as far as a suit (in which both piety and dignity, religion and estimation, were mingled), which of the religious orders should ring to prayers first in the morning; and it was determined, that they should ring first that rose earliest. If we understand aright the dignity of this bell that tolls for our evening prayer, we would be glad to make it ours by rising early, in that application, that it might be ours as well as his, whose indeed it is.
The bell doth toll for him that thinks it doth; and though it intermit again, yet from that minute that this occasion wrought upon him, he is united to God. Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises? but who takes off his eye from a comet when that breaks out? Who bends not his ear to any bell which upon any occasion rings? but who can remove it from that bell which is passing a piece of himself out of this world?
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
Neither can we call this a begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbours. Truly it were an excusable covetousness if we did, for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it. No man hath affliction enough that is not matured and ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction.
If a man carry treasure in bullion, or in a wedge of gold, and have none coined into current money, his treasure will not defray him as he travels. Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our home, heaven, by it. Another man may be sick too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a mine, and be of no use to him; but this bell, that tells me of his affliction, digs out and applies that gold to me: if by this consideration of another's danger I take mine own into contemplation, and so secure myself, by making my recourse to my God, who is our only security.
The hegemonic pretensions of the American empire
are placing at risk the very
survival of the human species. We continue to warn you about this danger and we
appeal to the people of the United States and the world to halt this threat,
which is like a sword hanging over our heads. I had considered reading from this
book, but, for the sake of time," [flips through the pages, which are numerous]
"I will just leave it as a recommendation.
It reads easily, it is a very good book, I'm sure Madame [President] you are
familiar with it. It appears in English, in Russian, in Arabic, in German. I
think that the first people who should read this book are our brothers and
sisters in the United States, because their threat is right in their own
The devil is right at home. The devil, the devil himself, is right in the
"And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the devil came here. Right
here." [crosses himself] "And it smells of sulfur still today.
Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the
United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as
if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world.
I think we could call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday's statement made by
the president of the United States. As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to
share his nostrums, to try to preserve the current pattern of domination,
exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world.
the American empire is doing all it can to consolidate its system of domination.
And we cannot allow them to do that. We cannot allow world dictatorship to be
The world parent's statement -- cynical, hypocritical, full of this imperial
hypocrisy from the need they have to control everything.
They say they want to impose a democratic model. But that's their democratic
model. It's the false democracy of elites, and, I would say, a very original
democracy that's imposed by weapons and bombs and firing weapons.
What a strange democracy. Aristotle might not recognize it or others who are
at the root of democracy.
What type of democracy do you impose with marines and bombs?
The president of the United States, yesterday, said to us, right here, in
this room, and I'm quoting, "Anywhere you look, you hear extremists telling you
can escape from poverty and recover your dignity through violence, terror and
Wherever he looks, he sees extremists. And you, my brother -- he looks at
your color, and he says, oh, there's an extremist. Evo Morales, the worthy
president of Bolivia, looks like an extremist to him.
The imperialists see extremists everywhere. It's not that we are extremists.
It's that the world is waking up. It's waking up all over. And people are
I have the feeling, dear world dictator, that you are going to live the rest
of your days as a nightmare because the rest of us are standing up, all those
who are rising up against American imperialism, who are shouting for equality,
for respect, for the sovereignty of nations.
Yes, you can call us extremists, but we are rising up against the empire,
against the model of domination.
The president then -- and this he said himself, he said: "I have come to
speak directly to the populations in the Middle East, to tell them that my
country wants peace."
That's true. If we walk in the streets of the Bronx, if we walk around New
York, Washington, San Diego, in any city, San Antonio, San Francisco, and we ask
individuals, the citizens of the United States, what does this country want?
Does it want peace? They'll say yes.
But the government doesn't want peace. The government of the United States
doesn't want peace. It wants to exploit its system of exploitation, of pillage,
of hegemony through war.
It wants peace. But what's happening in Iraq? What happened in Lebanon? In
Palestine? What's happening? What's happened over the last 100 years in Latin
America and in the world? And now threatening Venezuela -- new threats against
Venezuela, against Iran?
