Archive for March, 2014

Som broar över mörka vatten – ett integrationsprojekt

Av Christina Spännar & Vibeke Bing

Kanske du associerar TFF med Jugoslavien, Burundi, Irak, Iran, ickevåld och fredsdebatt? Men vi har i tre år också arbetat med frågor kring integration med tonvikten lagd på ensamkommande barn från Afghanistan. Insatsen här har letts av författarna av denna projektsammanfattning.

Vi är stolta över att nu publicera bloggen Som Broar Över Mörka Vatten där allt material finns. Projektet har finansierats av Arvsfonden.

“När vi åkte gummibåt över Turkiets hav till Samos i Grekland greps vi av Grekiska poliser. Poliserna kastade alla våra kläder i havet och gjorde små hål i vår båt.” Ali

“På kvällen satt vi i en båt. Vi åkte till Grekland. På vägen till Grekland fick vi problem med båten. En polisbåt kom och klippte sönder en del av motorn. Vi paddlade med händerna och fyra åror.” Hassan

Vi lever i en märklig tid. Framför våra ögon pågår en stor migrationsvåg av ensamma barn. Något liknande har inte hänt sedan de finska vinterkrigsbarnen kom till Sverige på 40-talet.

De barn, som utan föräldrar, nu flytt hit undan krigets fasor har gjort en annan resa. De kommer från länder vi inte vet mycket om. Vilka är dessa barn och ungdomar, vad tänker de på och hur är livet i Sverige? Vi har lärt känna och lyssnat till några av dem. De är alla från Afghanistan.

Hur deras berättelser kommit till och vad de har att säga kan man läsa i denna rapport, som summerar tre års projektarbete. Här kan man också få veta hur vi sökt arbetsformer som kan underlätta den svåra etableringsfasen.

Vid öppnandet av en utställning

Vi berör också det komplicerade i att återförenas som familj.

Vi vänder oss till alla som arbetar med barn, ungdomar och föräldrar. Men också till alla som är nyfikna på vad som sker i vår samtid.
Känns läsningen tung – bläddra vidare till pojkarnas berättelser och det öppnas en ny värld.

En av de unga sammanfattar vår tid tillsammans såhär:

– “Jag har fått hjälp, ni har fått hjälp, vi hade kul!”

Det är bara att instämma!

Vibeke Bing
Projektledare, folkhälsovetare

Christina Spännar
Projektledare, sociolog

Sammanfattning av projektet

Som broar över mörka vatten – ett integrationsprojekt har haft som övergripande syfte att stärka människor i övergångsskeden i livet. Målgrupper har varit nyblivna föräldrar, ensamkommande flyktingbarn/ungdomar samt föräldrar som kommit till Sverige som flyktingar eller som anhöriginvandrare till ensamkommande flyktingbarn och ungdomar.

De övergångsskeden som stått i fokus är att bli förälder och att migrera. I det senare fallet handlar det om att bryta upp från ett socialt sammanhang och finna sig till rätta i ett nytt. I migrationsprocessen ingår ofta också att återförenas som familj efter år av splittring.

Projektet kan liknas vid ett träd, Read the rest of this entry »

Moratorium on comments addressing the Israel/Palestine struggle

By Richard Falk

It has always been my intention to make the tiny fragment of the blogosphere that I inhabit a site for civil discourse on a wide spectrum of concerns, issue oriented interpretations of what is transpiring in the world.

Recently the comments sections has narrowed from this perspective into a dialogue between adversaries, several of whom seem preoccupied with, if not obsessed by, Israel, the Jewish experience, Zionism, and the Palestinian/Arab narrative and counter-narrative. Some of the contributions have been learned and sensitive to the reality that there are many diverse voices that need to be heard on this inflamed subject-matter, yet others have been intolerant, launched repeated personal attacks questioning motives and motivations, and have created a polemical aura at the site that has inhibited participation by those with other interests, concerns, and style.

For these reasons, I have decided to have a moratorium on all comments relating to this subject-matter until May 1, 2014.

I expect this might be troublesome for several faithful readers of my posts. Please bear with me, and understand this to be an effort to encourage more varied and less antagonistic exchanges.

I am suspending this portion of the comments section at a moment that coincides with the ending of my six-year term as Special Rapporteur on Palestine for the UN Human Rights Commission.

Let me add that I will continue to do my best to remain engaged in the struggle to find a just and sustainable peace for both peoples premised upon their equality.

The obsolescence of ideology: Debating Syria and Ukraine

By Richard Falk

I have been struck by the unhelpfulness of ideology to my own efforts to think through the complexities of recommended or preferred policy in relation to Syria, and more recently, the Ukraine. There is no obvious posture to be struck by referencing a ‘left’ or ‘right’ identity. A convincing policy proposal depends on sensitivity to context and the particulars of the conflict.

To insist that the left/right distinction obscures more than it reveals is not the end of the story. To contend that ideology is unhelpful as a guide for action is not the same as saying that it is irrelevant to the public debate. In the American context, to be on the left generally implies an anti-interventionist stance, while being on the right is usually associated with being pro-interventionist. Yet, these first approximations can be misleading, even ideologically. Liberals, who are deliberately and consigned to the left by the mainstream media, often favor intervention if the rationale for military force is primarily humanitarian.

