Archive for the ‘Buddhism’ Category

Calling for an early Japan-China-South Korea summit

By Daisaku Ikeda

MAR 5, 2015

As this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, I believe that Japan should take this as an opportunity to renew its pledge to build lasting peace and step up its efforts to contribute to stability and development throughout Asia. Strengthening of cooperation to address environmental problems and disaster risk reduction is a particularly urgent priority.

In November last year… continued here >

An Octagon world: Conflict or cooperation. What can we learn from each other?

By Johan Galtung

Johan Galtung

“They can choose to focus on the worst in others, criticizing, building on paranoia and worst case analysis, “security”. Or choose to focus on the best, with cooperation as dominant mode, conflict as recessive. They can cooperate for mutual and equal benefit like in good trade, exploring each others’ comparative political-cultural advantages. They can do it.”

Read this unusual global analysis here.

A quick glance at Indonesia-Malaysia

By Johan Galtung

Johan Galtung

Muhammadiyah University – Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Coming from Malaysia, the two neighbors are incredibly different. Indonesia, richer in ancient cultures, larger in territory, an archipelago of thousands of islands, has GDP/capita 3,500 and Malaysia 11,500; three times+ more. Products of brutal Western colonialism, Dutch for Indonesia, English for Malaya, which became Malaysia. Exploited, robbed, impoverished. Both hoped that World War II, fought for democracy-human rights, would end that in 1945, but got wars to keep colonialism instead–till 1949 and 1957, respectively.

Both had been occupied for 3 1/2 years by Japan going south to beat the US-imposed boycott, heading for oil resources in Indonesia (Malaysian oil not yet discovered). There was a difference: Indonesia’s future leader, Soekarno and his no. 2 Mohammad Hatta had lived in Japan, made friends and met the Dutch returning to “their” colony fighting as a free country – no such freedom in Malaya.

So, why the difference? It is almost like a social experiment.

The key is the local Chinese minority, in Malaysia used by the English against the Malay majority, as exploited workers in the tin mines, and as capitalists with their gangs in Penang and Singapore; in Indonesia also in the army and in the PKI, Indonesian Communist Party, the largest outside the Soviet bloc. Hard working, well organized, clever with money, they attracted much of the same hatred and violence as Jews in Germany and Armenians in Turkey – both ending with genocides.

So also in Indonesia, the massacre of 1965-66; planned by US think tanks and the CIA with the Indonesian government. Standard CIA tactic: rumors of imminent coup from the left, perhaps organizing some–the coup against Gorbachev 1991–and then a massive, well prepared, coup from the right. Half a million or so killed, General Suharto in power for three decades, giving USA the free access to the economy they wanted. Pillaging started and lasted; like under Yeltsin in Russia.

Riots came in 1969 to Malaysia, but the reaction was totally different: the New Economic Policy. Forty percent of Muslim Malays lived in misery, 35 percent of the economy was in English, and 20 percent in local Chinese hands. Majority Chinese from Singapore had left in 1965 and now Malaysia has a GDP/cap 55,200 by far no. 1 in ASEAN – some are still in the 1,000s.

The Malaysian government did not turn on the Chinese but lifted the bottom Malays up by positive discrimination – like across race and gender faultlines elsewhere. Read the rest of this entry »

Civilization clashes Occident-Orient?

By Johan Galtung

Johan Galtung

Kuala Lumpur
IAIS-International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies & IIUM-International Islamic University of Malaysia

Yes, Islam and Christianity are on old Buddhist lands; with Muslim-Buddhist clashes in Sri Lanka, Myanmar.

Occident is the big space of the three Abrahamic religions Judaism-Christianity-Islam, with the secularisms of the first two, excluding each other. Indonesia-Philippines are in the Occident.

Orient is a big space spanned by Buddhism, which does not exclude others, not even violent state power; hence more complex. There are pure Buddhist countries: Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam; and mixed Buddhist countries, with other non-exclusive world views: in China with Daoism-Confucianism, in Japan with Kami shinto-Confucianism, and in Korea with Confucianism and Christianity.

The world religioscape started with Read the rest of this entry »

The Sunni-Shia conflict: Any solution?

By Johan Galtung
Kuala Lumpur

Johan Galtung

Islam, Christianity and Buddhism are religious cultural powers, deep, defining the ends and means of human lives. All three promise life after death – eternal salvation in paradise, eternal dissolution in nirvana – if rules are observed. Unlike Judaism and Hinduism, all three are universal, for all humans at all times. So, they caught on across faultlines, way beyond Arabia, Palestine, Nepal-India into other, even enemy, economic-political-military realities.

Arabia was Muslim; Islam expanded from Iberia to Delhi by 1192. Palestine became Muslim-Jewish; Christianity became the religion of the Roman Empire in 313; from 395 divided into Orthodox East and Catholic West, from around 1500 divided into Catholic South and Protestant North. Casteless Buddhism was evicted from Hindu Nepal-India to neighbors; a thousand years later it is rooted all over East Asia.

