Home at the end of time

Check-in, take off, landing, customs. Same all over again: take off, landing... More than a hundred countries a year; another country, meeting and theme every three days. That is the life of the President of FIDE - one of the world's largest sports federations.

I write these lines during the short interval between trips. However, many politicians and businessmen share such life style. The modern man is less tied to any particular place. By necessity – some more and some less – scientists and artists, journalists and engineers are touring the world. There are more and more people who feel that they are the citizens of the world.
Civilisation develops and people can travel to the places that were the ultimate dream of professional travellers before. Someone said, "The world is getting smaller." I remember a song from my childhood with the lyrics: "The planet has become a little smaller. You can travel all over it in an hour. You can get anywhere within fifteen hours of flying, plus another 15 minutes by taxi." But, in my opinion, that is not because the Earth is getting smaller but because a man is able to reach farther.
This means that all the cultural riches of civilization, from the Egyptian pyramids to spacecraft launch from Cape Canaveral, became available to any willing person. Anyone can visit Lake Baikal or the Rocky Mountains. Anyone can see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre or "Stranger" in the Tretyakov Gallery. And that's perfect.

I will never forget the rich range of feelings that I experienced when visiting Notre Dame de Paris for the first time. Could a simple guy lost in the steppes of Kalmykia even dream of it half a century ago? Maybe he could, but the realization of such dream, even if we forget about the notorious "Iron Curtain", would be a very difficult task.
There, in the Notre Dame Cathedral – one of the greatest shrines of Western Christianity – I, a Buddhist, have experienced a wonderful feeling of unity with the cosmos and God. Time ceased to exist or, rather, the past, present and future folded, and I keenly felt myself to be a part of the whole. It happened to me not for the first time: long before that, in my childhood, I experienced the same feeling when lying in the desert under the starry sky of Kalmykia.
Enlightenment can come anywhere. Success can be waiting for you in any city of the Earth. Paris and Moscow, Dharamsala in India, where I met with the Dalai Lama, and Rupite in Bulgaria, where Vanga lived, they all are familiar and dear for me. My field of action is the whole world. It is not easy to live such a life. The constant change of time zones and flights to regions with different climates require certain habit and skill. But I am a Kalmyk, the son of a nomadic people, who don’t need to get used to life in the saddle.

I can truly call myself a citizen of Earth. And I would stress that those who are like me become more and more in number. Is it good or bad? Many tend to think that there is nothing good in it. They believe that the citizens of the world are cut off from society and, being guided only by their own selfish interests, they have no homeland. "Where, lets’ say, write Kirsan Ilyumzhinov to, where is his home?" they ask maliciously.
I do not agree with those who habitually add the adjective "rootless" to the word "cosmopolitan". And that's why.
As I already wrote, the objective historical process is leading mankind to the merger, to the levelling of national, racial, religious and other differences. We evolved from the clan and tribal community to the territorial, and inevitably sooner or later will become a planetary one.
But this does not mean that this transition should lead to a rejection of the identity of people of different nations and abandoning customs and traditions. This will be the greatest humanitarian disaster that will tragically impoverish the spiritual life of mankind.
Kalmyks say, all fingers are different, but whichever you hit, it hurts like all the rest. Right now the organization, which declared its goal to be the building a state based on the radical version of one of the world's religions, is operating in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Wherever its supporters and mercenaries appear, first thing they rush to destroy cultural properties. Museum of Baghdad and Cairo, the ancient Buddha of Bamiyan, a unique architectural complex of Palmyra are all lost. Even if we would be able to recover something, it would be just a remake.
There cannot be secondary, low-value creations of ancestors of any person on our planet. The Statue of Liberty and "A girl with a paddle" from the city Park of Culture and Leisure are equally important. Same as there cannot be unimportant, "secondary" peoples, countries and nations. If you take away any element of the multi-coloured mosaic of civilization, it would dim and lose its charm.
Thus, after having become a citizen of the world, would a man willingly destroy that piece of his soul’s mosaic, which is related to his homeland? Would he voluntarily agree to become a spiritually colour-blind person, who sees vague grey haze instead of the colours of the rainbow? It seems to me, that on the contrary, a person who wants to fit into civilization and is interested in its development will predominantly try to keep and preserve the richness of colours of this small but very important element.
Me too, I am always carrying a piece of Kalmykia in my heart. Whatever global projects I am engaged in, my main goal was and still is to make every effort to help my native land to become prosperous and successful. So that the words "I am Kalmyk" will be spoken with pride in Moscow and New York, Beijing and London. So that that little piece of the mosaic of civilization will shine brighter.
I am convinced that a person who keeps his home- his little Motherland in his heart will better and faster perceive and accept the achievements of other cultures. I am confident that he before anyone else will be aware of his responsibility for the future of mankind and will do everything to make it better.
Now, as I write this column, another Economic Forum is being held in Davos. Among the issues that the representatives of the world's elite have included into the agenda, the great attention is paid to the climate and natural disasters. I hope that the reputable forum will give much attention to this issue. It is even possible that the forum will take some kind of resolution. The question is would there be any use of it?
Let us remember the Kyoto Protocol, which was advertised almost as a radical recipe in the fight against global warming. It has been 20 years ago; but how many benefits has it brought? Major industrial countries have refused to ratify it because the restrictions provided therein undermined their economic power. And therefore, they would reduce their influence in the world.
No resolutions and the roadmap will work until all realize the extent of their personal responsibility for the universe. That is why I insisted on inclusion of the following text in the Steppe Code (Kalmyk constitution): "The Republic of Kalmykia share responsibility for the current global human problems and is committed to make efforts to resolve them in a spirit of love, compassion, mercy and progress, contributing to the peace on Earth".
We, humankind, have entered the adult phase of existence. Now we know that our home is not just four walls with our cradle and toys. More than that: we have already made tentative attempts to look into the unknown, and realized with surprise that the Moon, Jupiter and other planets belong to our "home" space. And above this all an immense world of the universe extends, which too will someday become our common home.

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