United Nations General Assembly Declares Decade of Reconciliation

Posted on 16th February 2015 in Peace, Self Determination
by h. Gibrain

Under the directorate of the United Nations Secretary General, the UN’s General Assembly has been instructed to exercise its full legal authority under international law by instituting a number of programs and reforms to the structural organization and function of the UN – as a whole and for each of its specific organs.


This action, according to a spokesperson for the office of the Secretary General, has largely come in response to a symbolic lawsuit presented to the International Criminal Court suing the General Assembly, the International Court of Justice and the Security Council on the basis that, though it is commonly perceived that those organs have no legal authority and are, essentially, a whole lesser than the sum of its parts in that the member states are responsible for the net result of the respective UN organ, the UN Charter does, in fact, grant legal authority tantamount to statehood to each of these organs and therefore those UN bodies can be tried under international law as states for failing to carry out there respective mandates.


Accordingly, while it is argued that, for example, the Security Council is only as effective as the veto of its member states and, historically, this veto has been used by the permanent members to block any initiative, legal action, or principle on the grounds that it doesn’t fit in with the narrative of their hegemonic future, it is the absolute responsibility of both the Secretary General and the General Assembly to take actions to hold the member states accountable that fail to live up the their legal obligations.


To counter a potential “legal” battle between the ICC and the ICJ the UNGA has begun to take steps to exercise the full might of its authority. However, they have expressed the intention to cast a positive light on these initiatives; rather than take legal action against states, they are taken proactive steps to support relations among states and between states and their respective civil societies. The biggest initiative release to the public thus far is the United Nations Decade of Global Reconciliation. “Well, let’s face it, the globe is a wreck and the only thing that is going to change it is a long process of global reconciliation,” states C. James Ernstrum, a spokesperson for the office of the General Assembly.


The main idea between the UNDOGR comes from the acknowledgment that the UN, itself, and international law is largely formulated by the victors of war – empires. This structure and formulation entirely leaves out indigenous perspectives. IN recognition of the fact that the western model has proven to be both destructive and increasingly violent, the UNDOGR is attempting to incorporate the reconciliation and mediation processes of indigenous cultures who survived and thrived for thousands of years in relative peace without all of the incredibly powerful destructive forces preeminent in the last century and a half.


“The indigenous peoples relationship is to the land and the narrative is one of survival as a part of the infinite web of life. The western mentality is based on possession and domination which, as we are all witnessing, has incredibly destructive power and natural processes can’t compensate for this without the help of human beings repairing the damage they’ve done to the environment – to the extinction of species, to the natural patterns in the weather cycles and perhaps most importantly, to the realization that we are in fact all tied together through water, blood and the great spirit that keeps our hearts beating as one,” spiritual leader of the Wasichu Thunder Clan notes in the UNDOGR’s publication soon to be released to the public and the member states of the UN. He continues, ““This is to be a global effort incorporating member states, civil societies and indigenous cultures and, the indigenous peoples of this planet will have the role similar to the UNGA for this initiative – not the member states, who have proven that they do not represent the will of the people nor can they unite on any particular initiatives for the benefit of the global civil society that stand counter to their respective hegemonic goals.”


“The first actions should be a symbolic giving back of stolen lands to the indigenous people,” said former UN Undersecretary General Robert Mueller. Obama would have to symbolically return the lands of the US to the indigenous – with the understanding, of course, that the Native Americans would let the descendents of immigrants and colonialists to remain since they are now, too, indigenous to this land. Netanyahu, or his successor, will give the land back to the Palestinians. Australia would give the Island Continent back to the Aborigines, and so one. The process, you can imagine, would continue until all stolen lands were given back to their original owners and, the underlying mission and intention, is to highlight the fact that we are one species living on one planet and we will, necessarily for our survival, need to live beyond the nation state: trans-nationally; acting with the intention to promote our own welfare in that our welfare is directly related to the welfare of all species and the organic systems upon which they rely and we must work to protect the children of all species.


“Beyond that there will need to be fortuitous gestures of reparations to the enslaved, dispossessed and murdered victims of empires and colonialism. This would entail reparations to the ancestors of slaves in the US and all around the world. Compensation to victims of war, refugees and internally displaced persons and so on,” adds Mueller. Again, the underlying intention is to illustrate that the “initial insult” can be traced back to some point in our common history through this series of reparations since each group will likely at some point in their history committed some injustice against another.


