The PEACE issue

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Utblick Staff Editor-in-Chief and responsible publisher Johanna Bergström Deputy Editor-in-Chief Adriana Abril Ortiz Editors Bea Almhagen Fanni Björklund Sahithi Kanapala Justyna Piaskowska Featured Writers Adriana Abril Turkan Ghafori Adrian Kokk Johannes Malmgren Guery Marañón Viktor Warg Laurin Zils Illustrators Niklas Berg @niklaskonst Selma Sasivarevic @selmasasivarevic Sree Lekha @sldoodles

This material is entirely or partly financed by SIDA, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, through ForumCiv. SIDA/ForumCiv do not necessarily share the opinions found in the magazine. The responsibility for the content rests fully on the writer. For questions regarding our writing, please e-mail the Editor-in-Chief at

Cover image by Niklas Berg All vectors used are from This is the first issue of Utblick 2022, and the second of the academic year of 21/22

Editor’s letter

by Johanna Bergström - p 4

Peaceful Dreams

by Viktor Warg- p 6-9

European strategic autonomy by Adrian Kokk p 10- 13

World Wide War

by Laurin Zils p- 14-17

Environmental peacebuilding in Colombia by Adriana Abril Ortiz p 18-21

South American historical wars by Guery Marañón p 22-25

On war journalism and its critics by Johannes Malmgren p 26-29

Refugees and the refugees by Turkan Ghafori p 30-31

Editor's letter In this issue, seven writers have put their own spin on the peace theme. Viktor Warg has done a haunting dissection of escapism and inner peace, drawing on the works of Slavoj Zizek. We have Adriana Abril Ortiz, who have written on the environmental aspects of armed conflict, using the example of Colombia. Guery Marañón stays in the same part of the world and analyzes how historical conflicts have become embedded in national identities, highlighting how it can both shield and antagonize armed conflict. We have Laurin Zils, who have written on the new arenas that wars are fought on, namely the internet. Adrian Kokk has analyzed the ever-present EU aim to reach “strategic autonomy” and free itself of dependency of other countries, and Johannes Malmgren has written on the critics of war journalism. Last but not least, Turkan Ghafori has drawn on her own experiences as a refugee to highlight the cognitive dissonance in the public rhetoric regarding the current refugee influx compared to in 2015. This is my last print edition as Editor-in-Chief for Utblick, though online publishing will continue a few more weeks. For the past academic year, it has been a joy and a privilege to work with all the talented writers and editors who make Utblick. For the fall semester, someone else will take over the reins and bring their own flair to the magazine. Maybe it is you?

Signing off, Johanna Bergström Editor-in-chief and responsible publisher, academic year of 2021-2022


Image by sdf Rabhar on Unsplash


By Viktor Warg We usually do not speak about peace or peacefulness as the mere absence of war and violence, we think of it as something more than an absence. It would not suffice to attach people to some cords in incubators, through which they would be fed the necessities to survive and then speak about a peaceful life of the blobs. Acknowledging their biological needs, observing, securing, administering and maybe even extending their lives would not be enough. We usually describe such a pure biopolitical approach, in which the mere integrity of the living creature is all that matters, as a dystopia. We want something extra from peace, something reflecting our pleasures and positive convictions, not a mere absence. Don’t we? According to Robert Pfaller’s and Slavoj Zizek’s theory of interpassivity, we might not! Religious imagery should not be thought of as a means of actively confronting our problems and fulfilling our dreams, but on the contrary as a solution for escaping what it would mean to confront them in reality; interacting with a medialized representation of a conviction to become passive in relation to the very dream. One of the prime examples, grounding interpassivity comes from Zizek who found the mo-


dern day example of the old Greek choir (The chorus in Classical Greek drama was a group of actors who described and commented upon the main action of a play with song, dance, and recitation) in the so-called canned laughter. Canned laughter refers to the recorded laughs incorporated in tv-shows such as the American show Seinfeld or the Swedish Svensson, Svensson, that laughs in your place. Zizek made the uncanny observation that people were actually laughing less when the symbolic laugh is added, representing or delegating their enjoyment through the means of a representation. Enjoy! - An imperative and a burden it seems. Another example are Buddhist monks writing their prayers on notes, attaching the notes to a praying wheel to spin them around, letting the wheel pray for them in their place, while they themselves can engage in whatever “dirty and obscene fantasies” they prefer; as Zizek’s psychoanalytical jargon would have it. A third behavior that Pfaller often refers to consists in people setting up video cameras in front of their TV’s, recording a “beloved” show while they can escape their enjoyment through a symbolic representation of them watching (the camera), and do something else. According to Pfaller this problematic relation to one’s so-called pleasures speaks of a thievish joy in the way interpassive people represent

Illustration by Selma Sasivarevic 7

them and then sneak away. The joy would not have been if they had merely escaped the shows by simply not attending or thrown off their monk robes. The joy rather consists in doing something for and against it, being absent but represented, represented in the eyes of somebody else judging the behavior, extending the experience of not having to confront the cause of the unfulfilling activity. Akin to the popular movie trope in which a child, no longer fulfilled by its childhood, puts a pillow underneath the blanket to escape into the adventurous night; tricking the gods of the house with a formal representation. This results in an (often frantic) ritualistic activity of producing soothing obstacles for not having to confront one’s lost convictions; in the last example found in the act of staging one’s presence with a pillow to escape the confrontation with one’s parents. Alenka Zumpacic explains this peculiarity of our last man in the post ideological “free” society: “religion is not so much the opium of the people, a tranquilizer that constitutes an escape from (harsh) reality, as an “excitation-raiser” which binds us to this reality by activating some mortifying passion”. To continue the above analogy - the discomfort of having to confront our feeling of being stuck inside the open ended house that is our free society, takes the form of us soothing ourselves “by crises and states of emergency in which a subject feels alive. But this “alive” is nothing other than “undeadness”, the petrifying grip of surplus excitation and agitation”.


