Good: EU will honour the deal with Iran

Happy to speak positively about the EU foreign policy chief’s commitment to stand by the nuclear deal with Iran – a clear signal also to Trump.

That’s good – the alternative could very well be war.

To my extended family of peace

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Very dear friends – social and otherwise!

You’ve humbled and touched me so much on my 66th birthday, January 13, 2016.

In spite of Facebook having serious troubles that very day – I received more almost 800 greetings from so many corners of the world mainly through Facebook, other social media, chats, mails, Skype, and sms – oh how much more complex and diversified the communication world has become compared with the ‘good’ old days when you just picked up mail at one spot – your mailbox. But still: Fascinating!

You were friends, of course, on social media, expressing good wishes, gratitude and – often and particularly heart-warming – appreciation of TFF’s and my work in and with Syria.

You were students of mine, even way back in time – one writing to me as the professor he would never forget.

You were people I have worked with or met where I have taught and worked, e.g. in Yugoslavia, Iran, Syria, Burundi, Japan, Austria, Italy, Switzerland. You’re totally amazing.

I want to thank every one of you from the bottom of my heart. Really!

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Drawing by Auguste Rodin – The National Gallery, Copenhagen

I took the day off – more or less

Sent out TFF PressInfo # 398 Syria and Aleppo – Old News Media Falling in the morning and then went with my wife and TFF co-founder, Christina Spännar, over to Copenhagen and saw two art exhibitions and had dinner with lovely old friends – and came home at 3 in the morning.

The first exhibition was Danish photographer Jacob Gils whose work I had seen a few of at SCOPE in Basel last year and like for its aesthetic value and interesting method. He exhibited at the pioneering art photo gallery, still today the only one in Copenhagen: InTheGallery. I really recommend this artist and this gallery!

The we walked north to the National Gallery of Denmark and saw Auguste Rodin’s drawings, an exhibition entitled “Fleeting Moments” brilliantly curated selection and superb exhibition design – they are very good at that at the national gallery – and divided pedagogically into sections such as “Dance”, “Black Drawings” (inspired by Inferno), “Time and Space” and “Desire.”

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Drawing by Auguste Rodin – The National Gallery, Copenhagen

 

I have been working so much since I came home, exhausted, from Syria on December 19 and through the holidays – of course with breaks, don’t worry – and it felt thoroughly good to just concentrate for a whole day on art (my other life, so to speak, besides peace) and on being with dear-dear friends og about 30 years.

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I feel very enriched by all your expressions of love, sympathy, solidarity and simple everyday humanity – made possible by brilliant modern technology with a global reach.

Hope you won’t be embarrassed if I say that I see you all as my extended family – a family of peace.

With such positive energy and encouragement, it is a little more easy to go on. And I will.

And, so, let us move on. Together.

PS If you are keen on seeing alternative analyses and reports to the biased mainstream media, please consider helping us continue working for peace by peaceful means and make more fact-finding and peace missions to places such as Syria and Iran. Please go here and give us a helping hand. Remember, we are all unpaid. You money will cover concrete costs.

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From the Rodin exhibition at the National Gallery in Copenhagen

MS – Markedsført Sandhed og Syrien?

Mellemfolkeligt Samvirkes nye stil og måden at håndtere Syrien på bør blive en parentes i organisationens liv. For der må være tale om enten uvidenhed eller uhæderlighed.

Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke er slået ind på den amerikansk inspirerede linje med professionel markedsføring, reklamesprog og iscenesat aktivisme samt – og ikke mindst – en bestemt politisk holdning vedrørende visse internationale spørgsmål.

 

Den nye humanitære industri

Det er muligvis en del af den nye humanitære industri hvor regeringer, humanitære og menneskerettigheds-organisationer samt medier gør fælles sag vedrørende krigszone. Det indebærer selvsagt at “N” i NGO, Non-Governmental Organisations, kommer til at stå for “Near” og ikke “Non.”

Civilsamfundet tenderer at udhules og demokratisk dialog mellem folk og regering forsvinder. Langsomt men sikkert.

Organisationer som Læger Uden Grænser og Human Rights Watch påtager sig roller som både partiske medier i felt og politiske eksperter og gør det politisk korrekt i forhold til især vestlige militære interventioner.

Det er altsammen affødt af den kendte men tvivlsomme doktrin om humanitær intervention eller Responsibility to Protect (R2P) – hvor spørgsmålet i en begrænset verden er: Intervention hvor? Mod eller med hvem? Af hvem? Vil vi gøre mere skade end gavn? Og hvor gider vi ikke intervenere?

Svaret på det sidste er: dér hvor største menneskelig behov findes og hvor der samtidig ikke findes strategiske interesser eller mulighed for at bruge våben.