When we’re all done acknowledging the injustices we’ve perpetrated, apologizing, paying each other back and reconciling our pasts we will achieve a state of equality necessary for us to move towards our common destiny in cooperation and not in competition through the injustices perpetrated by states against nature and civil societies for profit and domination. Somewhere in our common history our narratives became dominated by a proclivity towards an unjust hierarchical system yet we have now reached a time where civil societies have become organized to counter the injustices of their respective states. We’re taking it to the next level through this initiative to weave together a global civil society who all share the same aspirations for peace, equality and a unity based on our common humanity and destiny.” Mueller concludes.

The United Nations: We won’t be fooled again!

Posted on 3rd January 2015 in Peace, Peace Pedagogy, Practice, Reflections, Self Determination

Perhaps the first seminal work on large scale brainwashing of a peoples was “A Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” by Paolo Freire: an essay published in or around 1970 in which he articulates the notion that when the language of a peoples, of a nation, is the language of the oppressor, the peoples themselves are sort of caught in an intractable relationship between oppressor and oppressed until they come to realize that their language is a sort of prison guard to their perpetual slavery and if they can change the way they speak, they can change the way they think and can therefor change the way the act and, ultimately change the nature of their circumstance: their oppression.


A recent example of this, it has been argued, is the Occupy Wall Street movement – which, for its potentially dubious origins, lack of organization and overall ineffectiveness did exemplify the potential power of a semi-organic movement coalescing, organizing and beginning to define itself. It was, in a sense, a parthenogenic disturbance: an unfertilized embryo destined to spontaneously abort with no potential of becoming viable. In any case, perhaps a better and more appropriate terminology to express the intent and sentiment of the occupiers would have been to call the movement “inhabit wall street” or “cohabitate wall street” indicating something more in line with what was being sought – equality and justice. This one word switcheroo is a total game changer and has profound implications, speaking volumes to the very fundaments and intentions of the collective and definitely redirecting the strategy. It includes all stakeholders as having a valid claim in a shared space and demands dialog, listening and, as Freire called it, a dialogical conscientiazation. It is, in essence, the knowledge that is gained and shared through learning about others’ capacities and interpretations of reality; it is learning empathy.


Similarly, the entire world has been duped into accepting the United Nations as a collective of states organized to contract and execute international norms regarding war and peace: international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law and others. That in and of itself is a seemingly noble cause save the fact that the United Nations is a collection of states and nations are collections of peoples of a common culture: an ethnic community (with a slightly political bent – a meaning the term has evolved to include). States haven’t been around that long historically. Before that it was empires, dynasties, monarchies and the like: colonialists at heart and in practice. The idea that states should represent the will, desire, expectation and needs of a nation is also a noble prospect yet, historically, this is not the case. To expect a United Nations of united states to carry out the will of a united nations of peoples is seemingly absurd. Perhaps this is why the United Nations is fundamentally dysfunctional. The representatives at the UN are not necessarily representing the will of the nations of peoples whom their respective governments send to deliver the message of the nation; that is, the message of the nation at the United Nations is the message of the state and even in the glorious western democracies the likelihood the will of the nation and the will of the state coincide is slim.


Let’s call it what it is or, better yet, create what it should be. A true United Nations of united nations of peoples coming together and doing what the states are unable or unwilling to do because they are inept or have dubious intentions. Those among us who have traveled to other lands and met other peoples – physically or astrally – understand that the common ground for our humanity is vast yet the establishment of the foundations for equality and peace are outside of the purview of many of the member states of the United Nations and, as a functional organism, the United Nations is incapable of carrying out its mandate because it is structurally compromised – as its name indicates.

Earth, Its Inhabitants, and Their Survival Viewed as a Multi-Stakeholder Process


The basic premise I shall expound upon in this brief reflection paper is the notion that in order for human beings to live more sustainably with the environment they will have to ask all members of the five kingdoms of life, and the natural worlds provisions upon which they are reliant for their survival, what their interests are in the gross interplay of the dynamics of self-organizing organic systems.


To consider this idea immediately poses a problem for most modern civilized westernized cultures – which I shall refer to as occupiers; the situation is quite different for many indigenous cultures whose survival is intimately intertwined with the land they inhabit – thus, I shall refer to these people as inhabitants.


