conquer to maintain Supremacy.

  8. Nahida Exiled Palestinian November 14, 2018 at 12:04 am #

    Many happy returns good man

    It is a soul wrenching and an unsightly sight to live and witness the “armed vampires” raging and frothing mayhem upon our beautiful world, but the watchful eyes of the Most Loving, Most Gracious, Most Merciful will never let the grip of evil takeover. Goodness will have the last say. Peace and Justice shall prevail insha’Allah.

    Stop, Listen, Look, Hope

    The universe began, as far as we know, in a chaotic massive explosion, some billions of years ago, then slowly but surely the dance began; energies clustered, particles joined together, atoms formed, matter was born.

    Then again slowly but surely, matter began to swim in orbits, galaxies twirled, stars swirled, planet formed, life was born (at least on the planet we live on)

    Then ever since, we have been witnessing chaos moving to supreme order, mayhem to beauty, random explosions to fine-tuning, to consciousness, to morality, to kindness, to breathtaking beauty and exquisite harmony, despite all what SOME humans are doing.

    It is this magical journey from chaos to balance, to beauty, to harmony to awareness, which indicates that we are moving forward, evolving with LOVING GUIDANCE, which in turn gives us boundless HOPE, despite the misery we are living today.

    Thus whispers the kernel of my soul, to which every atom of my being celebrates and dances to, in every heartbeat and with every breath


    • Richard Falk November 14, 2018 at 1:47 am #

      Thanks, dear Nahida, for this beautiful comment, and the loving wisdom it imparts!

      You are special..

      • stevesd619 February 26, 2020 at 6:14 am #

        Nahida is definitely a beautiful and special soul. I am honored to have both her and her wisdom as a part of my life. Shukron, ya ukti! Stephen.

  9. Mary November 14, 2018 at 4:36 am #

    All good wishes from this British supporter of the causes you advocate. Thank you for helping me to understand, and for stressing the importance of having an open mind and wide-open eyes that look at all sides.

  10. Lester Ruiz November 14, 2018 at 4:57 am #


    Blessings on your 90th birthday. And may you be even more blessed and be a blessing to others, as you have been to me, who along with you continue the struggles for a truly friendlier tomorrow of justice, peace, and transformation. Yes, indeed, i join you in shouting an eternal no to injustice, death, and despair. Always in friendship and solidarity.


    Lester Edwin J Ruiz
    Sent from my personal iPhone
    Envoys sans fil par mon telephone de bureau mobile sur le reseau de ATT

  11. Dr Dayan Jayatilleka November 14, 2018 at 6:06 am #

    Happy birthday, Richard. (If my wishes are belated and brief it is because Sanja has some health issues and is in hospital). Your poem deserves to live on long long after we all do. And yet it tells only of half of yourself. You not only say NO, you also say YES, and you search and you propose just and humane goals. Yours is a noble way of being. Chomsky and you are the closest I can think of to the Old Testament prophets with their moral and ethical visions and voices, and I rather prefer you because you go beyond critique.

  12. Don E. Scheid November 14, 2018 at 7:23 am #

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY anyway!!!

  13. Natalia Carrusca November 14, 2018 at 7:34 am #

    Dear professor,

    Happy birthday! I am a Master’s student working on a dissertation on civil society, trade and human rights, in which some of your writings have a central place! I would love to meet with you and talk with you one day. Until now I had no idea that you would be in Berlin these days – I live here at the moment. How long will you stay? Best regards,


    • Richard Falk November 14, 2018 at 3:10 pm #


      I would be delighted to meet with you and learn about your work,
      but I am leaving for Potsdam in the morning. I wish you well and hope
      we can meet in the future.



  14. Jerry Alatalo November 14, 2018 at 10:25 am #

    Kind regards and happy birthday Professor Richard Falk. Best wishes to you and like-minded friends the world over in the vital good work of increasing manifested truth, justice and peace for present and future generations sharing the Earth. Thank you all. Peace.

  15. Beau Oolayforos November 14, 2018 at 11:03 am #

    Thank you for letting me imagine being once again a pimply-faced freshman, taking Dr. Falk’s IR class. You are a great teacher, who has opened new doors, new worlds, for countless people. Many Happy Returns !!

  16. Sean Breathnach November 14, 2018 at 12:30 pm #

    And from an Irishman on holiday in Spain, Happy Birthday Professor Falk. May you stay forever young.

  17. Schlüter November 14, 2018 at 2:16 pm #

    Happy Birthday, dear Profesor Falk! Health, Happiness and success for your work!
    Cordial regards
    Andreas Schlüter

  18. Irene Murray Shemaria November 14, 2018 at 5:08 pm #

    Happy Birthday to you Professor Falk, keep up the good work, and thank you. All the best, Irene Shemaria.

  19. Kata Fisher November 14, 2018 at 9:46 pm #

    This is also one tool that can be helpful in solving contemporarily conflict/s.

    Still, I throw out the part on explanation that he holds on free masonry – I did so. Also, shockingly hilarious.. The church fired their builders, and contemporary follower of the builders have no purpose. They do not understand teaching of their masters.

    But I did catch up on one single useful data:

    Un-reputable harmony of opposites and the way out of the hell when comes to the human existence.

  20. Kata Fisher November 15, 2018 at 9:49 pm #

    Professor Falk,
    I have to shear something with you. I meet David and his wife, and David is over 90 years old – and his wife close to that age. Today, he came over, and we all were very happy to see him since he did not stop by for serval of the weeks.