Zizek similarly notes this with regards to shopping: “you buy “this” but then you are shocked and realize “this” is not it. You didn’t really want “this” so you buy another object. But it do-

esn’t work. Today’s consumerist shopping is an obsessive activity - obsessive in the sense of perverted, and perverted in the sense of: when you buy a new object, you already know in advance that it’s not really what you need. The pleasure is in the process. You say, “Fine, in half a year I will buy a new one that’s even better.” You enjoy the process itself.” The child running away from home does not take on the consequences of what a real confrontation would mean in terms of an adult free life, but rather prolongs not having to be substantially free, leaving it with a mortifying obsessiveness of acting as if it is free; ironically reproducing the authority of the one’s judging the performance - the free adult. From this perspective, shopping is a childish but rather ascetic activity,

limiting oneself by temporal excitation-raisers.

ryday statements with regards to our current situation? Ukrainian flags on our profile pictures, a voiceover in a SVT documentary on Ukraine This leaves us with a new, not so soothing saying “the thing we did not believe could happicture of the relation between people’s wants, pen, nevertheless happened” or people’s obactions and sessive dreams. Ob- ”Religion is not so much the opium of the mantras sessive acof “one people, a tranquilizer that constitutes an tivity with would escape from (harsh) reality, as an regards to h a v e representing thought “excitation-raiser” some sort of that we, authentic belief seems to hide an inability of living in the 21st century, had reached an end actually appreciating it, and instead, exacerba- to this kind of barbaric violence”. From an tes it by engaging in the process that interpassive perspective the representation of lets you escape the lost cause. loyalty, politically correct opinions or grief in How are we then to judge a virtual media, function much as the praying evewheel for the monk. Preoccupying oneself with a virtual representation that makes one practice what the monk does, that is, not being overly sensitive to one’s surroundings. And with regards to the statement, should we maybe read them literally? The things we did not believe could happen, happened not despite our disbelief, but because we did not believe in it. And the 21st century is not the backdrop that animates barbaric violence, but a backdrop responsible for a disbelief in war, which leaves our kind of peace with a negative vision, the mere absence of barbaric violence; nothing less than the undead living of blobs. This, the integrity of life itself, devoid of any future plans, seems to be the peace we

Vector by pch.vector on freepik

really want. ♦


European strategic autonomy

a balancing act for peace By Adrian Kokk Strategic autonomy is a complicated issue to handle, especially for a diverse supranational union like the EU. Over the course of several decades, the meaning of the term has changed from primarily concerning military might to now including a plethora of aspects. In these turbulent times, it is important to respect the complexity of this issue and to not succumb to protectionist solutions. In a time of intricate foreign policy challenges, the realisation of true strategic

autonomy will likely become one of the most defining objectives of the von der Leyen Commission. Despite having some controversial implications, the essence of this idea is far from alien to most EU politicians. For decades, proponents of strategic autonomy argued that the EU needed to rid itself of its dependence on the United States in matters relating to security and defence, in order to have free reins over its foreign policy agenda. Since then, the discussion has become increasingly versatile, as strategic autonomy is no longer limited to issues pertaining to security and

little plant/unsplash

defence, but also entails numerous economic aspects, such as technological advancement. But with the commencement of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the events leading up to said attack, the focus of the discourse has once again been Europe’s military capabilities. This does of course raise questions regarding the future of EU competences, as well as more holistic queries about how autonomy can be achieved and what it means for the geopolitical stability of Europe and, ultimately, the world.

Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) now serves as the EU’s course of action for military and security cooperation among the member states. The CSDP has, for example, conducted missions in several African countries, and its staff is currently deployed in three different continents. Moreover, through the European Defence Fund (EDF), the European Commission provides monetary support to a wide array of initiatives in defence research and development. With a budget of close Strategic autonomy is no longer to €8 billion for With a longevity limited to issues pertaining to se- the current fiscal similar to that curity and defence, but also entails period, the EDF of the debate on numerous economic aspects, such funds a variety strategic autonoof projects, many as technological advancement. my, defence and of which focus military cooperon issues outside ation within the EU has for many years been the field of traditional warfare, e.g. cyber a controversial topic. In spite of this, there security, digital transformation and energy have been quite a few significant and impactresilience. ful achievements in this respect. By virtue of the Lisbon Treaty and previous agreements, the Common

