A few minutes of reflection

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Too much information; too much entertainment, especially in sports; too much Twit and WhatsApp; too much smart-phone ... and so rumours are slipped to convince people of good will, but distracted too much.

A few minutes of reflection on three subjects:

       I.            Weapons, weapons, weapons. All the major problems of the Earth (conditions for a decent life -food, health, water ....-; environmental protection; education for all; peaceful resolution of conflicts ...) could be tackled with only 40% of the immeasurable economic resources that are currently applied to military expenditure and arms production (approx. 850 billion dollars a year). I never tire of repeating that over 20,000 people die every day of hunger, while the military expenditure amounts close to 3 billion.

From the very beginning, arms producers are endlessly promoting, I never get tired of repeating it, the perverse adage "If you want peace, prepare for war". And so, from immemorial time, the absolute power permanently prepares for war.

 The plutocratic groups (G6, G7, G8, G20 ...) with which the neoliberals have substituted the United Nations, incorporate the rich countries and represent, precisely, the large producers and weapons traffickers. What irresponsibility! Under the pretext of security (only less than 30% of the inhabitants of the Earth are protected), continue armed to the teeth. The "advertising campaigns" paid by big corporations disguise buying and selling weapons as "a necessary preventive and deterrent action". And the United Nations marginalized and excluded. And worst, the excluded and ignored humanity. Less than 100 people have superior wealth than half of humanity, according to OXFAM. "Security" is obsessive and very profitable. To the extent that the Republican Party and its maximum recent representative, George Bush, have envisaged to substitute the word "peace" to "human security” at UNESCO. And peace is the greatest threat to people who live from war.

Some recent examples that make you think about (quotations of “El País”):

- 04/11/2015: "France has strengthened its links with India with the sale of 36 fighter-bombers."
- 04/28/2015: "Spain wants to sell ships and military aircraft to India for the amount of 4.000 million."
-04/30/2015: "France increases its military spending to tackle terrorism. Hollande allocates 3,800 million more for defense, but remains committed to reducing the public deficit. "
-         05/01/2015: "Qatar is rearmed with 24 French Rafale fighter-bombers."

The United Nations were established, precisely, to avoid this nonsense. The refounding of a democratic, tireless and effective multilateralism is urgent.

     II.            And human rights? They are dissipating. “Business is business!”

In recent dates just in Spain, we have seen the following:

- That in order to provide trade relations with the great Chinese dragon, universal justice was abolished, which is a dramatic reduction in the world of justice.
- That in order to secure service contract the High Speed Train from Riyadh to Mecca, the respect for fundamental ethical principles and the special vulnerability of women is forgotten.
- Spain will cooperate with Egypt in the design of the "AVE of the Pyramids" regardless of the "democratic principles" that according to the Constitution of UNESCO, "must guide humanity".

No doubt that the "markets" are bad advisors.

  III.            The GDP goes up and down not by merit but by random internal external causes.

"El País" of May 2 releases: "The economy will grow by half if the euro revaluates and oil rises". So the growth announced, due to some extent to the inclusion of prostitution and the trafficking and consumption of drugs, was not due to the improvement of the actual situation in Spain but to excessive and negligent decrease of fuels and the devaluation of euro. It was not having increased the R & D i + or having established typical work patterns of the digital era ... but the governors talk about improving the Spanish macroeconomics always related to GDP, and look sideways at the latest news on the price of oil and the euro exchange in relation to US dollars.


No doubt that is essential to make us think a few minutes, not to be deceived, so that we can react, as today is already due, in person or digitally.

Evolution or revolution

Monday, May 18, 2015

Inertia, insisting to continue applying yesterday’s formulas to today's
problems, is the main enemy of progress.

The solution -so well represented in nature- is the evolution: keep what must be kept, ethical principles, essential references, and change what should be changed.

If persisting in inaction, looking away, clinging to privileges ... the revolution comes. The difference between evolution and revolution is the "r" of responsibility. Responsibility prevents, takes into account future generations, the use of force is avoided, the word is used and the creativity is brought out the best, distinctive faculty of the human being.

Every human being is able to create and invent, to take the reins of their own destiny.

For centuries, submitted, anonymous, silent, fearful. Now, at last, are able to express freely, to protest personally or digitally, and to actively participate to grant its full meaning to democracy.

It is risky, therefore, to continue pretending that absolute power decides and people meekly obey in the new scenario.

And if the protected inertia, fostered by the Republican Party of the United States, is so powerful that continues spreading the impression that no change is possible ... great efforts to go against the stream, determined positions, courage and temperance to happen the unexpected (as occurred with Mandela and Gorbachev) will be needed. The unexpected is largely our hope. Saying "no" when it is supposed only to be said "yes" and not acquiescing when all consider that no one will dare to dissent: these are the best ways of action.

