Our movement has lost one of the most outstanding representatives of all times, and I have lost a close friend: John McCarthy.
It is a loss fully comparable with the loss of Judy Chamberlin some years ago, who was also a close friend of mine.
We must acknowledge that John and Judy were in a league of their own. Very few others in the history of our movement can be placed in that Pantheon.
I met John for the first time at the INTAR think-tank seminar in Killarney, Ireland in 2005. In January 2006 we were together in the UN in New York, lobbying for the CRPD (I was there only for one week, John for all three weeks). And in 2009 we were together at the WNUSP world congress in Kampala, Uganda. Between all these meetings we had a continual dialogue through internet.
I was at the UN when John was doing his amazing speech as a temporary citizen of the Vanatu Islands, followed by his shuffling around - already mentioned by others.
I just want to add another story from the UN, where John and I jointly made a tremendous coup.
It was forbidden to spread any stuff inside the big hall, were all the UN state delegates had their consultations and discussions. We were allowed to deliver leaflets just outside the hall (and many delegates took them and read them with great interest), but not inside. The fat chief of the security guard was standing in the hall, allways watching what was going on, and immediately stopping anything that was against the rules.
Now John had decided to deliver a statement from WNUSP/IDC directly at the desks of every state delegate within the hall, and wanted my help. During a break we decided to execute our plan. It was only me, John and the chief of the security forces in the big hall. John started a conversation with the chief of the security forces, and all the time maneuvered in such a way that this man all the time had his back to the hall.
Behind the back of the chief of the security forces I went around the hall, putting the WNUSP/IDC statement at the desks of every state delegate, although this was strictly forbidden. It was many houndreds of papers that I spread in the hall in this way.
John was facing the hall, and when he saw that I had finished the spreading of leaflets, he stopped his conversation with the chief of the security guards, who never noticed what had been going on behind his back.