Likewise, the neocon right is often opposed to intervention if it is not persuasively justified on the basis of strategic interests, which could include promoting ideological affinities. The neocon leitmotif is global leadership via military strength, force projection, friends and enemies, and the assertion and enforcement of red lines. When Obama failed to bomb Syria in 2013 after earlier declaring that the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime was for him a red line this supposedly undermined the credibility of American power.

My point is that ideology remains a helpful predictor of how people line up with respect to controversial uses of force, although relying on ideology is a lazy way to think if the purpose is to decide on the best course of action to take, which requires a sensitivity to the concrete realities of a particular situation. Such an analysis depends on context, and may include acknowledging the difficulties of intervention, and the moral unacceptability of nonintervention. Read the rest of this entry »

TFF PressInfo: Kosovo 15 years later, a personal memory and a word about free research

By Jan Oberg

Lund, Sweden March 24, 2014

Media with a pro-Western bias usually remind us of 9/11 based on a victim narrative. We just passed 3/20 – the 11th Anniversay of the war on Iraq. Every year they forget 10/7 (Afghanistan) and 3/24, the destruction of Serbia-Kosovo in 1999.

What to do when NATO’s raison d’etre – the Warsaw Pact – had dissolved? Answer: Turn NATO into a humanitarian bombing organisation which in – fake – Gandhian style could say: We are bombing for a higher ethical humanitarian purpose to save lives and on this exceptionalist moral high ground we ignore international law.

Kosovo 15 years later

Kosovo remains a unique result of propaganda and mass killings to produce and independent state without a UN Security Council mandate – which doesn’t prevent Western politicians from teaching Russia international law these very days.

If Kosovo, why not Tibet, Taiwan, the Basque country, Korsica, Kurdistan, Palestine, or Crimea? The answer is: Kosovo was exceptional. But why? Oil and gas, perhaps, see later… Read the rest of this entry »

Far from good enough, Mr. Putin !

By Johan Galtung

History matters, not only law; like how Crimea and Abkhazia-South Ossetia–basically Russian-Orthodox–became Ukrainian-Georgian. Two Soviet dictators, Khrushchev and Stalin, attached to Ukraine and Georgia, so decided, by dictate. The local people were not asked, nor were Hawaiians when the USA annexed their Kingdom in 1898–by dictate.

The first referendum in Crimea was held last Sunday, 16 March 2014: an overwhelming No to Ukraine and Yes to the Russian federation.

Khrushchev’s 1954 transfer of Crimea was within the Soviet Union, and under Red Army control. But the Soviet Union collapsed and the Red Army became the Russian army; the conditions were no longer valid. George W. Bush wanted Ukraine and Georgia to become NATO members, moving the Russian minorities two steps away from Russia. Nothing similar applies to the other Russian minorities in the former Soviet republics. They are people living on somebody else’s land, not people living on their own land.

What happened to Crimea was a correction of what had become a basic mistake. Although Russia moving into eastern Ukraine could be–as the West says–invasion-occupation-annexation. But highly unlikely.

Unless civil war breaks out between Ukraine West and East and the Russian minority in the East–Donetsk–is in danger. Russia will not stand by watching, just as NATO would not if something similar happened close to the Polish border in Lvov.

This simply must not happen; nevertheless it is getting close. Read the rest of this entry »

Putin and his Crimea speech

By Jonathan Power

March 25th 2014

President Vladimir Putin’s speech to both houses of the Russian parliament last week got bad notices. Anne Applebaum, the experienced Russian-watcher, wrote in her column in the Washington Post that it was “an imperial rant” and went on to say that “Nato should moves its forces from Germany to the alliance’s eastern borders”. Most Western governments also gave their own misleading interpretations of Putin’s speech.

In this column I’m not going to defend Putin up and down the hill. I profoundly reject the way the absorption of Crimea into Russia was carried out. One can’t mount a referendum on an issue as important as this with two weeks’ notice – the Scots have been discussing their planned referendum, set for later this year, for years.

Moreover, this referendum only had two questions: whether the voters wanted to go back to Russia or whether they wanted increased autonomy. It didn’t ask if voters wanted to remain part of Ukraine. Read the rest of this entry »

TFF PressInfo: Crimea – The referendum, the mote and the beam

By Jan Oberg

Lund, Sweden March 16, 2014

Of course it is illegal and of course it will be rigged, that referendum in Crimea today. And of course it is a ploy and comes only in the wake of Russia’s (read Putin’s) unprovoked aggression, used as a pretext to build a new Greater Russia.

That is, if you browse the mainstream Western media the last week and on this Sunday morning.

Referendum means referring an issue back to the people. It is – or should be – an important instrument in democracies. And it’s a much better instrument than war and other violence to settle complex conflicts.

Generally, citizens-decided conflict-resolution is likely to last longer and help healing wounds of the past than any type of solution imposed by outside actors.

