Article in Norwegian newspaper Ny Tid:
By Hans Georg Kohler
Fast freelance journalist for Ny Tid. Artist, living in Berlin.
Peace Congress organized by the International Peace Bureau (IPB) in 2016 were duly completed early this month. IPB oldest existing global peace network we have, and consists of over 300 member organizations in over 70 countries. Already in 1910 received IPB Nobel Peace Prize. 13 of the organization’s presidents have previously received the award. IPB has a vision of a world without war, and works primarily for global disarmament. Since the 80s, the network has also actively worked to abolish nuclear weapons. Under the title “Disarm! For a Climate of Peace-Creating an Action Agenda “discussed over 800 participants and 200 referents from 80 countries planet’s precarious challenges at Technical University in Berlin. The surprising at this year’s conference was that many unions participated, including trade union organization ITUC.
Among several prominent invitees were laureate Tawakkol Karman, Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, former UNESCO Secretary General Frederico Mayor and the economists Samir Amin and James Galbraith. To achieve a generational change and broader peace congress this year a special youth initiative, where youth in the service of peace shall discuss and mobilized in small workgroups.
Tall Norwegian representatives and politicians conspicuously absent. This despite the fact that they were specially invited by the Vice President of IPB Ingeborg Breiner. Even representatives from the Norwegian Embassy in Berlin lacked. But other Norwegians from different peace organizations Norway lined up: Liv Tørres from Nobel Peace Center, was present, as were representatives of the Norwegian Peace Association, the Norwegian Peace Council, and Womans International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Although the peace movement are currently in crisis – with missing support and little attention from the press and media – is Ingeborg Breiner still optimistic about IPB. Neoliberalism and the strong individualization, however, noticeably weakened peace movement in recent decades.
In a polarized world where the divide between rich and poor is increasing dramatically; where wars and conflicts are contributing to extensive environmental crises and global military armament threatens the globe, people have a desire to contribute to change and support the peace movement, insist Breiner. Not least, the financial resources of the world are redistributed: Annually it used $ 1.7 billion on military rearmament, while one billion people go hungry. This is despite worldwide poverty, dramatic consequences due to climate change and lack of access to water and sanitary facilities.
Politicians failing ability to cope with these challenges was a primary concern for peace congress. Meanwhile, you try to find alternative solutions and ideas, so that justice and peace are achievable. Discussed was also the possibility of a new “peace language” as well as a further development of peace journalism. Representatives from Northern Ireland and Colombia spoke about the peace negotiations in their respective countries.
Archbishop Dr. Nikola Eterovic conveyed following Pope Francis in his address: “We must become more aware that we are a global human family – there is no political and social boundaries or barriers that allow us to isolate ourselves from each other. That’s why we can not accept such a worldwide indifference. ”
What then is the cause of these serious disparity? IPBs Reiner Braun answers: “Rearmament is profitable. Weapons manufacturers earn far more than other industries. Weapons sales are a huge business which has assumed gigantic proportions. “There are still 15,000 nuclear weapons on the planet, hence 1800 is ready to be fired within minutes.
Westerners need terrorists, so they can implement security measures that cost, and that the West earn on.
But there is a glimmer of hope: In Japan, it gathered 15 million signatures against nuclear weapons. “Maybe not so strange when you consider that tons of radioactive water from the Fukushima reactor still leaking into the Pacific every day.” This depressing announcement stems from Uranium Film Festival taking place in parallel with the peace conference in Berlin.
Besides: In London protested 70,000 people against nuclear program Trident in February 2016, according to Reiner Braun.
And Teknische University has about 200 refugees from Syria have already begun to study – and they are extraordinarily clever, can the university president Christian Thomsen tell. Refugees are welcome in Berlin.
Yemen. Susanne Baumann, head of the German Ministry for Disarmament and Arms Control, tells of successful destruction of Gaddafi’s chemical weapons by German specialists. Another goal of German foreign policy is to get Russia on a lasting peace process in a smoldering Ukraine. More diplomatic twists are being used when she says that nuclear disarmament must always be seen in an international context.
