Monthly Archives: December 2016

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”.


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?


The destruction of Eastern Aleppo, Syria

Have just published the first of a series of photo stories from Syria.


The enigmatic, massive destruction of Aleppo. What political goals did the occupiers have with this utterly meaningless, surreal death and destruction?

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 the coming photo series:

TFF Photo Story

Lund, Sweden, December 27, 2016

Of course you have seen media images of the destruction in Syria. But not these taken in mid-December when Eastern Aleppo was liberated.

We live in a time when images – real and fake – influence perceptions more than ever.

My photos are real. Documentary. They reflect my role as witness on the spot at a time when only a handful of Westerners were present.

At a time, too, when all the mainstream media were conspicuously absent – as were the dual-purpose White Helmets who have delivered quite a few of the theatrical images from this war.

As a conflict and peace researcher and photographer I take pride in using not only analytical texts but also the medium of photography.

I am anyhow unable to describe just in words what I have seen.

Thanks to modern technology the small, smart, independent and truthful of this world can compete, to some extent, with the multi-billion dollar marketing and propaganda machines.

This is the first of a series to appear in weeks to come that will give you an impression of both life in Damascus, Eastern Aleppo’s destruction, the destruction in Aleppo’s old town, the human victims of this horrific war on Syria, the celebrations at the liberation of Aleppo etc. 

I do not believe that pictures of wars and victims will, in and of themselves, lead people to think of peace. Hiroshima films have done little to eliminate nuclear weapons. 

But in this particular case I do believe it is necessary to document just how big, systematic and unjustified the destruction of Aleppo has been – not only for those who built it and lived there over 7000 years but also to humanity, to all of us.

With what right did all the parties contribute to this utterly heartless and meaningless destruction? 

How did it come to this surreal level of violence wrought upon a historic cultural and industrial city and its vast majority of innocent fellow human beings? 

Will we ever learn – not only that war is stupid but also that this type of destruction cannot conveniently for some be blamed on one single side? 

All parties who used violence have blood on their hands.

Aleppo’s blood.   

This is the first of a series of stories that I must tell as a witness to an event that more intelligent and civilised generations in the future will have nothing but contempt for.

And if you ask me which side I am on, the answer is simple:

I’m on No government’s. No military’s. No leader’s.

I’m on the side of the tens of thousands of innocent, suffering Syrian citizens. Nobody deserves this!

I am on the side of the underlying, perfectly legitimate conflicts and not on the side of anybody’s violence.

And I do admit to have a particular problem with those – many – who interfered violently in the internal affairs of Syria and did only harm and no good.

Syria’s future is for the Syrians – all of them – to decide.

Thanks for the friends’ and followers’ boom

During the last two weeks I have received almost 800 friend requests on Facebook and about 1000 new followers. It’s overwhelming and warms my heart beyond words.

Many many thanks for your trust and support – and for not only thinking it but taking time to tell it.


I can only assume that it is all because of my visit to Damascus and Aleppo. Literally thousands have thanked me for my short texts and photos from there – and for taking the risk going there.

Lots of people go to difficult places, be they humanitarian workers, journalists, photographers, UN people, other diplomats or civil society organisations. But – regrettably, I would say – it is not often I’ve met other researchers in war zones.

Those of us who go, go because we feel we have a duty, because we are curious and must see for ourselves and because a visit opens doors to people, to the suffering and to natural human solidarity.

Media focus on all those with weapons in their hands – the warlords. I’ve always felt enriched and grateful to all the others one can meet, wonderful people who stand up and stand together, struggle, help their neighbours – and survive the other main type of people present, the murderers who get all the fame.

I’m no hero. Just that you know. Many (more) could do what I do.

But back to the social media boom, I’ve just experienced. Continue reading

Fact-finding mission til Syrien – og hvor du kan finde resultaterne fremover

Jeg var i Syrien i 10 dage, fra 5-15. december 2016.

På grund af en pludselig generel forandring i det syriske sikkerhedsapparat fik jeg mod forventning ikke mit visum forlænget da det var mit første besøg under krigen – eller det man i Syrien kalder “Krisen”.