Had these efforts been cumulatively sufficient in today’s geopolitical landscape, there wouldn’t be such an urgent need to discuss and debate this issue. But because of the atrocities taking place only miles away from the external border of the EU, a more comprehensive approach to security and defence is undoubtedly needed. As previously mentioned, the retraction to yet again discussing autonomy as a function of military capacity is of course a reasonable reaction to the situation in Ukraine. It is however important to remember that brute military force is not the only relevant parameter. The concept of strategic autonomy is evidently much more complex. Furthermore, as Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has pointed out, the striving for strategic autonomy must not become a zealous attempt to achieve total independence at all costs. Rutte argues that French President Emmanuel Macron’s approach to

this issue, with a heavy emphasis on self-reliance in

Image by MSC/MuellerMueller,Crea Attribution 3.0 Germany


ative Commons

military and other matters, sends both autarkic and protectionist signals, and the prime minister also stresses that it is essential not to cut ties with important allies such as NATO. This also shows that the pursuit for autonomy is not free from conflicting interests. But what does this really mean in terms of geopolitical stability and peace? On the one hand, it is of great importance to remember why autonomy has been sought after for such a long period of time. Without the ability to act independently vis-à-vis other great powers, the EU would be rendered an obsolete actor in foreign affairs. Aforementioned initiatives, i.e. the CSDP and the EF, are therefore indispensable. On the other hand, a more versatile perception of strategic autonomy needs to be disseminated. The focus cannot solely be on military matters, nor can any protectionist tendencies be tolerated in the name of independence. Strategic autonomy is simply not about being independent for the sake of independence. The ambition must instead be to attain peace and security within the EU and in its neighbouring regions. There is a need for an edifying perception of this issue. Strategic autonomy must be achieved through a comprehensive variety of reforms, and the focus cannot be limited to military affairs. Defence initiatives have to be interspersed with vastly different efforts that will allow the EU to

such as climate change. The EU will only be as strong as its weakest link, and strategic autonomy is therefore something that comes with internal geopolitical implications as well. It essentially comes down to the EU being able to proficiently exercise its competences in a geopolitical landscape that some may argue is becoming increasingly unpredictable. On a more symbolic note, the striving for an autonomous EU is something that can potentially unify the member states and help overcome petty differences, which will send a clear message to the rest of the world. In these turbulent times, such actions do indeed speak volumes. ♦

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independently tackle other imminent challenges,


By Laurin Zils



ark Zuckerberg wasn’t the first to cover his laptop’s webcam with a piece of tape. However, when a photo of the co-founder and CEO of Facebook putting tape on his laptop camera and microphone surfaced in 2016, it went viral and convinced many people to follow this practice. Today, many of the visitors of cafés and libraries working on their computers can be seen covering the lens of the camera that is usually integrated into the laptop frame. Video meetings, not least accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, have become a common element of collaboration in many organizations globally. To participate, a camera is required. While stationary computers connected to a USB-webcam offer an easier way to prevent unauthorized access to the camera, almost every laptop includes an integrated webcam that cannot be unplugged. If the CEO of one of the most meaningful big-data tech companies fears being observed despite thorough organizational security measures, why should the ordinary citizen feel safe? Better safe than sorry In 2016, The Guardian published an article analyzing Zuckerberg’s decision to limit the functionality of his computer’s camera to occasions in which he explicitly wants to use it. The Guardian’s report states that the risk of unauthorized access to one’s webcam should be taken seriously; however, it depends on the user’s device. Mac computers, for example, have a warning light next to the webcam, which is integrated into the hardware and therefore extremely hard to bypass when accessing the camera remotely. However, as long as there is some risk of unauthorized remote access to your webcam, does it hurt to put a piece of paper over it?

Image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The everyday visible example of the covered webcam is an appropriate indicator of the public’s awareness of cyber risks. With many households possessing at least one laptop, there are almost no more inaccessible dark corners - even in their own apartment. What once had to be secretly installed by secret service agencies is now more or less voluntarily provided by the users themselves when they place a laptop with a camera inside the apartment - at least theoretically.


Not only our problem tions such as the United Nations and the militaYes, there are arguably worse cyber risks than ry alliance NATO have recognized, addressed, having strangers spy on you looking stressed and reacted to this issue with declarations and while you are trying to reach a project deadline. the installment of cyber defense units. Identity theft and credit card theft belong to the more severe matters of cybersecurity. However, Virtual battle these cyberattacks targeting single ordinary ciCyberwar refers to a combination of digital war tizens on the individual level are usually carried tactics that are not as easily visible as actual out by smaller criminal gangs seeking to profit armed fights on a battlefield. Generally, one financially. On the organizational level, compa- decisive element of war is trying to cripple nies are typically targeted because of financial and paralyze the opponent. Through thorough motives. These attacks usually try to gain acdigitization measures, many state services and cess to company networks and encrypt crucial infrastructure today rely on the internet - or are files or systems. The hackers then blackmail at least connected to it. Targeted attacks against the company this infrastructure and ask for Cyberwar refers to a combination of digital can cause significant ransom money disruptions to daily war tactics that are not as easily visible as to decrypt the life. For example, actual armed fights on a battlefield. files. an externally caused disruption of energy These attacks must be differentiated from syste- supply, hospitals, or traffic control infrastructumic attacks whose motives are not financial. In re can pose severe threats to a country. recent years, newspapers have often published reports containing terms such as ”hybrid warAdding to that, many states have started to offer fare” or ”cyberwar.” Cyberwar can be undertheir government services online. Estonia is stood as an element of so-called hybrid warfare. one shining example of E-Government serviThe definition of the term hybrid warfare is ces. E-Government services refer to delivering contested and disputed by different scholars. government services online through informaHowever, broadly speaking, it combines aspects tion and communications technology. These of conventional and unconventional instruservices arguably make the citizens’ life easier ments of war. Often, the term refers to hostile by saving time and reducing bureaucracy on actions that are ”below the threshold of war or the side of the state. However, when relying direct overt violence.” The aggressors consider on vast digitized state services, the apparent acts of hybrid warfare less risky as they do not downside is a higher risk of paralyzation if the require physical invasions or breaches of the infrastructure is breached. Not only a shutnational territory in the narrow sense. Thus, it down is a threat. The leakage of private sensiis also harder to detect when and if war acts are tive financial or medical information, but also carried out and secondly who is behind them. sensitive, confidential, or classified With unconventional acts of state information regarding war, such as in cyberspace, the military or secret servithe attack’s origins are more ces that are stored within challenging to identify. The these databases could have increase of hybrid warfare severe consequences. tactics, especially in cyberspace, has increased international awareness of these Estonia has already expethreats. International organizarienced a significant

