Archive for October, 2012

The Balkan wars at 100: Four ways to good neighborhood

By Johan Galtung

*Keynote Speech, Istanbul, Hacettepe University, 4 October 2012

Empires come and go. The Ottoman-Muslim Empire was among the better whereas the Iberian-Catholic and the European-Protestant were among the worst.

The religions of the kitab were respected and Turkish language was not imposed. Religious-linguistic entities in the Balkans survived, as opposed to those in Latin-Caribbean America. National independence movements succeeded: Greece in 1829, Serbia and Romania in 1878, Bulgaria in 1908, Albania in 1912.

But the nation-states were incomplete. And on October 8, 1912 – a century ago – the Balkan League–Serbia-Bulgaria-Greece-Montenegro–declared war on the Ottoman Empire; and won. Then came the Second Balkan war in 1913, among the victors, Serbia-Greece-Romania against Bulgaria over Macedonia. Bulgaria lost.

Today this all sounds disturbingly familiar; but it is very far from Kant’s “eternal peace”. The wars may be over right now but recent ones have claimed many more lives than the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, estimated at 122,000 killed in action, 20,000 from wounds and 82,000 from disease. Positive peace seems far away; there is only some unstable negative peace.

This keynote will use a four factor formula for positive peace… Read the rest of this entry »

Obama is a great success

By Jonathan Power

Bar Martin Luther King, Barack Obama is the finest political orator in America’s living memory. His supporters are dumbstruck that in his debate with his challenger for the November 6th vote for the presidency his performance was so weak. He didn’t even mention Mitt Romney’s absurd statement that he has written off 47% of Americans because they depend on some sort of government handouts.

Hopefully Obama can recover this lost ground in the next two debates, one on domestic policy, the other on foreign affairs. Read the rest of this entry »

Sociocide, Palestine and Israel

By Johan Galtung

Testimony for Russell Tribunal on Palestine – New York City, 7 Oct 2012

Honorable Members of the Jury!

Sociocide is a new concept that has not found its place in positive international law. But Genocide, the unspeakable crime of massive killing of members of a genus, a nation, for no other reason than membership, has. And Ecocide, the unspeakable crime of killing Mother Earth who nourishes us all, is finding its place via the constitutions of some countries in Latin America.

Sociocide, the killing of a society’s capacity to survive and to reproduce itself, should become equally and prominently a crime against humanity. Read the rest of this entry »

Annette Schiffmann’s CV

Annette Schiffmann
Born in 1954 in Germany.
Annette Schiffmann joined TFF as an Associate in August 2003 and became member of the Board in August 2006.

Read the rest of this entry »

Chantal Mutamuriza’s CV

Chantal Mutamuriza
Born 1971 in Burundi
Chantal joined TFF in 2003 as Associate and Liaison for TFF’s project in Burundi

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Reflections on the Cuban Missile Crisis at fifty

By David Krieger

Fifty years ago this month, the world teetered on the precipice of a nuclear war between the US and Soviet Union during the 13-day Cuban Missile Crisis. We were fortunate to have survived that crisis, thanks largely to the restraint shown by President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev.

Now, fifty years later, there is no immediate crisis such as that in 1962 over Soviet nuclear-armed missiles being placed in Cuba. There are, however, still some 19,000 nuclear weapons in the arsenals of nine nuclear-armed nations: the US, Russia, UK, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea. Approximately 95 percent of these weapons are in the arsenals of the US and Russia. Some 2,000 of them are kept in a state of high alert, ready to be immediately launched upon an order to do so at any moment of any day or night. Read the rest of this entry »

Apollo’s curse and climate change

By Richard Falk

The fertile mythic mind of ancient Greece gave us a tragically relevant tale, told in different versions, of how the Greek god Apollo laid a curse of the beautiful and humanly captivating Cassandra. According to the myth Apollo was so moved by Cassandra’s beauty and presence that he conferred the gift of prophesy enabling her to apprehend accurately the future. Yet the gift came with a rather large macho string attached: he expected in return that Cassandra would agree to become his love partner, but she by tradition was sufficiently attached to her virginity and pride as to refuse Apollo’s crude entreaty.

Angered by such defiance, Apollo laid upon this innocent young woman a lethal curse: she would continue to foretell the future but she would never be believed. Such a twin destiny drove Cassandra insane, surely a punishment of virtue that was perversely exacted. Or are we as mortals expected always to cast aside our morals and virtue whenever the gods so demand?

The sad story of Cassandra is suggestive of the dilemma confronting the climate change scientific community. Read the rest of this entry »

German intransigence is destroying Europe

By Jonathan Power

The Germans are at it again. As Mario Monti, Italy’s prime minister, quipped: for Germany “economics is a branch of moral philosophy”- i.e. punish the sinners. Unless the southern nations- Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece- admit their past wickedness and purge themselves until it hurts, even tortures them, they will never recover. Forgotten are such German sins as its own banks investing heavily in the Spanish housing boom which when it bust dragged down the whole economy, taking government revenues with it or being the first country in Europe the agreed 3% limit on budget deficits. Read the rest of this entry »

Peace, human rights and development in multi-polar and evolving world

By Johan Galtung

Keynote Speech at the UN Human Rights Council SOCIAL FORUM – Oct 1, 2012

Your Excellencies!

The title for this Sixth Social Forum – in the context of the 10 Articles of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development of 4 December 1986 – is very well chosen. The focus is on people-centered development – as opposed to system – centered economic growth. And on globalization, a challenging process involving all states and regions, nations and civilizations, humans and nature – as opposed to a globalized market with only three free flows, of capital, goods and services, not labor; increasing the global economic gap.

And this in the context of rampant poverty, widening domestic inequalities, economic crises due to the disconnect between real and finance economies and greedy speculation, rising unemployment and popular unrest. Yesterday’s map dividing the world in developed and developing countries makes little sense when many of the developed are de-developing, declining, and many of the developing, emerging, on the way up–like BRICS–pass them on their way down. A new world.

Permit me Twelve Theses addressing this serious situation. Read the rest of this entry »


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