Speech to 25,000 from the German Peace Movement, Köln, 14/09/02

Johan Galtung, Director TRANSCEND: A Peace and Development Network

We, the peoples, are hostages to three fundamentalisms.

One is Muslim: the Wahhabite Sunnis, from Saudi Arabia, responsible for the criminalSeptember 11 attack a year ago.

One is Christian: the Puritan Protestants, from England who set the tone for what became the United States. Both think they are Chosen People, by their God. Both think they inhabit a sacred, Promised Land. Both think "he who is not with me is against me". Both take the lives of others easily, like in capital punishment. In fact, they are so similar that George bin Laden and Osama Bush could exchange speeches. One killed thousands on September 11; the second followed up with more thousands on October 7 2001. But the United States of America is ridden by yet another fundamentalism, market fundamentalism. There is a Chosen People, the CEOs, chief executive officers, of their corporations. There is a sacred land, the Market, and they struggle for their share. Anyone who does not believe in the "unfettered" Market but has other economic ideas and ideals is to be handled as a traitor. And they take the lives of others easily, like the 100,000 dying every day mainly because the Market cannot satisfy their basic needs for food and health, a quarter of them from hunger alone.

The world has many problems, but one is bigger than the others. That problem has a name. The name is the United States; geo-fascist, some democracy on the inside, fascist on the outside.

They think they are above the law, so directly under God that there is no space for the UN, international law and human rights. Like Israel, today also ridden by fundamentalists,they defy systematically the will expressed in United Nations resolutions. They defy generations of work for world rule of law.

Iraq suffers from the same syndrome, seeing itself as chosen by History and the Arab nation, for suffering and redemption. And Iraq itself broke international law August 1990.

So we are against any Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and in favor of UN inspection and control. But that applies in the Middle East not only to Iraq, but also to Israel.

And we are in favor of regime change in Iraq if the people of Iraq should wish so in free and fair elections, supervised by appropriate election monitoring. But that applies also to the USA, badly in need of international monitoring to guarantee free and fair elections to elect, not select, a president.

There is a formula for peace: equality, equity, symmetry. Equality for the law is one expression of this. Any country, any people that think they are above the law is a threat to peace. In their own interest step down before others force you to do so.

We are against war in Iraq mainly to satisfy the unsatiable greed of the present US regime for oil and pipe-lines, like in Kosovo, like in Afghanistan. We hail Gerhard Schröder, the only Western statesman to stand up and say what most of them think: not with us. And like him I say this because I love the USA as much as I hate its foreign policy: as a friend, whose duty it is to warn when his friend errs. Today we are all Germans.

A Conference for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East with Israel-Palestine, Iraq and Kurdistan on the agenda is the way There is a clear model: the Helsinki Conference 1973-75. And an actor: the gigantic East-West peace movement, the civil society. The European Union now has an historical chance to play a similar role for peace, taking the initiative to a Middle East conference.

Moderates all over the world, unite - in a gigantic North-South peace movement! You have only your fundamentalists to lose.


Put on the internet by M.Reichl 13.01.03