Archive for October, 2015

Obituary – Dietrich Fischer 1941-2015

By Christina Spännar & Jan Oberg

Our dear friend and TFF Associate since 1985, professor Dietrich Fischer, died today, October 18, 2015.

We met Dietrich through another dear friend Johan Galtung and, together with then West German lieutenant-colonel Wilhelm Nolte, Dietrich became the first scholar-in-residence at TFF in Lund in 1986. That lead to Fischer, Nolte and Oberg’s “Winning Peace. Strategies and Ethics for A Nuclear-Free World published in 1989.”

The two scholars came and worked for periods at TFF, went back home to re-write and then back to Lund – no emails and Dropbox at the time. We met, worked, ate, drank, did excursions and played with our children together. That’s how we did it.

And here’s the local newspaper from January 8, 1986:

Wilhelm Nolte, Jan Oberg and Dietrich Fischer

Dietrich was a genius in defensive defence thinking, Read the rest of this entry »

The Axis of Evil

By Johan Galtung

Do you remember the Axis of Evil – Iraq-Iran-North Korea?

George W. Bush, or his speechwriter rather, concocted that axis in 2002 as focus for a global war on terror. The key term is “evil”–not “enemy”, “hostile”–the connotation being “possessed by Satan”. The proof is opposition to a USA chosen by God, as God’s Own People, as “In God we trust”. To exorcise Satan only violence works.

In 1953 North Korea under Kim Il Sung did not capitulate to the USA, only cease-fire, the first US non-victory since 1812. Very evil.

In 1978-79, Iran, by the Khomeini Islamic revolution, decolonized Iran from US dominance and evicted the shah, who had been installed by a US-UK (CIA-MI6) coup in 1953; in fact undoing 1953. Very, very evil.

On 17 May 1987 Saddam Hussein, used by the USA to fight Iran with no gains for Iraq, fired on a US vessel (USS Stark incident). Very, very, very evil.

However, for a USA, never questioning bringing US style democracy and US free market to all countries in the world, this was not seen as others having their own goals. It was seen as exactly that, evil. Read the rest of this entry »

Islam and the West: Roads to peace

By Johan Galtung

Alfàs del Pi, Spain – International Center for Conflict Solution – Seminar 11-13 September

The prospects are dim. Both focus on the worst in the Other, not on the best. Islam justifies terrorist violence – bombs, decapitation – as revenge with moderation; West justifies state terrorist violence – bombing, droning, sharp-shooting all over – as preventive violence. Killing ratio: like 1:99. Both are escalating in a violence race.

West is Christian-secular with secularisms–humanism, liberalism, marxism–sharing with Islam and Christianity occidental singularism and universalism, the only truth, valid for all, at all times. A miracle that we have had only the terrible Crusades 1095-1291.

One reason was geographical, in space: Islam in deserts and on islands, Christianity in the temperate zone; today both are all over. Another reason was historical, in time: Christianity in Antiquity, Islam in the Middle Ages, Christianity-secularism-colonialism-West in Modernity. Enters post-Modernity: Islam’s turn to be predominant.

Empty cathedrals and churches in Western societies with much loneliness and alienation; in Islam overfilled mosques with intense togetherness and direct sharing. The contradiction is bridged by massive conversion to Islam, more so the more loneliness; and by turning against one’s country if it joins the USA killing Muslims.

The predictable emergence of an Islamic State, Read the rest of this entry »

Peace Studies Epistemology: Descartes-Vico-Daoism; And Europe

By Johan Galtung

Keynote, European Peace Research Association – Tromsö, Norway, 7 Sep 2015

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy dealing with valid knowledge; and the focus of this conference is peace in Europe. We live in a wonderful world blessed with many civilizations each with an epistemology, and in a continent with rich diversity. My task is to draw on some of this, and apply it to the peace politics of Europe.