After Baumann takes laureate Tawakkol Karman rostrum. The temperature rises noticeably in the audience when she holds a fiery speech about political instability and the relationship between increasing armament and fewer resources for education. She says that two billion US dollars being used for illegal arms trade in the world. With only 25 percent of this sum could most problems have been resolved. Karman also believes that the Earth’s resources must be shared between everyone on the planet – it can not be that only a few countries and a limited number of multinational companies have a monopoly on the world’s resources. Salen claps. “I’m not naive,” said Karman, and shouts: “But I demand that the illicit trade in weapons must cease! We have a choice: either more money for war, or more money for development. “She accuses further world’s major powers to cooperate with corrupt regimes – we recognize that it is Yemen she is talking about. Yemen is being destroyed by a corrupt government that is supported by the major powers, and society in Yemen being militarized. The Arab people will not accept the militarization of society. Moreover tells Karman about the peaceful revolution in the country, which has now been shattered by a terrible counter-revolution. “Yemen will have peace. We stand against the president and the militias. The solution is to disarm the region and hold free elections, without violence. I speak for all in the Middle East, “she says. The civil war in the country rages still.
“Browse bla bla!” Sharan Burrow from trade union organization ITUC recalls that 60,000 people in Syria have been rescued by aid workers. “Stop the bombs, stop the bombs! ‘Protest he. Tunisia has introduced democratic structures. We must fight corruption together. “Together we can Manage solidarity! Prosperity for all. Refugees are welcome. ”
Then speeches economist Samir Amin from Senegal. He is 85 years. Amin dishes on Ban Ki-moon’s statement that the world is over-armed, but peace is under-funded: It is the West that is over-armed, not the world. This is an aggressive power. US rules the world together with Saudi Arabia and Qatar. G7 decide over the globe. Westerners need terrorists, so they can implement security measures that cost, and that the West earn on. Iraq was invaded – not because they had weapons of mass destruction, but because they had no weapons at all! The aim is to destroy anyone who could be a potential economically. That is what is the true fascism and terrorism. We must come out of NATO – everything else is just blah blah blah, says the aging economist. We need to stop with neoliberal policies. We must stop being naive! fires him off. Salen cheering.
German arms exports. On one of the many panel debates are things even more concrete. Here explains Jürgen GRASSLIN the world’s fifth place in the rankings when it comes to international arms exports according to SIPRI, Germany and the country’s leading weapons factories Heckler & Koch, Rheinmetall, Carl Walther and Tyssen & Krupp. Although it is provided by statute that Germany can not sell arms to countries in conflict and war, there are different legal systems in the country that allows companies locate the loophole that allows arms sales possible. In Turkey, 25 thousand Kurds killed by Heckler & Koch weapons, according GRASSLIN. In recent years, Saudi Arabia received two licenses to produce weapons from German arms manufacturers. More is on the way, including to Turkey. Provides one weapon licenses, one loses control, he argues. The violent spread of small weapons, ie guns and pistols, killing the most people in the world. Two thirds of all those who die are killed by rifles. This export has a direct correlation with refugees from Africa and the Middle East. In the years 2014 and 2015 weapons exports from Germany increased from 6.2 billion euros to 12.8 billion euros. It is a new record. Weapons are sold including Algeria, Brunei, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Pakistan, Qatar, Malaysia, Oman, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. 15 million rifles produced by Heckler & Koch circulates venues throughout the globe. Over two million people have been killed by Heckler & Koch G36- and G3 rifles, and about 4-5 million people are injured. The most scandalous is that these weapons factories sell weapons to Iraq and Syria. ISIS kills people with German rifles. German authorities allege, however, that they deliver these weapons to promote safety.
Concrete solutions. Jürgen GRASSLIN is now being prosecuted by the courts in Munich because of revelations in a documentary that aired on German television, as well as in his book Death networks that lays bare arms trade. (See also video interview.)
But GRASSLIN also comes with specific solutions to halt exports. Peace activist bought shares of Daimler-Benz and influenced the group from within. After 20 years attitude battle joined Daimler to produce small arms – today they make “just” military vehicles.
Well, it was the Finnish singer Arja Saijonmaa lifted the mood at the peace conference. She pays travel, room and board herself, and singing free.
See our video interview with Jürgen Grässlin here: