Henning Zierock

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Dear Heike Haensel,

Dear members of the Gesellschaft Kultur des Friedens

Dear family,

Dear friends and colleagues of Henning Zierock,

Henning was a champion of the culture of peace and non-violence. Henning was in Tubingen the founder of the concept of a culture of peace. Henning was the voice with Mikis- of all those who firmly believe that the solution is the transition from the reason of the force to the force of the reason, the transition from bombs to words.

Henning has now become invisible but he will be always present in our lives. He will inspire action and not be a spectators but actors to put rapidly into action a quality, solidarity, love. Yes: Henning, as happens with the stars, has left us physically but his light will permanently illuminate the parts of the new era. 

Please, keep in contact.

With highest esteem,

Federico Mayor


United for the sake of peace and democratic multilateralism, to avoid a new international chaos

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Let’s take urgent action, now that we may express ourselves freely through great popular clamours, and let’s request:

- an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and the outset of a sound and open peace process,

- the urgent elimination of unanimity as a voting rule in the European Union, so that the EU may fully assume the role as interlocutor which it is supposed to play and that the NATO has now taken over,

- the implementation of Roosevelt’s excellent design of the United Nations: “We the peoples,... are determined to save future generations from the scourge of war”

- through the eradication of the veto and the replacement of the current supremacist plutocratic governance (G6,G7,G8,G20), thus avoiding a new world chaos

- based on military power, on the reason of power instead of the power of reason

- and finally to stop being impassive spectators of what is happening and become conscious and responsible citizens who fulfil their unavoidable intergenerational duties.

- in order to ensure compliance both with the Paris Agreements on Climate Change and the United Nations Resolution on the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals to “transform the world”, which were signed by President Obama and later declared null and void by his successor President Donald Trump on the same day he was nominated, without any reaction -a crime of silence- from the remaining 192 countries.

Yes: united for the sake of peace, now at last all equal in dignity, so we can look our children in the eyes and tell them that we will do whatever it takes to prevent the culture of war from imposing itself over and over again on the culture of peace and non-violence, and the interests of the "great dominion" (financial, military, energy, media, digital) from continuously prevailing over those of the citizenry.                                                    - to totally eradicate nuclear weapons and implement a new concept of security, allowing both the defence of the territory and of the people living in those well protected areas (food, drinking water, quality health services, environmental care, education for all throughout life),

- in summary, to ensure that the human species -an unbelievable superabundance of intellectual and creative capacities- can live and coexist fully on a well-preserved land.

United for the sake of peace, for the sake of word, for the sake of democracy.

Let’s always bear in mind the wise preamble of the Charter of the Earth: "We stand at a critical moment in the Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future poses greater risks and at the same time greater promises... We are one big human family and one big community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society based on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace”.

We must make sure that no one feels excluded in this choice, so that a new beginning is made possible. We need to put an end to a system that from time immemorial has been based on absolute male power. A few men, a bunch of them, have exercised command in such a way that even life itself had to be sacrificed for the sake of their own purposes, without any possible discussion.

Since they were territorially and intellectually confined in very limited territorial spaces, the inhabitants of the Earth were silent and obedient subjects. In two occasions, at the end of the two great wars of last century, attempts were made to progressively replace the unrestricted use of force with words, negotiation and diplomacy.

But every time security prevailed over peaceful coexistence. At the end of the two great “hot” wars, in 1918 and 1945, two prominent American Presidents, Wilson and Roosevelt respectively, tried to establish a world order based on mediation and multilateralism. Unfortunately, on both occasions the perverse adage “If you want peace, be prepared for war” was applied without restrictions, always driven by the big weapon manufacturers and, as it had for centuries, security prevailed over peace.

It is essential not to forget the incommensurable prejudice caused by United States Republican Party’s failure to support the League of Nations created by Wilson. This is what made possible the resurgence of Germany as a belligerent power... and what pushed Hitler to write -in 1933- in his book “Mein Kampf” that “the Aryan race was incompatible with the Jewish race”.