René Descartes, in Discours de la Méthode, Leiden 1637, had four basic rules; accepted, mainly unwittingly, by (North)Western science:

1. never to accept anything for true not clearly known to be such;
2. to divide difficulties examined into as many parts as possible;
3. start with the simplest and easiest, ascend to the more complex, pay attention to the asymmetric relation of antecedence and sequence;
4. make enumerations and reviews to assure that nothing was omitted.

Giambattista Vico, in Scienza Nuova, Napoli 1725: anti-Descartes for only reflecting empirical reality, not human ability to create new reality. Vico is a macro-historian, inspiring Marx, with three stages in human history, divine-heroic-human, envisaged by “poets” in the Greek sense of “creators”. He became the guru of historians, easily making the mistake of focusing only on the creativity of the powerful.

Daoism, thousands of years old, views reality in terms of holism and dialectics:…

Continued here.

TFF PressInfo # 345 – Nobel Peace Prize and Lawsuit

Lund, Sweden, October 10, 2015

The Nobel Peace Prize 2015 is certainly a little step in the right direction to honour at least parts of Alfred Nobel’s will.

It doesn’t violate the Will of Alfred Nobel which has happened so many times before.

And it’s good that the new chairperson made explicit reference to Nobel’s Will since the Committee has, for years, ignored the intentions and the criteria in it.

It’s good too that it was oriented toward civil society and dialogue rather than governments and violence.

But it is still a far cry from Nobel’s international vision of a world in which there is much less militarism, armament, armies and warfare.

This is what media and many others have still not understood well. As long as somebody nice gets is – Malala last year – everything seems fine.

The Will is very short and should be read by those who report or comment professionally Read the rest of this entry »

Nobel Prize: Lawsuit against the misappropriation of funds

Dear Editor

News release – October 6, 2015

RE: Nobel Foundation – lawsuit against misappropriation of funds – violating intended antimilitarist purpose of the Nobel peace prize

The controversy over peace prizes disconnected from the specific peace vision of Alfred Nobel is now coming to a head in a lawsuit initiated by Mairead Maguire, a Nobel laureate; David Swanson, USA; Jan Oberg, Sweden; and the Nobel Peace Prize Watch.

None of the members of the Board of the Nobel Foundation had responded when the time limit set in a notice of litigation expired on Tuesday.

The plaintiffs have retained attorney Kenneth Lewis, Stockholm, to have the Stockholm City Court declare the prize to the EU an illegal use of the Foundation’s funds.

In December 2012 the members of the Board of the Nobel Foundation did not heed protests from four Nobel laureates, Mairead Maguire, Perez Esquivel, Desmond Tutu, and the International Peace Bureau, who in a letter had warned that “The “EU is clearly not ‘the champion of peace’ that Alfred Nobel had in mind when he wrote his will.”

– There can be many views on the EU as a contribution to peace, says one of the plaintiffs, Mairead Maguire, of Northern Ireland, but there can be no doubt that the Union has a military approach that is the opposite of the peace ideas Nobel wished to support. Our lawsuit is not against the EU, but for Nobel’s wonderful and visionary ideas of world peace and security through global co-operation, building trust, and abolition of armaments.

The evidence is clear that Nobel Read the rest of this entry »

Pluses and minuses of Obama’s foreign policy

By Jonathan Power

So Putin on Monday met Obama. They are going to cooperate against ISIS, the world’s worst problem. President Vladimir Putin says we should not be surprised to see Russian jets working cooperatively – even coordinating – with the US on missile attacks.

Even with both powers working in tandem it will be uphill work. ISIS has attracted over 30,000 foreign fighters, according to a UN Security Council report. At least 2,000 from Russia and ex-Soviet territories are in their number. (In contrast to Russia the US is more threatened by domestic, non-Muslim, terrorists than Muslim extremists.)

Will rapprochement over Syria and ISIS wind the clock back to the benign US-Russia relationship that was begun with President Barack Obama’s early “re-set” which led to, among other things, a significant agreement on reducing nuclear arms? Read the rest of this entry »


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