I dagens verden flyver de fleste landes humanisme F16. Også det officielle Danmarks. Ren humanisme, medmenneskelighed og ægte solidaritet er faldet ud af den politiske værktøjskasse.

 

M for Markedsføring – og USAs valg

Vælger man denne let smarte markedsføring-og-politik strategi i denne nye industri skal man være godt klædt på forinden.

Det findes der, som jeg ser det, to årsager til at MS ikke synes at være. Continue reading

Danskere på Facebook advarede mod alt der skete i Syrien og foreslog alternativer 2012

Nedenfor gengives et Åbent Brev til Villy Søvndal fra februar 2012.

Her er baggrunden for at jeg finder det vigtigt at gengive det idag 5 år senere og efter Aleppos befrielse.

I 2012 var vi en gruppe mennesker på Facebook-siden “Danmark for Fred Med Fredelige Midler”, der advarede daværende udenrigsminister Villy Søvndal mod at gøre det, der lå i luften på det tidspunkt: en eller anden form for i hovedsag militær intervention.

Vi appellerede til ham og alle andre om at bruge de værktøjer der findes inden for folkeretten og bruge FN-Erklæringen – især Artikel 1 om at “fred skal skabes med fredelige midler.”

Når jeg læser Brevet idag er det utroligt aktuel og konstruktiv.

Og intet af den blev implementeret – og det er da sikkert ikke Villy Søvndals personlige ansvar. Danmark har jo i mange år ført en aktiv udenrigspolitik og været længst fremme som bombeland. Det blev vi også i Syrien.

Hvad vi har set frem til Aleppos befrielse er enestående menneskelig kortsynethed, konflikt-analfabetisme og det Militær-Industrielle-Medie-Akademiske Kompleks’ hærgen. Det er en fortsætelse af hele den kolonialistiske tankegang: At vi i det civiliserede Europe véd så helvedes meget bedre hvordan tingene skal gøres end menneskene i et af verdens ældste kultursamfund (Aleppo er et af de steder der har boet mennesker sammen i længst tid).

En meget stor del af det frygtelige facit, verden sidder med i dag, kunne have være undgået!

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Lone dog in Aleppo © Jan Oberg 2016

Således ville langt færre end de måske omkring 300.000 man taler om i dag 5 år senere være døde.

Homs, Aleppo og mange flere store og små byer ville ikke være blevet lagt i ruiner, der føre vore tanker tilbage til 2. verdenskrig.

Millioner af mennesker ville ikke være blevet flygtninge inde i sit eget land og godt en million ville ikke være flygtet ud af landet.

Fattigdom og nød – som vi netop har set det ved Aleppos befrielse – ville være langt langt mindre takket være også de sanktioner, som alle véd i hovedsagen eller udelukkende skader uskyldige civile.

Og vi ville være sluppet for at bevidne en hidtil uset – og det siger ikke så lidt – mediekrig om sandheden om Syrien hvor interventionist-landenes medier har reduceret Syriens kompleksitet til ukendelighed og udelukkende solgt de historie, der kunne fremstille os selv som de gode og de andre som de onde.

At Syriens utallige konflikter og dybden og bredden af dem kan reducerer til to parter er usandt.

At alle gode er samlet på den ene side og alle de onde på den anden er usandt.

Løgnen er uundværlig for den, der fører krig mod principperne i folkeretten og humanitet.

Resultatet vises i den vestlige presses forbløffende og forstemmende ligegyldighed over for Østre Aleppos totale ødelæggelse og dets indbyggeres ufattelige lidelser – som de kom for dagen på befrielsesdagen den 12. december.

Initiativet “Danmark For Fred Med Fredelige Midler”

12 forslag forud for mødet den 24. februar i “Syriens Venner”

Kære Udenrigsminister Villy Søvndal

Vi har i nogen tid fulgt udviklingen i Syrien med interesse, og er meget bekymrede. Der er ingen tvivl om, at situationen i landet er uholdbar, og at det er nødvendigt at handle. Spørgsmålet er, hvordan der bedst handles for at sikre freden. Continue reading

The little girl from Eastern Aleppo

New year’s night, January 1, 2017

This girl had come out of Eastern Aleppo after four dark years of occupation by Western-backed terrorists – too many to name. People who for no reason had destroyed her home, her part of that beautiful city.

Perhaps half of her life living in fear, perhaps having lost family members.

I do not know.

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“The Little Girl From Eastern Aleppo” – © Jan Oberg 2016

I met her on December 14 at the Jibrin reception and registration centre in Western Aleppo where Syrian soldiers and volunteers from Aleppo University had just given her this bread with some vegetables inside.

