The cry

Friday, January 12, 2024


The situation is so serious on a global scale, so complex, that it gives the impression that it is not possible to redress the current bleak situations: war conflicts that remain unresolved in the midst of extreme poverty; immigration in intolerable conditions, while we are perplexed by the very costly preparation of trips to space and other planets instead of for the better knowledge and care of the Earth. The proposals of the 1960s (UNESCO, "Man and the Biosphere"; Club of Rome, "The Limits to Growth") were, as was later the case with the two Earth Summits (1992, Rio de Janeiro, and 2002, Johannesburg), completely ignored. Economic interests have continued to prevail and it is particularly regrettable that in the conclusions of the COP meetings on the environment, general agreements are announced... but "non-binding". What a disgrace!

On some infrequent occasions, attempts have been made to substitute force for words: Wilson in 1919, creating the League of Nations; Roosevelt, in 1945, establishing the United Nations and promoting the Declaration of Human Rights; Obama, at the end of 2015, signing with vision and courage the Paris Agreements on Climate Change and the Resolution "to transform the world" of the 2030 Agenda....

But then, as has been the case for centuries, the force of arms prevailed over mediation and ceasefire. "Si vis pacem para bellum” has been the invariable response of the great powers. The time has now come, given the situation we are facing, to replace bellum with verbum, the weapons of war with words, with diplomacy.

It is essential to recall here President Eisenhower's courageous speech when, on handing over the presidency of the United States in January 1961 to John Fitzgerald Kennedy, he had the courage to state that in the United States power is not in the hands of the president, but in the hands of the "war industrial complex"!

It is therefore very important and urgent to convey to the public the need to act without delay, given the potential irreversibility of certain processes. The word "irreversible" should be one of the main reasons for reflection in this respect.

Added to all this is the intolerable risk of the possession of nuclear warheads, which were reduced at the Reykjavik meeting between Donald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in October 1986 from 17,000 each to 6,000. When this number was reached, President Reagan cited "global security reasons" for not pursuing, as was desirable, total elimination. Clearly, the war-industrial complex remained, and so we continue. Shortly afterwards, Reagan created the G6 (G7...) which still represents plutocratic and supremacist global governance.

Alongside such dangerous prospects, there remained and remains today the immense capacity of the conscious citizenry to bring about the transition to a new era through scientifically sound action.

It is imperative to act not only with a strong will, but without further delay, to stop the genocide of some and the infanticide of others, as well as terrorism. The time has come to regard remembrance as a duty and silence as an act of unacceptable irresponsibility.

As if these challenges and problems were not enough, it is now necessary to add the challenge posed by so-called "artificial" intelligence, so that instead of favouring human creativity so that the invention of a desirable future can prevail and take root, dehumanisation is taking place.

It is clear that there is now an urgent need for a citizenry that is fully aware of reality and of the possibilities of intervention on a global scale, no longer spectators of what is happening, but actors in the new destiny.

Now, at last, "We the peoples",

to make possible the urgent transition from the present governance to democratic multilateralism, without veto. Roosevelt's design of the United Nations, adopted in San Francisco in 1945, is perfect... but it was immediately disabled by the veto of the five victors of the Second World War. The European Union, which opened doors of hope for a democratic system, was also collapsed by the absurd condition of "unanimity".

The UN Charter stated in its first sentence that "We the peoples" are to spare our descendants the horror of war... It was a great challenge and a great hope. Now we have to recognise that it could not be implemented because of the veto, as I have already indicated, but also because "peoples" did not exist until a few decades ago. Most human beings were born, lived and died within a few square kilometres and could not express themselves. But in recent decades, we have recognised our equal dignity and are now able to express ourselves freely.