16 Image by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

cyberattack on its technological infrastructure. The attack crippled the Estonian infrastructure momentarily. In 2007, the Estonian government decided to move a Soviet statue from the city center of Tallinn to the Military Cemetery, which was perceived as an insult by ethnic Russians living in Estonia. The decision to move the statue was answered with riots and so-called distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. DDoS attacks refer to a method of sending many requests in a brief time period to specific servers. These servers are overloaded with requests which cause them to freeze. These DDoS attacks were directed at the whole landscape of the Estonian technological infrastructure, including government agencies, political parties, and banks. The services could not be accessed temporarily. While Estonian officials accused Russian hacker groups of carrying out the attacks, an official investigation could not find any proof for these allegations, as noted by Stephen Herzog in the Journal of Strategic Security.

of cyberspace” that is built on ”a wholesome state of tranquility, the absence of disorder or disturbance and violence.” Considering that the current geopolitical situation is rather tense, nearing a state of cyber peace according to the definition provided by the ITU seems hardly imaginable in the near future. The cybersecurity scholar Scott Shackelford suggests a more realistic and pragmatic approach to understanding cyber peace. According to Shackelford, cyber peace should not refer to the complete absence of attacks but rather to a ”network of multilevel regimes working together to promote global, just, and sustainable cybersecurity.” He suggests understanding the clarification of internationally recognized norms for companies and countries as an essential element to reduce the earlier introduced risks of cyber-conflict, cyber-crime, and cyber-espionage to ”levels comparable to other business and national security risks.” However, the world’s countries do not agree on how to get there. The suggested approaches could be summarized by the conflict As a consequence of the attacks, Estonia has between implementing stronger unified cyber opened a ”data embassy” in Luxembourg. regulations vs. keeping the internet a free and Vivienne Walt dedicated an article in Fortune somewhat unregulated space. magazine to the digitized Estonian state, to The first step towards cyber peace is cyber dewhich she referred to as “Tomorrowland”. fense. Acknowledging cyber attacks nationalWhile it is not an emly and internationally as ”We have a faith-based approach to a security threat and thus bassy in the narrow sense of international cybersecurity; we pray every night prioritizing cyber defense that nothing bad will happen.” law, the choice of the as a crucial part of the term is smart. It condefense strategy is the veys a sense of secuprerequisite for further rity and territorial sovereignty over sensitive developments. data. The servers store an entire backup of the Estonian technological infrastructure. In the James Lewis, a former US diplomat and curcase of frozen main servers caused by DDoS rent senior vice president and director of the attacks, the infrastructure could also run on think tank CSIS, was once quoted as follows: the Luxembourg located backup servers, en”We have a faith-based approach to cybersesuring continuous service availability. curity; we pray every night that nothing bad will happen.” In pursuit of peace Managing cyberspace is not an easy task. Cyber peace, literally speaking, is the oppoNational initiatives might not be sufficient to site of the state of cyberwar. Moving towards tackle the war on the worldwide web. While a universally accepted definition of this every contribution can help increase awarelatively new concept has been challenging. reness of the issue, be it a prayer or some However, more and more resources and even good thoughts, the global community has to institutions and think tanks are being dedicome together and take on the challenge of cated to the field of cyber peace. The Interachieving cyber peace. ♦ national Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialized agency of the United Nations, has defined cyber peace as ”a universal order


The territory as a victim of the armed conflict Environmental peacebuilding in Colombia By: Adriana Abril Ortiz

Image by Leonie Zetti on unsplash


The Afro-Colombian communities that

inhabit the banks of the Atrato river in northwestern Colombia acknowledge their territory as a victim of the five-decade long internal armed conflict and call for a “Humanitarian Agreement Now!” Illegal gold mining in the Atrato river has caused environmental degradation and threatened the livelihoods of Afro-descendants and indigenous communities in the Chocó department of Colombia. This territory is the second-largest producer of gold in Colombia, the poorest region in the country, and a biodiversity hotspot. The Colombian conflict has left weak governance structures and a humanitarian crisis in the Chocó. Today the area is plagued by the presence of armed groups that find illegal gold mining as a source of income, which undermines the process of environmental peacebuilding. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) stated that the increasing pressure on the territories to exploit natural resources could become a “significant driver of violence”. It can contribute to the outbreak of a conflict or, as is the case of Colombia: finance armed groups and eventually undermine the peacebuilding process. The Afro-Colombian communities pursue their claim for truth, justice and guarantees of non-repetition. But overall, they propose alternatives to protect the environment, reduce inequality gaps, and build a life in peace. Therefore, the Atrato river Guardians ask the Government to work on humanitarian agreements with the still active guerillas and other armed groups so they could “live in peace in their territories”. Through its 750 km, the Atrato river crosses