    As soon the cook made his late afternoon dinner – I brought over some cakes and sat down with David – and this time I learned that he grew up in Ortodox Jewish Family – and just by a random chance, I learned that. He was telling me how now he is moving to a smaller place – since his wife is in Assisted Living, and how he has been tired and just staying home – just went to Church … and that was pretty much it.

    At that point I asked, “David, are you Catholic?” and he said that he Grew up as an Orthodox Jew and his wife as Catholic – but they were in another Church, and I just can’t recall which one. He told me that he was from Rusian Moutains – and I think he said Caucasus Mountains – his parents immigrated. He also told me how his wery wealthy family disowned him when he married his wife.

    Aw we are talking he was telling me how the adjustment to Assisted living was going really ok for both of them because he and his wife teach there.
    And he asked me “Did you learn anything today?”

    He shared so many stories to me – but all time I had to lean over the table just to be able to hear him because he spoke very quietly.

    He told me that his father tried to send him to West point – but he ran away. He also told me that he was in military ower some 20 of the years – and he never wanted to be in the military … and how once he smacked an officer (he softly laughed). Also, he said if he had been gone to West Point – he would have been a General (and he giggled).

    He was saying – no matter what you do God had his path. He told me when he met his wife – she tried to run away from him – but he asked her politely in German ” Warten sie die Fräulein.”
    I asked him.,
    “David, you spoke German?” And he said, Of course, I spoke German.” (he explained because of his close Family spoke German).

    He is doing really good in his age, and is adjusting wonderfully in the transitions and change for him and his wife – and she, too.

    He told me that it is almost as another purpose that they have.

  21. Zeynep Fetvaci November 17, 2018 at 1:27 pm #

    Happy birthday dear Richard.


    Zeynep Fetvaci (Ceylan Orhun’s niece whom you met five or so summers ago in Bodrum)

    From: Global Justice in the 21st Century Reply-To: Global Justice in the 21st Century Date: Wednesday, 14 November 2018 at 00:57 To: Zeynep Fetvaci PERSONAL Subject: [New post] On My 88thBirthday: A Reflection

    Richard Falk posted: ” [Prefatory Note: I took part in a stirring program here in Berlin earlier this evening in support of three activists from Palestine and Israel who face criminal charges for disrupting a meeting featuring Zionist denials of Israeli crimes against hu”

    • Richard Falk November 18, 2018 at 1:59 am #

      Dear Zeynep:

      How very sweet of you to send this message! I remember well our lunch together
      five years ago at Ceylan’s special dwelling place, and was so impressed by your
      maturity and grasp of life. I seem to recall that you were about to attend an
      American university. Is that correct? In any event, when you have spare time, let
      me know how and what you are doing.

      With my greetings,


  22. Ceylân November 17, 2018 at 8:52 pm #

    Dearest Richard,

    I have read a book review couple of days ago on old age which roughly said that “it is to slow time from getting there”; you are certainly an expert on that and MAY YOU SLOW IT INDEFINITELY since this world needs more of your NO cries!

    Wishing you a healthy, happy (belated) birthday; ENJOY!

    A BIG hug,

    • Richard Falk November 18, 2018 at 2:04 am #

      Dearest Ceylan:

      Your message and your hug were especially welcome as I have been alone this week in Berlin,
      and now in Potsdam. Busy but alone. Three very different events. The third ending yesterday
      was a small gathering to discuss ‘Law, Time, and Futures.’ And perhaps, the most interesting
      because it was a learning experience for me. The other two were talks I gave, one on Palestine,
      the other on Trump and Trumpism.

      I am trying to recover my focus on the memoir, and doing my best.. but it is not nearly good enough!

      I hope you are fine. Your niece, Zeynep, sent me a very sweet birthday message.

      with my love,


  23. stevesd619 February 26, 2020 at 6:10 am #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    I am in awe of you. I was very touched by your Reflection. I have been a Human Rights Defender for 36 years. I had my awakening to the Palestinian cause after the horror that was Sabra/Shatila. I am also a poet. I wish to share one of my recent poems with you in honor of your birthday belatedly.

    The world is a much better place with people like you in it. You are a truth-speaker and a rare and genuine soul. May God bless you with many more healthy, happy and prosperous years. Amen.

    Here is my poem. It is entitled, “Falastin”. It was published by the Palestine Chronicle.

    With great respect and admiration,



    seven decades come and gone

    millions looking for a home.

    Innocent to cause their fate

    death of thousands, stats to date

    ally, foe, it comes and goes

    for their actions, nothing shows

    braver souls they try new stuff

    never seems to be enough

    cruelly robbed of precious land

    martyrs blood upon the sand

    politics is just a game

    actors posture get their fame

    what was once a proud strong people

    with the temple mosque and steeple

    now is scattered to the wind

    God, it seems won’t ever end

    usage of the holocaust

    worldly patience soon exhaust

    under the banner of the blue and white

    children are stolen in the night

    infants cradled in their bed

    come the morning they are dead

    humanity not able to cry

    apathy to see them die

    parties form and parties split

    horrors’ all the people get

    one little boy was all they left

    from his family so bereft

    soldiers claiming land of Zion

    trying to extinct the lion

    use land as lab use folk as mice

    if test won’t work they run it twice

    fences, wires, combat zones

    gases, torture, endless drones

    past response to break impasse

    cylinders of poison gas

    how many more will it take

    the monster’s hunger to abate?

    nations gathered won’t defend

    never help no hand extend

    truly up to you and me

    to set the Gazan people free.

    – Rev. Stephen Brackens Brinkley is a San Diego-based advocate and human rights activist for unarmed civilians living under armed conflict. He contributed this poem to PalestineChronicle.com.

    email: stevesd619@gmail.com
    Twitter: @revhumanrights

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