CATALUNYA: it is never too late for gathering

Monday, December 11, 2017

It is never too late for gathering and to tackle the problems with serenity because otherwise, in the case that a timely solution is not found, can lead to undesirable situations for everyone.

As I have emphasized repeatedly in regard to the facts in Catalonia, I consider it is essential and urgent that a meeting of representatives of both parties takes place without conditions or a priori, addressing the different aspects of the conflict with serenity and high perspective, reaching conclusions that allow preventing the serious consequences that could arise.

As a former Director General of UNESCO, President of the Foundation for a Culture of Peace and co-President of the University Institute for Human Rights, Democracy and Culture of Peace and Nonviolence (DEMOSPAZ), I wish to join my voice to those who seek, from different national and international organizations, adequately resolving an issue that concerns and challenges us all.


The Israel of Netanyahu follows them as well. It was expected. When Yitzhak Rabin ruled, Israel was very active in UNESCO, the intellectual Organization of the multilateral democratic System of the United Nations. But he died assassinated and, since then, the chances of success in the peace process are vanishing.

The United States withdraws from UNESCO because the Republican Party, with hegemonic ambitions, is incompatible with a multilateral democratic system. Already in 1919, they did unachievable the activities of an efficient League of Nations because they imposed the immense contradiction that the United States were never members of the League of Nations! created by an American President, Woodrow Wilson.

And then they have always been hostile to the excellent design of the United Nations System created by the Democratic President, Franklin D. Roosevelt...

In the 80s, at the end of the "Cold War", when was finally possible to empower the necessary expansiveness, perspective and efficiency to multilateralism, providing it with proper personal, security, technical and financial resources, President Reagan with the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as an obedient acolyte, left UNESCO and created the plutocratic groups (G6, G7, G8 ...) set up by the richest countries, to marginalize the United Nations, not subscribing the Convention on Human Rights of Children in 1989 -it is the only country in the world that has not subscribed it-, placing the World Trade Organization directly outside the System ... and then invading Iraq without the authorization of the Security Council ... And the neoliberalism has resulted as well in the decrease of the Aid for Development increasing the number of emigrants because in their countries of origin they die of hunger. It is an intolerable fact, from all points of view, that each day more than 4 billion dollars are invested in military expenditures and armament, while thousands of people, most of them children from 1 to 5 years old, die of starvation and abandonment.

This daily colossal contribution to the economy of war has seemed scarce to President Trump, who requested an increase very quickly. And the European countries, including Spain, all of them unsupportive with the immigrants and refugees -more than 6,000 dead in the Mediterranean in 2016- rushed to increase their defense investments. And all have been silent when Trump has announced that he would not implement the Paris Agreements on Climate Change, which constitutes an intolerable threat to the quality of the Earth habitability and, therefore, to the intergenerational legacy.

I regret they leave UNESCO because millions of American children and young people will receive a biased education -in some Republican States it is obligatory to explain creationism!- typical of an educational scheme that confuses education ("being free and responsible") with training, knowledge with information and information with news. And I especially regret for Higher Education, as it is well known that the US has 2 dozen top universities... but with hundreds of universities that leave much to be desired because, among other things, education is confused with professional learning.

It is necessary that world citizens react quickly -tomorrow may be too late- demanding compliance by the United States with the Paris Agreements on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals. Otherwise, it must be a great popular outcry -now that we have no excuse to keep an accomplice silence- which, aware that otherwise all humanity would suffer the consequences, requires President Trump to redress.The convinced supremacist, does not conceive that all human beings are equal in dignity and that no one can irreversibly tarnish their future. It is obvious that what worries me is not that the United States withdraws UNESCO again, but that the world as a whole, without the assistance of a strong and effective United Nations, abandons itself to its fate... especially when we know most certainly that points of no return can be reached.