the department of the Chocó, northwestern Colombia: rising from the Andes mountain range and flowing into the Caribbean Sea. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) highlights its intrinsic value as a biodiversity hotspot with “one of the most species-rich lowland areas in the world”. Besides, the Atrato river provides several ecosystem services to local Afro-descendant and indigenous communities: fluvial transportation, fishing, agriculture, as well as spiritual and cultural benefits. The Chocó department has 471.601 inhabitants, and nearly the entire territory is the collective property of Afro-descendants and indigenous peoples: Emberas and Wounan. The Chocó is marked by the five-decadeold internal armed conflict, which ended in 2016 with the peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the largest rebel organization, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Even though the conflict has ended, the department currently presents the highest levels of monetary poverty in the country. Furthermore, 78% of its population is registered as victims of the conflict, and 58% as internally displaced, showing that the peacebuilding process is far from finished. The five-decade-old internal armed conflict has left weak local governance leading to “uncontrolled” extractive economies, corruption, and lack of accountability. In this context, illegal gold mining is undermining the peacemaking process. A 2017 report of UNEP brought to light how armed groups, FARC dissidents, other guerrillas: National Liberation Army (ELN), and armed gangs


have become increasingly interested in gold mining as a source of income besides cocaine and arms trafficking, mainly through extorting informal miners and establishing a system of illegal taxation. Nowadays, national statistics show the Chocó is the second-biggest producer of gold in Colombia and the first in terms of the territory affected by mechanized alluvial mining. According to reports of the Colombian State and international organizations, among others, UNEP, UNODC, WWF-Colombia, UNDP, and the OECD, mining intensification has provoked several negative socio-environmental impacts in the Chocó. Artisanal gold mining in the Atrato river has been an ancestral productive activity of afro-descendant communities. However, since the mid-’80s, gold mining in the Atrato river basin has gone through a process of intensification by mechanization (using dredges, bulldozers, and backhoes) as well as the insertion of external actors: multinational corporations and illegal groups attracted by the rising prices of the commodity. The presence of armed groups has caused land dispossession, the confinement of local communities, and the criminalization of ancestral miners who de-


nervous system and be harmful to pregnant women. The impacts of illegal gold mining in the Atrato river basin and on the livelihoods of local communities show the importance of natural resource management in the post-conflict period. As the FARC does not monopolize the gold mining sector, other actors dispute those territories, causing confrontations between criminal groups, the Government, and local communities. The economic incentives “reinforce political and social divisions,” threatening the peacebuilding process, as well as financing criminal groups for whom gold represents a legal and highly tradable commodity. In 2016, the Constitutional Court of Colombia declared, for the first time, nature: the Atrato river is subject to rights and ordered the Government to execute a strategic remediation plan. This is part of a regional trend, a biocentric perspective, that implies recognizing nature itself as a right holder beyond the traditional anthropocentric view of the environment as an instrument to satisfy human needs. However, the implementation process of the sentence has represented a source of collective struggle in

pend now on “mafias of intermediaries”.

response to “institutional inertia.”

The intensification of gold mining provoked the degradation of freshwater ecosystems through mercury contamination, deforestation, the alteration of channels, and the sedimentation of the Atrato river. High mercury levels have since been found in human hair and fish from the Atrato river basin. This toxic element could particularly have adverse effects on the

The humanitarian crisis in the Atrato river requires implementing policies to prevent violence, building trust and cooperation between social groups, promoting state legitimacy, and developing sustainable livelihoods for the people in the area. The State must support public-communitarian alliances to promote bottom-linked initiatives in implementing the

Constitutional Court sentence. In this context, it is essential to ensure the protection of social leaders as Colombia is the most dangerous place for rights defenders in Latin America. In 2021, Human Rights Watch reported that 400 human rights defenders have been killed in Colombia´s remote communities since the Peace Agreement was signed. If these measures are taken, eventually, as the Afro-Colombian people claim, the Government can look forward to a successful

*Special gratitude to the Glasgow based artist Jan Nimmo for her commitment and work. Currently, she is developing the Ríos Solidarios Project at the University of Glasgow, which intends to create artwork to raise awareness about the difficult situation in the Atrato river and the communities. The project is open to everyone who wants to “share messages of love and solidarity” from their local rivers. If you want to join, email to Jan at the following

peacebuilding process. ♦

Portrait by Jan Nimmo in collaboration with Steve Cagan.


Artwork below: Maryury Mosquera, Atrato River Guardian.


South American

historical wars

By Guery Marañón

The Malvinas/Falklands war This year is the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War, a conflict which the British he South American region has been relative- consider to be resolved, but that the Argentily peaceful in the recent past. The last known nes do not forget. armed conflict was the Cenepa War in 1995, Historically, explaining the true domain of during which Peru and Ecuador confronted the Falkland Islands, or the Islas Malvinas, each other. The is confusing and conflict arose Despite not having any conflicts complex. On the due to a border between the nations, it is still not one hand, it is said dispute between that the British possible to speak of complete the two countriwere the first to ocpeace. es in “Cordillera cupy them, others del Cóndor”, a argue that it was mountain range in east Andes. the French. However, given that these islands Despite not having any conflicts between the are close to South America, it was the Spanish nations, it is still not possible to speak of com- who claimed them as their own, expelling the plete peace. There are ongoing disputes and French in 1764 (who accepted that the territomost of them are the results of past wars. The ry was Spanish) and in 1770 the British (who difference is that weapons are no longer an according to the Spanish version also accepoption. In contemporary times, the region se- ted their rule, although there is no written reeks to eliminate the vestiges of war and find cord of that). solutions through peaceful and diplomatic mechanisms. In 1810, as a result of the revolutions agaIn this article, the following two conflicts will inst Spain in the region, Argentina began its be reviewed: the Malvinas/Falklands war and independence by expelling the Spanish from the disputes between Bolivia and Chile. In its territory. During that time, the Malvinas/ these cases, war has been shown to be a use- Falkland Islands were practically deserted. less option and has only deepened conflicts In 1816, Argentina declared its independence between nations. and sought to declare its rule over the islands



