||The culture of war||Page 12|
The analysis of the culture of war was carried out at UNESCO where I became the director of the International Year for the Culture of Peace, declared by the UN General Assembly for the Year 2000.
It rests upon an earlier initiative called the Seville Statement on Violence in which leading scientists from around the world considered the question whether war is inevitable because of human biology and evolution and came to the conclusion, reached earlier by the great cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, that war is a cultural invention and "the same species that invented war is capable of inventing peace." In writing the brochure for UNESCO, after it had officially adopted the Seville Statement as UN policy, I subtitled it, "Preparing the Ground for the Constructing of Peace."
For the International Year, I was in charge of preparing a Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace at the request of the United Nations General Assembly. And as part of this task, my team and I needed to prepare an analysis, not only of the culture of peace, but also of the culture of war that it was intended to replace. Here is what we came up with as the essential characteristics of the culture of war:
1. Enemy images
2. Economic growth based on military supremacy and structural violence
3. Governance based on authoritarian structures of power
4. Inequality between men and women
5. Secrecy and manipulation of information
6. Soldiers and weapons
7. Elevation of the rights of the group above the rights of others.
8. Education which teaches that power is based on force and fear.
We included this analysis in the original document (A/53/370) that we sent from UNESCO to the United Nations in 1999, showing, point by point, how the characteristics of the culture of peace and non-violence can replace those of the culture of war and violence:
1. There has never been a war without an 'enemy', and to abolish war, we must transcend and supersede enemy images with understanding, tolerance and solidarity among all peoples and cultures.
2. sustainable human development for all ... This represents a major change in the concept of economic growth which, in the past, could be considered as benefiting from military supremacy and structural violence and achieved at the expense of the vanquished and the weak.
3. democratic participation and governance ... the only way to replace the authoritarian structures of power which were created by and which have, in the past, sustained the culture of war and violence.
4. equality between women and men ... can replace the historical inequality between men and women that has always characterized the culture of war and violence.
5. participatory communication and the free flow and sharing of information and knowledge ... is needed to replace the secrecy and manipulation of information which characterize the culture of war.
6. International peace and security, including disarmament. [We felt it unnecessary to point out the obvious fact that the culture of war includes soldiers and weapons.]
7. The elaboration and international acceptance of universal human rights, especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has been one of the most important steps towards the transition from a culture of war and violence to a culture of peace and non-violence. It calls for a transformation of values, attitudes and behaviours from whose which would benefit exclusively the clan, the tribe or the nation towards those which benefit the entire human family. [Although the culture of war and violence is not specifically mentioned here, it is inferred that it considers the rights of its own clan, tribe or nation to be above the rights of other clans, tribes or nations.]
8. Education is the principle means of promoting a culture of peace ... The very concept of power needs to be transformed - from the logic of force and fear to the force of reason and love. [Although education for the culture of war and violence is not specifically mentioned here, it is inferred that it is based on force and fear, i.e. the basic qualities of terrorism.]
Although the Declaration and Programme of Action were approved by the UN General Assembly as Resolution A/53/243 on September 13, 1999, it did not include the analysis of the culture of war and violence. This is because the European Union threatened to block its passage, claiming that "there is no culture of war and violence in the world."
Once again, we encountered the taboos imposed on our thinking by state power. Not only is it taboo to speak about nuclear terrorism, but it is also taboo to speak about the culture of war and violence.