President Obama has shown that the immense interests that have opposed for decades to "Medicare" could be surpassed with an undeterred attitude ... and millions of immigrants could be incorporated as full citizens...

And Pope Francisco, with a natural and luminous way, is causing a change that may be historic, situating the love to the neighbor, near or distant, at the forefront.

With some leaders of this level and the popular outcry, the historic transition from force to word will be achieved, refounding the United Nations System; and implementing, at last, the great priorities of the democratic multilateralism (food, water, health, environment, education and peace); eliminating the nuclear threat...

 Evolution or revolution. We must put the Republican Party of the United States in its place. And the markets and China as well... As the farsighted Charter of the United Nations starts, it corresponds to "the peoples to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.”

Since the origin of time, war has been prepared ("If you want peace, prepare for war"). Now it is the time, urgently, to build peace, taking into account the succeeding generations. Prepare peace with our daily behavior. And make possible the first steps of the "new beginning" that the Earth Charter proclaims.

Today, more than ever before, it is necessary to behave in such a way that with an appropriate and timely evolution, revolution is avoided.

Urgent change in the foreign policy of the European Union!

Monday, May 11, 2015

The terrible Second World War ended seventy years ago. We all know the horrifying statistics of the victims of all the allies but in particular of the Soviets: 25 million!  And had the "honor" of being the ones who entered Berlin with hundreds of thousands dead soldiers too.

However, instead of attracting Russia to Europe, the monetary Europe is pushing it towards the East. In Europe, now under Germany ‘command and due to immediate commercial interests, the future designs are forgotten.

China has been present in the seventieth anniversary celebrations of the defeat of nazism and fascism in Moscow. "Western" leaders were conspicuous by their absence.

Quickly correct this erroneous policy and foster a political, economic and fiscal union that will tackle the major problems settled beyond the short-termism of the markets.

Red lines in genetic research

Friday, May 8, 2015

Attention: there are unacceptable transgressions in scientific research and particularly in genomics, as agreed unanimously at UNESCO and the United Nations in 1997 and 1998 in the "Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights' (http://portal.unesco.org/es/ev.php-URL_ID=13177&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html) in order,  precisely, to avoid that, thanks to genetic engineering, could be carried out the dream of Hitler and Mengele to make a “designed” human being. They tried with Mendelian genetics techniques, and failed.

In 1993 with the support, since the first moment, of the Human Genome Organization (HUGO), I started at UNESCO the process of drafting the Declaration with a Commission chaired by the lawyer Nöelle Lenoir. In its eleventh article establishes: "Practices that are contrary to human dignity, such as reproductive cloning of human beings shall not be permitted. States and competent international organizations are invited to cooperate in identifying such practices and in taking, at national or international level, the necessary measures to ensure that the principles set out in this Declaration are respected ".

In the Internuniversitary Chair in Law and the Human Genome at the Universities of Deusto and the Basque Country, Professor Carlos María Romeo Casabona has continued to study and reflecting exemplary all the difficulties related to genomics research  (see " Journal of  Law and Human Genome” http://www.catedraderechoygenomahumano.es/revista_sumario.asp, an excellent international reference to this respect). Moreover, the Council of Bioethics
may, at any time, review new initiatives and contributions on a so essential issue... but is forbidden "cloning for reproductive purposes" for the reasons stated above.

It is therefore unacceptable that some Chinese scientists announce - "El País", 24 and 25 April 2015- that led out experiments of genetic modification on human embryos (see http://www.nature.com/news/chinese- scientists-genetically-modify-human-Embryos-1.17378),  which raises serious ethical problems that are causing responses, by the scientific community that should be very strong (see "Do not edit the human germ line" http://www.nature.com/news/don-t-edit-the-human-germ-line-1.17111 and "A prudent path forward for genomic engineering and germline gene modification" http://www.sciencemag.org/content/348/6230/36).

A long time ago, in the book "Gen-Ethics", edited in collaboration with Prof. Carlos Alonso Bedate, the difference that exists between what is feasible and what is acceptable both in genetics and other fields of research was very clear. This does not mean that there is forbidden knowledge but that there are prohibited practices, applications of knowledge that are incompatible with human dignity, conceptual and existential basis of being,  that the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (12.07.2000) rightly places it  in first place. 

Again, China cannot be the great dark and non-transparent country.  I hope that a reaction takes place of such extent on behalf of the international scientific community that the present trends are rapidly redressed, because, I repeat, this subject does not admit exceptions.

The United Nations should be respected. Neoliberals have substituted them by the plutocratic groups (G-7, G-8, G-9 ... G20). It is urgent now to provide the UN with moral and effective authority in order to help clarifying matters as essential as this one.