Archive for the ‘Norway’ Category
By Johan Galtung
Jondal, Hardangerakademiet, Norway, August 1, 2016
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 Academy will try to change that.
What is in public space in Norway?
A mirror image of US public space. If the US media say that Russian hacking was behind the enormous WikiLeaks revelations from the Democratic National Committee computer, so do the Norwegian media. If US media do not tell the content, so do the Norwegian media. The general rhetoric of the Clinton-Trump controversy is slavishly imitated, including the idea that Trump is an agent for Putin, and the silence about Clinton’s massive killing as Secretary of State. The behavior one would expect from a compliant client country. But there is more to it.
What is the basic concern of the Norwegian media?
Lifestyle, in short, for good–live graciously, in comfort–and for bad, the many breakdowns, suicides-homicides, divorces, alcoholism. The politics of everyday, personal, life. That in itself is welcome, however, not as a veil draped over national and global politics.
How about Norwegian artists?
With a few exceptions, they are on that line, intensely focused on personal life, often their own, in the smallest detail. No artists write about Norwegian military snipers killing massively in Afghanistan, and the air force by bombing in Libya for the USA–some even presented as useful training exercises. Read the rest of this entry »
Lund, December 10, 2015
On the day of the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony at Oslo City Hall
To whom it may concern, including the media
We know – and Alfred Nobel knew – how devastating war and arms races are, and how little security we get for all the money we spend on military forces.
The campaign to reclaim the Nobel Peace Prize is first and foremost a campaign to revive the idea that global peace requires global cooperation on disarmament and replacing the law of force with the force of law. Every day more and more of us see, from the Middle East warfare, from the refugee crisis, and many other chilling reminders, the mandatory urgency of a change in world politics.
Alfred Nobel decided to give one fifth of his fortune for a prize to promote disarmament and resolution of all conflicts through negotiations and legal means, never through violence.
Can such a prize, with a so clearly stated goal, be turned to serve the opposite idea and be given again and again to recipients who promote arms races and believe in militarism and war?
This question will soon be answered, after Mairead Maguire, Jan Oberg, Davis Swanson, and Lay Down Your Arms took the case to the Stockholm District Court on Friday 4th of December 2015. Here is the full text of the summons.
and all other relevant information is available at the Nobel Peace Prize Watch.
Test case: the award to the European Union in 2012
The court case will test one of the most obvious violations of the Nobel idea Read the rest of this entry »
By Johan Galtung
Norway, on top of the UN indicator of good life for years, is now hit by two different crises; one for the less developed aspect and one for the more developed. Yet the citizens are protected by a massive oil slick, the biggest sovereign fund in the world, the Government Pension Fund for an aging population when oil dries out. For only 5 million inhabitants, $178,000/capita, and growing.
First crisis: Third World monoculture—oil/gas–hit by the world markets; from over $ 100 per barrel to under 50 recently. A crisis of over-supply and also of under-demand, less than expected: toxic fossil fuels do the same to the lungs of Planet Earth as smoking to the lungs of humans. Green alternatives strong in Germany, China, coming in USA.
A generation was needed for the smoking truth to penetrate, but smoking survived in the Third World – for some time. We will get the same for addiction to fossil fuels, from denial to abstention, with collective decisions. So far, most action is coal focused – including the Norwegian oil fund no longer investing – time is coming for oil.
With falling prices, demand insecure, and 1/3 of employment being oil-dependent, unemployment is rising. In February 4.1% of the about 2,730,000 total were unemployed, rising to 8% (Klassekampen, KK 12 May 15). The powerful oil branch claims it is all temporary, soon the prices will go up. Official optimism, hoping it will be self-fulfilling.
Second crisis: Read the rest of this entry »
By Johan Galtung
Mohandas Gandhi invented the nonviolent approach to basic social change, Satyagraha, in South Africa in the early 20th century; Nelson Mandela presided over the birth of a one person-one vote democracy at the end of the century. Both were lawyers, trained in English Common Law; good in the sense of a keen consciousness of what is right and wrong, bad in the sense of a court process identifying who is in the wrong rather than solving underlying conflicts, and wrong in the sense of punishing the wrong-doer; violence rather than cooperation.
