الكاتب: Johan Galtung

The National Society of High School Scholars, Claes Nobel World Betterment Award, Carter Center, 3 Dec 2016        I am very grateful for the 2016 Claes Nobel World Betterment Award–Claes being the great grandnephew of Alfred–and to the NSHSS-National Society for High School Scholars, here at the Carter Center in Atlanta. Let me start by praising you for your dedication to Education, focusing on the high school–in the middle, after K and grade school, before college and graduate school–on teachers and students, learning and doing research, treating them with respect, bestowing dignity. Society has institutions, like Family, Work and Economy.…

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International Sociological Association Prize New School for Social Research, New York NY, 15 Nov 2016 The West, and Western sciences in particular, have a peculiar way of conceptualizing time; derived from two millennia Christianity. Thus, in the civilizations of Hinduism, Buddhism, China and Japan, to mention some, time flows from eternity to eternity. In the West (and Islam is similar), there is a Beginning (Creation for the religious, Big Bang for the secular), and an Ending, the End Time (Armageddon for the religious, entropy, death, etc. for others). In others, time flows from past into a possibly different future; in…

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“View” meaning not only a glimpse from above, but a position taken on the world on which the US electorate is now dumping Donald Trump. That world is today basically multi-polar, maybe with 8 poles: Anglo-America, Latin America-Caribbean, African Unity, Islam-OIC from Casablanca to Mindanao, European Union, Russia more region than state, SAARC from Nepal to Sri Lanka, ASEAN, Australia-New Zealand. And multi-regional Shanghai Cooperation Organization, SCO, with China and Russia, Islamic countries, India and Pakistan. There is a waning state reality, smaller states being increasingly absorbed in regions. There is a waxing region reality with the above eight; adding…

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The Trump Presidency (1) The 45th President of the USA, Donald Trump, delivered a highly presidential acceptance speech.  The words chosen, how he spoke them, his body language, all belied the idea that he could not be presidential.  How good a president, remains to be seen. What matters now in his concrete action coming January. For instance, will he do as he promised, cancel out-sourcing, “trading” of industries to Mexico and “in-sourcing” them back to the USA, to recreate jobs for US workers? However, the media are still too anti-Trump to realize he is their President, maybe hoping for some…

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Gandhian Perspectives on Conflict and Peace – Hindu University, FL USA Gandhi was born 2 October 1869, was killed 30 January 1948 by a Pune brahmin, Godse. I was a 17 years old boy in Norway who cried when hearing the news.  Something unheard of had happened. But I did not know why I cried, and wanted to know more.  Who was Gandhi? So I became a Gandhi scholar as assistant and co-author to the late Arne Næss in his seminal work of extracting from Gandhi’s works and words his Gandhi’s Political Ethics as a norm-system.[i] The image of the…

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“Future of the World between Globalization and Regionalization” – European Center for Peace and Development, Belgrade, 2-29 Oct 2016 Summary: Most states are too small given the speeds of transportation and communication–hence regionalization of neighbors with cultural similarities. The biggest states, China-India-Russia-USA-Indonesia-Australia-Brazil, are in fact regions. The next step, globalization, is very problematic.  We have overcome geographical distance but not cultural distance. And USA uses globalization for world hegemony financially.  Better would be a North American region with Canada, for dialogue with other regions.  The Rest will work on globalization, but how? We are witnessing these years a historical transition…

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The last one hundred years life expectancy has increased by about 25%-from near 80 to near 100-in some countries.  But, instead of increasing playful childhood, education, work and retirement by 25%, the age of retirement has moved much less than the age at death. That deprives masses of older people with experience and wisdom of productive work, of being useful, meeting others constructively; reducing them to being playful–bridge or golf as case may be–and just keeping alive. Homo sapiens as homo ludens not homo faber. Longer, but emptier lives. A crime against humanity if there ever was any. However, with…

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Democracy is rule with consent of the ruled; of all by dialogue, of majority by voting.  Parliamentarism is government with parliament consent by all or by majority; and voter consent by proportionality. In one week the Spanish illegitimacy crisis–caretaker government voted into power by parliament 2-3 elections ago–is 10 months old. Martin Caparrós in “Spain, without government” (INYT 29 Aug 2016): Spain, reconquered from Moros 2 January 1492 by the Reyes Católicos, has always had a government, sometimes two, but never none. By the end of October, a Rajoy-PP government may be confirmed–using political tricks and arithmetics with abstentions more…

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Like a landscape the media-scape has sites: for reading, hearing and viewing; locally, nationally, globally; nine sites. Add No. 10: the internet, a virtual reality, with all nine.  They differ. Reading and hearing use written and oral language; viewing can be with no words of any kind, “don’t tell’em, show’em”. “Local” means for and by a local community.  “National” means exactly that, not “state” or “social”, but for and by that nation, that language. Thus, quadri-lingual Switzerland has four national media; USA has many. And then “global” for and by the whole world: for verbal media mainly English, making TV…

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The Debate: Somebody said the problem is Trump possibility and Clinton probability. A very poor choice between an autistic person in his own bubble and a war criminal even privatizing her warfare? The debate was short on concrete politics and long on ad hominem. But Trump favored no first nuclear strike, Clinton not. The rich will accept neither Clinton taxes nor Trump stopping trading to plug leaks. In the first half a “presidential” Trump had as good “facts” as Clinton–their facts-in the second Trump was babbling from his bubble. The best that can be said is that they complement each…

