Yes, Rosseau down there should be considered..These Orwellian quotes are very interesting. I agree with hem..But no 3 makes me shudder a bit.. because i call for revolution.. not i alone.. you cannot do otherwise here... but then i look at all of us outside of power creating our kingdoms and I think.. if we should get in, when we should get into power... how shall we not be dictators...
Reply by Carsten Trotzkowski on June 17, 2009 at 11:37pm
...well, indeed some African states might be considered examples for no. 3; it also refers to my entry question of this thread "All you freedom fighters, as you set free...".
As far as I could understand Kenyan politics of the last decades, it appears to me that revolutions or electoral turning tides mostly only did change the heads, but not the body, nor the principles. At least not to the extend that Kenya would have true democratic standards, or to become a real constitutional state.
If you look at the western comments on the current riots in Iran caused by electoral irregularities - most of them confess no hope for our united nations regardless of the outcome - only the heads would change, but not the system.
But countries like Portugal or the Ukraine, or our former "GDR", have shown PEACEFUL revolutions are possible - and only peaceful revolutions lead away from dictatorship.
Let me quote The Beatles here for comparison:
"You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out
But when you want money
for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait "
(Lennon / McCartney)
Well, indeed is has to be faster than "evolution" in your case (the lyrics must have aimed at Europe of the sixties - which does make quite a difference), but it is true it's always dangerous to fight fire with fire.
At least it is very good to learn that here we have peaceful people.
This is utterly true. Actually on the 2nd of July in the evening, I have been invited to talk about Kenya's situation and alternative non-violent methods of bringing about change. I wish to get as much info as possible and do feel free to contribute.. but this one of creativity.. music, words and etc. is already there.. usually, the problem is to show the people that it can have a real impact. I need to start a new discussion here on corruption since we have in PEN Kenya moving Michela Wrong's book on a Kenyan whistleblower.. The book is titled "It is our turn to eat". We read a whole chapter in a group yesterday after reading poems. Next time am planning to read some poems of hope. That is Wednes evenings...Once there is violence in the process, it is a sign that someone will have to dictate to some...Yes, I had not seen it in this broader light of African nations. How true it is. I am delighted to find you can quote the Beattles regardless of their time. Most of us did not get this context of theirs and change.
We discussed this revolution/change/blood/peace at a friend's house the other day and this is what I saw. We have gone too far here. Meaning, we have made some young people see violence, even their own deaths as nothing... nothing... they even say they would die and watching a video on them, i heard what I have never heard in my life. She said she would willingly sacrifice her children to get the change she wants... What does this tell you about where we are or what can happen when the top never changes...
Yes, the top does not change. The top does not inspire with its leadership... the top is insensitive. There is a vacuum of leadership. Let us talk about the countries that had peaceful revolutions...I have to find out how Portugal did it. I am on a TV panel tonight. It was filmed on Tuesday. We are discussing land. How can we have ever hoped for good change here without a land revolution. I know it may sound funny from your end? The point is many landless people, many displaced people do not get the land they are supposed to get. It goes to the rich/political class. Google Kenya- The Ndungu Land Report sometime.. and read a bit. You will find it in a group Called Marsgroup Kenya. If you just google these words you will get it. It shows how we are living on a lie by being unjust to so many people... and who does this? The top!
Reply by Carsten Trotzkowski on June 18, 2009 at 12:47pm
I guess the main problem that is dominating discussions on roadmaps to freedom and perpetual peace is recurrence causing complexity. (I can see it: Now you look surprised...)
The term „recurrence“ here is not aimed at recurrence in time, but in issues being rooted in several layered levels of intellectual domains. Every cause and action is refected in multiple facettes and layers of a vast picture, with all of them meshed and related.
To explain this: If you started to analyse history and focussed on triggers and catalysts that made changes happen, you will find in most cases: any trigger alone would not have had any impact without a context that's been catalytic.
Without the right combination of surroundings in place, time, motivators, economics, religion, organisation, infra, people, arts, coincidences – none of the important things in history would have happened that way.
If Napoleon Bonaparte had been born in another country (or even town), some years later, within another political system, been faced by different people on his way – I am sure nobody would know him at all today. You can play these mind games with almost every major or minor event in history, and you will easily find multiple fields and influences, that if varied a little bit, would have brought up completely different and unpredictable results.
While this may appear a trivial insight, it is not trivial at all to bear the conclusions from it for your own political work, because the implication is very inconvenient, because most people (esp. those that watch discussion on TV) like the simple solutions, not the complex:
In most political processes, the people look out for the heads, a single aim, in isolated topics – while it mainly is the system and the relationship of topics that are important, yet much more difficult to see and understand. That's why simply changing a head often does not bring the desired change.
In fact, this knowledge might be most important to consider if you want any change or revolution to remain peaceful. Any – let's call them „small group of heads“ - being successful in a revolution or change, is likely to use or cause more violence because the surrounding fields are not balanced. This is also obviously true for any forced change that is carried out from outside – just look at Iraq, the former Yugoslavia, ect., and you will find it is not very clever to simply knock down a settled dictatorship, without having prepared and created proprietary balance in all important fields, some of which I stated above. And afterwards it's much, much more hard to repair – like in physics: Once you pump a lot of energy into a complex system, it will start to oscillate and swing unpredictably and heavily (the surviving engineers of atomic reactor Chernobyl Block 4 can tell....)
So what's the really hard consequences from this:
First, you will have to consider all fields in society, economics, religion, foreign affairs, arts, infra etc., that have significantly impact on the whole system of a state, with the minimum knowledge of the history how the status quo had been set up.
