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Chicago artist immoliates self in protest of war

I will never forget the name Malachi Ritscher. That's him, holding the sign.


On Friday, November 3, in downtown Chicago, he sat down at the base of The Flame of the Millennium, a seven-ton abstract statue of a fire burning in the wind. He placed a sign above him that read, "THOU SHALT NOT KILL!", then proceeded to drench his body in gasoline. He set himself ablaze in protest of the Iraq war.

Immediately, the everlasting image of Thich Quang Du'c, the Buddhist monk who committed his death to making a similar statement about the Vietnam war, springs to mind.

Malachi was an avant-guard musician, well known in the Chicago music scene. He ran a website, savagesound.com, where he kept others keyed in to upcoming concerts around the city. In his words, life and death, he was a man deeply troubled by a war started on a currency of lies. He left behind a video cassette which the police have yet to release.

His death has not been reported by any mainstream media outlet, but has filtered across the Internet, slowly but surely.

You can read more about Malachi here, here and here. You can befriend him on MySpace here and here.

Most importantly, do not forget his name. Tell your friends about what he has done. This man put himself through unbearable pain and suffering to light a fire in the souls of the righteous. The impetus of his sacrifice will not be forgotten by myself and others.

I did not know the man, but I share his pain and passion. Let his death be a light to a better future. I believe he would have wanted it that way.

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