Posted on June 18, 2014
by Jerry Alatalo
Dr. Jan Oberg is with the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, and appeared recently on “Worlds Apart” on RT. Another blogger had posted one of his writings and it was impressive for his advocacy of peace as an option around the world instead of militarism and war. In this interview with host Oksana Boyko, Mr. Oberg probably offers his best advice when he said “criticism is a dead-end unless solutions are offered.”
This advice is especially important for artists, activists, writers, communicators, and all others who wish to make a good difference through their efforts, as no matter how eloquently one can describe perceived problems, those problems will never be solved without offering solutions. As one who follows 50 fellow bloggers and tries to read every post from them, there seems to be an imbalance between the number of articles which do a good job of describing human problems and concerns on a variety of issues and the number of articles which articulate better options.
One current issue which is the focus of worldwide reporting is the Iraqi government’s dealing with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and in all the articles, talk-shows, interviews, etc. of ISIS one can see where Mr. Oberg’s thoughts on “criticism is a dead-end without solutions” applies. For example, U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner was on C-Span today and criticized Barack Obama for “taking a nap” on Iraq. Then, when a reporter asked Mr. Boehner for specifics on what he thought Barack Obama ought to be doing, he replied “I can’t get into specifics now” then stepped away from the microphone and left the room.
The example of Mr. Boehner epitomizes the sentiments of Jan Oberg when he talks about criticism without solutions, as the Speaker didn’t offer any solution(s), but only criticized. Mr. Boehner could have said something like, “Iraq’s violence is directly related to control of oil resources in Iraq, so the first step is finding out who is supplying the financing of ISIS, then trying to stop those parties from enabling these terrorists to obtain weapons.” But, he didn’t offer this, or any other, solution(s) for the Iraqi people.
Jan Oberg is from Sweden, whose government is considering joining NATO, along with Finland. Both nations have been non-aligned or neutral for many years but, because of what Oberg calls the “military-industrial-media-academic complex”, are now considering joining the NATO military alliance even though most of Sweden’s and Finland’s people are against it.
He points out that wherever war has become used as a “solution” there has resulted chaos. He believes war is an outdated activity of humanity that no longer belongs to civilization, and should go the way of cannibalism and slavery. He may or may not have coined the term “fearology”, which has been a tool used by the “military-industrial-media-academic complex” to get people to accept anything. He believes that the media has done people a great disservice by reporting heavily on war but not on conflict resolution to anywhere near the same extent.
He points out that there has been a “normalization” of violence in cultures and societies, resulting in acceptance of militarism through war images, stories, films, etc. The media has become an institution to promote conflicts, a deep culture designed to divide and portray in confrontational binary a “good guys”/”bad guys” scenario when it comes to world events, and so far unable to provide the views expressed by the 98% of the world’s people who want peace.
Mr. Oberg senses that the American empire is going down because of an overextension of its military power, feels it was a good sign that America was not able to start war on Syria last September, sees western policy on Ukraine falling apart, and shares his thought that sanctions do not serve any good purpose.
He stresses that peace is something that can very possibly become learned and hopes that the teaching of conflict resolution in high school and university levels will counteract the actions of what he sees as psychologically/mentally ill people who want war and killing.
This is one television interview that is excellent for its successful conveyance of rarely discussed peace options for the world’s current tense, possibly war-struck situations.
Dr. Jan Oberg’s voice represents the almost unanimous fraction of the Earth’s people – 98-99% – that wants peace. His is a refreshing and timely message that one would hope becomes more present on all media platforms as time passes and political and social situations develop. He is a skilled speaker with an ability to articulate complex ideas, yet his peace message of optional solutions is really very simple. Peaceful dialogue and sharing ideas as a method of resolving conflicts is better than war and killing.
(Thanks to WorldsApaRT @ YouTube)