By Ray Fleming
World Citizen No.1 died a week ago aged 91 at his home in Vermont, USA. With that title and status his death should have been worth a headline or two but there have not been even the routine obituaries in the UK press. Garry Davis was his name and he declared himself World Citizen No 1 in May 1948, relinquishing his American citizenship as he did so. Six months later he stormed a meeting of the UN General Assembly in Paris and told the delegates, “The sovereign states you represent divide us and lead us to the abyss of total war.” Today some 950'000 people are registered world citizens, holding the movement's passport which is recognised in only six countries.

Garry Davis was driven to form the One World organisation by two things: the death of his brother in World War II and his own experience as a bomber pilot raiding Germany. Carrying the message that “The nation-state is a political fiction which perpetuates anarchy and is the breeding ground for war” Garry Davis travelled widely and found many devious ways of entering countries without a US passport. He was arrested several times but usually with no greater punishment than a return the way he had come. He remained active to the end, sending a World Citizen passport to the fugitive American Edward J Snowden holed up at Moscow airport.


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