Three religions became three civilizations of three vast regions. Three successes? Yes, but at a price. The price was schisms inside all three, faultlines with hatred, violence, wars. What went wrong? Read the rest of this entry »

What was history about? Look at the Histomap

By Johan Galtung

Johan Galtung

John B. Sparks made a histomap in 1931—updated in 2010 (Metro Books) – a long, vertical chart covering “peoples and nations for 4,000 years”.

Time, history, is on the vertical axis, listing when of events and where in the space of peoples and nations. The chart starts with the Chinese, the Indians, Amorites (Babylon), Aegeans (Minoans and Mycenaeans), Hittites (Anatolia), Iranians and Greeks, goes on to the Romans, the British, the Huns (Mongols) and ends with Latin America, Europeans West and East (the EU is absent), the Middle East, sub-Sahara Africa, Russians and Americans, Asia as India, China and Japan; each part proportionate to their significance at the time. Debatable.

But let us focus on something crucial: the shape of the “peoples-nations” bubbles in world history, from a beginning to an end?

By and large exactly like that: a birth somewhere in this Einsteinian timespace, and a death. Two points, and between them: growth-maturity/flourishing-decline and fall. Expansion to a maximum, and contraction to a minimum. The law of anything organic? Given that they often thought they were forever, gifted with eternal life, history is about great expectations, glories–and great traumas. Read the rest of this entry »

Seven Roads to Happiness

By Johan Galtung

… Would be the title in English of a book this author just published in Norwegian, Syv veier til lykke (Oslo: Kolofon 2014); with excellent photos by Aase Marie Faldalen. And, very befitting for a book with that title: the book quickly made it to the Top 10 on a best-seller list, of course as No. 7. There will be translations but have a peek here and now.

Why does a peace researcher, concerned with peace theory and practice, write a “how-to” book about happiness, well-being? Read the rest of this entry »

The world right now: A Mid-Year Report

By Johan Galtung

Time to take stock. The shot in Sarajevo 100 years ago inspires narratives of 19-year old Gavrilo Princip killing the successor to the throne of an empire and his pregnant wife as the event unleashing mutual mass murder (INYT, FAZ 28-29 June 2014). Not the empire annexing Bosnia-Herzegovina on October 6, 1908 (Art. 25 of the 1878 Berlin Congress of “great powers”).

Maybe the inhabitants did not like it?

Moral of that stock-taking: watch out for terrorism, not for empires and occupation-colonialism; and protect leaders, not people.

ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, alternatively translated as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) comes up. TIME 30 June: The End of Iraq. Maybe Iraq – that highly artificial English colonial entity encasing Shia Arabs, Sunni Arabs and Sunni Kurds–never started?

Like its French colonial neighbor Syria – adding Alawite Arabs, Christians, Jews and others? Ever heard about Sykes-Picot and their czarist Russian allies?

Can such crimes just pass, with no counter-forces?

Watch out, a key point about ISIS – now comprising a major part of IS – is as a bridge over the English-French colonial divide, in favor of a Sunni Arab caliphate. Like it or not, these are very strong forces from the past in the daylight of the present. Read the rest of this entry »

Spain 2050 – Ten predictions

By Johan Galtung

Alfaz; History group, Municipio, Spain

Can we know the future? Rhetorical answer: can we know the past?

We rewrite history all the time, not because facts become dubious and new facts appear, but because our angle, perspective, changes. Say, from a series of kings, presidents etc. and their exercise of military and political power to economic and cultural changes in the life of common people, in their wellbeing and identity. Quite some change.

Will we arrive at that single, true, objective perspective?

No, objectivity may be multi-subjective, not inter-subjective. This is why Al Jazeera is so much better for knowing the present than CNN, which presents the US angle, and if there are other angles a US “expert” will give the final interpretation. Al Jazeera presents many angles of many parties and leaves final interpretations to the viewer.

How can we shed some light into the future? Basically there are two approaches: the Cartesian based on extending trends, and daoism based on holism and dialectics. They do not exclude each other.

Thus, there are three world trends that certainly affect Spain… Read the rest of this entry »

East-South China Seas, Islands – Solutions?

By Johan Galtung

Nanjing University Conference

A Chinese proverb: better than giving a starving person a fish is teaching her to fish. So, not only solutions but how to solve conflicts: in the East China Sea between China and Japan over Diaoyu-Senkaku and between Korea and Japan over Dockdo-Takeshima; and in the South China Sea between China-Taiwan and Philippines-Vietnam-Malaysia-Brunei over the Nansha-Spratly islands. However, China-Taiwan can here be seen as one party with the same claims, and China has agreed to deal with ASEAN-Association of Southeast Asian Nations collectively, not with only four of the ten member states bilaterally. In short: China vs ASEAN.

The goals in these bilateral conflicts–conflict=incompatible goals! – is state sovereign rights not over mainlands but is-lands – essentially over their EEZs, exclusive economic zones 200 nautical miles from the coast base–to exploit live and non-live resources; fish, hydrocarbons, minerals. And sovereignty over a 12-mile zone–with air space–excluding others, their shipping lanes and flights. Read the rest of this entry »


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