Category Archives: Peace illiteracy

The Meaninglessness of War: Aleppo

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



Lund, Sweden – March 24, 2017



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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

“Vittnesrapport från Aleppo, en annorlunda konfliktanalys och vägar till fred i Syrien”

Videoinspelning av Jan Öbergs föredrag i Stockholm februari 2017

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Inspelningen är uppdelad i två delar:

Del 1: Vittnesrapport från Aleppo
60 min.

Del 2: Debatt och vägar till fred i Syrien
45 min.

Bakgrund
10-14:e december 2016 vistades Jan Öberg i Aleppo. Med sin unika erfarenhet från staden ifrågasätter han den gängse massmediarapporteringen, argumenterar för ett nytt sätt att se på konflikter på och ger förslag till den nödvändiga fredsprocessen.

Moderator
Anders Björnsson, författare

Datum
Lördag 25 februari kl. 14-16, Bagarmossens Folkets Hus, Stockholm

Arrangörer
Föreningen Syriensolidaritet, Folket i Bild Kulturfront – Stockholmsavdelningen, FiB-juristerna m.fl.

Jan Öberg rapporterar
– Jag kunde fritt tala med vem jag ville, och fotografera som jag ville. Jag gick omkring utan säkerhet, polis eller annat skydd. Många tackade mig för att jag var i Aleppo vid befrielsen.

– Förstörelsen av Aleppo är värre än jag någonsin trott – efter att ha sett Sarajevo, Mostar och Vukovar. Den stora förstörelsen är från gatustriderna – en mindre del ifrån luften.

– Ingen av dem många jag pratade med hade sett de Vita Hjälmarna. Däremot träffade jag frivilliga från Syriens Röda Halvmåne som var mycket professionella.

– De jag pratade med uttryckte sin glädje över frihet efter fyra års belägring och uttryckte tacksamhet över regeringens och ryssarnas insatser.

Öbergs fotoberättelser
Se också Jan Öbergs fotoserier med bakgrunds- och förklarande text här.

TFF PressInfo och andra artiklar – av vilka många handlar om Syrien – finns på TFF:s blogg här.

Snak om Syrien på en måde der fremmer fred!

En “meta”-kommentar i Arbejderen til den dødfødte måde man diskuterer konflikter på, især Syrien.

Diskursen kommer aldrig frem til at sige noget væsentligt om fred – og den gavner ingen i Syrien, mindst af alt de uskyldige, der lider frygteligt i disse år.

Man kan faktisk snakke om tingene på en anden måde. Se hér!

(Kommentar i Arbejderen, 28. februar 2017).

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Keep focus on Aleppo and global dimensions of Syria

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Soldiers and volunteers from Aleppo University hand out food to IDPs having come in from Eastern Aleppo. December 14, 2016 © Jan Oberg 2016

 

TFF PressInfo # 405 

Lund, Sweden – February 24, 2017
Failed conflict analysis

To analyse a conflict is as necessary as the diagnosis for the doctor: You either get to a solution/treatment or you don’t.

If the diagnosis is deficient, you don’t. You instead risk killing the patient.

And it’s deficient of you stare only at “evil” cells and blame the patient for a life style that has increased the risk that she would attract cancer.

That doesn’t bring healing.

A typical, deficient or irrelevant approach to international conflict is to a) focus on the violence but not the underlying conflicts its a symptom of; b) to apportion guilt and c) believe that we will solve the conflict if ‘good’ violence is used to defeat ‘evil’ violence.

After failed conflict analyses in Afghanistan, Serbia-Kosovo, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Iraq, Ukraine and Libya, Western politicians and subservient mainstream media have done it once again in Syria:

Contributed heavily to tremendous human suffering, made everything much worse than it was before and failed to achieve anything good.

 

Moral superiority lost

In terms of ethics, there exists no political goal whatsoever that can justify the killing of 300.000-400.000 people and the destruction of houses, livelihood, economy and milieus that has forced 7 million to flee inside the country and 5 million to leave the country – i.e. more than 50% of the population.

Yes, the “regime” and the “dictator” and Russia have participated in this destruction – very much so –  but it’s anyhow time to ask:

How does the West/NATO and its allies such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the Gulf States and Israel morally justify their contribution this the largest humanitarian crisis on earth since 1945 with 13 millon people in desparate need of humanitarian assistance.

It’s not only untrue, it is morally unacceptable to keep on blaming everything – everything – on one person and one leadership with no self-reflection.

The self-assumed Western moral superiority fell with the liberation of Aleppo.

 
Aleppo’s liberation: A golden opportunity for a new policy

The liberation of Aleppo is a golden opportunity to do just that.

But instead that turning point has been deliberately forgotten and the victims of the occupation of Eastern Aleppo have been disappeared by media and politics.

The war and destruction will continue because such a biased approach leads only in direction: More war.

Very soon, presumably, we shall witness US boots on the grounds. Massively.

There is woefully little constructive-creative peace thinking the whole way around the political and geographical spectrum.

And without a better vision, continued killing will look to many as the optimal way ahead. 

However, for the millions of victims in Syria it just isn’t.

Aleppo should become a turning point toward peace instead of more war.

 

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From the Jibrin Reception Center in Aleppo, December 14, 2016. Note the footwear © Jan Oberg 2016

 

Geneva negotiations

One must fear that the negotiations just started in Geneva will not yield any better results than before – because they don’t build on a comprehensive understanding of this – hugely complex – conflict.

Even the way the tables are arranged is counterproductive…

TFF PressInfo # 405 walks you through a few principles of professional conflict analysis and provokes you to reflect a bit on:

a) What is it “we” have done so wrong and:
b) How can we help Syria’s people to stop an even deeper descent into hell.

 

TFF PressInfo # 405
Keep focus on Aleppo and global dimensions of Syria

TFF PressInfo # 404:
Unique Aleppo photos seen by 100.000+ but not in the mainstream media

See also the PressInfo 398 and 397 below.

TFF PressInfo 398: Syria and Aleppo: Old news media falling

TFF PressInfo 397: Syria’s destruction – When everybody thinks power and no one thinks peace.

Discussing NATO with a former U.S. Ass. Sec. of Defence

A 30 min debate about NATO, Ukraine, Crimea, Yugoslavia, Syria the eternal enemy images and the – obsolete – philosophy on which NATO builds.

Time for something new, I argue in the debate with former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defence under Reagon, Mr. Lawrence J. Korb who at the time was in command of 70% of Pentagon’s budget.

Here in TFF PressInfo # 403  is a little longer text about this debate and there is also a little about my experience and policy vis-a-vis the media.

Humans in liberated Aleppo

Have just published the second of a series of photo stories from Syria – “Humans in liberated Aleppo”.

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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?

 

Why on earth renew old sanctions on Iran?

It’s destructive for all!

It’s difficult to see this as rational policy-making. It’s more of an indication of the grumpy super-power feeling that it’s losing influence and credibility. In addition, if this goes through it will only strengthen the hardliners in Iran and weaken the reformist circles.