Burundi’s crisis: Complacency, inaction or racism – or all of it?

There is no end, it seems, to diplomats and government representatives who “express concern”, appeal, urge the parties to show restraint, warn, condemn etc. All words, no deeds. European leaders reaction is basically silence – while 16 Europeans killed in the office of Charlie Hebdo made them walk arms in arm in Paris. When I think of Burundi today, all these words by Martin Luther King, Jr on complacency and inaction fit the international so-called community. There never was a truly human concern behind all the interventions in oil-rich, or otherwise strategically important, countries. If the Responsibility to Protect meant anything but self-interested, geopolitical interventionism, governments and diplomats would stop talking and wringing their hands now and get their planning tools in place – with the aim to save every Burundian, the region and the world from yet another – preventable – catastrophe. If Burundi’s crisis had happened in or closer to Europe, would European leaders not have reacted? If your answer is “I think so” then we are talking about structural racism – whether intended or not, whether conscious or not. It means a system of thought, or a paradigm, embedded in our culture that builds on the tacit, collective assumption that black people are unworthy of the concern, compassion and solidarity that we automatically apply – indeed find natural to apply – to white people in crisis.

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Valentina Lisitsa

Valentina Lisitsa – YouTube The world class pianist barred from playing with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra because of her tweets about the Ukraine conflict. As if that had anything to do with her art. Shame on Toronto Phony! With suppression of such art by a Western cultural institution we are all doomed! And where are all the phony Paris marchers from Charlie Hebdo today – Netanyahu, Helle Thorning Schmidt, Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, Poroshenko (oh no, she is critical of Ukraine’s government!)? Where did we hear “Je Suis Valentina”? Long live freedom of artistic expression!

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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!

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Comment to Israel’s defence minister in Washington Post

Israel’s defence minister Moshe Ya’alon writes in Washington Post under the headline “Current Iran framework will make war more likely” When I wrote my comment there were already more than 1100 comments – so here it is: “Israel’s defence minister is an echo of PM Netanyahu. Nothing new, Israel’s official views are well-known, beamed out a thousand times more effectively than Iran’s to the world, not the least thanks to leading U.S. free and plural media. What makes you, Mr. Ya’alon, think that this whole discussion can go on forever as if Israel was not the main problem because of its military/militarism and its nuclear weapons? Your military expenditures are about the same as Iran’s, a country with about 10 times more people to defend. While you continue to hold occupied territory and fight wars for it – and you are a military man who mentions what he has been forced to do during war – you omit mention of the fact that Iran has not invaded anyone for more than 200 years. Israel, sadly, pursues law-defying policies and decades long ethnic cleansing instead of taking one step in the direction of trying to live together in a democracy-for-all state. You’ve got more power to change Israel’s policies than most Israelis. Morally – and I take you to be a moral man – you cannot contribute to punishing 80 million people (sanction, bombing threats, agents, propaganda, etc) who have done […]

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Volden i København – og reaktionen på den

Hermed kommentarer jeg har gjort på sociale medier de sidste dage. De begynder kort efter attentatet på Krudttønden og afsluttes længst nede med indlægget “I AM NOT DANISH – I aften er jeg ikke dansk”, skrevet kort efter mindehøjtideligheden mandag aften den 16 februar. Statsministeren: Sådan skal Danmark ikke være http://www.dr.dk/Nyheder/Politik/2015/02/14/200623.htm Det kan man jo kun være enig i: Danmark […]

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Who are the barbarians of our time?

When I watch this documentary, Iraq: Shattered Heritage, I cannot but ask myself: Who are the barbarians of our time? What is the mote and what is the beam in this world? Who tells Russia that “big countries shall not bully smaller countries”? Isn’t it time for the Western world to acknowledge its own dark sides and stop projecting them on everybody else? I am immensely grateful that I have been to the places in this documentary – Baghdad, Babylon, Basra, the border with Kuwait. In 2202 and 2003. I’ve seen the history, human artifacts and beauty, the museums and the documents of Iraq’s culture, central as it was to all the world. Most of it is gone now. Many of my friends dead or disappeared or refugees far away from their beloved land. It breaks my heart to watch what “we” have done. And of course this arrogant, insensitive “we” will never apologise for the harm it has done to Iraq and all the world – like “our” leaders lack the courage to ever apologise for for Hiroshima and Nagasaki and all th rest. When Gandhi was asked what he thought of Western civilisation he answered that it would be a good idea.

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Depiction of the Spiral of Violence

Or, rather, of violence against violence + terrorism against terrorism. Among the marchers against terrorism and for freedom of expression we find leaders from France, Denmark, Egypt, Italy, Turkey, Russia, the U.S., Israel, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Bahrein and Ukraine. What do they have in common? A deep belief in violence – violence of various types: 9-10 of them presently fighting […]

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Global Chilling: The Impact of Mass Surveillance on International Writers

Just published by PEN in the US: Global Chilling: The Impact of Mass Surveillance on International Writers This is deeply disturbing: “Concern about surveillance is now nearly as high among writers living in democracies (75%) as among those living in non-democracies (80%). The levels of self-censorship reported by writers living in democratic countries are approaching the levels reported by writers living in authoritarian or semi-democratic countries. And writers around the world think that mass surveillance has significantly damaged U.S. credibility as a global champion of free expression for the long term.” A personal note: Neither TFF nor I myself will be the slightest intimidated by such surveillance but will continue to do and say what we believe must be done and said.” – Jan Oberg Lund, January 6, 2015

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Frank Gehry – is there one politician somewhere with a similar creativity

Frank Gehry on his ground-breaking new gallery design Isn’t it just amasing what human creativity and a sense of beauty can create? This is a magnificent new ‘sculptured’ building by Frank Gehry, mostly known perhaps for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Now, imagine that the profession called politician could show us just one man or woman with the same free spirit and mind, just a fraction of such innovative thinking!! And if they have creativity it is in how to fool, deceive, lie, destroy and play games… We need creative politics or, as György Konrad once called iy, anti-politics…

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☮ ☮ World Peace Day on Sunday! ♫♥

☮ ☮ World Peace Day on Sunday! ♫♥ This is the incredible peace symphony by Beethoven that PLAY FOR RIGHTS performs in the Bern Cathedral, Switzerland, Sunday night with my saying a few words about global ethics and positive peace in between the movements. There are many ways to celebrate peace – just being against wars is not enough. We run on merrymaking and mindfulness Sunday evening. In the big or small way: Please do something for peace too, everyone who reads this!

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