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To reconcile trauma

Ny Tids' now regular columnist, peace researcher Johan Galtung, draws lines between possible reasons why the world is as it is – and solutions to the challenges we face.

The violence pandemic continues unabated, especially in the United States.

We read about horrific incidents in other major countries such as China, India and Russia, but not about massive school and church massacres, about vans dangling random passers-by on sidewalks, about peaceful pedestrians being shot from high-rise buildings. Only in today's United States.

We also see a decline in violence in the United States as the critical group of men aged 18-25 find work. Hopefully not in the military.

How to explain this?

Massive causes

This is something more than the usual American suicide / murder complex.

Is it due to the American cult of violence? Undoubtedly, however, it is changing and now seems to be targeting institutions, not just individuals.

Is it due to capitalism? The system creates winners and losers, especially in the United States, where there is neither a ceiling for profit nor a safety net for the losers.

Is it the media's fault? The over-reporting of violence and the under-reporting of peace make violent crimes appear normal and peaceful acts as criminals.

Is there competition? Becoming a winner in violence can be tempting when regular jobs do not pay off and a career in sports or arts is out of reach.

Is imitation due? Violence seems to be fashionable these days. Join the gang of America's collective individualism.

Is it due to militarism? If my country kills people on a large scale all over the world, why can't I kill all over the country – on a large scale?

Is it due to decline and decay? Is all the killing a normal part of the US decline and fall, and at the same time something you can get a kick off? Adapting as America declines – article in the New York Times, April 23, 2018 – good title, but a bad article.

Five Norwegian "questionable military adventures", all of which were initiated without parliamentary debate. Is Norway a democracy?

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Johan Galtung
Galtung is a peace researcher with 60 years of experience in conflict resolution. Galtung has been a frequent consultant to governments, companies and to the United Nations and its family of organizations. His relentless dedication to peace since he published Gandhi's Political Ethics has been recognized with thirteen honorary doctorates and professorships and an alternative Nobel Prize. He has generated a unique conceptual toolkit for empirical, critical and constructive inquiry into the subject of peace. The fundamental purpose of the Galtung-Institut goes beyond the transfer of the theoretical, methodological and practical skills developed by Johan Galtung and others in over 50 years of progress in peace research and practice. The overall goal of the GI is indeed to continue contributing to the further development of peace theory and peace praxeology in the interest of a desperately needed reduction of human and environmental suffering.

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