Good-Bye, See You Later

EDITORIAL, 25 Sep 2017

#500 | Johan Galtung – TRANSCEND Media Service

We made it!  Five hundred Mondays [from 3 Mar 2008] has Antonio from Brazil-Portugal posted an editorial by me from Norway and the world–sometimes with a coauthor. With the good support of the other members of our editorial committee, Malvin Gattinger from Germany, Naakow Grant-Hayford from Ghana and Erika Degortes from Italy. THANKS!

Five hundred times have I had the challenge of exploring what the UN wisely calls a “situation”–unlike me, avoiding the word “crisis”.  Five hundred times have I tried to follow what I absorbed from when I was 2 years old at dining tables listening to my physician father and nurse mother–daughter of the director of health care in Norway–the program implicit in the three magic words diagnosis-prognosis-therapy. DPT.

Five hundred analyses of something problematic to put it mildly; five hundred efforts to forecast, foresee what will happen if we do nothing, and five hundred efforts to end creatively with a proposal.

The editorials seem to have been widely read, particularly in the old superpowers, USA and USSR, today mainly Russia.  Since most of them have been about something geopolitical, perhaps these two are the most geopolitically minded, trying for a long time to run the world.  It could also be that they are simply the most literate in world affairs.

Anyhow, maybe I would have liked to have seen more readers from the new superpowers, China and India; not middle-sized like the old ones, but 37% of humanity.  Hopefully more at peace than not.

And one bigger than even China: Islam, 1,650 million Muslims.

It has been a fascinating weekly challenge.  Scanning the world for what is new, projecting a DPT on the wall, or the screen rather.  Well knowing that reading as much as 3 pp-a good format, long enough to be broad and deep, short enough to be legible-is beyond many today. They pick up the topic, some key words, and are quickly commenting.

Anyhow, my deep gratitude to you all for these 500 challenges.

And now we have a “situation”.  I learned from the PM of Brexit UK the mantra that “enough is enough” (for instance enough of her).  But, Johan, if you enjoy it so much, why not just continue? Good question.

There will be still some editorials coming from me, particularly of the “Meanwhile Around the World” type, scooping up a lot.

But the challenge should now be shared with a much bigger group, and so far a new editorial committee with 16 or so has been formed. The challenge may land on each one of them a couple of times a year. They will enjoy it; no doubt so will the readers.  More diversity.

But there are also some personal reasons.  And you, dear readers, are entitled to know what they are.

It is not fatigue of any kind, approaching 87. But I want to use my coming years for something even more challenging and difficult: research on macro-culture, macro-history, and on their relations.

The Grand View. Macro-culture is deep down, macro-history is its manifestations.  The relations, please!  An American once defined history as “one damn event after the other”. Empirical, punctual, linear in time, crystal clear. And wrong.  A German, Ranke, long time ago made a plea for the empirical, “wie es eigentlich gewesen“, how it “really” was. As opposed to memory, individual or delivered collective memory.  Keeping generations pondering the word “really”. Better.

Fascinating. I feel called upon to move our thinking horizon on history a millimeter or two.  That requires much work with nothing else on the agenda. So, everything regular and institutional–like weekly editorial-writing, monthly alfadeltapi meetings in my beloved L’Alfàz del Pi, annual long symposia in my beloved Jondal–have been cut almost out. In favor of very good people who are taking over in all places.

Bringing Alfàz to Spain and Jondal to Norway will happen, but not on a regular basis. Ad hoc.  Big thoughts have been thought in small places–for big places thinking small thoughts. If thinking at all.

After the five hundred I cannot refrain from giving some very open-ended “after me” reflections.

I think the 3 pp format is good, but not binding on us.  Could be shorter, but not too short. Could be longer, but not too long.  Depends on the topic, depends on the author.  Be flexible, but also be aware that the readers have become accustomed to a certain format.

I think the DPT agenda is good, but not binding on us.  An editorial focused on analysis only, forecasting only, solutions only, might also be very appropriate. Or a literary “flow of consciousness”.  Be flexible, but again be aware that readers have become accustomed, whether they know it or not, to that DPT agenda. And may miss it.