Since we can’t communicate directly to organisms other than humans in a language that is familiar to us we have decided to make decisions for them without asking them what they want. In the best case, we have decided to be the stewards of nature. In the worst case we have decided to consider other living organisms and the organic systems upon which they are reliant as resources for us.


This speciesist arrogance poses a severe problem for humans regarding their survival. Since the air we breath, the water we drink, the land on which we walk, and the atmosphere that protects us are all influenced by human activity and, for so long, humans have not considered the other than human living beings and the water, earth and sky’s needs for their health – if not happiness – humans are finding that the normal structure and function of the earth’s inhabitants and environment have been influence in a way that has not only harmed other organisms and the environment, humans themselves are suffering the consequences of their own actions. Perhaps the most noteworthy examples of the consequences of humans not paying attention to the environment is global climate change and the fifth mass extinction.


It makes sense, however, for an occupier to ask, “What should we do to find out what they want if they can’t represent themselves at a MSP party when we get together to determine how we shall exploit natural resources for benefit and profit?”


The answer to this questions is quite simple: ask them.


“How do we know what the answer to our questions are,” would be a next logical question?


As you might expect, the answer is quite simple: pay attention and listen.


So, for example, if you ask the diatoms in the oceans, which supply a majority of the atmospheric oxygen that people like humans need to survive, if they enjoy and appreciate the temperature changes and toxins we give them as a result of our activities if they are happy and healthy and then listen to the signs they are giving us we might quickly conclude that our actions, which will ultimately not benefit us, do not benefit them. If we ask the tens of thousands of species of amphibians who have gone extinct because of human behaviors which have caused changes in weather patterns and acidification of the rain and earths waterways what they want we shall see and hear no response. However, I speculate we can take their silence as a sign that they are dissatisfied with our selfish behavior. If we ask the river, who provides life for vast numbers of species in vast numbers of ecological niches, if the dam that was built by humans served the river well in providing for the welfare of the interconnected webs of lives, you might speculate that it’s diminished flow was simply a stream of tears from the sadness and humiliation it feels for not being able to provide for the lives of its inhabitants and for not being able to control its own destiny.


These words and thoughts should not be taken to imply that every species that becomes extinct and every diatom that dies is the result of human activity. Likewise, it is also clear that it is impossible to consult all beings of all species all of the time to determine if it is FOK to burn this tree for warmth or to kill this opossum for food. Similarly, there is no absolute proof that global climate change is the direct result of any and all human activities – as local, and even global, fluctuations are perhaps the result of other factors. There is no certainty in these areas. This, however, does not and should not warrant arrogance and ignorance of the lives of others and, of course, the organic systems upon which they rely for their survival.


It is, in my opinion, always better to error on the side of caution. Especially in cases where so much is at stake. If we consider the notion that ‘effectiveness is the measure of truth’ and we ask ourselves how it is that in the last 45 years approximately, since the publication of “Silent Spring”, so much environmental degradation has taken place and so many non-linear changes have taken place in the environment and compare that to, for example, some indigenous cultures of the North American continent who had lived for 12,000 years, sustainably, in their environment who did strange things like asking trees, snakes, spiders, lakes, rivers, streams, and even their dreams, what it is they wanted out of this shared existence – this co-existence – they might very well say something like this, “The same things you want: to be considered, to be cared for, to be loved, to control my own destiny, to provide for my basic needs, and to be happy – as a bare minimum.


The challenges for a culture of occupiers, who consider the earth’s inhabitants and systems as resources for exploitation, to transform their behavior to an inclusive disposition in a global multi-stakeholder process are significant but not, theoretically at least, impossible. In order for a change to take place such that there is a shift in the perceptions of humans to consider the welfare of other living beings and systems as being important to those living beings and systems (let alone important for the survival of human beings) there will have to be a change in the attitudes and behaviors of people and this can be achieved through education. This shift in attitudes and behaviors has certainly begun as it is obvious that there is great attention being paid to the earth’s inhabitants and organic systems by children, educators, scientists, politicians and even business persons for they/we all realize that everyone’s survival, ultimately, is at stake.