The seeds of Fascism gave rise to Benito Mussolini’s fascism and they found a fertile soil in Japan's Empire of the Rising Sun, with the Tanaka Plan and Emperor HiroHito..... This convergence of a few great supremacist movements led to the Second World War, an atrocious war with millions of victims, at the end of which President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established a perfectly designed organization, the United Nations. The first sentences of the Charter clearly summarise the broad outlines of global governance: “We, the peoples... are determined to save future generations from the scourge of war"... Based on the relevance they could still have today, It may be worthwhile highlighting the three pillars of what could have been a new era: i) it is the peoples who are entrusted to take the reins of destiny into their own hands; ii) peace must be built in order for humanity to escape from the “scourge of war”; iii) intergenerational solidarity is the supreme commitment of every human being.

The design of the United Nations as established in 1945 - complemented three years later with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - is unbeatable. But at that time, “We, the peoples” had nothing to do with reality: 90% of human beings were born, lived and died within a few square kilometres. They were fearful, submissive, obedient, silent... and women were highly discriminated against.

In the late 1980’s, when thanks to Nelson Mandela and Mikhail Gorbachev many detrimental trends could have been redirected, supremacism and fanaticism managed again to cast a shadow over the world as a whole. The great dominion regained its absolute power. The sects - some of them promoted by intelligence services themselves - were once again countering the efforts of genuine democracies...

It has been frequently said that the “Universal” Declaration was in fact a mere reflection of Western vision.  I must point out in this respect that it was subject to extended consultation with the main representatives of the different civilizations and cultures. When I was Director-General of UNESCO, I found in the archives of the Organization the letter written in February 1947 by Mahatma Ghandi to Julian Huxley, the first Director-General. He thanked him for sending the draft, and explained that he had discussed it with the “most intelligent person I have ever known, an illiterate woman, my mother, who has pointed out...”. Among the suggestions, it was indicated that it might be advisable to include a few duties along with the rights that were declared...

Two quotations from the preamble are particularly relevant: at the end of the first paragraph it is stated that these rights are deemed to ensure that “human beings shall enjoy... freedom from fear". This promotion of self-esteem and of the need to express dissent where it exists is endorsed in the second paragraph of the preamble when it is said that it is essential that human rights be protected by the rule of law "if man is not to be compelled to have recourse... to rebellion". Now, when finally “We, the peoples” can express ourselves freely, it is essential to bear in mind that we must.

In order to take due and timely action we must prepare ourselves with great rigour, and have a sound knowledge of the sources and roots of violent attitudes and conflictive reactions. Supremacism is the origin of many conflicts and acts of violence.  The best way to counteract supremacism is to be aware that all human beings are equal in dignity, regardless of their sex, skin colour, beliefs, ideologies, cultures...  Another important source of terrorism is extreme poverty and hunger.  Cultural diversity is a valuable asset. Xenophobia, hatred and rejection are ethically intolerable and represent a threat to peace.

Europe, in particular, must be a benchmark for the full exercise of human rights. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, from year 2000, is much more important, far more important than the risk premium. The crisis is not only economic. It is above all an ethical crisis. It is the breakdown of a system based on greed and short-sightedness. A system that has replaced ethical values with stock market values, and the United Nations with plutocratic groups. A system that dared to invade another country, causing thousands of casualties, mutilated and displaced people, based on false arguments to justify its geo-economic ambitions.  A system that has not been able to mobilize “the peoples” and force Putin to put an end to his intolerable decision to invade Ukraine, nor to respond with millions of voices from all continents.

Plutocratic groups do not have the capacity to confront the threats that are looming on a planetary scale. Such a difficult mission can only be carried out by a United Nations endowed with the adequate human, technical and financial resources, and which integrates all countries, so that it is truly "the peoples" who "build the defences of peace" and ensure a dignified life for all.

Peace for everyone. Peace on Earth. This is the deepest human longing since the dawn of time, unreachable for a power based on imposition and force.

