الكاتب: Johan Galtung

The right column is sadly familiar; add more recent cases. The left column also carries an element of sadness but nothing really radical; more like common sense that could easily be translated into political practice. And yet it does not happen, to the detriment of the parties concerned: the USA and its relations to the world. USA wants to be feared but reaps hatred with right column politics. Does it want to be loved? A theory is something tested along its edges (Quine); what you deduce from the theory–and to me the key “edge”–is its action-consequences. CONFLICTS CONSTRUCTIVE, POSITIVE DESTRUCTIVE, NEGATIVE…

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There was what may have been the most violent white US massacre ever; 59 killed from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel. The assassin is now being criminalized, psychiatrized, individualized, characterized. But the massacre was systemic. With strong forces for competition and for violence, US competition to be the most violent follows. And that immediately indicates two ways out of the violence: the USA becoming less competitive, and the USA becoming less violent. How? Anthony Stevens, in a touching article, “A Basic Need: A lack of community” (Resurgence No. 174) demands “the recreation of community life within the…

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Speech given at the reception for the Peace March 6 Aug 1981, UNESCO, Paris; and for the Perugia-Assisi Peace March 24-27 Sep 1981 Ten Proposals for Concrete Peace Politics You who have now concluded your march for peace through Europe, you people are the conscience of Europe. If our governments, East and West, had pursued a rational, sensible policy of peace your heroic march would not have been necessary. But our governments, East and West, are pursuing an arms race for two reasons: Because they have an enormous scientific, bureaucratic and industrial capacity all the time making the arms more…

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Freedom of expression can be severely curtailed by taboo zones in any country, outruling, sometimes also outlawing the unspeakable.  Sexuality was, and still is in some places; but today that freedom has become–for many–an obsession to speak.  Some still feel repressed, others become obsessed, still others feel aggressed upon.  Taboo zones are in sensitive areas.  But after some time, many probably feel relieved.  The unspeakable has become speakable, normalized. But most seem to agree that some taboo zones should remain: the sacred, overstepped, e.g., with Mohammed caricatures, and private life. However, the fight for freedom of expression was not about sex, to…

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“Pentagon Study Declares American Empire Is ‘Collapsing,’” is the title of an essay by Nafeez Ahmed, analyzing the study. Sounds interesting.  His subtitle: “Report demands massive expansion of military-industrial complex to maintain global ‘access to resources’”.  Sounds familiar. Using excerpts from the Pentagon study made by Nafeez Ahmed, and deeply grateful to him, here are our comments. Based on some work in the field (The Decline and Fall of the US Empire; And Then What?, TRANSCEND University Press, 2010)[i]. Pentagon is a key institution in the USA, next to the White House-Congress-Wall Street. How it sees its own role in…

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Hardanger Academy for Peace Development and Environment, 30 Jul 2017 These are the goals of the United Nations; the Hardanger Academy in little Jondal, Norway (population ca.1150) made them three foci. The problem arose: what do they have in common? Are they three aspects of the same thing? If so, what is that “thing”? Four ways of trying to answer have been identified and explored. Four because of four ways of approaching social reality, through: actors, with intentions-capabilities-contexts, with their needs; culture, defining the true-good-right-beautiful-sacred; structure, the patterns of individual and collective interaction; nature, evolving to higher complexity, with diversity…

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Much is happening.  And not happening.  Thus, there is no war in or over North Korea, with USA or anybody else. And there will not be one. NKs missiles are credible.  They are fired to show capability to hit US bases in and around Japan; lately this includes Guam and Hawaii. Many missiles have been fired, and they have all landed in the water. Compare that to the high number of US “accidents” of various types. However, capability is not intent. Neither to hit, nor to target permanently some party, X.  For that, independent proof is needed. NKs level of…

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Alfaz, Spain It is customary for Spaniards to add the word “crisis” to the name of the country. They are not alone in that, it may be a Western habit, one of those words driving the West on. Protected by extended families and 8,000+ local communities–average size only about 5,000, people know each other–Spaniards as people are not in a crisis. And for the poorest of the communities there is always the cooperative Marinaleda model (NYT, 24 Apr 2009) to copy, emulate or adapt. Or new models to be invented. There is corruption, unemployment, aging by youth leaving the country,…

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This column has advocated a 1-2-6-20 solution: 1 Palestine fully recognized by Israel; a 2-state solution with borders according to international law; in a 6-state Middle Eastern community of Israel and Arab neighbors, in a 20+-state community, also with their neighbors. The 2-state solution could be a confederation with Israeli cantons on the West Bank, and Palestinian cantons in Israel’s northwest. The above is acceptable to Palestine, the Arab League and Iran. Not to Israel. Netanyahu wants expansion, secure borders and recognition. Impossible. With Trump’s help he expands further, leaving UNESCO, defying UN. Except that Netanyahu and Trump are not…

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Jondal, Norway – July 2017 Norway is divided very clearly into three parts: the North and the two parts of the South, the West and the East separated by chains of mountains, plateaus (vidder) and emptiness (there is no town between Notodden in the East and Odda in the West). And by language, by unmistakable dialects. In the East “standard Norwegian”, “bokmål” evolving from Danish after 400 years Copenhagen rule, deeply contested in the 19th century. In the West Old Norse had left more of an impact and the net outcome was called New Norwegian, “nynorsk“, also partly in the…

