Reflections after Brussels
TFF PressInfo # 368
Lund, Sweden, March 29, 2016
The general post-Brussels mainstream media discourse has shown the same profile as virtually all others since September 11, 2001:
• Emphasis on who did it, the circumstances where it happened and how the crime was carried out;
• The fate of the victims, the mourning of the nearest relations and the memorial;
• Much larger coverage than more devastating attacks outside the West.
• Absence of relevant and intellectually challenging questions related to the big WHY – Why do some people hate us so intensely, willing to die for it?
• And absence of discussions about possible historicalcauses and action-reaction perspective – the only reason offered is that they are evil people/Muslims and evil acts must be met with force – Francois Hollande who never misses an opportunity to puff himself up talks about all of Europe being hit – 35 people killed out of 508 million to be precise.
• The underlying, tacit ‘narrative’ of course is that we Europeans are simply innocent victims – more important, that is, than the roughly 1 million Iraqis who died thanks to the European participation in 13 years of sanctions and an illegal war and occupation led by the US. And, as is well-known, victim psychology often legitimates disproportionate responses – to be seen.
• Finally, the complete loss of perceptive proportions in a war that has resulted so far in 350.000 dead Syrians, 4,6 million Syrian refugees and 6,6 million Syrian internally displaced and destruction of yet another Middle Eastern country and its culture – among other things thanks to arms trade to all fractions and thousands upon thousands of bombing sorties – the far majority of which orchestrated by the US/NATO/EU countries over the last 5 years.
We believe there are different perspectives that deserve our attention – based on complex analyses, a moral standpoint and an intense desire to help stop this – for all self-defeating – vicious spiral.
We invite you to browse these and share them in your circles:
Richard Falk, world renown international law expert and TFF Associate
Omar Alnatour in Huffington Post
Roberto Savio – founder of the International Press Service and connoisseur of international affairs
A decalogue to understand terrorism and its consequences
– among them the possible dissolution of the EU.
Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
The scariest thing about Brussels is our reaction to it
Gareth Porter, world renown investigative reporter and TFF Associate
Reporting (or not) the ties between US-armed Syrian rebels and Al-Qaeda’s affiliate
Juan Cole, professor, Informed Comment
Jan Oberg, TFF director on PressTV
Comments about an hour after the Brussels attacks.
And much more in the on-line magazine Transnational Affairs published by TFF…
TFF provides research and public education related to the basic UN Charter norm that “peace shall be established by peaceful means”.
We are always happy to hear from you or try to answer your questions.
This text may be reprinted as it is with due credit and links to TFF but we shall appreciate you telling us. If shortened, please send the abridged version to obtain our permission.
TFF director, dr. hc.
About the organization
TFF was established on January 1, 1986. We launched this current homepage on January 25, 2012 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Foundation in 2011.
“TFF is an independent think tank, a global network that aims to bring about peace by peaceful means. It inspires a passion for peace from the grassroots to the corridors of power.
TFF is an all-volunteer global network. It promotes conflict-mitigation and reconciliation in general, as well as in a more targeted way in a selected number of conflict regions – through meticulous on-the-ground research, active listening, education and advocacy.
The Foundation is committed to doing diagnosis and prognosis as well as proposing solutions. It does so in a clear, pro-peace manner.”
TFF works in support of two major UN Charter norms – “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” and that “peace shall be brought about by peaceful means”. The Foundation helps people learn to handle conflicts with less violence towards other human beings, other cultures and nature.
We are a networking organization with Associates all over the globe. We believe that alternatives to the main trends of our time are desirable and possible – indeed necessary for humankind to survive and live with dignity.
TFF is critical and constructive. It is and shall remain an experiment in applied peace research and global networking.
Conflict-mitigation, peace research and education to improve conflict-understanding at all levels and promote alternative security and global development ideals based on nonviolent politics, economics, sustainability and an ethics of care.
The results, which are geared at decision-makers and citizens alike, combine innovative thinking and theories with workable, practical solutions.
What we do, how we work
1. On-the-ground conflict analyses and mitigation as well as education, training and reconciliation work. The countries we focus on include Burundi, the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and other places in the Middle East as well as the European Union, Sweden, Denmark.
Our activities are conducted by organized teams which are formed by the Foundation’s Associates.
2. TFF is constantly developing its intellectual resource base. It provides learning opportunities and inspiration. These are the pillars of our field work and are made available to our website visitors, to students at courses and training sessions, and everyone else around the world. Everything we produce is free of charge.
3. Advocacy, training, education, media and other public outreach.
Our work in conflict areas and our resource base that enable us to work effectively in this third way.
In the first five years after its inception, TFF focused on academic research and the publication of comprehensive academic studies. Since 1991 the Foundation has chosen to emphasize exploratory, in-the-field, solution-oriented studies in conflict-mitigation and to let this experience inform new theory formation and educational programs in the future.
TFF intends to remain an experiment, a hybrid between research and practical on-the-ground peace and reconciliation work.
Since 2007 TFF has made extensive use of social media and emphasized public education.
Since 2011 the Foundation has moved the balance between diagnosis, prognosis and solutions further in the direction of the latter; this can be seen in a more general pro-peace orientation and the opening of the virtual community Imagine A Better World in 2012.
Philosophy & credo
• Independent of all special interest groups
• “Non”- rather than “near”-governmental
• Factual and critical yet always constructive
• Committed to nonviolence in all aspects of its operations and daily management
• Personal, small and flexible
• Meets supporters’ and grant-makers’ criteria for professional management with minimum administration and costs
• Networking and team-building but no permanent research, administrative or other staff; all work is done on a volunteer basis
• Does not accept funds derived from activities related to warfare
• Works in the field according to a code of conduct and a series of published principles.
Founded by Christina Spännar and Jan Oberg as an independent, not-for-profit public charity under Swedish law in autumn 1985.
Reports annually to the local government authority for foundations. TFF’s authorized public accountant is KPMG.
TFF works in partnership with The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in Santa Barbara, California, a non-profit organization with IRS exempt status under 501(c)(3).
Documentation, statutes and progress reports available upon request.
TFF as such is people-financed. The Foundation’s day-to-day management operates on donations from citizens around the globe who sympathize with our goals and methods. In addition, it is based on unpaid voluntary work by all Associates, the founders, volunteers, etc.
In order to implement specific projects, the Foundation seeks grants – if necessary. Grant-givers and donors over the years have included the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1991-1999), Stockholm; the Alva & Gunnar Myrdal Foundation; Greenpeace International; the Futura Foundation; the Swedish Council for Planning and Coordination of Research; the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, England; Apple-Macintosh Sweden; the Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA); Soka Gakkai International, Japan; Polden-Puckham, England, and the Folke Bernadotte Academy, Sweden.
Although its legal status is that of a “foundation”, TFF is not based on any capital endowment.
Paul McCartney is Honorary TFF Friend
We are very proud to have ex-Beatle Paul McCartney – Sir Paul – as Honorary TFF Friend since 2002.
That special story is told here.
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