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Re: Letter to John Algeo

May 08, 2008 02:15 PM
by Anand

Is election process in TS different from democratic election process
which is generally used in national elections ? Recently we saw how
Obama, Hillary and others did fierce campaigning, proving to people
how they are better candidates than their opponents. Campaigning is
part of any election, as I understand. Does TS have any different kind
of democracy in which there should be no campaigning?  Pedro's letter
suggests that John, who is opponent of Radha in this election, should
campaign for Radha. That does not sound normal. I will be happy if
Pedro can explain why election in TS should be different from any
other democratic election.
Anand Gholap

--- In, "prmoliveira" <prmoliveira@...> wrote:
> Dear John,
> Is well known that Radha Burnier nominated you for the position of 
> Vice-President of the TS three times: in 2001, 2004 and 2007. 
> Nominating the same person three times for such an important position 
> implies a great deal of trust in the person thus nominated. Even 
> after suffering a stroke in November 2006, and having recovered from 
> it, she still chose to nominate you as the Vice-President of the 
> Society.
> I was very relieved, and reassured, when I received the MESSAGE FROM 
> THE VICE-PRESIDENT, which you kindly sent, electronically, on 24 
> February 2007, to all General Secretaries, Presidential 
> Representatives, Organising Secretaries plus a number of individual 
> members around the world. This information was important not only 
> because it came from our Vice-President but also because you had met 
> with and talked to Radha at Adyar a little more than a month after 
> her stroke. I reproduce the relevant part of your message:
> "As you have doubtless heard, the President had a light stroke in 
> November. It did not affect her body or her mind except for a slight 
> and temporary memory loss with respect to names. Her doctor predicts 
> a full recovery, which will take several months. At present she is 
> progressing nicely and doing very well. She attended all the major 
> meetings during Convention, although she let others do some of the 
> speaking and presiding that she normally does. She has taken a short 
> time off (which she well deserves) to recuperate, free from the 
> demands on her at headquarters, but she is now back at Adyar and 
> attending to business. While I was at Adyar in December and January, 
> I had extensive discussions with her about Theosophical business 
> around the world, and she is on top of all the facts and her judgment 
> is as sharp as ever. The outlook is very favorable for a full 
> recovery. The Adyar staff responded in exemplary fashion during 
> convention, and all went very well indeed."
> When I arrived at Adyar, last December, something had changed for I 
> soon became aware that some workers there were preparing to send out 
> a letter to the members of the General Council, both about Radha's 
> health as well as informing them that you had agreed to accept 
> nominations for the office of President. Later on I was able to 
> obtain a copy of Elvira Carbonell's letter to a General Council 
> member. The letter, dated 19 December 2007, clearly indicates that 
> you had accepted to be a candidate even before the official 
> nomination papers had reached the great majority of General Council 
> members residing overseas. As you know, I did protest at Elvira's 
> letter in my own letter to the General Council, saying that it "is a 
> clear attempt to interfere with the constitutional election for 
> President of the TS." 
> After the nomination phase was over, signs of a wider and active 
> campaign in your favour started to appear. On 29 March 2008, Mme. 
> Maxence Ondet, Secretary to the French TS Board, sent out a letter to 
> all TS members in France. She says, among other things, that Radha, 
> after the stroke, was "unable to speak for at least a month and [it] 
> 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." If we compare Mme. Ondet's 
> statements to your abovementioned report about Radha's condition the 
> discrepancies in the French letter become self-evident. 
> Mme. Ondet went on to say that those 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." The same letter states that "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."
> While at Adyar, last December, I visited Radha almost everyday for a 
> period of almost eighteen days and can therefore attest that the 
> above description of her condition is utterly false. I also saw 
> proofs of an upcoming issue of The Theosophist on the coffee table in 
> her living room. She reads every article that is submitted for 
> publication. As a matter of fact, the table was full of theosophical 
> magazines and books, the same way it was when I used to visit her 
> when I worked at Adyar more than twelve years ago. Although you, Mary 
> Anderson and Surendra Narayan wrote the "On the Watch-Tower" notes in 
> The Theosophist for the first few months last year, Radha resumed 
> writing them in May and we can again see her own style in the 
> magazine which she edits.
> The closing paragraph of Mme. Ondet's letter is even more revealing 
> (italics mine):
> "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,"
> What is there of fraternal in this most unkind, biased and untruthful 
> communication? 
> What has shocked, and continues to shock, many of us is that the 
> President of the Theosophical Society is the subject of an immoral 
> and utterly unbrotherly attack by the executive body of a National 
> Society, and yet members world wide have not heard a word from their 
> Vice-President about it. Your continued silence raises many 
> questions: do you object to the immoral attacks at the President 
> which distort, disfigure and blatantly lie about her real condition 
> which you saw at Adyar soon after the stroke and which now has been 
> confirmed by her doctors? Do you consider appropriate, as our Vice-
> President, for the executive body of a National Society to issue such 
> a letter as Mme. Ondet's to all its members on the eve of their 
> voting in the international election?  
> Then we saw Betty Bland's letter of 11 April 2008 sent to thousands 
> of members of the American Section. In it she says: 
> "Radha seems to be recovering physically from the stroke she suffered 
> over a year ago, but, given her age, she stills has periods of low 
> energy and her memory is inconsistent. While I have a deep respect 
> for the wonderful service she has given to the Society and feel that 
> she can continue to be useful as a wise elder, it is for the good of 
> the whole that the leadership pass smoothly to John Algeo, who 
> currently serves as the international Vice-president." 
> She concludes her letter by encouraging members to see your personal 
> website, which since 23 April 2008 has a Hindi webpage in 
> its "Theosophical" page, and adds: "I hope you seriously consider 
> this information when casting your vote."
> In an election with only two candidates, does not Betty's letter come 
> across as visible electioneering in your favour? Has she the right to 
> condition or influence the choice of the American members in an 
> election? When some of your supporters say that you are not 
> campaigning, is not Betty's letter an active and widespread campaign 
> on your behalf that hurts the freedom and fairness of the most 
> important election in the TS? I am aware of Radha's letter to the 
> General Secretaries, which was sent by ordinary mail. She had the 
> right of reply after being misrepresented and placed into 
> disadvantage by Elvira's letter which was sent a day after the 
> official nomination papers were issued by the International Secretary 
> at Adyar.
> Given your continued silence I have no reasons to believe that you 
> will address the questions I have asked you in this letter. But as a 
> member I needed to tell you, personally, that the actions of your 
> supporters have cast a thick cloud over the electoral process as they 
> have violated cherished and time-honoured principles of our Society. 
> And your continued silence is disappointing and disturbing.
> Those of us who have followed your serialized studies on The Voice of 
> the Silence, which are being published by Radha in The Theosophist, 
> cannot help but remember one of the poignant verses in that great 
> book: "Sow kindly acts and thou shalt reap their fruition. Inaction 
> in a deed of mercy becomes action in a deadly sin. Thus saith the 
> Sage." (II, 135)
> Radha, as a legitimate successor of Col. Olcott in the office of 
> President, deserves much more respect and courtesy than your 
> supporters have dispensed to her in this election. The Theosophical 
> Society is now poorer because of their actions which have desecrated 
> the institution of the Presidency and what it stands for. 
> I just could not remain silent.
> With sincere sadness,
> Pedro

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