While the shifts in perceptions, knowledge, attitudes and behaviors is obvious, the question I have is is it still possible for this shift to be reinstated as a part of a culture of inhabitants in time for the general trends of species extinction, climate change, resource wars, and so on to be slowed down and/or reversed in their course. Clearly, an extinct species will not come back to inhabit the earth, but maybe the general trends of climate change can be affected by changes in human behavior. My knowledge and understanding as a scientist is that it is already too late for the general trajectory of environmental degradation to be changed. The human population is increasing. While first world nations are struggling to limit, not necessarily reduce, the greenhouse gas emissions they produce, the second and third world nations are struggling to exploit more resources and produce more waste.


There are many other impediments to this shift in attitudes and behaviors that prevent attention and energy from going to the dire environmental circumstances on earth that threaten human survival and, of course, the survival of all living beings and the organic systems upon which they rely. I argue that these impediments are largely based in issues of identity. For example, while people are busy with their gender identity, or their national identity, or their religious identity, or their personal identity as relates to things like styles of hair, clothes, shoes, nails, eyes, lips, money, etc, attention to the environment is reduced to a minimum or is simply not there at all.


Necessity is the mother of invention, it is said, and so, as it becomes more and more necessary for people to focus on survival, perhaps the attitudes and behaviors of humans will change such that they/we begin to take into account the needs, desires, wills and expectations of all of the stakeholders in this multi-stakeholder process of the large scale dynamic of life on earth (generally best referred to as either ‘survival’ or ‘reality’).

Transcend Nationalism to Soften the Blow

Posted on 19th April 2012 in Notes, Self Determination, Theory

Recently, I conducted a survey investigating people’s thoughts on the idea of transcending nationalism. 4 out of 5 people, when threatened at gunpoint, agree that “the only way for civilization to meet its end gracefully, that is – terminating with a soft landing (instead of a harsh and abrupt ending) – is via transcending nationalism, dissolving national borders, and approaching this dire environmental situation together, as one species – instead of a collective of divided nations with individual agendas and goals regardless of the common fate we all share.” Kinda stupid isn’t it – that we know this but somehow fail, or refuse, to act according to this knowledge. This is, people, magical thinking. The problem with this particular sort of magical thinking is that we (humans) are killing the planet and its inhabitants (including ourselves).


Are we suffering from the unintended consequences of enlightenment – unraveling and revealing the mysteries of nature only to use this knowledge to destroy ourselves (you can hear the little godevil screaming a resounding yes)? Are we suffering from the intended consequences of rogue states, groups and individuals who are out to destroy, manipulate, control, abuse and exploit (you can hear the toy poodle barking a resounding “WTF”)?


I think nature is fighting back;  and nature will win. Nature will kill us all for messing with her. She will say, “you tortured and abused me and my inhabitants to a point where you can no longer survive – dummy! Now you must go and I will help you.”


Then, finally, we (they) can all have some peace. And nature, with a few earthquakes,  the destruction of the infinitely intimately intertwined interdependence of the “web of life” due to human activity,  a few volcanic eruptions, a flipping of the magnetic poles, and an asteroid collision or two,  will wipe us all out and the earth will begin her recovery process.


 *                      *                      *

I don’t think the threat we are all facing, that some of us caused and most of us perpetuate (most of us in the so called civilized world, anyway), could be more immediate and more serious. Or, I don’t think we realize the seriousness of this threat; this threat to our own existence.


Let’s try to be rational and differentiate between being an optimist, a pessimist, and a realist with respect to the current state of the global environment and the effect that humans are having on climate change.  Though nobody knows for certain what  is going to happen we really should choose to error on the side of caution and take steps that are necessary to at least, if not reverse the course of events,  soften the blow.


In a  way, we are fortunate because the same actions that will soften the blow will, if possible, reverse the course of the seemingly inevitable path we are on towards a global environmental catastrophe (greater than the one that is already happening that no one notices…that is, one that really catches peoples attention) which will render our species extinct (or radically alter the selection process for reproduction). It is also true that the same actions that will soften the blow would have prevented this global environmental catastrophe from happening at all. In other words, we have to start doing what we should have been doing all along which, to state it simplistically, is to realize that we can not sustain our own existence by continuing to fill our basic survival needs (shopping, weapons, make up, erection pills, etc) as if nature were an infinite reservoir to satisfy our needs.


