الكاتب: Johan Galtung

Very well known is post trauma stress disorder, PTSD; no doubt a very painful disorder experienced by many, most, maybe by all of us. Something went very wrong: a shock, violence, physical, verbal, by and to individuals, groups in society, societies, groups of societies. Not only by and to individuals: PTSD does not belong to psychology only. However, as Buddhist epistemology informs us: there is symmetry to the world.  Anything can be seen from at least two angles: to “I walk down the street” add “the street moves toward me, ‘walks me up’”.  Was Einstein inspired by Buddhism when he…

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Weltinnenpolitik, was the brilliant formula minted in 1963 by Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker; nuclear physicist with a dubious career in the Nazi period, philosopher, peace activist, and believing Christian. The world seen as one polity, one political unit.  Not in terms of two levels, the world and the states–canonized as members of the UN–with domestic policies, and “foreign” policies.  “World domestic politics” calls for a world with neither states nor regions but the world as the polity. With LAs, local authorities, but basically with 7 billion+ humans, endowed with human rights and democracy. A single shiny word, making many think…

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World Forum on Urban Violence, Madrid, 19-21 April 2017 Madrid. © José María Cuéllar (Flickr) Mayors from around the world, Ladies and Gentlemen, To reduce direct violence in cities we have to move from urban violence culture to an urban peace culture and from urban structural violence to a structure of peace.  The center of a city should not be a place of shame reeking of the Inquisition. And urbanization should not be justified as modern, seeing smaller town and villages, less violent, as traditional. Street names should not glorify wars and violent heroes but peace and their heroines, often…

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From Trump’s USA was not resurrection, but death. 59 Tomahawk missiles for Syria, the “mother of all bombs” for Afghanistan; Muslim states. Both attacks were based on lies: the old lie that 9/11 had its origin in Afghanistan, the new lie that Assad deliberately had used sarin[i]. The counter-narrative–that USA had provided the gas and used the accident as pretext for an attack–may stand. Let us see if USA-NATO accept an investigation; with a clean conscience, they would. The USA back to normal?  With Trump surrounded by generals ready for killing and billionaires ready for exploiting? “Greatness” after some “populism”…

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For some insights in science at its best see Peter Atkins, Galileo’s Finger-The Ten Great Ideas of Science: evolution, DNA, energy, entropy, atoms, symmetry, quanta, cosmology, spacetime, arithmetics (Oxford University Press, 2003). All Western in space, and most of them fairly recent in time. There could be some spatial and temporal myopia at work here. But the book is highly recommended. Galileo’s finger points to two pillars for science: scientific knowledge must be based on empirical facts observed or by experiments; and the language to express scientific knowledge is mathematics. First objection: only the past can produce empirical facts; that…

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Starting with EU at 60, making small states (Luxembourg!) big by being members of something bigger, but making bigger, even imperial, states smaller by being “members”. The Netherlands is small: Wilders suffered a humiliating defeat.  But the UK is big with imperial past:   old, rural people voted Brexit out of EU anonymity, but into what?  Master in their own house? With problems with Ireland and the Celtic fringe–Scotland, Wales–even threatening UK survival? Can Anglo-America, UK even more under USA, compensate for that? They may want back; the obvious EU strategy being to adjust to many Brexit points. France is also…

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L’Alfàs del Pi, Spain Female emancipation, patriarchic family decline and femicide are with us, the femicide according to UN[i] particularly in Guatemala, Mexico and Australia-Canada-South Africa-USA. And here in Spain women are also killed by (ex)husbands and (ex)lovers: 44 by “their” men in 2016, 60 in 2015[ii], first two months of 2017 maybe 17[iii]. Why? The couple is a mini-society; killing is a civil war.  Spain had a big civil war in 1936-1939; Franco’s goal was to recover normal Spain.  Could Spanish femicide be to recover the normal Spanish family? By men to the right politically, so numerous that the…

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The Cold War ended by an agreement that the USSR leaves Eastern Europe and the USA does not enter the area. What the USA did is treason, like Sykes-Picot. NATO expanded from 16 to 28: Bill Clinton added Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary; George W. Bush the Baltic Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria; Obama attached Croatia and Albania. In 1999, 2004 and 2009, respectively.  However, did those countries want it? They could have made their own pacts with neither USSR nor USA. The Soviet empire, and the Soviet Union itself, had collapsed. With NATO at the border, Russia took back…

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Wikipedia has much to offer under “aging”. Highly recommended are the 10 points by the world’s oldest living man, 114, Walter Breuning.    However, older persons, like me at 86, know their own aging best.  Less trouble with “oxidant stress” as a major cause, having used anti-oxidants based on blueberry skin–no chemicals–for decades. 20,000 blood stem cells renew my blood, but they are dying.  Problematic. Rule no. 1: Keep mind and body active; maintain a good nutrition. Obvious to counteract aging.  However, equally important: Rule no. 2: Be open to the positive sides and advantages of aging. Bertrand Russell’s “On…

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Winter Conference, The Inland University, Rena, Norway, 16 Feb 2017           An Unstable World: Analysis, Forecasting, Solutions Take current deep conflicts in our unstable world and go back in time, aided by dialogue with the parties about “when did it go wrong”.  Chances are a year will emerge.  There was a basic event, or process, polarizing something that used to be more cohesive. A faultline had emerged that can last for centuries, more or less polarized, up till today, and beyond, if there is no intervention. The faultlines function like tectonic plates.  Nothing may happen for long periods. Then they…