He spoke to the people of Lebanon. Many of you, he said, have seen how your
homes and communities were caught in the crossfire. How cynical can you get?
What a capacity to lie shamefacedly. The bombs in Beirut with millimetric
This is crossfire? He's thinking of a western, when people would shoot from
the hip and somebody would be caught in the crossfire.
This is imperialist, fascist, assassin, genocidal, the empire and Israel
firing on the people of Palestine and Lebanon. That is what happened. And now we
hear, "We're suffering because we see homes destroyed.'
The president of the United States came to talk to the peoples -- to the
peoples of the world. He came to say -- I brought some documents with me,
because this morning I was reading some statements, and I see that he talked to
the people of Afghanistan, the people of Lebanon, the people of Iran. And he
addressed all these peoples directly.
And you can wonder, just as the president of the United States addresses
those peoples of the world, what would those peoples of the world tell him if
they were given the floor? What would they have to say?
And I think I have some inkling of what the peoples of the south, the
oppressed people think. They would say, "Yankee imperialist, go home." I think
that is what those people would say if they were given the microphone and if
they could speak with one voice to the American imperialists.
And that is why, Madam President, my colleagues, my friends, last year we
came here to this same hall as we have been doing for the past eight years, and
we said something that has now been confirmed -- fully, fully confirmed.
I don't think anybody in this room could defend the system. Let's accept --
let's be honest. The U.N. system, born after the Second World War, collapsed.
Oh, yes, it's good to bring us together once a year, see each other, make
statements and prepare all kinds of long documents, and listen to good speeches,
like Abel's yesterday, or President Mullah's . Yes, it's good for that.
And there are a lot of speeches, and we've heard lots from the president of
Sri Lanka, for instance, and the president of Chile.
But we, the assembly, have been turned into a merely deliberative organ. We
have no power, no power to make any impact on the terrible situation in the
world. And that is why Venezuela once again proposes, here, today, 20 September,
that we re-establish the United Nations.
Yesterday, the secretary general practically gave us his speech of farewell. And
he recognized that over the last 10 years, things have just gotten more
complicated; hunger, poverty, violence, human rights violations have just
worsened. That is the tremendous consequence of the collapse of the United
Nations system and American hegemonistic pretensions.
Madam, Venezuela a few years ago decided to wage this battle within the
United Nations by recognizing the United Nations, as members of it that we are,
and lending it our voice, our thinking.
Our voice is an independent voice to represent the dignity and the search for
peace and the reformulation of the international system; to denounce persecution
and aggression of hegemonistic forces on the planet.
The imperium is afraid of truth, is afraid of independent voices. It calls us
extremists, but they are the extremists.
Over and above all of this, Madam President, I think there are reasons to be
optimistic. A poet would have said "helplessly optimistic," because over and
above the wars and the bombs and the aggressive and the preventive war and the
destruction of entire peoples, one can see that a new era is dawning.
As Silvio Rodriguez says, the era is giving birth to a heart. There are
alternative ways of thinking. There are young people who think differently. And
this has already been seen within the space of a mere decade. It was shown that
the end of history was a totally false assumption, and the same was shown about
Pax Americana and the establishment of the capitalist neo-liberal world. It has
been shown, this system, to generate mere poverty. Who believes in it now?
What we now have to do is define the future of the world. Dawn is breaking
out all over. You can see it in Africa and Europe and Latin America and Oceanea.
I want to emphasize that optimistic vision.
We have to strengthen ourselves, our will to do battle, our awareness. We
have to build a new and better world.
We want ideas to save our planet, to save the planet from the imperialist
threat. And hopefully in this very century, in not too long a time, we will see
this, we will see this new era, and for our children and our grandchildren a
world of peace based on the fundamental principles of the United Nations, but a
renewed United Nations.
And maybe we have to change location. Maybe we have to put the United Nations
somewhere else; maybe a city of the south.
It smells of sulfur here, but God is with us and I embrace you all.
May God bless us all. Good day to you.
~ Hugo Chavez
Address to the UN
September 20, 2006
* photo by Spencer Platt, Getty Images
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez moments before addressing the United Nations General Assembly on September 20, 2006 at the UN in New York City.