The Man in the Mirror: A Glimpse at the Heart and Mind behind TRANSCEND Media Service

EDITORIAL, 30 Oct 2023

#820 | Marilyn Langlois – TRANSCEND Media Service

“…If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change…”
Siedah Garrett and Glen Ballard

Tucked into a corner of a tiny apartment on the 8th floor of a block of flats not far from the Douro River in Porto, Portugal, are a small desk, two laptops and an orthopedic chair.  “This,” proclaimed Antonio with a flourish, “is TMS!”

Earlier this month, I visited the 77-year-old TMS editor, Antonio Carlos da Silva Rosa, for the second time, and would like to paint for readers a picture of the person whose mission is delivering a collection of truth-seeking, solutions-oriented, peace-journalistic articles and commentaries to your in-box every Monday since 2008.

Fellow TRANSCEND member and co-convener of TRANSCEND USA, Diane Perlman, based in Washington DC, accompanied me to Porto.  We are seeking ways to elevate awareness of Johan Galtung’s life work and the all-important TRANSCEND Method of Conflict Transformation in the “belly of the beast,” where she and I reside.  Antonio gave us valuable input in the course of our extensive conversations over the week we spent there.

Antonio C.S. Rosa, Porto Oct 2023
Photo by Marilyn Langlois

Meeting for dinner upon our evening arrival didn’t fit into his daily routine, which involves rising at 3:00am daily, working long hours reading and scavenging the web for pearls of articles appropriate for TMS, and retiring to bed around 8:30pm. The next day, Antonio invited us to a simple, tasty lunch at the Krishna Hindu Temple in a narrow stone building on an alleyway in Porto’s historic district.

Born in São Paulo in 1946 to an Afro-Brazilian father and a Euro-Indigenous mother who died when he was nine years old, Antonio’s youth was fraught with instability, loneliness, and frustration.  After a few years of attending a Roman Catholic seminary leading to the priesthood, he left ‘because the Bible never answered my existential questions,’ he explains. By age 16 he was drinking heavily.  Other drugs followed and he soon found himself living on the streets of Brazil’s most populous city, immersed in the 1960’s Hippie Movement.

Ironically, after spending a year of mandatory military service guarding the Brazilian President in Brasilia, he was arrested and tortured by agents of the 1964 coup d’état regime who suspected him of being a Communist, based on a membership card in his possession to the Brazil-Russia Cultural Union.  The utterly non-political 20-year-old had joined in order to learn how to play chess, and eventually convinced his captors and tormentors that he was no threat to the powers that be.

Angry and embittered, the substance abuse and precarious street life continued until Antonio happened upon a group of Krishna devotees in 1975.  When offered the opportunity to become a monk in the austere, peaceful space of this spiritually welcoming community, he readily accepted.  Aspects of the routine he adopted there 50 years ago—simple living/high thinking, rising daily before dawn, vegetarian diet and sobriety–he retains to this day.

Within a month, the Brazilian Hare Krishna Movement sent him to their headquarters in Los Angeles, California, to help translate the Hindu scripture Bhagavad-gita to Portuguese. In 1977 he made his way to Honolulu, left the temple life, and entered the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

There, another turning point occurred in the mid-1980’s. As a sophomore student of journalism and political science, he attended a class from Prof. Johan Galtung, planting the seeds for a fruitful collaboration that blossomed and still remains.  Galtung already knew the reputation of this now highly political writer for the student newspaper, Kaleo O Hawai’i, and welcomed him into the world of Peace Studies.  Eventually, Galtung became his Ph.D. committee chair.  Antonio now perceived a whole new realm of possibilities for solving the world’s seemingly intractable problems open up to him. His time in Hawaii included an arduous and fulfilling year living and volunteering at the Malu ‘Aina Farm and Center for Nonviolent Education and Action.

Having endured torture by electric shocks, Antonio told me he felt rage, powerlessness and the urge for revenge at the Brazilian anti-communist repression, engendered in the USA (Operation Condor under Henry Kissinger).  But he found another way.  With the help of the Krishna community, regular attendance at AA and NA meetings, intense group therapy, and immersion into the field of Nonviolent Conflict Transformation, he found his way back to the deeper core that is committed to peace and continual self-improvement.  He respects all people, fears no one and harbors no grudges or ill-will toward his past or anyone who has harmed him or with whom he disagrees. He cites Gandhi: ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ [i]

After moving to Portugal in 1994, he miraculously shed all his demons once and for all, being clean and sober for 26 years in 2023. His manic-depression has also mysteriously disappeared.

