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TS President Election - French View

Apr 18, 2008 05:04 AM
by MKR

Here is a msg Pedro posted on theos-l. Since the contents are of interest to
many of us,
I am posting it here.


I copy below correspondence sent to all French TS members eligible to
vote in the current Presidential election. It makes for interesting
reading if it did not contain a number of glaring untruths.

Contrary to what is said in the letter below, Radha Burnier delivered
her Presidential Address, while standing, for one and a half hours,
before an audience of over 1,100 members. She read out her Convention
lecture, which was interspersed with comments by her. I had several
conversations with her at Adyar in December 2007 and while her memory
for names is faulty at times, of which she is aware, her judgment and
perception are very clear.

In my next posting I will mention some interesting facts which took
place at Adyar when the official nomination papers for the current
election were being issued.

In my files I have an extract from The Theosophist, September 1947,
by C. Jinarajadasa, which reads as follows:

When the President-Founder, Colonel Olcott, lay dying in Adyar, he
read a letter of 7 January 1907 to Dr. Annie Besant with certain
requests. One request was as follows:

"I desire that so long as there are sufficient funds to make it
possible, you, and the succeeding Presidents residing at Adyar, will
see that the place is well cared for, and properly kept up, as the
Headquarters of the Theosophical Society. Do this in memory of dear
H.P.B. and myself."

Pedro Oliveira

Theosophical Society in France

March 29 2008

Dear Members of the Theosophical Society in France,

The presidential elections that take place every seven years will be
held this year, 2008. The procedure stipulated in the international
bylaws consists of two stages:

- First of all nominations by the national Sections and the
additional members of the General Council to determine the number of
candidates - and to become a candidate, one has to receive at least 12

- Next, a vote by universal suffrage and secret ballot by members
throughout the world with the right to vote - the candidate receiving
the most votes being declared international president.

The first stage - the call for nominations - began, in accordance
with the international bylaws, last December 17, six months before
the end of the current term of office.

This first stage is now complete with the following results:

- 14 (fourteen) nominations for Mrs Radha Burnier and

- 21 (twenty-one) nominations for Prof. John Algeo.

They have both accepted nomination. Their respective curriculum vitae
will be sent to you shortly with the voting papers.

Before the second stage begins - the voting itself - the National
Board has a duty to inform you about Radha's state of health.

In November 2006, she had a serious stroke which left her unable to
speak for at least a month and deprived her of a large part of her
memory. Her recovery was slow and incomplete, especially as far as
short term memory and recall of names are concerned. In conversation,
she no longer understands anything but short and simple sentences.

Granted, in July 2007 she honoured us with her presence at the
European Congress and Centenary of the Finnish Section in Helsinki.
The debilitating effects of the stroke have proved impossible to
overcome, however; further, she had a relapse upon her return home
from Europe. The leaders of several Sections in the world present at
the Convention at Adyar in December 2007 noticed with sadness and
embarrassment the great difficulty with which she delivered her
principal Convention address, an address that was wandering and
repetitive, and showed a weakened mind or brain damage.

For decades, most of these leaders had known, esteemed and admired
Radha for the depth of her thought, for her devotion in serving the
Theosophical Society. They were forced to face facts: in spite of
their deep affection and their great esteem for Radha, the sense of
duty to the Theosophical Society and its ideal, as well as concern
for its future, were going to have to be put first. The great
majority of the leaders of the different Sections present at the
Convention have thus nominated John. This explains the nomination

Currently and since her stroke in November 2006, Radha has been
carrying out her administrative work with difficulty for a few hours
each day, with the patient and devoted help of faithful workers. As
a result, delays build up in spite of the devotion of those around
her because she alone makes decisions, decisions that sit waiting
either through forgetfulness or confusion. She no longer writes
speeches; someone does them for her. Since the stroke, the editorials
of the international magazine 'The Adyar Theosophist' are no longer
written by her.

There is an even greater risk due to the fact that she is signing
letters written by some of her assistants, letters that are not in
her style, one affirming that she is in good health, the other
running down the 'opposition' candidate, and thus starting a campaign
with political tones foreign to the theosophical ethic. The other
candidate, John, is keeping his word: as he said to some leaders
present at the Convention, he is not campaigning.

Radha was born in November 1923; she is going on for 85 (eighty-five)
yearsold. She was elected in 1979, re-elected in 1986, 1994 and
2001. She is at the end of her fourth term and hopes to do a fifth
one of seven years. What would the Theosophical Society become at
international level if a small group of people with doubtful
intentions took advantage of Radha's present state? This is probably
happening right now, even without her knowledge. The withholding of
information about her real state of health seems wrong to

We have all had numerous occasions to appreciate Radha in the past, to
admire and esteem her, as most of the leaders of the world's Sections
have done and for the same reasons. But our sense of duty cannot be
overridden by our feelings. For sure, we loved Radha. We probably
still do. And this has perhaps nothing to do with her mental state.
Even so, we think that the destiny of the Theosophical Society would
be even more shaken if Radha were to take on a fifth term of office.
We therefore invite you to reflect seriously before the forthcoming
election which will be crucial for the future direction of the
Theosophical Society.

Most fraternally,

For the National Board

Maxence Ondet
National Board Secretary

NB: We have learned that as of today Germany, Finland, Spain, Italy,
Portugal, Sweden, the USA, Colombia and Argentina have decided to
write in a similar vein to their members.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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