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Visions of the Past for Constructing a Future: Historiography of Spain           The distinction made by Fernand Braudel between events, trends and permanents, was a gift to historiography, how we conceive of history.  This essay favors trends over epochs, seeing epochs as some kind of static racism or prejudice in time–“those people, at that epoch, were like that”, blinding us both to the diversity and to the dynamism. History unfolds over or in time, the basic variable, the X axis.  The events are points. The trends are curves of any shape, not necessarily continuous, could also be “jumpy”. And the…

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What is the essence of democracy? “Rule with the consent of the ruled” implies two classes of people, Rulers and Ruled; concretely State and People, Statism. “Free and Fair Elections” implies voting for a Parliament; Parliamentarism. Together, a three-tier power structure State-Parliament-People; with People controlling Parliament, and Parliament controlling State. In 2016 some voting differed from what State-Parliament expected; leading to talk about elitist vs populist democracy–from statism and parliamentarism to peopleism. A crisis. And talk about post-democracy. Another answer about democratic essence is “one-tier self-ruling units”; no rulers vs ruled, and decisions are made by general assemblies for all.  …

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Two important words enriching each other. “Nonviolent” easily becomes bla-bla, and “economy” is too general. But, does “nonviolent” make a difference for the better to the economy?  And vice versa, can “economy” make “nonviolent” more positive, beyond resistance to evil? Let us start with “economy”, here conceived of as a cycle with three poles: Nature, Production, Consumption. And three processes: Extraction from Nature, Distribution from Production to Consumption, and Pollution from Production-Consumption back to Nature. The cycle flow is in that order: Nature → Production → Consumption → Nature. A simple summary of the economy: humans extract resources from nature,…

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Receiving Dr Honoris Causa, Universidad Madrid Complutense, 27 Jan 2017 Dear Rector, dear Jury–I receive this great honor bestowed upon me in deep gratitude and pride, promising to try to live up to it. I will now share with you some words about how I got launched on the track for which you honor me, peace studies and peace practice. Like so many, I felt desperate about the wars in our enlightened century and continent and asked, Why? What can we do to avoid this suffering, not only the wounded and dead, but the countless bereaved? From my family I…

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And the first question to the 45th US president: Will you kill, abroad?  Predecessor Obama was in the US tradition that killed more than 20 million in 37 countries since WWII, bombing and droning.  His Special Forces seem to have killed in 138 countries.  And a shocking majority voted for Hillary Clinton with her warfare record of even privatized warfare. Will you make America “Great” the same way? Or make America Greater by breaking this morbid tradition? The 22nd US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, has summarized his experience in some statements (in Wall Street Journal 7 Jan 2017, from…

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Two closely related points, as a starter. This column has argued Lifting the Bottom Up as economic approach in all weathers, bad, fair, good, to mitigate any suffering, and for them to enter the economy as producers and consumers, not as “cases”. This column has also argued judging Trump not by his poisoning words, nor by commentators’ words, but by his deeds. White-male-workers-no college is not the US bottom, but they were heading down. Now lifted up the Trump way, by keeping/bringing back industry to the “Rust Belt”. Ford Motor Company just did that, GM may be next. If outsourcing…

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La Nucia, Spain: The Centro Social invited all lonely men above 65 and women above 60 living in Comunidad Valenciana to a free stay at a hotel through Christmas, 23-27 December 2016.  May many copy that one! Waterberg, Namibia: “Germany Grapples with Its African Genocide” (NYT, Norimitsu Onishi, 29 Dec 2016). A cemetery for German soldiers who under Lothar von Trotha 1904-05 killed 80,000 Herero and 10,000 Nama cattle herders, resisting German colonization. TRANSCEND was deeply involved around the centenary. Germany had a myth: genocide only under Hitler. France and England wanted no German apology as they had done worse.…

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This New Year announces itself with bangs all over, not whimpers. Pope Francis made a tour d’horizon on all continents, strongly denouncing the violence in favor of his alternative: negotiation. Much violence is copycat or copyrat; violence being a la mode. Copying–aka learning–is not wrong. But it depends on what is copied. Wish no. 1: copying peace rather than violence, for instance from ASEAN and the Nordic Community, making peace self-reinforcing. Wish no. 2: reporting violence less prominently, more toward the end of newspapers-TV-radio news, and reporting peace upfront. Wish no. 3:  understanding war better, not only how many killed…

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To understand something we often compare it with something else. A recent Harvard study found 26.7% of world car production in China and 13.3% in USA; US economy bigger but China leading in export with 8 of the 12 biggest harbors; USA end 2016 fighting 7 wars with bases all over and China with no wars or bases, investing, building the New Silk Road-Lane, the Economic Belt. How successfully, it is to be seen. But these are global power relations. That the West is going down, the Rest is coming up, the USA is a major part of the West…

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A President-Elect of the USA saying he wants no more intelligence briefings is like–like what?  Hearing a priest about to be ordained saying he needs no more, not Bible readings, words from God? Whatever this “intelligence” may be is it intelligent? Information about the “capability, intention and circumstances” of foreign (CIA) and domestic (FBI) actors: nothing wrong about that. With a good balance between friendly and hostile intentions; 80-20? It sounds more like 1-99, though. Outer and inner worlds are scanned for threats of violence, not for opportunities of peace. The focus is on security, not building cooperation. That may…

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Quite a lot is happening.  NYT (11 Dec 2016): President-Elect Trump made Carrier keep 1,000 factory jobs in Indianapolis, not “trading” to Mexico; and canceled the Boeing contract for a new Air Force One. Three Trump Upper Class challenges:  Solidarity with the working class; a foreign policy based less on war and more on negotiation; and a new tax code (USA has the longest in the world, feeding highly paid law firms with loopholes). Trump wants jobs, and infrastructure. There are also non-events: no Trump apologies to the groups he offended grotesquely in the campaign: non-whites, women, immigrants particularly Mexicans. …

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