Both built on the positive side of law – the indelible rights of the people for whom they were fighting by comparing empirical facts with normative rights; immigrant Indians in the case of Gandhi, original inhabitants in South Africa, the Blacks, in the case of Mandela.
Gandhi (1869-1948) did not live to see equality between Indians and whites in South Africa, but in India, his mother-father land; Mandela (1918-2013) did. They won their struggles – but the societies that emerged still suffer from other and major ones.
A deep culture united them: the culture of law. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jan Oberg
On March 3, 2015, The Telegraph and a few other major news surces broke the quite extraordinary story that the chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee – the body that decides who is awarded the Prize – former Norwegian PM Thorbjoern Jagland had been demoted; it’s the first time it has ever happened.
It was during his chairmanship the will of Alfred Nobel was ignored most systematically – e.g. by awarding the world’s allegedly most prestigious prize to President Obama, the EU and Chinese human rights (but pro-war) Liu Xiaobo.
It’s about 7 years ago that a small group of Scandinavian scholars decided to investigate how this prize is managed. The basic research can be found in a book by Norwegian lawyer and author, Fredrik S. Heffermehl, The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted which was the first major result of the group’s work. It documents how this prize is “prestigious” only for those who either a) have never read Alfred Nobe’s will; b) don’t believe it should be interpreted with respect for his motives and goals and c) have very little knowledge about peace and peace research.
Nobel’s formulation in his will is short and clear – the Peace Prize shall go “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” He calls such people “champions of peace”. More here.
Thus, the Nobel Peace Prize is not a do-good prize, not a human rights or environmental prize and not a pro-war prize. But it is a reward work for disarmament, anti-militarism and the abolition of warfare and people – be it politicians, scholars, activists – who are pro-peace, champions of peace. The legal challenges that the Nobel Peace Prize Watch has raised over the years can be found here.
The Nobel Peace Prize Watch
Over the years, the criticism of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee’s work has increased. Seven years ago, I cannot remember that any journalist who interviewed me about the Prize had read the will. Now about 75% of them seem to have before they call.
Fredrik Heffermehl, Oslo, and Tomas Magnusson, Gothenburg, have now established the Lay Down Your Arms Association which was incorporated and registered in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2014 with a Scandinavian and an International Advisory Board. The Association’s first project has been to set up the Nobel Peace Prize Watch where you can acquaint yourself with the Prize, its history, background, the criticism over time, etc. Read the rest of this entry »
By Johan Galtung
More senseless bombing of Muslims, more defeats for USA-West, more ISIS-type movements, more West-Islam polarization. Any way out?
“ISIS, Islamic State in Iraq-Syria, appeals to a Longing for the Caliphate” writes TFF Associate Farhang Jahanpour in an IPS column. For the Ottoman Caliphate with the Sultan as Caliph – the Shadow of God on Earth – after the 1516-17 victories all over till the collapse of both Empire and Caliphate in 1922, at the hands of the allies England-France-Russia.
Imagine the collapse of the Vatican, not Catholic Christianity, at the hands of somebody, Protestant or Orthodox Christians, meaning Anglo-Americans or Russians, or Muslims. A center in this world for the transition to the next, headed by a Pope, the apostolic successor to The Holy Spirit, an emanation of God in Heaven. Imagine it gone.
And imagine that they who had brought about the collapse had a tendency to bomb, invade, conquer, dominate Catholic countries, one after the other, like after 2 Bush wars in Afghanistan-Iraq, 5 Obama wars in Pakistan-Yemen-Somalia-Libya-Syria, and “special operations”.
Would we not predict  a longing for the Vatican, and  an extreme hatred of the perpetrators? Fortunately, it did not happen.
But it happened in the Middle East: leaving a trauma fueled by killing hundreds of thousands.
By Jan Oberg & Johan Galtung*
Lund and Kuala Lumpur, July 2014
He was a tall man and a great man, a visionary, pacifist, civil resister, educator and philosopher. He took life more seriously than most and he could be playful and fun like a child. His life’s guiding principle was ”Engage in your time!” and while he wrote and talked a lot he also did it. His name was Aage Bertelsen, he was born in Denmark in 1901 and died on August 15, 1980.
