Saturday, November 3, 2007

Malachi Ritscher

Today is the anniversary of the death of Malachi Ritscher. Those of you who read my old POL blog may remember my posts about him. Ritscher was a supporter and chronicler of the Chicago free jazz scene, and a fierce opponent of the war in Iraq. He committed suicide by self-immolation as a gesture of protest. His death was largely ignored by the media, though commentary from bloggers eventually led to some press discussion.

There's a Wikipedia page on Ritscher, which you can see here. There are a number of interesting links at the bottom of that page, including one to his self-written obituary, and another to a suicide note he called a "mission statement." Some of his musician friends--including Jim Baker, who was featured in a recent post here--are giving a "Concert for Malachi" in his memory this weekend.

I didn't know the man, but his death is incredibly sad to me. I think of him as another casualty of the war. I'm glad his friends are remembering him in a way he would have appreciated.

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