Now it is time to stand and salute - Robert Thompson: 1931–2009
It is with profound regret that the Axis of Logic editors announce the passing of our long-time columnist and friend, Robert Thompson. His Letters from France column has been a steady feature of Axis of Logic from the beginning, and has evoked some of the most vibrant exchanges with readers, including at the highest levels of world government.
Robert was ill for several years, so we have had time to prepare for when the inevitable became the reality. But we knew all along that whatever words we crafted, they wouldn't measure up to the man. Nevertheless, with what poor skills we have, we wish to bow and honour him.
Over several years of unremitting disease, Robert continued to peck away at his keyboard with uncommon insight. He fought the battle against illness with a grace and dignity we should all hope to achieve. Even as the last ravages of sickness wracked his body with agony, Robert refused pain-reducing medications if they would cloud his mind, and continued to pour out words of wisdom until neither hand could function any longer.
Robert was born in England, at Leek (North Staffordshire), in 1931. As a young man, he was admitted to Oxford University where he read Jurisprudence, finally becoming a Solicitor. After a time, his career took him to Paris, where he assumed a position with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). At the ICC, Robert was Director of the Legal Department, and Secretary General of the Court of Arbitration, the most important international commercial arbitration centre in the world.
While still with the ICC, Robert became the director in charge of relations with the Arab states, where he travelled for professional reasons on numerous occasions. Always a fervent advocate of civility among nations, Robert worked hard toward developing a climate of legal cooperation between countries.
At some point along the way, Robert obtained French citizenship; at the time of his retirement, he was an Avocat (trial lawyer), living with his wife in a quiet village in northern France. It was there that he spent his final years, tirelessly pursuing justice for the peoples of all nations. He was a truly devoted father and husband, and we speak with confidence when we say he will be remembered with love by his wife, his children, his extended family, and many friends.
Robert was a devout Roman Catholic, a point he made often as a way of alerting the reader to the moral basis behind his views. Yet he accepted and championed the views of other religions, or complete lack of faith. He was an ardent supporter of the rights of all individuals to exercise their beliefs, or lack of them, demanding only that they lead good and decent lives. Although he was harshly critical of the government of Israel, there was not an anti-Jewish bone in his body.
Robert wrote directly to presidents and prime ministers, and was unswerving in his support for good and his condemnation of bad. He had an uncanny knack for quickly sizing up the real motives behind the posturing of public officials, and was not shy about rapping their knuckles when needed.
Because of Robert’s profound faith in his Roman Catholic beliefs, we know he welcomed death. But we do not welcome his absence. And because we are not willing to let him go from us so easily, Axis of Logic will maintain his writings online where they can continue to serve as a beacon.
So long as this man's words can still be read, and so long as injustice remains, court will remain in session...
~ EDITORS, AXIS OF LOGIC
LETTERS FROM FRANCE