What does the European Union refrain of telling clearly to President Trump that their trade relations could be affected very severely if he does not comply with the Paris Agreements? What do the most concerned citizens to wait, looking to the eyes of their children and descendants, to say that they will not admit that their intergenerational legacy deteriorates?

Now we can express ourselves: crime of silence.

Young citizens of the world, the time has come for action

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

“There will be new words for the new history”
Ángel González

“Commit yourselves!” was the final message proclaimed by Stephan Hessel. “You will have to change direction and embark on a new ship”, added José Luis Sampedro. Well, the time has come to commit ourselves, to take a new direction on board of a new ship, to start the “new beginning”  advocated by the Earth Chart, a document we should bear in mind when implementing all radical changes that must be made.

In the second paragraph of the Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights it is clearly established that people might be “compelled to have recourse... to rebellion” if they are deprived from the full exercise of human rights.  Yes, it is now time for you to resort -both peacefully and forcefully- to rebellion, to express yourselves, to raise your voice, to fill the cyberspace and the streets with your voice, your views, bearing in mind that our response to global challenges cannot be further delayed.

Citizens of the world! Do not be lured by ideologists who have lost the compass long time ago and are unable to see -or refuse to see- that the entire human race -this prodigious and promising wonder- is being threatened and should, therefore, not be reduced or “localized”. Mankind should rather react as a whole against powers of all kinds -including the media power- who try to silence the voice of “We, the peoples...”, and to reduce individuals to mere spectators, immersed and blinded by their eagerness to clarify to which small “parcel” they belong to, although it has become clear that unprecedented challenges require unprecedented solutions -as I have recently stated following Amin Maalouf. Instead of focusing on issues having to do with our closer and surrounding environment, we should tackle together, with joined hands and voices, the perils that are threatening us, taking action before it is too late.

We should all be fully aware that -for the first time in the history of humankind- we are placed in an extremely serious and complex situation, with problems that are potentially irreversible and could lead us -if we don’t take firm actions on time- to a point of no return with regards to the Earth’s habitability.

I always recall the terrible words of Albert Camus: “I despise them because they could have done so much and dared so little”. Let’s take action together so that future generations never pronounce or have grounds to pronounce those words. The big challenge and the supreme duty of each generation are to ensure a dignified life to future generations and to allow them to fully exercise the unique capacities of human beings: thinking, imagining, foreseeing, creating! Every unique human being capable of creating, there lies our hope.

The time will soon come for friendship, for generosity, for listening to others, for assertiveness, for rectification and for sailing against the wind. The alternative to involution is evolution. And the alternative to revolution is also evolution. The “r” from responsibility is the only difference between evolution and revolution. If we are responsible, we will all choose evolution, as nature has shown us with such magnificence. It is essential to invent the future. We must urgently dare to know and learn how to dare. Young citizens, you must stand against the permanent attempt of the media to transform you in spectators instead of actors and to press you to choose scepticism instead of hope. I still remember a sentence from the 15-M that inspired me great hope: “If you don’t let us dream, we will not let you sleep”. Don’t be distracted by local matters, by absurd national identity issues, or by pursuing objectives that are not relevant, when we should face together problems that concern us all, wherever our home is, whatever our social status, whatever the colour of our skin, whatever our ideology... Do everything possible to make us aware of which are our intergenerational responsibilities, learn how to share, how to live together, how to strive for others, because solidarity and generosity are precisely the unknown paths we should follow tomorrow if you succeed in showing us the right direction.

There are many roadmaps that have been left aside, excluded, underestimated, and have become today more essential than ever: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The Earth Chart, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, United Nations Millennium Declaration, the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace... all of which should serve us today as guides for our daily behaviour.  We have also today, thanks to longevity, a treasury that has been normally underutilized: the experience of those who are walking along the last stretches of their life. Experience is the balance of successes and failures obtained by each individual, and it is as valuable as it is scarcely used. This is why I encourage young people to share their experience and acquired knowledge so this helps them not to slacken and to keep striving hard now that their wings are still strong enough to allow them to fly high and not to decline.