In Switzerland citizens go and vote on all kinds of issues on many a Sunday throughout the year. Sweden has used it to decide about nuclear energy, Denmark about EU membership and – in 1920 – to solve the conflicts in Schleswig-Holstein and define the future border between Germany and Denmark. Referendums, binding as well as non-binding, are an accepted instrument in many countries.

Why did the West not use referendums?

The West likes to pride itself of its type of democracy whenever and wherever it can. But it doesn’t use the referendum instrument that often. Read the rest of this entry »

TFF PressInfo: Dangerous reductionism about Ukraine

“We don’t see things as they are but as we are” – Anais Nin

By Jan Oberg

Lund, Sweden – March 5, 2014

How can we begin to understand the events in Ukraine? Who are the conflict parties and elements?

Here is a quick checklist of 13, just a selection:

1. Ukraine – government (earlier/present), opposition (split), people (19 ethnic groups + Ukrainians abroad). Crimea with its diversity and Ukraine’s relations to neighbours – enough for a doctoral dissertation.

2. Russia – the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia and Russia’s more or less strong partners such as Syria.

3. Europe – the EU and European non-EU countries such as e.g. Turkey

4. The United States – the world’s only empire, with a foreign policy establishment in Washington deeply split in neo-conservatives on the one hand and Obama and the rest on the other.

5. China – with an increasing influence worldwide, including conspicuously in Ukraine

6. BRICS – Brasil, Russia, India, China and South Africa

7. World financial organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, IMF, finance institutions, banksters and those others who influence and can ”pay the bills” (and get to own the property) in Ukraine

8. Inter-governmental organisations – the UN, NATO, OSCE and others Read the rest of this entry »

TFF PressInfo: The manufactured story about Iran’s nuclear program

By Farhang Jahanpour

As Iran and the world powers resume nuclear talks in Vienna with the hope of reaching a comprehensive agreement over Iran’s nuclear program by mid-July, the Israelis and their lobbyists in Washington are intensifying their efforts to scuttle the talks. In addition to all the efforts in the US Congress to impose additional sanctions on Iran, thus bringing the talks to a premature end, there are indications that Israel and her friends are continuing with various acts of sabotage against Iranian nuclear facilities.

In 2010, the so-called Stuxnet virus temporarily disrupted the operation of thousands of Iranian centrifuges. At least five Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated. Iran has also said that it has discovered tiny timed explosives planted on centrifuges but has disabled them before they could go off. On Monday 17 March 2014, Iran said that an alleged attempt to sabotage one of its nuclear facilities had involved foreign intelligence agencies that had tampered with imported pumps. However, in addition to all those acts of sabotage, there seems to be an intensive effort to manufacture a crisis by means of false intelligence.

Prior to the devastating Iraq war that destroyed the country and killed upwards of half a million people, not to say anything of thousands of Coalition forces who were killed and the two trillion dollars that was spent, a number of neocons bent on the invasion of Iraq manufactured various false reports in order to mislead the public and pave the way for the war.

On September 8, 2002, Michael R. Gordon and Judith Miller published a story in the New York Times that openly alleged that Saddam Hussein had intensified his quest for a nuclear bomb. They wrote: “In the last 14 months, Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium… Bush administration officials say the quest for thousands of high-strength aluminum tubes is one of several signs that Mr. Hussein is seeking to revamp and accelerate Iraq’s nuclear weapons program.”

The unsuspecting public was misled by that false intelligence and the result was one of the longest and most disastrous wars in US history.

How the manufactured crisis was manufactured

In his latest groundbreaking book, entitled A Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of Iran Nuclear Scare, the historian and investigative journalist Gareth Porter catalogs a long list of false reports manufactured by Israeli intelligence agencies in order to mislead the public and pave the way for a war against Iran. (1)

Read the rest of this entry »

Is human rights observance in China evolving?

By Jonathan Power
Dateline: Beijing.
Date: March 18th 2014.

In 1913, following the overthrow of the last emperor, citizens walked, pedalled or rickshawed to the polling stations- although opium smokers, Buddhists and policemen were forbidden from voting. In the annals of the 2,500 years of Chinese civilization it is the one and only time the Chinese have voted in a national election.

Under Mao Zedong, the communist leader who overthrew this Nationalist government, any pretence of voting was given short shrift. Politics was outlawed and would-be dissidents severely punished. Only at the top level of Chinese politics – in the ruling politburo – were votes taken. Indeed, on some occasions, Mao was outvoted.

But once he was dead some of the leadership of the communist party did want to see a loosening up. There was what Bao Tong, personal aide of deposed Communist Party chief, Zhao Ziyang, called a “freedom faction”. For example, in 1995 politburo member, Tian Jiyun, called for direct elections for government officials. Politburo standing committee (the top organ of the party) member, Li Ruihuan, called for partial media privatization. There were others.

Deng Xiaoping, an outcast under Mao, who became the dominant leader shortly after Mao’s death, warned in 1980 of the dangers of “bureaucracy, over-concentration of power, patriarchal methods, life tenure in leading posts and various privileges”. Voting, albeit very tightly controlled, was introduced within the party. Read the rest of this entry »


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