In 2004, on a whim, he decided to contact his former professor now living in France, who was delighted to hear from him.  Antonio has been working as Galtung’s assistant, as Secretary to TRANSCEND, and as editor of TMS since.  Diane and I first met Antonio at TRANSCEND gatherings in Cluj, Romania (2005), and Vienna, Austria (2007).

Many of you readers have no doubt encountered his big heart and keen mind, if not in person, then through his writings, videos, announcements and appeals published on TMS. See below for links to much of his extensive body of work.  In 2020 he developed scoliosis in the spinal cord; walking and traveling have since become increasingly more difficult.

Universidade do Minho, Portugal, Oct 2017 -

Universidade do Minho, Portugal, Oct 2017 – Johan Galtung and wife Fumiko flanked by Marilyn Langlois (second to the left), Antonio and Vasco Barata (far right) among faculty members.

In October 2017, Antonio organized a memorable symposium in and around Porto to honor Johan Galtung’s 87th birthday, bringing together Portuguese students, professors, local media and international visitors, which I was honored to attend.  As Galtung is currently retired from writing and public speaking due to advanced age and frail health, I particularly relish memories of the last time our paths crossed.

In his well-attended lectures at Minho University in Braga and the University in Coimbra, one of Europe’s oldest, Galtung fingered the US and Israel as the most belligerent countries today.  We heard familiar themes.  He stressed the importance of identifying and solving underlying conflicts, via mapping (“What do you want?”), legitimizing (“How do you justify what you want? Do you grant your adversaries the same?”), and bridging (both-and solutions), with the crucial added element of conciliating past traumas.

He reiterated his proposal for West Asia (aka the Middle East):  Israel and Palestine as two states (1967 borders with some small land swaps, Palestinian capital in Jerusalem and right of return affirmed, numbers to be negotiated), within a six-State community (Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt), within a twenty-State Security Cooperation Organization in the broader region, all embracing peaceful cooperation in cultural, economic, social and security areas.

Galtung noted that true security can only be achieved by eliminating structural violence and nurturing horizontal relations.  He advocated “equi-archy,” with distributive and equitative justice ensuring mutual and equal benefits for all parties.  The bottom line is meeting basic human needs for all members of the human family, a goal that remains elusive but is achievable.

At that time, six years ago, Galtung was predicting the decline of the US Empire by 2020.  Well, we’re a few years beyond that, yet the signs are apparent all around us that the majority of the world’s population is rejecting US exceptionalism and insisting on multi-polarity and mutual respect.

The mainstream corporate media feeds on violence and catastrophes, ignoring root causes and downplaying successes.  But thanks to Antonio’s tireless efforts, we have ready access to the TMS weekly compendium of insightful analyses and practical ideas for mediation and solutions.

Johan’s 87th birthday party – 24 Oct 2017 Porto, Portugal

The 2017 Porto symposium concluded on 24 October with a beautiful birthday lunch for Johan Galtung in the Krishna Temple’s small garden.   While enjoying the delectable vegan buffet and refreshing non-alcoholic beverages, we also raised a toast to our host extraordinaire, Antonio C. S. Rosa.

I invite you all to show support and build on the spirit of TRANSCEND Media Service in any way you can, i.e., by

  • encouraging others to subscribe to TMS
  • commenting on TMS articles and engaging in discussion
  • submitting articles to TMS
  • donating financially to TMS
  • putting ideas for solutions that you read about in TMS into practice in your own life, in your community and throughout the world.


[i] Gandhi actually said: “We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.


Marilyn Langlois is a member of TRANSCEND USA West Coast. She is a volunteer community organizer and international solidarity activist based in Richmond, California.  A co-founder of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, member of Haiti Action Committee and Board member of the International Center for 9/11 Justice, she is retired from previous employment as a teacher, secretary, administrator, mediator and community advocate.