She was one of thousands, old and young people who had been hit by unspeakable evil, death and destruction.

Victims of the dozens of conflicting parties and their criminal games. Destroying her life, her family, livelihood and her home town.

Of which there is nothing left. Nothing.

It was a rainy gray day. She was in a queue to get this little and she was so very grateful.

So hopeful. A little to eat to begin all over again.

Her standing there, her gesture. And the media tell you that Eastern Aleppo fell, that it wasn’t liberated?

Ask this girl.

Grasp her gratitude for what little most of the world take for granted. And those eyes.

I could not hold back tears in mine when I shot this image. Neither while I returned to process it and now writing this.

I’m a peace researcher and art photographer. The two sides come together in this image.

It’s the most important among thousands of pictures I took in 2016. Perhaps in all my years.

I have no wishes for myself this year. Have everything.

But I have many other wishes.

That this little but formidably strong girl and the thousands of other children and adults of Aleppo will live in some little peace in 2017.

That they will have the strength to return to what is left of their homes, if anything, and rebuild them. Go to a school and play in safety.

That the inhuman international “community” – it is no community – will lift the sanctions on Syria and show their humanity. Sanctions only hit innocents like her.

That she will live forever in security and peace and that she will not carry traumas from her childhood for the rest of her life.

That she will be able to, eventually, forgive the satanic forces who did this to an innocent child.

And that I may go back in 2017 and find her and ask how I can help her.

That’s the very very least I can do in gratitude for what she has taught me about the utter meaninglessness and cruelty of war.

No I can’t. I can’t wish anybody dead.

But I can express my rage through Bob Dylan. Who, fifty-three years ago, spoke to “The Masters Of War” – and I include the arms traders among them – thus:

And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand over your grave
‘Til I’m sure that you’re dead.

As we move into the new year – 2017

The old years went – in as little a time as it takes to turn around and see who is tapping you on your shoulder. And it is the new, the next year.

I hope it will pass too – in as little time as it takes for me to turn my head and look forward again – because the face of 2017 doesn’t look good or kind to me.

Neither do the next ten or so years.

Beyond that the world will become a better place. If, that is, if we survive and don’t destroy it all.

It is actually already becoming a better place!

The thing that has too pass – or pass away – is the United States Empire.

In a few years it will go the way Rome and all the rest plus the Ottoman, British and Soviet empires did. No empire lasts forever.

But before we go for it – a video from Beirut, December 2016:

 

Some indicators of Empire dissolution

The indicators, the cracks, in the Empire are there for all to see – the Americans and other Westernes will be the last and remain in denial for some time until the discrepancy between the self-image and the reality, the self-delusion, has grown too big. Like East Germany or Russia at in the early 1980s.

The rest of the world, the non-West sees some of these cracks quite clearly: Continue reading

Humans in liberated Aleppo

Have just published the second of a series of photo stories from Syria – “Humans in liberated Aleppo”.

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Boy in Eastern Aleppo demonstrating to me, as a visitor there during the days of the liberation, that he sees this as a liberation, as a victory – I hope he will soon see a beautiful re-built Aleppo – full of energy. He indeed deserves that after four years of living in what many described as hell.

You can subscribe to this page for photo stories which ensures that you’ll get an email as soon as they are posted on my Exposure page.

I’d be most grateful if you’d share this link too.

And here is a little background to this photo story:

Unique photos with text from Eastern Aleppo’s liberation, December 11-12, 2016.

Of some of the roughly 100,000 who were finally liberated, of the real humanitarians, the transport between East and Western Aleppo – and of the military, the children, street scenes, a bread queue and the devastation of this once so beautiful, bustling city.

Photos of heart-breaking suffering and sorrow in children’s eyes but also of smiles and hope.

Photos of the fellow human beings who did not fit the general Western political and media narrative since 2011 and therefore got no attention:

– the civilians who suffered for four years from the brutal occupation under Western- and allies-backed terror groups and from the Syrian-Russian military’s defence and liberation of the city.

This is my story.

The photos are genuine, not constructed by a marketing corporation.

This story is about our handling of Syria and its people – yes the lives of 23 million people should be central.

What you see here is the consequences of arms trade, sanctions and ignorant divisions of terribly complex societies into two groups – the good and the evil.

And it is a story about Western de facto support to terrorm since the US started history’s most counterproductive war: the war on terror that has only increased the problem 80 times.

We hate terrorists when they hit us in Europe – understandably.

But we support terrorists when they fight those “we” just don’t like.

Here are some of those – innocent fellow human beings – who pay the price of that cruel way of thinking.

I’m afraid the West has lost it. Are you?