Archive for May, 2012

Fredsforskning i Danmark?*

Af Jan Øberg

I begyndelsen af maj begynder konkurrencen om 15 millioner kroner til udvikling af fredsforskning i Danmark. Enhedslisten og andre pressede på for at få nogle penge så der kunne skabes alternativer til den dansk militær interventionspolitik.

Baggrunden var desuden at Danmark jo er en hvid plet på fredsforskningens verdenskort. Read the rest of this entry »

Neither capitalism nor socialism: Eclecticism & Peace Economics!

By Johan Galtung

Thinking aloud: we need all good ideas to combat our double economic crisis: the increasing misery crisis at the bottom, now also in rich countries in the West, and the increasing system crisis, also striking those countries; but both are all over.

So the following are notes for an epilogue to a forthcoming book, Peace Economics, about how to overcome the flagrant structural violence in the misery crisis, and the threat of direct violence, not only terrorism and state terrorism, but a major world war to get the West out of the system – like the Second World War lifted them out of the Great Depression. Read the rest of this entry »

An innocent victim of our sanctions against Iran

Or how “high” politics are connected to the lives of Iranians even abroad

By Jan Oberg

I’ve come to know a young Iranian student here in Sweden. Fortunately he came before the discriminatory law that forces students from outside EU to pay for their studies while those from inside the EU can study freely.

Kourosh – a name I use for the purpose of this article – is a very modest, diligent and polite young man. He has quickly learned to talk everyday Swedish. He sees his life in Sweden as a great privilege and an opportunity to go back to his native Iran and make it a better place. Since I have applied for a visa to go to Iran, I’ve been eager to meet with him and listen to what he can tell me about Iranian culture and about how life has been for his family. The father is a truck driver turned farmer; the family is not among the poorest but also not in the upper class. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting out of Afghanistan

By Jonathan Power

There is an old Soviet joke from the time of the Red Army attempted occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s: “The past might be unpredictable, but the future is certain”. The Americans and other NATO countries might reflect on this. Obviously the French with their love of word play have and are pulling out their substantial number of troops before the end of the year. Read the rest of this entry »

What is new in the Israel-Palestine conflict?

By Richard Falk

Undoubtedly transfixed by the extraordinary developments throughout the Arab world since Mohamed Boazizi’s self-immolation on December 17, 2010: from Tahrir Square to the NATO intervention in Libya to bloody confrontations in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain to the eerie quiet in Algeria to the relative and temporary calm in Morocco, few have noticed that the Israeli/Palestine conflict has changed its character in fundamental respects during the last couple of years.

For some the first of these transformative developments may have been realized for somewhat longer, but now almost everybody knows, except for those in high places, especially in Washington and Tel Aviv who seem to have a political need not to know. Read the rest of this entry »

Goodbye to the Iran nuclear bomb?

By Jonathan Power

Is it agreement time in Iran? Is Iran going to bend to the will of the UN Security Council and engineer a compromise that will allow it to enrich uranium – but only to a small degree – in return for allowing the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency to intimately monitor its nuclear industry to assure it doesn’t enrich further to enable it to build a nuclear weapon?

The West and Israel in particular have long been in a panic about a possible Iranian nuclear bomb. There is a strong “bomb Iran before it is too late” faction in the US Republican Party and even more so in Israel. This has never made sense if one reads the tea-leaves carefully. Read the rest of this entry »

They say war, we think peace

By Johan Galtung

Talk at the Université de Strasbourg, France, May 21, 2012

Important is not only to think peace, but to speak, write and contribute to making, building and keeping it.

For that purpose a little formula might be useful:

+ Positive Peace Equity X Harmony

Peace = ________________ = _________________

– Negative Peace Trauma X Conflict

There is positive peace in the numerator: the more the better. And key factors leading to direct, structural and cultural violence–the opposite of negative peace–in the denominator: the less the better. What is gained in peace is easily lost through inattention to negative pace. But there is a zone of stability by compensation.

According to the formula there are four basic tasks; all of them difficult but not impossible, all requiring training, skills. Read the rest of this entry »

The Nakba 2012

By Richard Falk

The recent parallel hunger strikes in Israeli prisons reignited the political imagination of Palestinians around the world, strengthening bonds of ‘solidarity’ and reinforcing the trend toward grassroots reliance on nonviolent resistance Israeli abuses.

The crisis produced by these strikes made this year’s observance of Nakba Day a moral imperative for all those concerned with attaining justice and peace for the long oppressed Palestinian people whether they be living under occupation or in exile. The Palestinian mood on this May 14th, inflamed by abuse and frustration, but also inspired by and justly proud of exemplary expressions of courage, discipline, and nonviolent resistance on the part of imprisoned Palestinians who are mounting the greatest challenge of organized resistance that Israel has faced since the Second Intifada. Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections on the great Palestinian prison strike of 2012

By Richard Falk

Ché Guevera was once asked what was at the root of his revolutionary commitment. His response, which we should all take some moments to reflect upon, “it is about love.” Reading the words of Khader Adnan (‘Open Letter to the People of the World’) and Thaer Halahleh (‘Letter to my Daughter’), or the comments of Hana Shalabi’s mother and sister, or Bilal Diab’s father, led me to recall Guevera’s illuminating comment. Only those with closed minds can read such words of devotion without feeling that the animating hunger of these Palestinians is for peace and justice, for love and dignity, and that their heroic strikes would have impossible without cherishing life and future freedom for the people of Palestine.

The nature of extreme self-sacrifice, provided it is autonomous and nonviolent, is an inherently spiritual undertaking even when its external appearance is political. For Christians, and others moved to tears by the life of Jesus, the Crucifixion exemplifies this encounter between the political and the spiritual.

We can only marvel at the duplicitous double standards of the media. Without the Internet and Al Jazeera the West, especially the United States, would have rendered invisible these challenges to Israeli abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law. Only the settlement of the strike, and to some extent fear of Palestinian unrest should one of these hunger strikes die while in detention, was deemed somewhat newsworthy by the Western press. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Al Qaeda on the up?

By Jonathan Power

The two bombs that went off last week in Damascus, Syria, killing 55 people suggest that Al Qaeda is out and about, not on the verge of defeat as appeared so after the death of Osama bin Laden. The movement that claimed to be responsible, the Al-Nusra Front, whilst independent, almost certainly has ties with Al-Qaeda. In an eight minute video released in February Dr Aymen Zawaheri, who took over from bin Laden, urged Muslims to help “brothers in Syria with all that they can”.

According to US intelligence Al Qaeda in Iraq responded by establishing terrorist cells in Syria. This is one reason why the US and Nato don’t want to get militarily involved in Syria. They have at last learnt that it would radicalise more people and push them towards Al Qaeda. (Besides, the situation is not as straightforward as it was in Libya with one all-powerful strongman, one dominant religious sect and a fairly united armed opposition.) Read the rest of this entry »


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