by planting a flag in 1820. The South American country even appointed a German merchant named Louis Elie Vernet as its first governor, who in 1831 arrested three American ships for breaking the region’s rules. This act was considered unacceptable by the United States, so a year later they sent a warship, expelled the Argentine settlers, and declared the territory free of any government. However, in 1833, the British sent their navy into the region and retook the islands. Argentina tried to solve the problem through diplomatic channels, arguing that the territory was Argentine as an inheritance from Spain, But those efforts did not yield results. As a consequence, and also as a political strategy of the dictatorship of Leopoldo Galtieri, Argentina decided to recover the islands by force and attacked Puerto Argentino (Port Stanley, according to the British denomination) on April 2, 1982. Far from staying calm, The British decided to recover their territory by sending their armed forces to the South Atlantic, with the support of the United States and Chile. The war lasted about two and a half months. Finally, the Europeans regained control of the islands, but at what cost? 649 Argentine soldi-

ers and 255 British died. Irrespective of the result of the war, for the Argentine citizens, the Malvinasnever ceased to be theirs and they even consider this issue as part of their national identity. The President of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, stated that the islands are part of the Argentine continental shelf, so they have always been part of their territory and that they are the ones who have the truth. ”Our claim does not come from the economic issue. Our claim comes because the memory of our dead does not allow us to live in peace”, he said during an interview with BBC this year. The British maintain that the issue is resolved considering the outcome of the war and the opinion of the islands’ inhabitants. In 2013, they held a referendum in which the vast majority (98.8%) voted to remain a British Overseas Territory. Then-Prime Minister David Cameron called for the people’s desire to be British to be respected. Argentina does not accept the arguments and so far continues with its claim over that territory, although it is clear that war will never again be an option.

Image by yuriyrzhemovskiy on Unsplash


Conflicts between Bolivia and Chile Just as the Argentines have their claim for the Malvinas marked in their identity, in Bolivia the dream of once again having a sovereign outlet to the Pacific Ocean remains. After the Bolivian government imposed a tax of 10 cents per quintal of saltpeter exported (an important material for the Chilean economy at that time), Chile invaded Bolivia in 1879, arguing that a commercial treaty, signed five years earlier, was violated. Peru joined the conflict, as it had a secret mutual defense pact with Bolivia in case Chile attacked either of them. After approximately four years, Chile won the armed conflict and appropriated Bolivian and Peruvian territories. However, it was not until 1904 that the countries signed a treaty establishing the territorial delimitation that is still in force today. Since then, Bolivia has not had an outlet to the Pacific Ocean and has repeatedly tried to negotiate access.


The maritime issue ended there (although Bolivia mentioned that they will never give up the dream of having access to the Pacific Ocean), but the legal conflicts with Chile did not. Alongside the complaint was already filed, Bolivia threatened to sue Chile again at the International Court of Justice for another historical conflict: the waters of the Silala. The Silala river or spring originates in Bolivia just four kilometers from the border with Chile. Bolivia affirms that in reality, the Silala is a spring whose waters were artificially channeled in 1908 to reach Chile. The rights to the waters of Silala is an ongoing dispute, and in 2016, then-president Evo Morales stated that the government of Santiago must pay for its unrestricted use for more than 100 years. Chile responded by arguing that the Silala is an international river and therefore belongs to both countries and that the artificial channeling was a project carried out by a private company and that it was accepted by Bolivia in the past. While it was Bolivia that threatened to sue Chile, it was the Chileans who formally filed the complaint with the International Court of Justice in 2016. Chile asked the court to declare the Silala an international river and shared water use. The arguments concluded on April 14, 2022, and the sentence is expected to be announced in at least one year. The Argentine and Bolivian cases are examples of the marks that war can leave, which instead of solving conflicts made them worse by dividing people even more. While the armed conflicts are over, the disputes over territories continue and will perhaps never be fully resolved. Although South America is a region in which violence and crime persist, the fact that countries are promoting the solution of problems through diplomatic channels should be highlighted. War, we hope, will never again

The strategy for returning to the Pacific coast changed in 2013 when Bolivia sued Chile at the International Court of Justice to force the country to negotiate ”in good faith” Bolivia’s ”sovereign” exit to the sea. From La Paz, it was argued that Chile repeatedly promised (1951, 1961, 1975, and 2000) to negotiate and failed to fulfill its promises, even though it had signed obligations. Santiago replied that Chile cannot be forced to negotiate and that everything was established in the 1904 treaty. They added that Bolivia has commercial privileges in Chilean ports, mainly in Arica. After the International Court of Justice accepted the case and after a series of court proceedings, on October 1, 2018, it was determined that the Chilean government has no obligation to negotiate a sovereign outlet to the sea with Bolivia. be an option. ♦

25 Illustration by Sree Lekha

they disregard the bans on reporting aspects of the war in opposition to the Kremlin’s view.