Today, and I insist on this because it is very important, "the peoples" now exist and can participate. Now, yes, the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is beginning to become a reality. Now, yes, "We the peoples" can demand a model of democratic governance on a global scale, with a new concept of security (human security, led by the President of the World Academy of Arts and Science, Garry Jacobs). Numerous institutions (Other News, Roberto Savio; World Peace Forum, José Félix Benz; Impulsa Talentum, Brú Recolons;...) are already joining together in a large global network to mobilise a conscious citizenry in favour of a new era with enlightened horizons.

In addition to the aforementioned governance actions, an immediate ceasefire must be put into effect in the current open conflicts, putting an immediate end to the sacrifice of the civilian population, especially children. The elimination of nuclear warheads and the promotion of nuclear fusion as an energy source is another issue that needs to be addressed resolutely. The regulation of large fortunes and of migrants and refugees is another issue that must be addressed globally without delay.

In the light of the very serious social situation that characterises the world today, the many endless wars, the climate emergency... it is essential to reach a great global pact for the proper redirection of current trends.

It is necessary to promote prevention, both of diseases and of very serious situations of social justice, and to eliminate those anachronistic aspects that still exist today, such as the application of the death penalty.

This is the 75th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights. Its implementation is essential for the implementation of the agreements that "We the peoples" must reach without delay. The first article of the Universal Declaration ends by saying that we must be united in brotherhood. Yes: only fraternity could lead, at this time, to a solution on a global scale, to a new era. A great global network of academic, scientific and artistic institutions could make itself heard. And the force of reason would finally prevail over the reason of force.

Published Other News

Pressing global problems, global responses without delay

Thursday, October 19, 2023


Now, already urgent, as the Charter of the United Nations begins, "We the peoples... have resolved to save succeeding generations...".

To this end, it is necessary to resolutely and far-sightedly rethink the actions —a duty of memory— that could redirect present trends and provide fully effective forms of governance on a global scale in the Anthropocene. It is therefore imperative to remove the veto in the United Nations (78 years without being able to implement the Charter) and in the European Union (disabled by the unanimity requirement). Andrea Rizzi published on Tuesday 10 October in El País a very interesting and timely article entitled "An explosive front in a world sinking into global disorder".

Only if democratic multilateralism allowed the European Union to take decisions without the absurd requirement of unanimity (the antithesis of democracy), could very rapid and scientifically based global action be taken on the environment, citizenship education and awareness, culture of peace and non-violence, care for the most needy, migrants and refugees, drug traffickers... which would prevent the current decline.

Europe was the hope for safeguarding democratic multilateralism, for strengthening capacities for global understanding and action. It is clear that the historic and urgent moment for action has arrived. Further delay could increase the risk of irreversible processes. It would be the resounding failure of humanity, endowed with distinctive faculties that allow it, properly used, to create, invent, solve, in the fascinating context of the universe.

In recent decades, the good news has been that discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, belief, ideology... is gradually disappearing and equal dignity and the ability to express oneself freely is being established thanks to digital technology. Despite the insurmountable limits of progressive irreversibility, there is still time. Young people must be the main protagonists of the changes that must be undertaken without delay.

The immense ressources made available today to the plutocratic and supremacist governance of the G7 must be transferred to an efficient democratic multilateralism to transform the world as a whole. The adoption of a Universal Declaration of Democracy can be the turning point towards the new era. It is the conscious citizenry that must, with solid knowledge of the cause, lead the transition from the governance of merchants to that of equal human beings in dignity.

Pope Francis himself, in his recent apostolic exhortation on the climate crisis (4 October 2023) proposes "Reconfiguring multilateralism. Action must be taken with the commitment of all".

Artificial intelligence must always be guided by natural intelligence. Progressive dehumanisation would be nonsense. Every human being able to rebel, to argue, to imagine new paths and bridges, our hope. Neuromorphic chips must be used to the extent that they can favour the expansion of knowledge, and not detract one iota from the distinctive faculties of the human species.

Any reflection undermined by ideological or sectarian impositions must be quickly countered by knowledge and wisdom. The migration crisis, the climate emergency and the digital transformation are essential points that must be addressed quickly and with knowledge for new political and ethical guidelines. An example of real solutions to the climate emergence is nuclear fusion, an inexhaustible source of energy without waste.