Be also aware of an asymmetry.  Anyone with university training knows something about analysis; facts and their organization. And anyone somehow in politics have some values-ideas-ideals.  Combine them with the facts, and you have the basis for abundant criticism.

Do it, but be aware that this is the easy way out. When there are so few constructive, creative proposals, it is not only because they are ruled out by “value-free science” (which of course never existed), but because it is simply more difficult. Hundreds, thousands of times have I heard: “What to do about it? No idea”.  Produce those ideas.

What else?  Lush Jondal with sun and rain changing more quickly than the temper of women. Wonderful people like Hans and Anett Bjelke, pillar, living alone at Northern Spitsbergen, teaching in Northwestern Greenland and Norway.  Working with their good hands and good minds.

Music, however dubious the FM channel. Literature.  Right now, on the Kindle, the collected plays of Anton Chekhov.  I almost envy those who have not yet read them: about all that is human, for good and bad.

And on my side wonderful, beautiful Fumi, with the best of Japan.

Thank you, wonderful life. Aging is nothing to fear if you keep in reasonable shape, and reinvent yourself.  Most of it is up to you.


Mrs. Fumiko Galtung, TMS editor Antonio C.S. Rosa, Johan Galtung in Norway, 2007

Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of TRANSCEND International and rector of TRANSCEND Peace University. Prof. Galtung has published more than 1500 articles and book chapters, 500 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service, and more than 170 books on peace and related issues, of which more than 40 have been translated to other languages, including 50 Years100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives published by TRANSCEND University Press. More information about Prof. Galtung and all of his publications can be found at

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 25 Sep 2017.

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6 Responses to “Good-Bye, See You Later”

  1. Ravi Bhatia says:

    Beautiful picture of Dr and Mrs Galtung and my dear friend Antonio Rosa

  2. Eva Björkander Mannheimer says:

    Dear Johan Galtung,
    I will miss your weekly, unique DPT-voice –
    Its vitality and wise visions in the midst of chaos,
    but look forward to your geohistorical Grand View
    and from the bottom of my heart say: Thank You!
    Eva BjörkanderMannheimer

  3. Dear Johan,
    Thank you dear friend for your wonderful weekly editorials which I always read and found inspirational and encouraging.
    I shall miss your challenging and wise words.
    Thank you dear friend.
    Love to you and your wife Fumico and continue to have a great life together
    empower by the love of millions of peace admirers and friends around the world.
    Mairead Maguire, Peace People, N.Ireland

  4. Jan Oberg says:

    Dear Johan
    So well understood, concentrate fully on anything that gives you joy the next – hopefully – many and good years. With Fumi and the rest of your family.
    You’ve done a wonderful service to not ‘only’ peace research but also applied peace research and mediawide public education – thanks of course to Antonio’s amazing devotion in bringing it out.
    I’m happy and proud to be able to say that I have posted what I think is every single one of those 500 on TFF’s site and the last 271 on our blog – and across Facebook, Twitter and Google+ – sincerely hoping it has brought a few more readers over the years.
    Live well and – yes, see you soon, as you know.
    Love and admiration to you both – Fumi in particular, of course :-)
    Jan and Christina

  5. Dr. Malik Hammad Ahmad says:

    Knowing Prof. Galtung In Fall2004 at EPU, and thankful to
    His visit to Pakistan on my invitation, it’s going to be tough to think TMS without Prof. Galtung’s article; however wishing him very best of luck for the investigation of Macro history…
    Kindest regards

  6. Per-Stian says:

    I am saddened to see this news, but also understand it. It has been great to read these articles for years, gaining more insight and a wider horizon. And many solutions! Also saddened that I couldn’t make it to Jondal this summer, if that was the last time. Thank you for the fantastic event last year, though.

    Take care, and good luck to the new board taking over this service. 16 people trying to replace one. Speaks volumes of Galtung ;)