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Why should anybody be interested in Norway that little, stretched-out country, that way to the North, to the North Pole? Because just like we can learn about the geology of the earth by drilling deep down at any point through many layers, we can learn about the history of the earth by drilling deep down, at any point, through layers of time, about millennia, centuries, decades, years. The “point” does not have to be a country, or any geo-political unit. Could be family, genealogy. For instance your own. There are data. So, how has Norway evolved? Where is it now? …

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Like the feminist revolution, this one may be said to have originated in USA.  The two are related.  There is a long, painful history.  From use and abuse of women, also inside marriage, for male sexual satisfaction only, still going on. To an awakening, realizing that there is female sexuality, maybe a little different, maybe with several orgasms rather than a big one. Kinsey played a major role. Very solid, very empirical, vast, comprehensive, fought by some churches and no doubt by some patriarchs.  But science prevailed. Before that, another half of humanity, exactly “the other half” in the English…

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Let us start with an example. The senior author bought an apartment in a nice housing complex in the little town of Manassas, Prince William County, half an hour from the center of Washington DC.  There was a little center with an office and a small staff always there, and a meeting room that could be let was also used for the annual general assembly of house-owners. And most importantly, a competent service man who could handle all big and small problems that arise in an apartment on permanent call. The complex was for all practical purposes a cooperative. There…

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There are many of them–of different kinds–in world geography.  We can try to identify the characteristics of their peacefulness. Or we can start by identifying belligerent societies and then see peaceful societies as their negations.  Let us try this one first. Belligerent societies have a track record of violence across border, on the territory of others, often invoking “defense”– preventive, pre-emptive, proactive. For that they need weapons, arms, as an army or not. And the weapons, with their carriers, must be long range, offensive, to work across borders, inside another society. By negating, we get three characteristics of peaceful societies:…

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“Why War?” was the title of an interchange of letters between Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein, starting with Einstein’s letter to Freud dated “Caputh near Potsdam 30 July 1932“, answered by Freud from “Wien September 1932” (Why War- Freud). Soon 85 years ago.  What can we still learn from these giants, and what might they have learned in the meantime? It is very easy to sit in judgment of a world war, a cold war and much else later; therefore that is not what we are going to do.  Rather, let us look at their approaches, as fellow human beings…

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Humanity has had and has big projects.  Mastery of nature is one, still going on.  Middle range phenomena have been mastered, but not the micro level of viri–HIV is a current case–nor the macro level of climate–to the contrary, humanity is making it worse. Another huge project can be called Material-somatic comfort, including health.  Well-ness not ill-ness.  Amazingly successful, look at an average day in what can be called the bourgeois way of life. As is well known, this second project may contradict the first project. Other huge projects stand in line, calling on our attention. Spiritual-mental comfort, also called…

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Keynote, World Futures Studies Federation Conference – Jondal, Norway 7 Jun 2017 West of Jondal is Torsnes, named after the Nordic war god Thor with his Hammer, a center of the Viking era from 800 to 1050, only 250 years. Why so short? Successful with raids and colonization–Gardarike in Russia, Iceland, Greenland, Vineland in Canada. And then: fini. Why? Because they had no future.  Evil Lóki had killed Good Baldur–next to Torsnes is Belsnes=Baldursnes.  They were doomed.  Enters Christianity with Evil Satan and Good God, restoring hope. The end. The Soviet Union Empire had no future: Communism was undefined. Enters…

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It is amazing.  The United Nations have decades, years, weeks and days, dedicated to more values, goals and concerns than most of us are aware of.  Compare it to nation-states usually with only one day, their day, their national day, celebrating nobody but themselves. Maybe the UN overdoes it, that one decade flows into the next without leaving more than some verbal traces.  But that is not the UN’s fault.  The accusing finger points at all of us; what did you do when the world’s conscience called on you? Let us start with the Decades: 1960s: First UN Development Decade…

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A lot is happening. As in “Trump’s First Hundred Days of War Crimes” (CouterPunch 19 May 2017), breaking international law as if it did not exist, killing in Yemen-Pakistan-Somalia with drones-bombing-assaults in spite of neither being involved in armed conflict nor attacked by any one of them.  Hence, no right to self-defense.  Pure aggression. Or Trump’s speech to Muslim leaders in Riyadh (Robert Fisk, The Independent 21 May 2017), Sunni (good)-Shia (evil), blaming Iran for terrorism–oblivious of the Islamic State being mainly Sunni and Iraq, presumably USA-protected, mainly Shia.  Babble from the Trump bubble. The Saudis relish. Two rotten states–one…

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Pamplona, Spain Spain is in a process that will take some time, from “España: Una, Grande, Libre” to “España: Una Comunidad de naciones“—“Spain: One, Great, Free” to “Spain: A community of nations.”  Could also be great and free, but not One; not Castillan, but also Catalan, Basque, Gallego, Andalucian, and the islands, Baleares, Canarias. ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna)–world famous for killing the successor to Franco, Carrero Blanco, in 1971 possibly shortening the dictatorship by a generation–disarmed, handing over its means of violence, on 8 Apr 2017. ETA is dissolved.  Negative peace, by eliminating one violent party. There was much violence,…

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A key slogan during the student revolt in Paris May 1968, soon 50 years ago, was Imagination au pouvoir! Bring imagination to power! We were there, walking with thousands from Champs-Élysées to Place Etoile where a stentorian voice commanded us to sit in small groups in the circles under the Arch to “discuss the situation”.  So we did. France is now suffering from more imagination deficit than ever.  To call Le Pen-Front National “extreme right” when the issue is for or against the EU is not helpful; left-right was 20th century politics. Why not think bigger, beyond EU: for or…

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