Monday, November 27, 2006

War Protestor's Public Suicide in Chicago Went Unnoticed by Media

CHICAGO Malachi Ritscher envisioned his death as one full of purpose. He carefully planned the details, mailed a copy of his apartment key to a friend, created to-do lists for his family. On his Web site, the 52-year-old experimental musician who'd fought with depression even penned his obituary.
At 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 3 -- four days before an election caused a seismic shift in Washington politics-- Ritscher, a frequent anti-war protester, stood by an off-ramp in downtown Chicago near a statue of a giant flame, set up a video camera, doused himself with gasoline and lit himself on fire.
Aglow for the crush of morning commuters, his flaming body was supposed to be a call to the nation, a symbol of his rage and discontent with the U.S. war in Iraq.
"Here is the statement I want to make: if I am required to pay for your barbaric war, I choose not to live in your world. I refuse to finance the mass murder of innocent civilians, who did nothing to threaten our country," he wrote in his suicide note. "... If one death can atone for anything, in any small way, to say to the world: I apologize for what we have done to you, I am ashamed for the mayhem and turmoil caused by my country."
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