Paris Peace Forum: A First Step
70 Heads of State and Government, civil society players and international organizations came together in Paris from November 11 to 14 at the first Peace Forum.
"All of UNESCO's work, "the conscience of the United Nations", is based on the conviction that peace, in order to be sustainable, must be based on international intellectual cooperation through the promotion of education and culture, science and freedom of expression. It is only through this moral solidarity of humanity, based on mutual understanding of peoples, respect for human dignity, sharing of cultures and knowledge, and collective intelligence that we will develop a culture of peace" (UNESCO)
Main themes - multilateralism, information, governance
Among the main themes of the First Paris Peace Forum are global governance, the free flow of information and multilateralism, three mainstays for a sustainable process of dialogue based upon real facts and not diatribes, mutual trust and understanding and not suspicion and disrespect and a positive, serious attitude towards solving the collective problems of the peoples who live in the same home, Planet Earth.
Pride of place in this debate which will continue during the coming months, is the role of the media, which is supposed to present an unbiased and truthful account of events, rather than presenting half-truths and masking unfavorable developments so as to shape public opinion. A good example of this is the endemic Russophobia present in western news outlets, some of which hardly let a day pass without an insulting, derogatory or insolent remark with zero evidence and with massive badwill.
Russia and Serbia singled out
Russia was the country which lost more soldiers and civilians in both major world wars in the twentieth century and in percentage terms, Serbia was the country losing the most, a quarter of its population in WWI alone and both of these countries have been unjustly portrayed as pariahs by their former allies for whom they shed their blood to protect, bearing the brunt of the onslaught thousands of kilometers away from the comfortable offices in Paris and London. The thank-you letter for Belgrade was a murderous bombing campaign.
A good start would therefore be for the international media to present the whole picture and not part of it, firstly because by fostering belligerence and hatred, they do nothing to improve the situation and simply perpetuate misery; secondly because people these days have other forms of information (such as through Pravdareport, for instance) and are able to discern very quickly between fact and bull.
Some classic examples of bull
To give a few examples, we remember the unilateral campaign waged against Serbia and in favor of the Kosovo Albanians, while the latter chopped off civilians' heads, chopped people into pieces and sold their organs, carried out terrorist attacks against the authorities and NATO's reply was to bomb the Serbs. We remember the demonology against Iraq to justify an invasion in the event based upon barefaced lies, breaching international law, committing heinous war crimes, only for those responsible to get off Scot-free. We remember the reporting about Georgia, in which Russia was accused of firing missiles southwards when in fact the TVs showed Georgian missiles firing northwards, when Tblisi attacked South Ossetia murdering Russian peacekeeping forces and prepared an invasion of Abkhazia.
We remember the illegal mission creep inside Libya, where civilian structures were targeted with military hardware, electricity grids and water supplies were destroyed and in which children were murdered by NATO after being labeled as legitimate targets. We remember the support by the West for terrorists in Libya, terrorists on their own lists of proscribed groups, we remember the millions syphoned off from taxpayers' funds to Al-Qaeda in Syria, by the United States of America; we remember the Fascist Putsch in Ukraine which ousted the democratically elected President and saw Fascist massacres of Russian-speaking Ukrainians take place, with the West looking on or turning the other way, so it was hardly surprising that the Crimeans voted in a free and fair Referendum to return to Russia.
None of this was reported fairly in the Western media, while here, I have written thousands of pages about these events.
The military-industrial complex works against peace
So it is time for a serious reflection on world events, it is time for resources to be ploughed into development and not deployment, into education and not division, into projects which foster discussion and understanding. While the reader may be nodding in agreement, fighting against this initiative will be those from the military-industrial complex which collectively gain trillions of USD per year, each and every year, from murder and conflict.
For these, the idea of a world living in peaceful coexistence, sharing knowledge, celebrating different religions and tales and cultures and gastronomies and languages, is utterly antagonistic and behind those who make a mint out of misery are the Six Lobbies (the BARFFS - Banking, Arms, Resources of energy, Finance, Food, PharmaceuticalS) which use NATO as the cutting edge to enter new markets or destroy alternative ones.
And these powerful groups are the ones controlling Parliaments and Governments across the globe, through lobbying, influence and payments to elected representatives, paid to represent the interests of their paymasters and not the people voting for them. So much for modern-day democracy.
How to bypass the power groups
So if we really want to see a multilateral world in which peace, development and opportunities for all, for each and every one, regardless of color, race or creed are the focus, then we have to bypass these power groups which will do all they can to sabotage the initiative. The way to do this is to select representatives based upon a set of red lines which must not be crossed as regards voting tendencies and holding those elected to account based upon how they voted, and for what, then pressing the deselect button, and thus dealing with the faceless non-political players.
How to deal with the politicians
As for the others, we have seen how public campaigns resulting in massive demonstrations can work when we are dealing with the political class because what motivates them is their place in the history book. A good example is Tony Blair, who could have graced the annals of British politics as the greatest Labour Party leader in history and now he will be remembered as a war criminal who went to war based on a lie and who participated in the deployment of military hardware against civilian structures. Not a day goes by without him looking over his shoulder for fear of being the subject of a citizen's arrest for war crimes. In the USA, George Bush, just to show the difference, gets awarded a medal.
Let us hope that in 2019 the people of the world can unite using social media, starting projects and fundamentally, following them through in mutual cooperation and respect.
Photo: The Garden of Earthly Delights By Hieronymus Bosch - Galería online, Museo del Prado., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45147809
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. A Vegan, he is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights. He is Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru. He is an official translator, a coach, a consultant and a professor.