Do not tolerate any outbreak of supremacism. This is the major source of confrontation, the idea that has caused more victims throughout history, a history that cannot be repeated. All human beings are equal in dignity: this is the foundation for peace and justice. As I wrote recently “Whether stakeholders and short-sighted leaders of today admit it or not, we have reached the anthropocene -human influence on ecological conditions- and the fact that we must fulfil our duties on time has become an unavoidable moral requirement.  Now we don’t have any excuse: we already know what is happening and we can express ourselves freely thanks to the digital technology. Above all, women -who were completely marginalized until very recently- are gradually playing an essential role –becoming the “cornerstones”- in decision-making at all levels, as should have been always the case.

It is essential, in the first place, to promote the re-instatement of a democratic multi-lateral system at an international level, with a strong United Nations capable of taking quick and efficient action, allowing us to immediately get rid of the plutocratic groups (G7, G8, G20) set up by the globalization neoliberalism and which have led to the current conceptual, social and economic confusion our current world is living in.

The elimination of the nuclear threat, which shall ensure a dignified life through the immediate implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreements on Climate Change, shall make it possible for everybody to live decently anywhere in the world.

Two critical transitions have to be made: from an economy based on speculation, on relocation of production and war -I must insist that it is intolerable to invest 4000 million dollars per day in military expenses and in the weapon industry while thousands of people are dying every day from hunger and abandonment, most of them boys and girls ranging from one to five years old- to an economy of global sustainable and human development based on knowledge.

There is a second transition that should inevitably be added to the first one: from a culture based on domination, imposition and war to a culture of encounter, dialogue, conciliation, alliance and peace. This is the great historical shift from force to word that could allow this new concept of security, and that should not only take into account territories but, above all, those who were born, who live and die in these territories.

In view of the above, it is totally unacceptable for President Trump to announce that he will not implement the urgent measures on the regulation of climate change that were agreed in Paris in November 2015. These agreements are the result of the hard work made -with great scientific rigour- for many years. As early as in 1947 the UNESCO founded the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and later on the international Programmes on Geology, Hydrology, Oceanography... And the great Programmes on “Man and the Biosphere”, “Biosphere Reserves”... Only someone driven by short-sighted interests could say today that the measures taken to ensure the quality of the Earth’s habitability were based in improvisation. Only the extravagant, media launched President of the United States, Mr. Trump, could behave in that way: young citizens, especially those directly concerned, including President Trump’s relatives, should react immediately, letting him know that, if he doesn’t change his attitude radically, a worldwide reaction will take place in the social networks to encourage people not to consume products having their origin in the great American Nation, that is enduring the effects of the inappropriate behaviour of the Republican Party.

"There is no challenge that is beyond the reach of the creative capacity inherent to humankind” said the American President John F. Kennedy in 1963. We have to invent our future. Everything that seems impossible today may become true tomorrow, but whose responsibility is it "if not everyone’s?”, as Miquel Martí i Pol so wisely advised.

Everyone should promote the disarmament for development. Everyone should contribute to the transition from force to word. The time for silence and submission is over.

It is essential to redefine issues that are critical to be able to lead a “normal” life, such as the new concept of work, democracy, the rule of “justice”, etc. In other words, we have to invent the future so that the “pending evolution” is made possible.  Evolutions consists in preserving everything that must be preserved -because these are the basic foundations and benchmarks that are absolutely essential to build a roadmap- and changing everything that must be changed. Evolution to build a different future. The future we dreamed of and we should keep dreaming of with greater perseverance.

Young citizens of the world, the time of silence is over; for the first time in history, we are facing issues that are essential for a dignified life; the time for irrelevant efforts must, therefore, give way to the time for conscious and resolute action. Dare to know and learn how to dare: this is the only way to ensure evolution and avoid revolution.