Antonio C. S. Rosa (Antonio Carlos da Silva Rosa), born 1946, is founder-editor of the pioneering Peace Journalism website, TRANSCEND Media Service-TMS (from 2008), an assistant to Prof. Johan Galtung, Secretary of the International Board of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, and recipient of the Psychologists for Social Responsibility’s 2017 Anthony J. Marsella Prize for the Psychology of Peace and Social Justice. He is on the Global Advisory Board of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies and completed his B.A., M.A., and graduate Ph.D. work in the fields of Communication-Journalism and Political Science-Peace Studies/International Relations at the University of Hawai’i. Originally from Brazil, he lives presently in Porto, Portugal. Antonio was educated in the USA where he lived for 20 years; in Europe-India since 1994. Books: Transcender e Transformar: Uma Introdução ao Trabalho de Conflitos (from Johan Galtung, translation to Portuguese, 2004); Peace Journalism: 80 Galtung Editorials on War and Peace (2010, editor); Cobertura de Conflitos: Jornalismo para a Paz (from Johan Galtung, Jake Lynch & Annabel McGoldrick, translation to Portuguese, 2010). TMS articles by Antonio HERE. Videos HERE and HERE.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 30 Oct 2023.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: The Man in the Mirror: A Glimpse at the Heart and Mind behind TRANSCEND Media Service, is included. Thank you.

If you enjoyed this article, please donate to TMS to join the growing list of TMS Supporters.

Share this article:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

6 Responses to “The Man in the Mirror: A Glimpse at the Heart and Mind behind TRANSCEND Media Service”

  1. Hi Marilyn

    We sincerely appreciate your fine tribute to Antonio with a wonderful summary of a life well lived despite enormous early-life challenges and being tortured as a young man.

    So thank you for some further insight into what makes the TMS Weekly Digest a ‘must read’ for those of us committed to making the world a better place.

    Long may you live to nurture us Antonio!

    Love to you both; Robert & Anita

  2. Poka Laenui says:

    Thank you for this wonderful article which gives a deeper understanding of what makes Transcend work. I’ve known Johan for many years, beginning when he taught in Hawaii at the university. He was often a guest on my radio shows over public radio. It was very good to get an update of Johan and Fumi. Three days ago I had two friends visit me under my mango tree and memories of Johan while he was at the University of Hawaii became the topic of discussion. I wish him and Fumi well.
    I have not met Antonio personally but I have had the opportunity to exchange email messages with him over the years. Thank you for this exposure of this man who I have admired, giving us even more depth to him.
    Aloha `aina.
    Poka Laenui

  3. Lynette X. Shi says:

    What a great article, Marilyn! Thanks for writing it and letting us get to know Antonio better. I can’t thank you enough, Antonio, for the weekly news letter. I look forward to it so much. Such interesting and inspiring articles with so much information about everything happening these days! It’s so good to know that there are many people devoted to and involved in working for peace and better understanding. Reading the mainstream media with so much negativity and cynicism makes one forget that there are lot of people still who believe in trying to find ways for peace and greater cultural openness.

    Antonio, please pass on my greetings to Prof. Galtung. His lectures in Hawaii remain vivid in my memory.

    Lynette Shi

    • Dear Lynette, Poka, Robert, and Marilyn:

      Many thanks for your kind support of my work. Not that Peace, Nonviolence, Conflict Resolution, etc. be particularly prevalent today. War and violence are winning the day big time. But we shall persevere despite unfavorable circumstances. Together!!

      May Goodness have mercy on us all!


  4. Per-Stian says:

    Thanks a million for writing and posting this article! Wonderful to get a little insight into the life of Antonio :)

    Getting tortured for no reason at all at such a young age… It must have been soul crushing. A little taste of the “invisible” hand of the US empire. Thankfully things turned around, and we are all so happy for it. Shows what an impact Galtung have had on people.

    On that note, I’m really sad to see it stated black on white that his health is frail and that he no longer actively writes and suchlike. I’m just so glad that I was able to learn from him during a summer peace symposium in his loved town of Jondal in Norway.

    Funny little story about that, though I have no idea if this was common practice in similar circumstances. Johan had a session after a lunch break, and I was the only person to get there in time. Right on time, although I was the only other person in the room, he started to speak and draw on the ‘flipover’. Then the other people slowly came into the room. I found it surprising but also funny in a way. Most “teachers” would have waited, but Galtung wanted us to respect the schedule :)

    It was a wonderful experience, the whole thing, and I learnt a lot. I only wish he was a much younger man still, as we need voices like his, and minds like his. That he has not received the Nobel Peace Prize is quite frankly an outrage, almost on par with Gandhi not receiving it either. But as always, political priorities are more important than deserving and fitting laureates. Or following Nobel’s will for that matter.

    Sorry for droning on, I just wanted to share this little story.