The Carbonell letter
May 07, 2008 01:45 PM
Below, I reproduce Elvira Carbonell's letter, which
was sent out, by email, from Adyar, on 19 December 2007:
"Dear General Council member, Mr Lindemann:
Since there has been uncertainty about the state
of our President's health and our
Vice-President's willingness and ability to
accept nominations for the upcoming Presidential
election, several of us at Adyar feel the need to
write to members of the General Council to share
the following information.
Many of us at Adyar are concerned that our
President will be putting an unnecessary burden
on herself and her prospects for continued
recovery if she runs for another term. Because of
our deep regard for her and the Society, we would
like to see her live as long as possible as a
wise counsel and guide to whoever gets elected as
the next President of the Theosophical Society.
We have learned that our Vice-President has been
asked if he will accept nominations, and have
confirmation from him that although he is not
eager to run for President, he will do what seems
to be in the best interest of the Society when
the time comes, and he will accept nominations.
We have also received confirmation from him that
he feels Adyar has to remain the international
Headquarters of the TS, for both practical and
We hope that others who are qualified and have
the best interest of the Society at heart will
make themselves available as nominees in a
non-adversarial spirit, as having several
candidates on the ballot will ensure a wider
choice of experience and abilities, which can
only benefit our Society.
Ms Elvira Carbonell
Theosophical Society, Adyar, India"
The first paragraph of the letter shows that:
a) Mrs Radha Burnier's health was an issue in this election, with Ms
Carbonell using the word `uncertainty' in relation to it;
b) Dr John Algeo, as Vice-President, was willing and able to accept
c) Carbonell and several others at Adyar decided to write to the
members of the General Council.
Comment: Carbonell was working as assistant to the International
Secretary, Mary Anderson, and therefore residing at Adyar. As some of
her articles had appeared in `The Theosophist', her name was known
around the world. The Secretary's Office contains the entire
membership database of the TS (Adyar), including names and addresses
of GC members. Miss Anderson issued the official nomination papers on
18 December 2007 to all GC members by airmail. Several GC members
while at Adyar for the Convention received theirs hand delivered.
A question that arises here is: what was the impact of Carbonell's
letter, and the letters of the several others at Adyar mentioned by
her, on those members of the GC living overseas? What role did it
play in the number of nominations received by both candidates?
The second paragraph attempts to pre-empt Mrs Burnier's candidacy by
suggesting to General Council members that she should remain as a
retired elder in the TS.
The third paragraph includes a confirmation by John Algeo that he
will accept nominations. As Carbonell's letter was read out by the
President at the General Council meeting of the TS, held on 25
December 2007 (the minutes of this meeting are included in the TS
Annual Report for 2007), and as Dr Algeo's mention in Carbonell's
letter was not questioned by him at that meeting, the logical
conclusion is that Carbonell's assertions about him having decided to
accept nominations are factual.
As Elvira Carbonell and others at Adyar wrote the above communication
to the members of the General Council of the TS, not only attempting
to pre-empt Mrs Burnier's candidacy but definitely announcing that Dr
Algeo had agreed to accept nominations, Mrs Burnier was entitled to
write to the same GC members and present her views.
It is also interesting to note that the National President of the TS
in America, Mrs Betty Bland, who attended the GC meeting last
December, while accusing Radha Burnier of electioneering
she makes no mention at all of Carbonell's letter which was read out
at the same General Council meeting mentioned above.
Another interesting point is that Mrs Bland's message mentioned above
includes only the text of her (Bland's) letter, while the same
message which was received by email in other places, including New
Zealand and Australia, included at the bottom the text of Radha
Burnier's letter to the GC members, which was originally sent by
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