On a cold night in a quiet town, 71-year-old Jeff Knaebel crept into the ruins of an ancient Buddhist meditation center in northern India, doused himself with a flammable liquid and set himself alight to protest what he called cruelty in the United States and India.
It was a political ending for a political man: an admirer of pacifist freedom fighter Mohandas K. Gandhi and a retired mining engineer who had railed against the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in speeches and blogs.
In 2009, he stood at New Delhi's memorial to Gandhi and ripped up his U.S. passport, symbolically renouncing his American citizenship. "I am not a citizen of any government. I renounce all of them," he said in a statement. But later efforts to gain Indian asylum and then citizenship were denied, and he spent his last months wandering northern India, moving frequently to avoid arrest for not having legal documents, friends said. More...