Archive for December, 2012

Fighting anti-semitism constructively

By Johan Galtung

From Grenzach-Wyhlen, Germany

Anti-Semitism, AS, is to be against Jews as such; pre-judging all based on some, pars pro toto. Being anti any category humans are born into – woman-man, black-white – is a fatal disease, with prejudice escalating to hatred, leading to discrimination, escalating to war, even genocide. There is linearity; perpetrators to victims.

To prevent and cure this disease we must understand its causes, roots, and learn what, and what not, to do. To be against disease is not good enough. With the open mind provided by academic freedom, and freedom of speech as a basic human right, we have explored diseases like cancer to identify the roots, the carcinogens. Smoking, active and passive, is among them; saying so is not “blaming the victim”. Diseases are systems with feedbacks, as is prejudice-discrimination. Rooted in relations between Jews and others, in traumas of the past, conflicts in the present, and the victim feedback. There are loops. Read the rest of this entry »

Egypt: Between a rock and a hard place

By Richard Falk

I have had the opportunity to be in Cairo three times for brief visits in the last 20 months, the first a few weeks after the departure of Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011, the second in February of 2012 when the revolutionary process was treading water, and this third one over the course of the previous ten days.
What is striking is how drastically the prevailing mood and expectations have changed from visit to visit, how fears, hopes, and perceptions have altered over time, and why they are likely to continue to do so.

I. The Overthrow of Mubarak

On the first visit, shortly after the extraordinary exploits in Tahrir Square that started on January 18, 2011, there was a spirit of stunned amazement that made it seem as though the ‘Arab Spring’ was a genuine historical phenomenon of epic proportions and that Egypt had become the core site of a new post-Marxist radical politics that relied on militant nonviolence and a radical ethos of transformation, but avoided ideology and hard power tactics.

Gandhi and Gene Sharp were most often invoked as the inspirational influences, not Lenin, Mao, Castro. Read the rest of this entry »

Complaint about the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to the Swedish Foundation Inspection Board

By Jan Oberg

Open Letter

Dear Mikael Wiman

May I permit myself to join Mr. Fredrik Heffermehl – one of the world’s leading experts on peace as well as the Nobel Peace Prize – in his letter to you.

There is very substantial arguments that Nobel’s will has been ignored in a series of cases, no matter how much one can and should of course argue that times have changed since he wrote his will.

One of the fundamental features of those changes is that nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction have entered the world and that the world’s governments (with a few exceptions such as Costa Rica and Iceland) have incrementally decided to squander more and more scarce resources on armament and warfare – and preparations for it. The sum total of it amounts to about US$ 1700 billion – in a world where the UN for all its activities has a budget of about 30, development aid stands on 160 and peace-building about 0,5 billion – all according to the latest report by the U.N. Secretary General. Indeed, therefore, the problem Mr. Nobel intended to combat is many times bigger and more threatening to humankind than he could ever foresee.

To award the European Union the prize is to poke fun of Alfred Nobel’s intentions Read the rest of this entry »

Visit to Gaza – UN Press release

By Richard Falk

I recently completed a mission to the Gaza Strip, entering by way of Egypt at the Rafah Crossing; as I am now in Doha attending the final days of the UN Climate Change negotiations, I have had no chance to write a post describing the moving and difficult circumstances that confront the people of Gaza, and the hopes and disappointments that followed the ceasefire that followed the Israeli onslaught; there are concerns about whether it will be fully implemented in accordance with expectations, and if not, whether events will move toward renewed cross-border violence. There are new hopes and complexities on two further fronts: the aftermath of Palestinian success in being confirmed as a non-member state by the General Assembly on November 29, and the new priority being accorded to reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. More than ever since Hamas assumed governing authority in June 2007, foreign leaders have been visiting Gaza, according Hamas an upgraded diplomatic status

Here is my report

U.S. encirclement of China

By Jonathan Power

Not since early Cold War days when the US and NATO effectively
encircled the Soviet Union, feeding Stalin’s paranoia, has America
moved to be so profoundly counterproductive. It is now beginning to
encircle China- at least that is how China is seeing it.

Of course “encircling” is a bit of an exaggerated notion since the
Soviet Union was too large ever to be totally encircled. Likewise
today China is content with the state of affairs on its long Russian,
Mongolian and North Korean borders. But “encircling” does suggest a

Why of all people is President Barack Obama initiating this? We may
not know the answer to that but we do know what he is doing. Read the rest of this entry »

At the UN – Two empires crumbling: U.S. and Israel

By Johan Galtung

There is History in the UN 29 November 2012 vote: 138 YES to giving Palestine the UN status as “nonmember observer state”, only 9 NO, and 41 abstentions. Beyond Middle East politics the vote also mirrors the limits to the US global, and the Israeli regional, empires: 138 defy their grip and favor change, 41+9=50 do not, for various reasons. A crucial vote on a crucial issue is a crucial test. Who wants what? Read the rest of this entry »


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