This simple statement includes, by my saying so right now, all of the factors related to environmental degradation (clear cutting, damming, toxic water, air and land, etc) that are part of the process of supplying our human needs. All of them. As an example consider the manufacturing of nuclear weapons. Think about how toxic is the process of extracting uranium ore, processing it for use in nuclear power plants, then converting the spent fuel rods to weapons grade material. So much damage is done just making nuclear weapons there is really no need to even use them for the destructive purposes they are intended (they’re really just for show anyway. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) is the name of the game. It’s kind of like a battle of the bands where the bands are really shitty so the only thing to really vote on is their hair and their costumes (which is not much different from the way US Presidents are selected)).


*                     *                    *


While the relationships I will draw are only one set of an infinite set of possibilities (i.e., many of you will be ready to argue your points saying, “no uh this and well uh that and you didn’t calculate this and that’s not true and fuck you and all that”), it can be considered at least instructional to contemplate the ramifications of my conjectures – regardless of their accuracy.


It seems reasonable to suggest that if we, as a species, are going to change our actions, we need another set of principles upon which to base our practices. Or, we can continue the completely ineffective approach of leaving it to governments, their agents, and the global body politic to take care of things. That, of course, would be passing the idiot/insanity test (or failing it).


Since we can’t rely on governments to actually do anything reasonable to soften the blow of human population overshoot and the destruction of much of the the earth’s natural relationships between the living and the not so living, we must rely on the people – the subjects – of those governments. If we are going to need a new set of principles, we will need a delivery system for these principles.


Let us just say,  for the moment, that in light of how dire the situation is, the governments of the world decided they would use their educational institutions to educate, universally, people about survival on planet earth and, along with that, how to be nice to one another. Let us just say, for the moment, that all of the “leaders of the free word (enchanted prison)” had a brief moment of simultaneous enlightenment (like they all ate some Amanita one night/that is, they tripped hard together) and realized that it really wasn’t fun to be a selfish destructive asshole hated by the enchanted prisoners, that they (we)really need to deal with the situation as a species since attempts to deal with global climate change thus far have done nothing to curb the environmental devastation we are causing – and have caused.


 *              *             *


Countries can not be competing to exploit Earth’s resources while attempting to cooperate to preserve and restore the earth’s natural state (by leaving it alone). Therefore, in order to effectively deal with this as a species,  for the sake of our own survival if nothing else (if that is what it takes to get people to think and to act)  it will be  necessary for us, as individuals  and as nation states, to transcend nationalism.


Nationalism is an important part of a person’s identity – part of one’s “nurturing” [read, inculcation]. Asking someone to give up an important part of their identity for any good cause is dreaming big. However, it will be well worth the work that goes into transforming, and transcending, hopefully, the part of one’s identity/ego – actually, the collective ego of a  peoples born within certain geographical borders –  that is the root cause of the conflict restricting, and in some cases prohibiting, meaningful attempts to soften the blow.


Transcending nationalism will be difficult to at first just like giving up anything (one is addicted to), but with time it will become easier and will feel much more natural and comfortable than the current psychological/emotional/intellectual/spiritual/psychical states people are enchanted by – the magical thinking that imprisons all of earth and it’s inhabitants.  To ease us into our new way of thinking and living we could perform certain rituals, if necessary, such as carrying our passports for fun and even trading them with each other and border guards – who could be employed to remind travelers that they are entering into a global historic landmark of a peoples of a culture, a language, a history, a heritage ( just like yours), that they are in love with ( as you are with yours), that they cherish, (as you do yours),  that is filled with great beauty in music and literature and poetry and dance and food and drink and imagination and story (as is yours).


There is no need to give up our cultural, religious, or spiritual identities. In fact, these identities will become of increasing importance in defining our differences, as well as our similarities, and we will engage one another on the playground of our commonalities – finding joy and beauty in the differences of our cultural identities while we work together to stop destroying the earth – and of course, ourselves.


We will have to redefine our relationships as being from a competitive and destructive nature to relationships based on cooperation and creativity.  Part of the process will require reparations and reconciliations from the exploiter to the exploited. A process which, as it unfolds, will end up with most everyone giving everything back to everyone since somewhere in our ancestry it is likely that there were those who exploited others and their where those who were exploited by others.


Once we re-educate ourselves towards survival through preservation of the land base, we will be able to transcend nationalism and prosper in peace, collectively, as a  species.  If we could do it yesterday, we could do it much faster. Please!