Bertelsen’s imprint on history is two-fold. First, with his wife Gerda he was a prime mover of one of the groups, the Lyngby Group, which organised the rescue of altogether 7.220 Danish Jews into safety in Sweden in October 1943 during the German occupation of Denmark – more here. The Lyngby Group – Lyngby is north of Copenhagen – got about 1.000 of these in safety by organising their nightly transport onboard small fisher boats over the Sound between Denmark and Sweden.
In this he deserves a place in international contemporary history for its humanity, civil courage and as an example of non-violent struggle against occupation.
Secondly, Bertelsen was an educator of and for peace. His life work educational efforts included his family and friends, his pupils over 22 years at the Aarhus Cathedral School in Aarhus, Denmark, the general public as well as national and international leaders.
He lived in pre-Internet times and very little is publicly available today about this renaissance man. From two rather different, but compatible, perspectives we’ve taken it upon us to remind the world about him – friends and colleagues of his as we happen to be.
Why now, over 30 years after his death? Read the rest of this entry »
By Johan Galtung
Pretoria, South Africa, Keynote
Governance is politics, power–political-economic-military-cultural; decisions-carrots-sticks-ideas. Politics is about problems of realizing one goal; about conflicts realizing incompatible goals. Contradiction = danger+opportunity; the art of the impossible.
Answer: Good Governance GG = CC Creative Conflict-transformation.
This includes diagnosis, who are the parties, their goals and the incompatibilities; prognosis, from frustration to aggression/apathy, from prejudice-discrimination to hatred-violence; therapy, conflict solution-transformation, proposing creative visions of a new reality where the goals are compatible and new conflicts more easily handled.
Two examples of creative, good governance from Norway and Europe: Read the rest of this entry »
By Johan Galtung
In Oslo, 200 Years after the 17 May 1814 Independence Constitution
And why did that happen? The Treaty of Kiel 14 January 1814 between UK-Sweden of the anti-French Sixth Coalition and Denmark-Norway allied to Napoléon made Copenhagen cede Norway to Sweden.
And why did that happen? Because Russia with unspeakable suffering had won the 1812 war with Napoléon–that winner of battles and loser of wars; Waterloo 18 June 1815 was still far away. All described in one of the best books ever written, Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace (1869); written, it has been said, as if Life were the author.
Norwegians used the time after the Treaty well for independence with a Constitution, before Sweden invaded and Norway capitulated: the Convention of Moss 14 August 1814. No Sweden-Norway under Stockholm, only a joint king and foreign policy, both Swedish; dissolved in 1905.
And how was the gratitude expressed to Russia and Russians?
Nothing; only the same paranoid fear of the big neighbor, never forgiving Russia for having been attacked by the Vikings, now more than a thousand years ago, presumably plotting the revenge ever since. Read the rest of this entry »
There it is, that fantastic duomo, the fourth in size in the Christian world, honoring their God, exuding self-confidence, and the beauty of the marble stones of the huge façade. Founded six hundred years ago, took five centuries to build, a marvel of engineering and architecture. A major concert with a choir does not manage to fill the inner space of the dome, but of the listeners, yes, with awe.
Conceived in the “dark ages” as those masters of cultural violence, our historians, call them, the “middle ages”, presumably between two “shiny ages”, the Roman Empire and Western colonialism, “modern times”. Will anything built today be visited by people in five hundred years, filling them with awe? Some banks, corporations? Some corrupted national assemblies? Some stadiums, shopping centers sloppily made, collapsing, built with no love, except for money? Some huge missile ramps to sow death and harvest hatred and revenge?
Do they ever think of that, the “leaders” in the most aggressive parts of the West, Anglo-America, UKUSAF–adding F for that center of “enlightenment” and “modernity”, France – do they think of the harm they do to all of us, in the West? To our past, to our legacy?
But soon it is over; they are losing Afghanistan and Iraq, Libya and Mali–no democracy, no economic growth, no human rights arising from the ashes of the most basic human right, to life, insulted. All over even mainstream media are filled with negativism; crying failure. Read the rest of this entry »