Let’s react. Let’s stop being impassive spectators. Let’s raise our voice, Millions of voices so that, once and for all, we can free ourselves from the colossal ecological and war threats that cast today a shadow over our common destiny.


United for the sake of peace and democratic multilateralism!

Published in Other News (Spanish)

War in Ukraine: diplomacy with a veto?

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Without the least intention to decrease Putin’s responsibility, we should consider - with as much urgency and stamina as possible - which have been the causes of this war and other conflicts, of the existence of nuclear weapons, plutocratic governance, global threats that are potentially irreversible... We should ask ourselves why Europe - that was deemed to play an important qualitative role on a global scale - was not even present as a speaker, because it was absorbed by the NATO... the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation... which extends eastwards and speaks in the name of European citizenship... We have the duty to remember.

We must remember which were the reasons that gave rise to the Second World War - the Aryan, Roman and Japanese supremacism, because the League of Nations had been abandoned by the United States from the very beginning- ... We should take into account that it was the veto of the victors which made Roosevelt's excellent multilateral design of the United Nations to be considered useless...  “We the peoples... are determined to save future generations from the scourge of war"...

We have just had a new evidence of the irrelevance of the United Nations, because 196 countries are fully dependent on the will of five countries... And the same can be said of the European Union that must adopt all its decisions unanimously, a rule that leads to 27 vetoes because unanimity is the antithesis of democracy... And this is why it is the NATO who speaks in the name of Europe.

All crises may potentially become an opportunity for change. The current crisis, whose origin was the reason of force, could become an incentive for a great global movement in favour of the force of reason, of mediation, of word, of democratic multilateralism at a global scale, allowing - once the possibilities for action have been exhausted when faced to global irreversible threats - to the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Agreements on Climate Change.

Yes: now, for the first time in history, the recognition of the equal dignity of all human beings is about to be achieved, without any discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, ideology, belief, sexual sensitivity... Now, for the first time in history, human beings can express themselves freely, now thanks to digital technology and they can therefore participate, which is the basis of democracy... Now, at last, when we are finally aware of the present situation and trends - “We, the peoples” may raise our voice and fulfil our essential responsibilities towards future generations... We can no longer be abducted by the immense power of the media - "a weapon of mass distraction", according to Soledad Gallego's accurate definition and warning-. We shall never again be mere spectators, but rather actors of the great transition from a culture of imposition, domination, violence and war to a culture of encounter, dialogue, conciliation, alliance and peace.

It is a duty of memory to take resolute action. It could become a crime of silence. The time has come for a great global coalition, led by women and youth, for the sake of peace and non-violence, of conflict resolution within the context of a democratic multilateralism that shall supersede the governance of the G6, G7, G8 and G20.

A global coalition whose aim is to achieve the great transition from force to word, by reshaping the United Nations through a change in the composition of its General Assembly, so that “the peoples” are truly represented with 50% of its representatives belonging to the civil society, and the rest of its members (the other 50%) representing the States, and with the veto being replaced by well-weighted and balanced percentages... 

Yes “We, the peoples” shall at last be able to look into the eyes of our descendants and tell them that we shall not leave behind a Planet whose habitability has been deteriorated; that nuclear warheads shall be immediately disposed of; tax heavens shall disappear and the huge amounts currently devoted to territorial defence shall also be used to ensure human and food security, water, health, education, environmental protection - of the inhabitants of these well-protected territories...

To achieve these pressing transformations, it is essential to eradicate imposition and establish democracy: democracy on a personal, local, national, regional and international scale. Just as in 1948 the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the renewed United Nations could adopt a Universal Declaration of Democracy ([1]) to address and to solve the problems of the new era.

We consider Putin’s decision as the main reason, but we don’t neglect other issues that are regrettable or the need to redirect Ukraine’s conflict. We can turn them into an opportunity for change if the awareness of what has happened in the past pushes us to quickly change so that it is, at last, "We the peoples" who take the reins of our common destiny into our own hands.