By Johan Galtung
Bogotá, Direcccion de Inteligencia Policial, Ministerio de Defensa
Generals, Colonels, Conference Participants,
In June 1998 your President’s Office wanted proposals for peace, and I offered peace education, peace journalism and the guiding moral-ethical light, human rights, a holon of civil-political-socio-economic-cultural rights. Colombia is short on the latter, with flagrant injustices and a deep culture of violence.
In this conference a highly counter-productive word is being used: postconflict, instead of post-violence. Do not confuse them: violence means hurting-harming; conflicts are incompatible goals. Conflict may lead to frustration-aggression-violence, but personal and social maturity lead to progress bridging goals, to conflict solution. “Postconflict” sounds like all is solved with the end of violence, oblivious to reducing flagrant inequality, to harmony through empathy, trauma reconciliation, and capacity for ongoing conflict resolution.
Prognosis: violence returns, with a vengeance. Like in Colombia.
In the 1960s major uprisings took place in many parts of the world. There was the anti-Confucian cultural revolution in China for the rights of women, the young, the uneducated, and Western China; the Naxalites uprising in India, low caste and casteless tribals against the sellout to multinationals; the Khmer Rouge against the Vietnamese in Phnom Penh, in opposition to the French used to colonize Cambodia, and against the capital-city exploiting landless peasants. All three against millennia of solid structural violence.
As also in Nepal with Maoists fighting huge injustices related to caste and nation; like in the Philippines, classes but also Moros vs Christians; and in Sri Lanka, not classes but nations, Tamils vs Sinhalese.
And in Latin America, classes, domestic and imperial–starting with Cuba–in Colombia as FARC-Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia and ELN-Ejército de Liberación Nacional against the poderes fácticos latifundista-military-clergy complex and the USA-Colombia military alliance.
What came out of these Zeitgeist revolts in six Asia countries?
Only one country, China, benefitted from conflict resolution; the others, under strong Western pressure, suffered postconflict treatment. The Cultural Revolution was denounced abroad and in China; yet today there are women, young and educated people all over China and West China is blossoming. There are some moves in the same direction in Cambodia.
In the other five: status quo. With foreign advisors democratic constitutions were drafted as the US enters the post-democratic stage with easily corruptible legislators accountable to banks and business, not to the people. The real focus was to restore the government’s army monopoly through the DDR formula Dissolution Disarmament Reintegration; in India and Sri Lanka through mass murder, in the Philippines on again-off-again conferences, in Nepal post-democracy with heavy corruption.Read More »