By Johannes Malmgren The Russian invasion of Ukraine has put war high on the agenda of world media. Consequently, the state of war journalism is a highly pertinent matter. In this article, common critiques of such journalism, namely, the critique presented by those adhering to so-called peace journalism, will be reviewed. Coverage of the war in Ukraine has been stifled in Russia by an all-out crackdown on free media. As of today, Russian journalists face the threat of fifteen years of imprisonment if

At the end of March this year, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, whose chief editor Dmitry Muratov received the Nobel peace prize last year, announced that it would stop publication as an answer to increased state censorship. The last issue contained two blank pages. The Russian free media is thus one of the many victims of the war. As the war is intensely covered by international news media, critique of war journalism has received renewed relevance. Some critics have charged journalists with failing to avoid parroting propaganda; others have criticized the war coverage for being disproportionate in comparison with the coverage of other armed

Photographer Horst Faas in Vietnam, the 1960s. (CC BY 2.0)


conflicts. Some even question war journalism in toto, calling for “peace journalism” in its place. In this article, this latter criticism will be addressed. What peace journalism proponents get right, what they get wrong about news coverage, and why this matters will be discussed. The pictures in our heads Journalist and media critic Walter Lippmann begins his 1922 book Public Opinion by stating that people are aware of much more than they will ever personally experience. For much of our knowledge of the outside world, we rely on media representations. As these representations are something else than direct experience, they give rise to mental images that form what Lippman calls a pseudo-environment. As we navigate our everyday reality, we simultaneously interpret it according to the pseudo-environment we have created.

of Russians had favorable attitudes toward Ukrainians. By November 2014, after the Euromaidan, the proportion of Russians with a favorable disposition towards Ukrainians had decreased to 28 percent. If we assume that the television broadcasts reflected a wider change in Russian media portrayal of Ukraine, we could reasonably argue that this led to a change in the Lippmannian pseudo-realities of the Russian people, thereby changing their attitude toward Ukraine. The pictures in our heads shape our attitude to the world outside.

Peace and war journalism Criticism of war journalism has led to the formation of perspectives in journalism studies calling for “peace journalism”, guided by different criteria than mainstream war journalism. According to peace journalism proponents, war coverage adhering to common standards of good journalism, such as simplification, dramatization, and personalization, gives In contrast to war journalism, peace journalism pre-eminence Wars are fought explicitly sides with the victims of war and on many fronts. to a view of pursues an agenda of de-emphasizing aspects of conflict as naOne dimension coverage naturalizing armed conflict in favor of tural and renof warfare that the aspects facilitating peace. is attributed with ders resolution increasing imporby negotiation tance is the shaping of how war is perceived as unlikely. The war is portrayed as a zeroby different actors. Accordingly, states and re- sum contest between two parties, and visible searchers are engaged in trying to understand signs of progress such as casualties, material and master the strategic narratives pursued damage, and episodes of violence are in focus. by conflict actors. The concept of strategic This is to the detriment of coverage of more narrative refers to the stories used to win over complex matters such as underlying context audiences to a favorable interpretation of the and the multipolarity of interests involved in conflict by tying together actions and events the war. by referral around a shared interpretative structure. The proponents of peace journalism argue that it is a form of socially responsible journalism Traditionally, Ukrainians are depicted as a with peace as its central value. In contrast to “brother nation” to Russians in Russia. As war journalism, peace journalism explicitly media scientist Irina Khaldarova has shown, sides with the victims of war and pursues an the beginning of the Euromaidan and the folagenda of de-emphasizing aspects of coverlowing Russian annexation of Crimea and war age naturalizing armed conflict in favor of in Eastern Ukraine was followed by a transthe aspects facilitating peace. It could thus be formation in how Ukrainians were portrayed interpreted as a consciously partial form of in Russian television news broadcasts. From journalism. then on, reports on Ukraine tended to report on the country in a way evoking associations Peace journalism advocates tend to have of Ukrainians to fascism, thereby associating incisive critiques of the state of war coverage, Ukraine with a traditional enemy of Russia. but on the other hand, their proposed remedies According to Khaldarova, opinion surveys suffer from several shortcomings. The idea of In September 2012 showed that 74 percent peace journalism assumes a powerful


media capable of autonomously shaping audience perceptions of conflict. Yet, the example of the recent crackdown on Russian media should provide a sobering account to those adhering to the conception of the powerful media. The Russian example strikingly captures how the media is a prisoner of external structural and political limitations. Moreover, it is not only in dictatorships that the media is constrained by outside conditions; there is a lot of research showing that media coverage is shaped by structural limitations in democracies as well. Journalists are guided by the same prejudices, temptations, and limitations as other individuals in the society in which they operate. Thus, as communication scientist Thomas Hanitzsch has argued, “peace journalism” cannot come into being from outside of society but can only emerge in a culture of peace. Peace journalism proponents argue that media depictions of war are distorted, yet it is not evident that the ideals of peace journalism are means by which an undistorted reality could be represented. On the contrary, peace journalism could introduce yet another kind of bias in war reporting. Concluding remarks Both proponents and opponents of peace journalism point out that material constraints stand in the way of objective journalism, and thus that there is a structural bias in war journalism. On the other hand, if journalists give in to pursuing biases of their own, such as the bias toward peace, this does not remedy the structural bias. At its worst, consciously partial journalism could pave the way for relativism or become an excuse for


the attached war coverage typical of non-democratic countries with far-reaching censorship. How could this double danger of false objectivity and relativism be navigated? Renowned journalist Martha Gellhorn, who covered most of the major conflicts of the 20th century, once advised the war correspondent to “limit yourself to what you see and hear. Do not invent and do not suppress.” In some ways, this advice acknowledges that war journalism is inherently subjective, bound to the viewpoint of the reporter, but Gellhorn, at the same time, demands journalists to strive for objectivity and be transparent about their limitations. Perhaps the hallmark of truly great war journalists, such as Gellhorn and Ryszard Kapuczinski, is their radical pursuit of honesty. ♦

