11 Five Years:
9 Problems, 11 Solutions
Oberg, TFF director
Lund, Sweden - September 11, 2006
The 11 solutions (Part 2)
1. Discuss the basic reasons behind terrorism
It’s very simple: try to look at the world from the perspective
of the disadvantaged millions. Try to listen with a Muslim/Arab ear to
Western, sometimes Christian-based, politicians – how would you
feel if you were in the receiving end of such arrogance, history falsification,
constant threats of bombings, accusations about being less civilized and
educated? Wouldn’t you be a little angry? You might not become a
terrorist yourself, but you certainly could see those who the West categorizes
as “terrorists” as people who stand up for your pride and
against the humiliation.
2. Listen to the terrorists’ words
Bin Laden’s first message dealt with, among other things, the wars
the U.S. has fought including the atomic bombs dropped ion Hiroshima and
Nagasaki. While we must never accept or endorse the meanest of all violence
– that of terrorism which by definition hits innocent people for
political purposes – we would certainly do wise to listen to what
they say, how they feel and whom they say to act on behalf of and who
3. Seek Christian-Muslim reconciliation in general
If it wasn’t meant to become a clash of civilisation, it is about
to become one. This is another conflict to which there is no military
or other violence-based solutions. We can do nothing wiser that meet,
co-operate, listen, invite and produce culture together and show that
we are human beings first and that there are far more similarities than
differences between our cultures and faiths.
4. Apologise and seek genuine co-operation with post-occupation
There are over 300.000 clinically traumatised children and youth in Iraq
alone. Ask yourself what attitude they will have to the West when they
become adults, e.g. politicians.
The economic sanctions that hit the Iraqi civil society, not Saddam and
his people, created what amounts to a genocide: there live today 500.000
to 1.000.000 fewer people in Iraq due to these sanctions alone. Additionally,
the war on Iraq has caused death, wounding and other suffering to hundreds
of thousands and destroyed its society.
Apologising for this, developing true partnership and co-operation that
furthers reconciliation and forgiveness is now a minimum requirement.
But limitlessly self-righteous Western politicians have not even begun
to understand the challenge. They talk about bombing Iran or imposing
sanctions. We must stop them with constructive, humanist policies, with
people-to-people partnership and reconciliation.
5. Democratize the democracies, respect the equal value of all
humans and stop Western racism and fundamentalism
For instance, observe 3 minutes of silence on October 7 and March 20.
For instance, stop believing that democracy is about election or referenda
where people can vote yes or no to issues set up by the West.
Democracy is an ethos, a matter of education, a result of society’s
organic growth, it is about shaping life so that there is real choice.
Voting but having no opportunity to define choice among alternatives is
phoney democracy, diluted fascism as Gandhi said.
Today’s globalization is economic and military, only. We need cultural
and democratic globalization, the latter meaning worldwide participation
in decision-making about global issues. It means more UN General Assembly
and less Security Council.
With our own corruption, the all too manifest disgust with politicians,
the buying of elections and the post 9/11 disrespect for human rights
and laws practised by so-called democracies, time has come to recognise
that we have nothing to teach others. We need self-criticism and a bit
of humility. Imposing our democracy on others, even if it were perfect,
will only add to their sense of humiliation. And we would never accept
others telling us in the West what we must do, or else - -
6. Solve the Israeli-Palestine conflict in a fair and sustainable
manner, accept that neither the U.S. nor Britain can be a mediator
Certainly the single most important policy proposal! There will be no
end to terrorism as long as de facto mediation means favouring one state,
its occupation policies, its nuclear weapons and its uncompromising militant
policies in ways no other state gets away with. The “exceptionalism”
of the U.S. and Israel – the only two states which turn down all
criticism of their policies with the propagandistic argument that it is
“anti-American” and “anti-Semitic” - must be systematically
pointed out and opposed.
7. Exercise self-criticism and learn the lessons from the wars
in Afghanistan and Iraq
This is but another obvious point that only the decision-makers behind
these wars cannot see. There is no genuine peace in Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia,
Kosovo/a, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq or between Israel and Palestine where
military means have been employed in a dominating mode allegedly to “create
To put it crudely, violence always creates more violence, if not today
then at some point in the future.
War is obsolete. But it you do not have the minimum intellectual and diplomatic
capabilities, you are likely to overuse your military capabilities.
8. Increase educational and other opportunities for every child and youth
to learn about and interact with those who have another faith and live
different lives, learn from them.
Begin now, begin everywhere: to train the next generation in tolerance,
understanding, concrete knowledge about “the others”, peace
education, dialogue, active listening. Provide opportunities for mutual
studies and living with those who are different. Those we know well, those
we have friends among, those we understand and respect – those are
not the first we want to see killed by our own soldiers. The only thing
that needs to be blown to pieces now is every self-serving black-and-white,
9. Independent journalism instead of government megaphone reporting.
We need unbiased media, journalists and editors who understand the importance
of focussing on the underlying conflicts rather than on violence and war.
We need positive images from war zones, namely those that show how citizens
seldom want war, how they oppose the war-mongers and refuse to accept
hate propaganda. We need more focus on the thousands of civil society
groups - usually ignored or made invisible by the media – that work
for peace and understanding than on Nasrallah, Bush, Blair and Olmert.
10. Denounce violence whoever commits it. There is no good violence.
Refuse to accept the black-and-white, good-evil propaganda. Refuse to
be intimidated by terrorist’s threats and by George Bush and other
Western leaders’ alerts and promises about “protecting”
you. The Bush administration and the Danish Fogh Rasmussen administration
would not be occupiers in Iraq today if they truly cared about the safety
of their nations.
In addition we get nowhere if we only take sides among two violent parties;
that remains a pro-violence, pro-war standpoint. We will get somewhere
only when we help those we sympathize with to use the wide spectrum of
non-violent action. The Iraqi resistance or Hizbollah may have very understandable
motives, but they have – regrettably – never cared to investigate
the obvious alternatives to bombs and killings. Thus, they promote violence
as a political tool in general and provide legitimacy to their opponents’
11. Scrap the war on terror. Recognise that five more years with
all of this is bound to lead to world disaster!
Also, travel the world, see for yourself and don’t worry the slightest
about being hit by terrorists. Defy the fearology imposed on you! Stop
accepting that anything can be done in the name of fighting terrorism
– as long as real measures against state and non-state terrorism
is left untouched.
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