Some New Year Wishes
EDITORIAL, 4 January 2010
#95 | Johan Galtung
Dear friends: I actually prefer the old method: a walk in the wood or the desert, the discovery of that old, rusty lamp, picking it up, rubbing a little, making it shine: and out comes that fairy granting you three wishes! Just as if the calendar turning around accompanied by fireworks, if you live by the Julian calendar, should entitle you to anything! No lamp, no rubbing, no fairy! Cheap.
And nonetheless, here we go with wishes; neither predictions safely inside the probable, nor prescriptions far outside. Wishes, something around the world that might happen but needs some little push. Like from a fairy. Fairy – where are you when we need you?
The USA: not wishing the impossible, that Obama lives up to his rhetoric, not to being one more CEO of US Empire Inc. But, wishing for common US people to be good Americans: self-reliance. Do not demand legislation strongly regulating the banking sector, it will not happen. (But the health care reform passed? Look, it was not health care but health insurance reform, then watch prices of health care go up, as the government pays-prints money(1)). No, recreate reliable, old-fashioned, solidly backed up saving banks locally, and patronize them. Boycott derivatives. Pay interest. No to shiny pyramids. Organize car pools, refashioned rickshaws, jeepnys. Isolate houses, green heating. Grow food. Be rational.
The Middle East: Professor Gordon from Beer She’va in Israel is right: Israel needs outside help to be liberated from itself. Inner politics is frozen; no “land for peace” but both land and “peace” by occupation and colonization after colonialism; the old imperial way. So is Professor Falk, the UN special rapporteur: the hope is world civil society and a nonviolent boycott culture, with dialogue, of a state believing its own suffering is a carte blanche for causing huge suffering of others. Not governments.
But major economies like USA, EU, China will not participate? NGOs will. Besides, boycott does not work by economic crippling, but moral challenge; not against a state with a Jewish character, but against zionist expansionism and colonization. One day there will be new forces in Israel and Arab leaders inviting Israel into a Middle East Community. Not 2010, but 2014, 20 years after the South Africa miracle? Or 2012, 50 years after colonialism ended in Algeria, unsettling one million settlers? Be rational. Learn.
State Terrorism. As predicted: state terrorism produced a huge blowback, not only inside Iraq- Afghanistan-Pakistan, but now adding Somalia and Yemen to Obama’s “just wars”(2). Problem: they may see it the same way. So, how about a big NGO conference to discuss West-Islam like the tribunal Istanbul June 2005 over West vs. Iraq? Maybe acknowledgment, some apology, understanding better? Good news for USA: they were behind few of the 27. When governments fail to lead, non-governments have to be rational.
The USA was and is in the Western Hemisphere. Honduras: the reports from CEPR, Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington and the World Food Program in Rome tell the story. Households living in poverty went down from 66 to 60% during Zelaya’s first two years 2005-2007, the income of the bottom 10% increased from 2,1 to 2,5% and for the middle classes from 35 to 39%. Minimum wages went up 60%, fees for schooling were removed so that 450,000 more could attend; with free meals up 25%, from 800,000 to a million. Change is possible, and even very quickly.
Honduras joined ALBA in 2008 and the de facto Obama-supported coup came 28 June 2009, followed by an election ala Afghanistan. US soldiers may die for the coup president Lobo (wolf), like now for Karzai. Hopefully there will be massive nonviolence inside and a government in exile for a rational, not neoliberal, economy.
Switzerland. How sad that referendum; not against Muslims or Islam, against minarets. Are those slim, often beautiful minarets really offensive to Swiss eyes? Of course they are literally speaking iconic, standing for something else. However, they are offensive to the ears of many when the muezzin really gets going in the middle of the night. Sound differs from sight: if your eyes cannot suffer minarets close them; but our bodies do not come with earlids and turning the head does not help. And this is exactly what is done in Marseilles (all minarets in Europe are actually silent), using light rather than sound to call Muslims to prayer, like a light house, pink, not green as that might be tempting for ships seeking harbor. Be rational.
Terrorism. Stop it, regardless of justification. So much suffering that sooner or later backfires. Of course, with the USA and clients sending sons and daughters to die for Karzai, to train Afghans for the security jobs will increase insecurity: many joining will be from Al Qaeda-Taliban, will get arms, training, and access to prize targets. A doomed policy. Be rational.
But that also applies to terrorism; it does not make a decent country. Destruct is not construct. There will be terrorist anti-terrorism after the Western killing machines leave. Better be the future you want to see. Massive nonviolence, with constructive projects communicate better than suicide-homicide. Be rational.
A last wish. Economics. Does humanity really deserve a “science” put together by some stiff upper-lipped men from a foggy island in the North Sea laboring under scarcity in a stingy nature when it could have been developed by women used to sharing and distributing and by islanders far away in a generous nature? Of course, they might underestimate the harshness of fog life like those people overestimated scarcity. But just imagine, economics based on generous nature and sharing humans. How rational.
(1) According to AlJazeera 25 December 2009 the USA doubled its money supply in one year and the UK tripled it. Prognosis: the dollar follows the pound down from world currency. To print money can do good if well used as stimulus in the real economy, not to bail out culprits in the finance economy. Be rational.
(2) For the next to come have a look at chapter 88 in 50 Years: 100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives, TRANSCEND University Press 2008 www.transcend.org/tup listing 27 Muslim countries brutalized by the West (including Russia) after 1830 in Algeria. Obama’s 5 are on that list, meaning 22 more to join. Several have actually done so, but it is difficult for the USA to admit how much they are up against. They prefer small failed states for attacks.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 4 January 2010.
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