Now it is the voice of scientists, intellectuals, philosophers, writers..., of the generations threatened by the overflowing economic and military power that must be raised and heard. President Eisenhower himself highlighted the supreme power of the "war-industrial complex" in the United States.  Now is the time for democracy, for the force of reason, for mediation... to be established on a global scale in order to move from plutocracy and supremacism to the new era.

Now a culture —i.e. everyday behavior— of peace and the invention of new directions. It cannot be postponed: the very habitability of the Earth is in danger.

I insist, the various current armed conflicts, the climate emergency, the digital transformation, social inclusion... these are the major issues that must finally be tackled on a global scale. And there is only one way forward: to finally make it possible for "We, the peoples" to assume the responsibilities that have not been exercised for so many years. A large global coalition of universities and institutions of art and science could be the mobilising voice for a conscious citizenship.

Prevention must become the supreme objective of the new governance. We are currently proposing a very concrete and urgent example for national and international consideration: to prevent the development of pathological alterations that cause serious and irreversible neurological deterioration in newborns, so that, as a human right, the actions to be taken are placed at the level of the State.

We must all work together to ensure that citizens are not impassive spectators of what is happening, but very active participants in the actions that must be taken to address global problems that in some cases have already reached —despite the many warnings of the scientific community and the "Earth Summits", always ignored by the G7— the limits of no return: "We the peoples", united in a global Network of universities, artistic and scientific institutions, will act swiftly and wisely to address, before it is too late, the present threats to humanity as a whole. Territorial security must henceforth include human security (food, drinking water, health, education and environment) and give priority, at all levels, to the effective implementation, on its 75th anniversary, of the Declaration of Human Rights.

Let everyone reflect on the unacceptable irresponsibility we would be incurring if we do not react firmly to redirect current trends. Let us not forget: the people now have a voice.  Let us try to ensure that they do not have to resort to shouting.

Global emergency situation: urgent action is imperative

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

The global situation has reached an unprecedented and pressing level of complexity, and the current trends that need to be urgently addressed are greater in number and magnitude than in the past. With a world population of 8 billion human beings, the solutions applied so far to provide adequate food, efficient health services, quality education for all and, above all, "humane treatment" for all, have progressively shown their wear and tear and their inadequacy... The outlook is very bleak if we continue to think that "no one can fix this" and we are spectators of what is happening instead of actors fully involved in discovering and inventing solutions.

Yes: for the first time in history, the human species is progressively recognised as equal in dignity, whatever its gender, ethnicity, ideology, beliefs, sexual sensitivity, etc., and, moreover, it is able to express itself freely thanks to digital technology. Citizens, aware of global threats, particularly those that are potentially irreversible, can now act in favour of effective multilateralism on a planetary scale, can now fulfil their urgent intergenerational duties, can now ensure the preservation of the habitability of the Earth, can now exchange force for words...

For all this it is necessary to know, to remember and to act. Duty of memory... Crime of silence..., I have written it many times and I repeat it now. To invent the future and overcome inertia, it is imperative that "We, the peoples..." dare to know and know how to dare. If we remain spectators, impassive, distracted, abducted by social networks and "artificial" intelligence, we will not be able to "change course and ship" as Professor José Luis Sampedro advocated.

Now we can. We must act now, thinking of the generations to come. Otherwise, we would deserve that terrible sentence of Albert Camus, which I often quote: "I despise them because they dared so little when they could do so much".

Otto Schermer, in his recent splendid article "Protecting the flame", showed that we now, at last, have well-established guidelines and benchmarks, such as the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs to guide our daily behaviour. "We need to know what is happening, to respond creatively.... and to mobilise collectively", he writes. Know... and do! Science, conscience and the full use of the distinctive faculties of the human species...