Then, (most importantly!) you might ask which changes in those fields will be desirable to support a CLIMATE for more freedom and peace for all (having Kant's universal imperative in mind).
In the next step, the leaders and influencal people in all fields will have to be determined.
If you desire them to act into the needed direction, you will ask yourself what is motivating them for actions, and try to make arrangements that motivate them to take this action.
Now, at last that it comes clear that a masterplan like this is extremely improbable to be carried out by a – let's call them „small group of heads“ - and it's merely impossible to control a bigger group, and you don't count on mere random or luck or fate to pave your way, we must then stick back to what is feasible.
What are our own outstanding talents, and how can you use them to take influence into YOUR field of expertise? How can we stand as a good example on any level of action, while trying to contribute to what I called „climate for more freedom and peace for all“.
For the – not unimportant for those cases – field of arts, I think this is exactly what we do here, and what you are doing at PEN or in your forums. Stand up as a good example, and create climate that is good for a better change, a peaceful one.
:-) Carsten (-:
P.S.: If you analyse Mr. Obama's strategy for a change, you will easily find a similar approach how to influence as many fields as he can adress to get them into ballance, while nourishing his own personal image as a credible moral prototype. He is a true master of political climate, and this has more power than any isolated action he'd give orders to.
Perhaps we should add this quote, I think by Rousseau: 'Man is born free; however, he is everywhere in chains.' My recent involvement in the struggle for an improved health sector in Nigeria have shown me that many times, even though our chains are imposed on us by external aggressors, in some instances we give the aggressor the power to keep those chains on. From among our ranks as fighters for freedom often come the infighting that weakens our collective standpoint.
Reply by Carsten Trotzkowski on June 17, 2009 at 12:21am
Man is born free, and would remain free if all people (esp. those in power) would follow universal moral laws.
In that point, I like to follow Immanuel Kant, who declared freedom is to be a direct conclusion, once everyone takes responsibility for the things he does, and reaches freedom for himself by deciding to follow rules of (universal) moral laws and reason. All from the point of view, that you'll treat everyone the way you want to be treated yourself.
For us in central Europe, the big and substancial vision of Kant has become reality to a large extend. Half a billion of people in different nations have found a way to live in safety - without wars - for some decades already. In that way great parts of his work "Perpetual Peace" have come real e.g. in an expanding European Union, where democratic states give up great parts of national legislation in favour of common rules (of course, far from being optimal, but you'll not have to turn back time too much to see the substancial differences...). And a majority of individuals have the power to decide for themselves where they want to live, how to make a living etc. If they are held back, it's not from the State, yet from conventions, conditions and possibilities surrounding individual life.
But Africa is not Europe, and the total conventions, conditions and possibilities are different in the great scale, but shouldn't it be possible to shorten timespans in taking over "best practice" than having to invent everything from the scratch?
By the time, Europe (and America and others) will have to take lessons how to transpose Kant's vision from politics to economy - to avoid further economic breakdowns through excessiveness of financial managers, and that is better to invest into the (so called) Third World countries' econmies rather than investing money for Blue Helmets to curtail extremists wars... while many African leaders should take lessons in Kant's moral laws.
"So act as if your maxims should serve at the same time as the universal law (of all rational beings)" (Kant)
Certainly, humans are everywhere in chains..so amazing...It is true. Today after some retreating.. arresting my inner self to be there for Aung San Suu Kyi ( I explain it above) I wrote just how we have the power to create our own world. Those who give power to aggressors can be created by us in another form if we want.. we create many more of those who will not give power to the aggressors and refuse to be moved ....Yes, often comes infighting.. but we can also create a front together. I have never met Daw San Aung... We can create greater strength together. Bonding. One way is by sharing... By sharing that which can bind us. Like music; the way Carsten has. I wrote these words today while listening to some music from SAfrica.. but thru Stanford University Acapella ...
You create your own world, your country, your life:
It is so basic, you will laugh and then marvel. It is in the word and sometimes deed... But the word in this is more than the deed. I do not know why.. it is just some gust of air ...but maybe it is because the word gives the 'why' to the deed. I first heard the word before i knew deed... ( right now Carsten is singing away in my background..." I would like to fly from my island to yours...."
( I believe in all fusion and I do not really care that a Japanese person or any other might find it hard to pronounce my name although I cannot let people who can and who know it get away with another name in their own pronounciation and this happens here with police!) I believe in humanity. I believe in the power of little 'webs" that ethiopians say, "spiders webs united can tie down a lion!"
Niran. I know this frustration. And it is not local.. it is everywhere. But you can burn it up with serious focus... persistent.. without giving ground and without taking your eyes off your target... with vision. I know you have it!
Yet, there is always, there are always people who see what you are doing and who appreaciate.. I like your focus on the issues you want to improve. Keep it there and not on the ones who would not have solidarity. I know how hard it is to fight for the causes.. in spite of those who would give the aggressors the chains to chain us. And we want change in our own days.. it can happen. Although we are delighted to fight for it for generations to come of course. I felt like sharing this email and my hard working colleague in NY agreed. I think it is for all of us.. not just for me.. to realise that what we do lives on and on... and on..: I will leave the email personal but will remove full names referred to.
email is to Philo from JK, Colombia University, NY and often coming to Kenya to study and meet people in the struggle...
Hi my dear,
Thanks so much for the update and glad you are holding up. Someday
Y's ( my son) children will be telling stories of their remarkable
grandmother ( Bold is mine!!!) who had the courage to stand up and tell the world that
not only does the emperor not have clothes but that he is a thief and
a murderer too and needs to be locked up!
I am in Washington DC right now. GW is here too in a
discussion of better peace-building strategies....
I look forward to some long discussions in august.