“Shadow World” – on your tax money

I’ve felt deeply touched by Johan Grimonprez’ brilliant and frightening documentary “Shadow World” which is based on Andrew Feinstein’s book with the same name. I want to share it with my readers and here is all about the book and the movie. It was shown in November 2016 by Swedish Television with Swedish text but is due to be taken down a couple […]

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The Western moral decay

The World Humanitarian Summit held in Istanbul, May 23-24, 2016 failed to achieve its fund-raising goals. No one from the richest countries – except Angela Merkel – or of the UN Security Council attended – writes eminent observer Baher Kamal for InterPress Service, IPS. The richest and most powerful, the most militarized and the most greedy on earth of course […]

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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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Militarism, taxpayer money for war planning and lack of democracy

My deeply concerned wake-up call to YOU! Please share and spread further! NATO’s military leader is like a man given a scalpel to perform surgery without ever having opened a book on medicine. Taxpayers pay for getting less and less secure and risking war in Europe. These military elites have no democratic mandate – be it in the West, Russia, China or anywhere. My interview with RT International

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Burundi – Early warning and violence prevention

Burundi is a country with very special characteristics. It’s always been in the shadow of Rwanda and relatively neglected by the international community. A very very serious crisis is now unfolding because its president, Pierre Nkurunziza, is willing to risk everything to get elected for a third 5-year time which is very dubious according to the constitution. It’s a country with a GDP per capita of around US$ 300 and the Global Power Index places it as Number One in the world in terms of percentage of the population going hungry. Nkurunziza’s first years were in many ways very positive but since about 2008 there is no evidence of real change or leadership. The only Burundians, it seems, who want him for a third term are his own ruling party and the poorest and illiterates in the countryside. Virtually all segments of society want him to step down. The people are protesting and the ruling party’s response is now coming close to dictatorship – with killings, arrests, tear gas, water cannons, closing down of civil society organisations, cutting communication and closing down all non-state media. I write a bit about this since I have worked on and off in Burundi between 1999 and 2012 with youth organisations and other civil society organisation, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a university and others. I fear very much what could happen the next weeks and months and sense how woefully inadequate the […]

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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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