As I have commented on other occasions, it is urgent to change confrontation for mediation and dialogue. Moving from "para bellum" to "para verbum" implies intergenerational alliances and alliances with the media to make the democratisation of multilateralism possible, starting with the United Nations System - adopting a Universal Declaration of Democracy, with the elimination of the five disqualifying vetoes since its very creation - and continuing with the European Union, incapable of deciding since it fell - or was pushed - into the trap of "unanimity".

Science and conscience for the benefit of the human species, ensuring that political decisions will in the future have the scientific basis that is essential to carry out the radical transformations demanded by the current situation on a planetary scale. As José Manuel Morán, Vice-President of the Spanish Chapter of the Club of Rome, underlined, "it is not only a question of being very clear about what should be done, but also about how".

I have already noted that one of the great challenges that must be addressed without delay is that of migration on a global scale. From 1 January this year to 9 March, 4 500 migrants have arrived on British shores alone. All human beings are equal in dignity and deserve equal treatment. It is a real disgrace, I never tire of repeating, that every day 4 billion dollars are spent on arms and military expenditure, while thousands of people die of hunger, extreme poverty and brutal uprooting... thousands of people die. The solution lies in a global pact on migration and the extension of the UN Convention on the Rights of Refugees. We must once and for all put an end to raised and armed hands and make open and outstretched ones proliferate. Now, in addition to territorial security, there is also human security, the security of the human beings who live in such well-protected territories.

It is particularly urgent to ensure that the Mare Nostrum ceases to be an unfortunate necropolis for so many immigrants, instead of agreeing - as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia have recently done - to place several nuclear submarines in the Pacific Ocean, each of which costs around 3.5 billion dollars...

It is necessary to take advantage of the extraordinary development of digital technology, but to ensure that robotisation never exceeds its limits and produces a very dangerous dehumanisation, especially when it comes to making decisions that must always make maximum use of the fantastic and hopeful faculties that distinguish the human species. It is a matter of improving the quality of life and productive capacity, with a conscious and responsible citizenship, and the fundamental pillar is, and always will be, full freedom, transforming data into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom.

Now, at last - and this is our hope - we can finally put into practice the first sentence of the United Nations Charter: "We the peoples ... have resolved to save succeeding generations from the horror of war". Until recently, "the peoples" did not exist... and male power was absolute. Now, at last, we recognise ourselves as equals and can express ourselves freely. Now we can stop being spectators of what is happening and participate now, without delay, in moving from a culture of confrontation, imposition, domination and war, to a culture of encounter, dialogue, mediation and peace, so that all conflicts, active or latent, are resolved by word and not by force.

There is an urgent need to replace plutocratic and supremacist G-group governance with democratic governance. The first step is to achieve a European Union without the blanket veto of "unanimity" and a renewed and fully multilateral United Nations. On the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we must activate great popular clamour for its validity and widespread respect while resolutely implementing the Climate Change Agreements and the 2030 Agenda. "The windows to ensure a sustainable future are closing", the United Nations has just announced... and "We, the peoples" continue to ignore the pressing appeals about the very habitability of the Earth..., we continue to postpone our essential duties concerning the future of our children and descendants... Social networks and the media keep us obedient, silent, distracted... while "the windows are closing"!

The visible irruption of the university students could initiate this process. "The silence of the intellectuals": this is the title of the excellent article by Boaventura de Sousa Santos in Other News on 28 February, which lucidly warns us about the attitude to adopt.

The duty to remember. "Let us remember in order to continue to make a better life possible", added Oscar Arias (Dec.2022)... "The lessons of our history, with the experiences they have taught us, show us that peace is achieved neither by weapons nor by war, neither by death nor by hatred, neither by forgetting nor by indifference... Peace is achieved by placing the human being at the centre of our concerns. Peace is achieved by defending life. Peace is achieved by investing in our peoples and not in our armies; by exchanging ideas and not bombs; by preserving forests and not prejudices. Peace is achieved by changing the culture of war to a culture of peace in our societies.

Now we know. Now we can. Now we must!