Pope Francis: the solution is the culture of peace on a world level

Monday, January 29, 2018

Pope Francis, in his traditional speech at the beginning of the year before the Members of the Diplomatic Corp accredited to the Holy See, delivered on January 8, addressed with clarity and courage the essential question of peace.

I recommend reading the full text, but I have selected some paragraphs below that I consider particularly important:

"Peace is not built by vaunting the power of the victor over the vanquished. Future acts of aggression are not deterred by the law of fear, but rather by the power of calm reason that encourages dialogue and mutual understanding as means of resolving "..." Peace is consolidated when nations can discuss matters on equal terms. This was envisaged a hundred years ago –on this very date – by then President of the United States, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, who proposed the establishment of a General League of Nations with the aim of promoting for all States indistinctly, great and small alike, mutual guarantees of independence and territorial integrity...”

The Pope emphasized the importance of "freedom, justice and peace in the world, which are based on the recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family," as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms.

He referred to the fact that "the constant pleas for peace rising from land rent for violence seem to be less and less effective in the face of war’s perverse logic. This scenario cannot be allowed to diminish our desire and our commitment for peace, because we are aware that without peace,  integral human development becomes unattainable ... convinced that peace is a necessary condition for development that, at the same time, requires "dealing with injustice and eliminating, in a non-violent way, the causes of  discordance that lead to wars".

I consider important what the Pope emphasized: "The promotion of a culture of peace for integral development requires persevering efforts in favour of disarmament and the reduction of the recourse to the use of armed force in the handling of international affairs."

He also referred to his "Message for the World Day of Peace" this year in which he suggested four "cornerstones" for action: welcome, protect, promote and integrate. He pointed out that "integration is a “two-way process, entailing reciprocal rights and duties” that should be taken into account in this Europe in which hundreds of immigrants arrives daily seeking a better future...

We are facing a moment of inflection. Ecological movements, human rights, equality, democracy and disarmament are among the most powerful social movements of our time and their convergence in the "great alliance" of mobilization for a culture of peace is essential to success. None of these movements can succeed fully on their own ... All of them need a culture of peace to achieve their full objective ... Without peace, there can be no democracy, no universal human rights, no protection for the environment, no equality for women ... This "interdependence" of its different parts is one of the most important and valuable contributions of the culture of peace.

This speech of the Pope is a document of great value and opportunity to which, however, the media have devoted very little space and interest. That is why I return to mine some words of Iñaki Gabilondo: "Do you know the most impressive of this news? It is not news." Most of the media are "the voice of their master" and still do not give the necessary importance to what is really important. They are accomplices.

Attention: 1 January 2018: New year, new life (this may be our last chance) It is of the utmost importance for citizens to stop being a passive audience. It's time for action

Friday, January 12, 2018

We’re paying too much attention to cell phones and “smart” tablets! We must start reflecting, imagining... considering what has not yet been considered... creating!

As stated by Maria Novo, a “time reappropriation” is essential if we want to fully exercise the unique capacities of human beings. Only thus shall we be able to take a new direction, to change -against all odds- current trends which are solely focused on economic growth, on having instead of being.

Since we are facing potentially irreversible processes, global transformations cannot be further delayed and they all require a steady and renewed effort. I fully agree with Amin Maalouf when he says that “unprecedented challenges require unprecedented solutions”.  The time yet to come is still to be built... and it must be invented! “We cannot solve the problems the world is facing today -said Albert Einstein- with the same pattern of thinking that initially caused them”.

As a scientist I’ve focused from the very beginning on the prevention of diseases of the newborn that may cause a permanent damage on his neuronal system (I wrote many years ago a book entitled “Tomorrow is Always too Late”); I’ve always drawn attention on and am increasingly concerned with the need to face -with a new concept of security that shall not only include territorial security but also security of people who live in these territories- big global threats (degradation of the environment, extreme poverty, nuclear weapons).

The approval by the United Nations of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the agreements on Climate Change signed in Paris in November 2015 seemed an adequate and timely step to at least keep the situation under control and avoid a greater danger. But neoliberalism -who has led us to the current conceptual, social and economic drift of humanity- has not allowed to allocate to these specific aims the minimum resources required. To make things worse, President Trump has declared that he will not meet the commitment made by his predecessor to address climate change... and the European Union, that has become a weak and strictly monetary organization, has not reacted as strongly as it should to the insult that the behaviour of Mr. Trump represents for young generations all over the world.

Trump and the “soft” leaders found everywhere are ignoring the dramatic and critical message of many thousands of scientists from 184 countries who have alerted that it will soon be too late... The financial interests of a few are still put ahead of the legitimate interests of “We, the peoples”... As recently mentioned by Iñaki Gabilondo, the media power has become so great that the following can be said: “You know what the most amazing thing about this news is? That it is no news anymore”. Most of the media have become “their master’s voice” and continue to disregard these serious warnings. They are accomplices.

And on top of that, we have just learned that the Spanish government “has confirmed to the NATO that its military expenditure will grow by 80%”. We could not have imagined a more unfathomable and malicious way to augur a year 2018 that shall be better than the previous one.

Let’s react! Today we can express ourselves. Through a public outcry at a planetary scale, we, the citizens of the world, must tell the world that we need to take action without delay... and we must let Trump know that if he doesn’t change his attitude, we will no longer purchase American products.

Let’s focus on the essential reasons that should make us transform our daily behaviour! This is the only way we can make year 2018 become the year of a “new life”.