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The culture of the future of the future and Abiy Ahmed

COMMENT / In the future, people and governments are believed to have learned enough to deal with conflicts without weapons and enemy thinking. If we ever get there, we do not know, but the possibility exists, and how it will be, depends on our choices.


Nobel Peace Prize is getting a lot of attention around the world. namnet Abiy Ahmed has been spread through thousands of news media. He has surprisingly created peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Nobel Committee: «We have decided to give the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 to Ethiopia's Prime Minister for his work for peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his resolute initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea. ”

At the same time, there are constantly new outbreaks of violence both at home and abroad. In the autumn, the Turkish parliament applauds 2019 its violent president. Kurds are designated as terrorists, group pressure is strong. But some sometimes resist.

When the US Congress the 14. September 2001 voted 420-1 to give Bush the younger power to start war around the world, it was a congressman Barbara Lee from Oakland who advocated a more peaceful road.

Har Abiy Ahmed and Barbara Lee something special in common? XIUMX, the peace and conflict doctor Abiy, has stuck to an idea as old as the thought, the same idea that Barbara Lee once again proposed to 2018 in the US Congress. It is also the same forward path as Johan Galtung conceived of and as Norwegian peace activists such as Susanne Urban, Ingeborg Breines and Grete Belinda Solberg Barton committed themselves fiercely.

The fate of our countries is closely intertwined. It was different when warlords long ago began to develop their ability to destroy. In Oslo there are Galtungs PRIO: , the peace research institute, which may now have more reason to analyze ideas about how peace infrastructure can be strengthened through the establishment of national peace ministries that can contribute to a peaceful world order.

Culture of peace

"Feminist" calls the Swedish government its foreign policy, epoch-making and future strategic important. But it is not the same as Abiys and Lee's idea. It is about replacing the culture of violence, with constant arms trade and military violence, with something new, something human. Like UN: s many general assembly in the 1990s, many call this new culture of peace In such a future culture, people and governments are believed to have learned enough to deal with conflicts without weapons and enemy thinking. If we ever get there, we do not know, but the possibility exists, and it depends on our choices how it will be.

What is it that creates peace and peace-promoting processes in small and large communities? och
who can initiate, coordinate and evaluate such changes?

Abiy Ahmed mediates in neighboring countries. Could a corresponding breakthrough of peace in the Horn of Africa be possible in the Middle East? Or in the debated areas in Sweden, Brazil and Chicago where criminal gangs are ravaging?

What is it that creates peace and peace-promoting processes in small and large communities? And who can initiate, coordinate and evaluate such changes? Abiy and Lee have a recipe that the Nobel Prize Committee may be interested in for years to come.

In Abi's and Lee's tracks are thinkers like Vijay Mehta in London. How Not to Go to War he calls his latest book. He is conferring with Fabian Hamilton, a member of the London Parliament from Leeds who is almost like Muferiat Kamil in Addis Ababa, and can be equated with her if we get a Labor-led government. The Labor leader Corbyn has promised to appoint a Minister of Peace.

From Hezbollah's Museum In Lebanon
From Hezbollah's Museum In Lebanon. Photo: Truls Lie

Muferiat Kamil is the woman who in Ethiopia received the strategically important post that the Minister of Peace, Barbara and Susanne, wants to see in place also in the capitals of the US, Norway and other nation states.

Thus, we would have a female minister from a large African country and a male minister from a large European country who can work together to strengthen the opportunities for peace. By then, Abiy and Corbyn have made a historical contribution to the attempts to stop the long-running process, which is characterized by the increasing capacity of militarism.

The answer to the question "Where are the Ministers of Peace?" is right now this: Ethiopia, and to some extent Costa Rica. So then we might understand what it would mean if the UK would follow suit, like Norway, like IKFF, International Women's Association for Peace and Freedom in Norway, recurring suggestions.

Infrastructure for war

Sociolog Pitirim Sorokin has created an index for «the violence of war in a historical perspective». He has weighed in on the duration of the violence, the size of the armies, the number of countries involved and the proportion of people affected. Very striking result: 1400 century index = 100, beginning of 1900 century with the two world wars = 3080. And the present century? Well, we know it can get even worse. It is paradoxical that the violence of 100 years after the meaningless World War I is so dominant, despite, for example, the United Nations' now 75-year activity, despite a level of education in a number of countries that should be able to produce results in the direction of peace, and despite the fact that virtually all people prefer peace over war.