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Peace is not only a great idea, but something sacred, holy. The number of pointers to peace has to reflect this as a holy number, like 10 for the Ten Commandments. But in Christianity 3 is also holy, for the Trinity. And in Islam 1 stands for the only One God. In Buddhism 4 stands for the Truths, and 8 for the Ways. And we find 5 and 7 in many places. So let us use them all, bestowing multiple sacredness on peace.  Starting with 1-3 for the most basic, adding two more for 4-5, two more for 6-7, with…

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We want journalists to do that, give us the state of the world, by from one “trouble spot”–arenas of past-present-future violence–to the other. Not to mirror the world, but to make it more transparent.  What questions should they ask to do a good job, below the surface? For key illnesses like epidemics: ask for diagnosis, the causes; for prognosis, the consequences; for therapy, “what are you doing to restore health”.  “Ice to lower the fever”, would not be accepted; they would demand a theory linking the diagnosis to the therapy. We should demand the same level of sophistication for peace…

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Wallerstein is unique.  Nobody else has presented such a coherent theory of what he calls the modern world-system, from “the long 16th century” up till today; essentially capitalist.  There are ups and downs during those four centuries.  He is very much at home in the economic Kondratiev cycles–A for up, B for down, but not that much down–and in the political-military hegemonic cycles of the would-be hegemons in the same period.  Read Immanuel Wallerstein, become wiser. He warns against the Global Right “Lampedusa tactic” of “changing things so that they remain the same”. And insists on Liberty, Equality and Fraternity…

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Watching Christianity nearly a century–fundamentalist Christians fighting ritualistic Christians fighting secularism, generally moving fundamentalism–>ritualism–>secularism–maybe the same for Islam?  Their similarities make “Islam right now” a repetition of Christianity; their differences shout, Watch Out! Let us see where this leads us. Violence-prone fundamentalist evangelical Christians are still on top of the USA and some Nordic countries; but much less in ritualistic Catholic-Orthodox Christianity, meaning by far most of Europe. Beauty of worship, the psychology of confession, less verbalism; all help. Secularism makes faith so metaphorical for many that Christianity becomes only a ritual for Christmas-Easter, baptism-marriage-funeral (if there are no secular…

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Dear Reader: This editorial 444–the number calls for attention–is dedicated to a global overview, the world “right now”, so unstable with imbalances everywhere that what we are living is fluxes and jumps. Let us start with two major relations: nature-human, USA-Rest. Look at the human-nature relations.  We are used to being on top, killing and taming animals, protected against many of nature’s hazards including micro-organisms. But nature comes up with ever smaller viri, and larger, or more, tsunamis and earthquakes, and an erratic climate. We oscillate between blaming ourselves, including military scheming, and the anthropomorphic “Mother Nature is angry” (Evo…

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Auschwitz, 29 July:  Pope Francis praying, asking God for the ‘grace to cry’ (INYT, 30-31 July) was very, very touching.  And very, very different from the show Obama tried to put on in Hiroshima. Turkey, any day, “the failed coup”–“but history shows it won’t be long before another one succeeds” (Robert Fisk, ‘Turkey’s coup may have failed – but history shows it won’t be long before another one succeeds’16 July 2016); “Turks agree on this: U.S. had hand in failed coup” (INYT, 3 Aug 2016).  To Washington, Islam and democracy go badly together; Muslims elect Muslims Morsi in Egypt and…

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Money is the key: that genius innovation for storing general value and exchanging specific values according to price.  Not strange, that heads of state had their faces imprinted on coins and bills. But not on cents and euros.  The EU is faceless.  Brexit is not. Coins and bills are fading; not money, capital, and its growth. Look at The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger by Greg Steinmetz, brilliantly reviewed by Martha Howell (TNYRB, 7 Apr 2016).  Born in 1459, in that pivot German city Augsburg, he died in 1515, and here is how…

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Does not look good.  The key problem is not Brexit, the unlikely victory of older English longing back to the Land of Hope and Glory–not made invisible by a cloak of EU–against nothing less than the City of London using the EU for their purposes.  The Leavers are deceiving themselves; they will be more “special relationed” to USA than ever now that USA has lost their “link to the continent”.  And the Remainders will find their ways, more of them will be operating out of Brussels, Luxembourg, Strasbourg and other key points in the EU. The problem is, “Can Germany…

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Jondal, Hardangerakademiet, Norway The Hardanger Academy is focused on the three UN concerns, peace-development-environment.  This year’s symposium was brilliantly opened by Vandana Shiva, a gift to the world from India. She encompassed all three themes with deep insights; holistic and very dialectic in her approach, with forces and counter-forces in all her proposed solutions; with her optimistic activism and engagement. The media missed a golden opportunity to tell the Norwegian public. She was imported for a week from India, and met with dedicated counterparts and groups in Norway. They are not very visible in public space either; but the Hardanger…

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The US mountain, so rich in human talent, labored and produced the two dwarfs for the huge job. A radical Republican strongman[i] and a conventional Democrat, disliked by 62% and 67%–bad for electing the president of a country that still puts some stamp on the world. Trump challenged, successfully, the Republican machine.  The Democratic machine got a Hillary who challenged absolutely nothing. In both parties, in the name of unity, a veil was drawn over these basic US conflicts today, not between the parties, but within.  Cruz did not give in, Sanders did–maybe bribed by some verbal rephrasing. So there…

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Alfaz, Spain Spain got stuck again. The party numbers in a parliament with 350 seats produced no majority 20 December 2015 or 26 July 2016. The arithmetic did not work out.  The numbers were wrong. Or, could the Rule be wrong?  The Rule is majority support for a government to be viable.  Actually, for this to work at all the number of seats in the parliament should be uneven, like 351.  That aside, let us look at numbers and rules in the light of the number, N, of political parties–programs = position-packages–competing. N=1 has a name, dictatorship. Democracy starts at…

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