Category Archives: Afterthoughts

Imagine a Middle East with no weapons!

Here a few comments on Erdogan’s recent attack on the West for supplying arms to the Kurds.

Funny that Turkey’s president should accuse someone else for weaponizing a conflict. At the same time as Turkey does it and is also involved in two wars outside itself – Iraq and Syria – and one inside against the Kurds.

In this short interview I seek to raise the imagination: Since the weaponization of conflicts is a cancer on the world, imagine that a God-like magnetic force that could suck up each and every weapon in the Middle East, what would happen?

They would be forces to sit down and talk!

And one more point I did not get around to say: The world’s cancerous arms industry and criminal arms traders – governmental as well as private – would go out of business and many end up behind bars.

In short, a much better world.

Den nye verden

Blogartikel til Arbejderen, 23. oktober 2016

Den nuværende periode i menneskehedens historie vil blive svær at forklare for fremtidens historikere – hvis der da findes nogle.

Hvordan kunne det gå så skridt så hurtigt og på alle fronter for dén Vestverden, der efter 2. verdenskrig stod med alle kortene på hånden?

Hvordan kunne det amerikanske imperium, der byggede på frihed og demokrati, overhovedet styrte sammen dér tilbage i 2026?

Den vestlige NATO-baserede verden kunne ånde lettet op da Sovjetunionen og Warszawapagten var blevet opløst i 1989. Den havde vundet ideologisk – ingen ville siden have sovjetkommunisme – og økonomisk – Rusland producerede ingen attraktive forbrugsvarer – og militært. Ruslands militærudgifter var bare 8% af NATOs mod Warszawapagtens 75% af NATO førhen.

Den Kolde krig forsvandt lykkeligt nok uden Varm Krig eller atomvåbenbrug. En ny verden blev mulig. Ondskabens imperium, som præsident Reagan havde kaldt Kreml-systemet, var borte. Alle talte om fredens ”dividende”.

Men kun godt 25 år senere var verden gennemsyret af angst, terror, konfrontation, had, racisme, miljøkatastrofer, flygtningestrømme, markeds-økonomisme, militarisme og ting som ufatteligt dybe indkomstkløfter, mindskende velfærd og en vigende tro på demokratiet – samt indskrænkelser hele vejen rundt af den frihed, som netop denne ’frie verden’ stod for. Continue reading

TFF turns 30 – Part 1 “How it all began – and why?”

The Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research turns 30 on September 12, 2015.
Here a good two minutes with my dear wife, Christina, and myself on that decision in 1985.

Længe leve gammeldagsen

Skal man tro Rune Lykkeberg i Politiken men det skal man jo ikke nødvendigvis så mistede Rifbjerg faktisk grebet…”Derfor blev opgøret med velfærdsstatens pædagogik og kultursyn også til et opgør med Klaus Rifbjerg, der fastholdt sine gamle standpunkter som svar til alle kritikere og insisterede på, at humoren, legen, kunsten og seksualiteten var argumenter for hans position.”
Fy for den lede velfærdsstat, humor, leg, kunst og seksualitet. Sgugodt vi har lagt den slags og Rifbjerg bag os!
Og så Lykkebergs afsluttende bøvs: “at han godt selv vidste, at han selv som antiautoritær var ved at blive en paradoksal og problematisk autoritet.” Paradoksal? Problematisk? Bestemt – nemlig når man kan blande autoritet og autoritær sammen uden at hverken forfatteren eller redaktionen opdager at den er rivende gal.
Nej jeg foretrækker skam også det Danmark hvor vi alle står sammen og kan sige, skrive, tegne og mene lige hvad vi vil, føre krig og hade fremmede og se os selv som uskyldige ofre under Helle Thorning Schmidt køligt moderlige ledelse.
I dét Danmark har Lykkeberg sikkert ret i at Ribjerg var gammeldags.
Længe leve gammeldagsen!

Kosovo – the West’s predictable fiasco

Baffling Kosovo mass exodus exposes domestic hardships – Al Jazeera
5% of the people have left, 100,000 this year.
Funny how in the 1990s the only problems were Serbs and Belgrade. NATO bombed and forced Kosovo out of Yugoslavia.
Billions of dollars have poured in from the world; EU, NATO etc. helped build the country.

When TFF was there as mediators (1991-2001), we always said: Discuss first what kind of Kosovo you want, then decide its status vis-a-vis Serbia. Nobody listened: Independence was everything, no one bothered about the day after. There was no expertise on economy,  production, society’s development and how to run a complex society as an independent state; there were traders and people of culture – ad then the West threw out, literally, all Serbs who operated the infrastructure, the energy system and managed the institutions. (The method was repeated in Iraq…)

Today we see the predictable results when you make quick military fixes, let war criminals run a new, deeply corrupt state and all sides run on obsessive nationalism.

It’s feels very tragic to be proven right.

If one could say so I would: “I’m Pope!”

After Paris attacks, Pope Francis speaks out against insulting religions:

“You can’t kill in the name of a religion. That is an aberration.” And “You can’t provoke, you can’t insult the faith of others, you can’t make fun of faith.”

Pope Francis gestures as he answers questions from a journalist during the flight from Colombo, Sri Lanka, to Manila in the Philippines January 15, 2015. CREDIT: REUTERS/ STEFANO RELLANDINI

Pope Francis gestures as he answers questions from a journalist during the flight from Colombo, Sri Lanka, to Manila in the Philippines January 15, 2015.
CREDIT: REUTERS/ STEFANO RELLANDINI

Thank God there is such a wise Pope! If it couldn’t be misunderstood I would say “I’m Pope”!

Remember also Gandhi: “There can be no rights without duties.”

May all the Freedom of Expression Fundamentalists (FEFs) take heed before this spirals all of us down in hell !

“We Are All Charlie” – but is that story so simple?

Eleven points as a reflection on the terror in Paris and – not the least – the reactions to it*:

1. What was this an attack on?
Was that attack an attack on freedom of speech as such, on democracy, even on the whole Western culture and lifestyle, as was maintained throughout? Or was it, more limited, a revenge directed at one weekly magazine for what some perceive as blasphemy?

2. Is freedom of expression practised or curtailed for various reasons?
How real is that freedom in the West? Just a couple of days before the Paris massacre PEN in the U.S. published a report – Global Chilling – finding that about 75% of writers report that they are influenced by the NSA listening and abstain from taking up certain subjects or perspectives? Self-censorship, in other words. Finally, most of the political leaders marching in Paris on Sunday January 11 have clamped down on media, such as Turkey and Egypt.

I must admit that I have experienced limitations in the practise of that freedom in my work with Western media and it is decades ago I draw the conclusion that things like political correctness, ownership, commercial/market considerations and journalists’ need for good relations with power – e.g. to obtain interviews – play a role.

I’ve been on the ground in conflict zones and returning home to see reports so biased to tell very little of what I’ve seen myself. And we’ve recently seen lots of cases from the U.S. academic world where there’s been a clampdown on certain views, pulications, courses and professors – not the least in relation to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Or, you look at the proportions between government fund available for peace research and military research in virtually every Western society; free research is a vital element in the self-understanding of the West. But how much of do we have?

3. Freedom doesn’t mean duty.
Is freedom of expression really 100% irrespective of how much the practise of that freedom is hurtful, offending, humiliating or discriminatory against other peoples, religions and cultures? Even if you can express your opinions freely it is not always what we should do. Continue reading