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Image by Engin Akyurt on Unsplash



and the refugees

By Turkan Ghafori

During the last decades, many countries have

suffered from dreadful wars that have cost many lives and displaced families. The war in Ukraine is not unique in nature; similar ones are found in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Like Ukrainians are now fleeing, many Afghans, Syrians, Libyans, and more have fled their countries to find peace and a life worth living. Most have fled to neighbouring countries, and only a small proportion of the refugees have made it to Europe. I was one of them. I was 11 years old when I arrived in Sweden with my family. I was told that this would be my new home, but it didn’t feel like home at the time. I remember how people would stare at us, and wherever we went, I could feel their stares in the back of my neck. Even though I didn’t know a word of Swedish, I felt that we were being judged. During my years as a refugee, waiting to get my permanent residency and “becoming a Swede,” I felt excluded and shamed by society. I felt as if I didn’t belong. I experienced many situations of discrimination, and one memory that still makes me sad when thinking about it is a situation my mother faced. That’s when I felt almost as if I was nothing, she was nothing, and we were nothing but a burden to this country. At that moment, I remember promising myself that no one would ever treat us the way those people did. Whenever I hear stories of racism and discrimination against refugees, I feel it. I feel their pain because I was in their shoes once. During the refugee crisis in 2015 in Europe, there was a small moment of hope when people opened their homes and showed collective


sympathy towards people who had left everything and everyone behind for a better future as they deserve. Even though that sympathy and generosity only lasted for a short moment, it gave a glimpse of hope that people could see beyond colour. However, the empathy and positivity shifted so fast that I can barely believe that the “refugees welcome” mantra was ever uttered in the streets of Europe. “Refugees welcome” got overshadowed by western media and right-wing politicians who blamed the economic challenges of their countries and the terrorist attacks in Europe on the influx of refugees. And in a blink of an eye, the enormous support for the refugees from Syria disappeared, and Europe was “closed.” Headlines describing refugees as “a catastrophe” to Europe were furiously published. Border controls were reintroduced, and one of the worst and brutal treat-

ments of refugees took place in eastern European countries such as Poland and Hungary. Both countries had built border walls to prevent Syrian and Afghan refugees from entering the EU through Belarus. Today, the exact borders are open; Poland has even opened reception centers along its over 500-kilometre border with Ukraine for Ukrainian refugees seeking shelter from Russia’s illegal occupation of their country.

not only referring to its borders but to society as a whole. It seems Europe has adapted to this drastic change more than it did in 2015. For example, immediate residence and work permits in the EU are provided for Ukrainian refugees, the Guardian reported shortly after the invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian refugee children were even granted free entrance in amusement parks in Sweden, according to an article in Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, which was not the case for children who had Putin’s dreadful invasion of Ukraine has not fled Syria, Afghanistan, and other parts of the only cost many lives world. Even “Refugees welcome” got overshadowed by right-wing from both sides but has western media and right-wing politicians led millions of Ukraiparties who who blamed the economic challenges of nians to seek refuge in have fiercely their countries and the terrorist attacks in condemned neighbouring countries. Europe on the influx of refugees Today we see the same refugee intake generosity for years, towards Ukrainians as we saw referring to refugees as a burden to the sociduring the 2015 refugee ety and in some cases encouraging violence crisis when people against refugees, are now suddenly very open opened up to the receiving of refugees, but only if they their homes are Ukrainians. to Syrian Far-right politicians such as French Front Narefugees. tionale leader Marine Le Pen, known for her However, extremely racist remarks towards minorities what is and Muslims, publicly affirmed her support for different taking in Ukrainian refugees, Anadolu Agency in this reported. Despite the fact that her party has case petitioned against taking in refugees from Afis the ghanistan. Similarly, Remix news reported that volume Swedish far-right politician and party leadand er Jimmie Åkesson, who in 2020 travelled intento Greece to give refugees leaflets that said sity of “Sweden is full- don’t come!”. Åkesson has the genalso recently stated that “ solidarity is required erosity, because Ukrainians are European and in many and more respects culturally closely related citizens of so the douthe extremely serious conditions that have beble standards of fallen our continent”, according to the article. the western media in their portrayals of Europe and “the west world” are known for Ukrainian refugees contra being the most progressive, democratic and Syrian refugees. Today the liberal examples. Yet, when faced with difinflux of Ukrainian refugees ficult situations that require dramatic adjustis not portrayed as a crisis or ment, its democratic values get easily overcatastrophe by western media shadowed. One of the essential purposes of and European politidemocracy is that it leads to peace, and I will cians. Today Eucontinue to believe that, especially during hard rope is “open,” times like these. ♦


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