Category Archives: Cultural matters

The Meaninglessness of War: Aleppo

Here my 6th photo series from Aleppo – hashtag #keepfocusonaleppo.

Lund, Sweden – March 24, 2017


Can the almost total destruction of Eastern Aleppo be used constructively?

Only if we are willing to ask and dialogue about this:

• Why does the world go on investing US$ 2000 billion annually in warfare and US$ 30 in all the UN does – only to create destruction of people, places, past and future?

How absurd, how meaningless – indeed how far must it go to destroy the West itself – before we learn to conflict intelligently?

I’ve see much destruction during my work in conflict zones the last 25 years. But nothing Continue reading

Vagn Lundbye, min biologilærer, er død

Læser i Politiken at forfatteren Vagn Lundbye døde den 20. august i år, 82 år gammel.

Det sætter gang i minderne fra dengang i Vejlby-Risskov hvor han var biologilærer på Vejlby Skole, der for øvrigt ikke findes længere. Blandt sine elever havde han mig. Det må have været 1963-64.


Han var en ukonventionel lærer og biologi havde hverken han eller jeg nogen udtalt interesse for. Derimod præges hele hans forfatterskab og mystisk interesse for naturen, det store ubegribelige.

Men samfund, kultur og politik ville han gerne snakke med os børn om. Jeg husker mest hans timer som en slags frikvartér fra en skolegang, jeg ellers ikke mindes med nogen større glæde.

Han syntes om at provokere og få os til at tænke. Han kunne sige ting – ofte med et underfundigt smil – så man tænkte at nu drev han da gæk med os. For at få os til at tænke. Han var ikke altid let at greje.

Jeg husker at han var meget optaget af musik Continue reading

Facebook’s grotesque nudity censorship policy

Open Letter

Lund, Sweden, July 1, 2016

Dear Facebook friends

Yes, I consider this blocking of me – because of posting an image of nudity – for one day unreasonable.

Here is why:

The image of a naked young woman in water was taken from the Danish daily newspaper, Politiken – one of Denmark’s most respected newspapers.

This image was generated automatically by Facebook when I posted the link to the article on my profile page – i.e. not something I did deliberately or to provoke.

Secondly, the image is created by a Swedish professional and respected artistic photographer, Matilde Grafstrom – and is part of a project “Nude In The Public Space”.

The article is about an exhibition of these her works at the main square in Copenhagen – for anyone from anywhere in the world to see.


I am myself a PhD in sociology and have specialised during 40+ years in international peace-making and peace research. Have worked or visited some 60 countries on all continents. I am also an art collector and art photographer who has taken many photos of women, young and old – portraits and bodies.

I tell you this because I am not insensitive to the respect we must all show for each other’s cultures and sensitive ethical issues if and when we want to live and work together on this earth. Continue reading

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.

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!

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!

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 nothing wrong – i.e. Iran has no nuclear weapons and is a member of the NPT – where you are in the opposite, deplorable situation.

Who threatened you when, in the 1960s, you acquired nuclear weapons? Iran? No, Israel sought to help Iran to get nuclear weapons.

So, dear defence minister, come down from your high, morally handicapped, horse and dialogue (don’t let Netanyahu continue with his arrogant manners).

Take a trip to Iran and talk with your opposite number there. It’s a civilisation, an educated people and a place of amazing culture and hospitality as good as Israel.

As minister of defence you may know everything about war but peace is obviously not your profession. If it were – you would write another type of article here and have better arguments for a future Middle East of peace.