So why is the culture of peace not yet found? It is extensively investigated, country by country, how military operations should be designed and financed. A visitor with peace goggles from space finds a powerful and rich around the globe infrastructure for war.

At the top of this order, there is a resource-rich Ministry of Defense in almost every nation state. The War Costs Project (Costs of War Project) at Brown University of the United States as well as Vijay Mehta i The economy of death (The Economics of Killing) tries to find out how much money these ministries and their authorities have at their disposal. These hundreds and thousands of billions of dollars become abstract. But clearly it is popular to invest huge amounts of money in preparing for and executing wars. And this, according to a decision which, according to Herbert Kelman, is based on "the collective needs and the fears of the decision-makers, rather than rational considerations of objective national interests".

Ministers with a future in peace for anyone whose mission can be part of a growing global
peace networks that can challenge and balance militarism and the culture of violence.

What about the alternative, the structure, the systems, the organizations, the money that could lay the foundations for a global peace culture that includes everyone, peace as a humanized realization? We can call it that the infrastructure of peace as opposed to the war institution's infrastructure.

The Peace Prize Doctor's thesis is entitled Social Capital and its Role in Traditional Conflict Resolution in Ethiopia. There is a need for both state and intergovernmental and international conflict resolution and conflict management. With the peace perspective's status increase in Addis Ababa, there is a start to a jump-giving, spreadable process.


Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a Central American country that is considered far more peaceful than its neighboring countries. How can it recover? Is it because of coincidences, personalities, institutions, favorable circumstances or what? Costa Rica is well known in the peace movement circles for the abolition of the country 1948. 1997 passed a law that bans peace education in all schools. In 2004 an authority for «alternative conflict resolution» was established, in 2006 a commission for violence prevention and promotion of «social peace». In 2009, the Ministry of Justice changed its name to the Ministry of Justice and Peace. That change of name was intended to mark a nationwide investment in local conflict management. Costa Rica, with its only five million inhabitants, appears to be a national model for constructive conflict management that the rest of the world should study extensively. But this does not happen to any great extent. No government inquiry into how to build and secure the peace infrastructure for everyone seems to have not yet been done anywhere.

More peace ministries can strengthen hope, ministers with a future in peace for everyone whose mission can be part of a growing global peace network that can challenge and balance militarism and the culture of violence. So far, prime ministers and presidents have rarely had a place for strong peace advocates with concern for the welfare of all, but the more war and defense ministers with often unilateral national perspectives. Peace ministers should mean that human and holistic perspectives are better taken into account.

War rhetoric or peace policy

Surveys that Palmecentret in Stockholm lets do, shows that a large majority of Sweden's population is against the full accession to the military alliance Nato, which the Liberals and others in the Swedish Parliament have pleaded for a number of years. But now this party, with good support from several others, has got a Swedish parliamentary majority for fairly strong military equipment, new weapons, more weapons and more exercises.

Ingalill Bjartén and Madeleine Göransson, two social democrat women politicians with similar ideas as IKFF members in Norway, have raised a notorious book title S-women ask: war rhetoric or peace policy? Thoughts from Skåne against riots and militarization. In addition, together with, among others, former disarmament ambassador Maj Britt Theorin, they have pushed through proposals on S-women's congress recently on both the conversion of military production to civilian and the establishment of peace ministries. They want to follow the example of Ethiopia and Costa Rica. They have plenty of ideas on how a peace ministry can promote long-term national and global peace promotion processes.

A change of mind is needed, which means that the many billions are no longer invested in «rattles of arms» but to build and strengthen the infrastructures of peace.

Anyone who wants to study more closely the question of what a peace ministry can do can easily take advantage of the Internet via lagförslaget Department of Peacebuilding in the US Congress, brought by Barbara Lee last January 2019. There are a number of suggestions for action to be taken by any politician, journalist, teacher, parent or peace activist who wants to think about what can be done for the construction of peace. Everybody's Business. Nobody's Job, the subtitle to the book We Need a Department of Peace by William Benzon, is in the middle of the dot: «The peace issue concerns everyone. But no one has the responsibility »- no one with enough power to launch the very long-term process that can abolish wars once and for all. Except now in a bigger country: Ethiopia's new Minister of Peace, finally in place, thanks to Abiy Ahmed.

The article is one of several in a series
on peace and reconciliation in MODERN TIMES
which is backed by Fritt ord.

Valentin Sevéus
Valentin Sevéus
Sevéus lives in Stockholm and is a member of a number of peace groups. He has written, among other things, Seeking peace (2015) and the World needs peace ministers (2017).

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