Jeg var tre dage i Aleppo (10-13. december) under hvilke dens østre del blev endeligt befriet eller faldt, alt efter hvor man står og hvilke medier man anvender. Hér er Al-Jazeera’s rapport fra det område, Hanano, som jeg besøgte og som var kommet under regeringskontrol i slutningen 27. november.

Man kan bemærke at Al-Jazeeras perspektiv og kildevalg er ret klart negativ til den syriske regering eller pro-terror/rebeller.

Jeg vil gøre mine danske læsere opmærksom på at der af forskellige grunde var bedst mulighed for – mens jeg var der – at poste tekster og billeder på Facebook.

Det har skabt en omfattende diskussion og dér kan du indtil videre følge “slagets” gang.

De baggrundsanalyser, som vores stiftelse publicerer som TFF PressInfo, findes som altid på Den Transnationale Stiftelses blog på engelsk.

Jeg har set, hørt og følt en tragedie, der er større end f.eks. Sarajevo, Vukovar, Syd-Ossetien og Abkhasien, som jeg besøgt mens det gik hårdt for sig dér.

Som observatør må jeg også bearbejde Aleppo for mig selv og se om jeg kan få noget konstruktivt ud af det – se nogle veje ud af helvedet i retning af en fremtidig fred.

Det har været meget svært at kapere dén menneskelige lidelse, som de helt almindelige, sagesløse syriske borgere har været udsat for – både på grund af krigen og på grund af de økonomiske sanktioner, som vestverden straffer dem med.


Fra Hanano-distriktet i Østre Aleppo – mennesker står i kø for at vise sine dokumenter og derpå komme over til Vest for at få lidt humanitær hjælp af den syriske regering og hjælpeorganisationer – eller komme over til pårørende i den del af byen. © Jan Oberg 2016. Must under no circumstances be reproduced without prior contact with me.


Continue reading

Syrien og mediekrigen om det

Jeg tog til Syrien på et ti-dages visum i december 2016 for at forsøge at forstå de konflikter, der ligger under den frygtelig vold vi har set i årevis – og, naturligvis, for at bedre kunne fremsætte forslag til hvordan Syrien-krigene kan stoppes og landet genopbygges både fysisk, menneskeligt og politisk.

Jeg besøgte Damascus og Aleppo, sidstnævnte i tre dage i hvilke den enorme industri- og kulturby Aleppo atter kom under regeringskontrol efter at have været under besættelse siden 2012.

På det vidunderlige Hotel Beit Alwali i Damascus’ gamle bydel hvor jeg boede var der helt fine internet-forbindelser men ofte brud på elektriciteten, der dog kom tilbage på sekunder takket være generator.


The Beit Alwali Hotel – a place of seldom beauty, personality and service for US$ 65 per night in the midst of the old town of Damascus. It’s rare to see an owner and a staff caring for their hotel as a baby. 

Continue reading

Til Anders Samuelsen før mødet med de Hvide Hjelme

Kære Anders Samuelsen

Tillykke med din nye stilling som udenrigsminister. Jeg ser at du skal mødes med Raed al-Saleh, leder af De Hvide Hjelme, i dag.

Der hersker i dag en temmeligt udbredt debat om hvem og hvad “Syriens Civil Forsvar” som de også kalder sig (skønt Syrien har et civilforsvar siden 1953 og er medlem af den international organisation for disse) egentlig er.

Og hvilke netværk de indgår i for at fremme visse politiske målsætninger- No-Fly Zone, regeringsskifte og en gennemført nedladende/foragtfuld holdning til FN. Desuden leverer gruppen af og til utroværdige medie-rapporter og fremmer sig selv som Nobels Fredspris-kandidat – en pris de ingenlunde kan få inden for rammerne af Alfred Nobels testamentes ånd og bogstav.

Den research jeg har gjort på dem giver et nok så tvivlsomt indtryk – at de ikke har rene hænder som rent humanitær organisation kan næppe betvivles.

Det kan du læse mere om hèr.

Held og lykke i denne svære tid for vor verden. Træd varsomt.

De venligste hilsener,

Jan Øberg