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  • 1. United NationsEducational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Humanism, a new idea Dreams of science Michal Meyer I am because you are Michael Onyebuchi Eze Humanizing globalization Mireille Delmas-Marty Where is humanism going? Sanjay Seth Welcome to the Anthropocene Ruth Irwin The Muslim phase of humanism Mahmoud Hussein Child soldiers: a new life ahead Forest Whitaker A special place for the imagination Antonio Skármeta Courier OctoberDecember 2011 THE UNESCO ISSN 2220-2285 e-ISSN 2220-2293
  • 2. Oliver Kozlarek (Germany) Milad Doueihi Cathy Nolan Liu Ji Forest Whitaker Mireille Delmas-Marty (China) Roger Ross Williams (France) (USA) Asimina Karavanta (Greece) Mahmoud HusseinPaulette Dieterlen (Egypt) (Mexico) Michael Onyebuchi Eze Michal Meyer (Nigeria) (Israel) Sanjay Seth (India) Cristovam Buarque (Brazil) Prudence Mabhena Antonio Skármeta (Zimbabwe) (Chile) Salvador Bergel (Argentina) OUR AUTHORS Ruth Irwin (New Zealand) UNESCO in 2011: Towards a new humanism and globalization that rhymes with reconciliation In 1951, during a ‘Discussion on the our understanding of the meaning of reflections and expressing aspirations Cultural and Philosophical Relations humanism. In March 2011, UNESCO held from everyone everywhere.” Between East and West’ held in the a meeting of its High Panel on Peace According to a section of the report capital of India, New Delhi, from 13 to and Dialogue among Cultures at the UN entitled ‘Towards a new humanism and 20 December, UNESCO endorsed the headquarters in New York. Comprising reconciled globalization’, the purpose of idea of a new holistic humanism. The some twenty distinguished figures from the new humanism is to “create a world was recovering from a terrible all over the world, the Panel agreed that climate of empathy, belonging and war that had sullied the myth of “rethinking peace and reconciliation understanding, along with the idea that technological progress dominating resonated with the quest for a New progress with respect to human rights is Western culture. In a discussion Humanism for the 21st Century,” called never definitive and requires a constant document entitled ‘Towards a New for by the Director-General of UNESCO, effort of adaptation to the challenges of Humanism’, the participants at the Irina Bokova. modernity. Those challenges cannot be meeting spoke of a “confused “In the context of globalization,” says met without ethical principles, which intelligence that has lost its soul” and a the final report on the meeting, “this should be at the foundation of what was “crisis of humanism”. They advocated a concept has to concentrate on cultural aptly coined ‘a public realm of values’.” “spiritual revolution” and “common diversity, dialogue in the age of the spiritual progress” calling for greater Internet, and reconciliation between the exchange between East and West (p. 27). North and the South […] The new The conclusions of the Panel meeting, in March 2011, can be found at the following address: Six decades later, the challenges humanism has to be an authentically facing the world have moved on, as has pluralist cosmopolitanism, inspiring 92362e.pdf
  • 3. Courier T H E UN ES CO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization October–December 2011 64th year 2011 – No. 4 The UNESCO Courier is published quarterly in seven languages by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization 7, place de Fontenoy 75352, Paris 07 SP, France Free subscription to the Courier on line: Director of publication: Eric Falt Editorial – Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO 5 Editor-in-chief: Jasmina Šopova HUMANISM: A NEW IDEA Managing editor: Katerina Markelova Where is humanism going? – Sanjay Seth 6 Editors: I am because you are – Michael Onyebuchi Eze 10 Arabic: Khaled Abu Hijleh Chinese: Weiny Cauhape What happened to hospitality? – Asimina Karavanta 14 English: Peter Coles, Alison McKelvey Clayson and Dashika Ranasinghe Justice and dignity – Paulette Dieterlen 16 French: Philippe Testard-Vaillant Towards a humanist turn – Oliver Kozlarek 18 Portuguese: Ana Lúcia Guimarães Russian: Marina Yaloyan The Muslim phase of humanism – Mahmoud Hussein 22 Spanish: Araceli Ortiz de Urbina English translation: Peter Coles and Lisa Davidson For a world of harmony – Liu Ji 25 Photos: Sophie Suberbère UNESCO in 1951: Towards a new humanism 27 Design and layout: Baseline Arts Ltd, Oxford Printing: UNESCO – CLD Humanizing globalization – Mireille Delmas-Marty 28 Information and reproduction rights: interviewed by Jasmina Šopova + 33 (0)1 45 68 15 64 . Documentation: Pilar Christine Morel Vasquez Digital humanism – Milad Doueihi 32 Web platform: Chakir Piro and Van Dung Pham Intern: Landry Rukingamubiri Welcome to the Anthropocene – Ruth Irwin 34 With thanks to: Danica Bijeljac Dreams of science – Michal Meyer 36 Articles and photos credited UNESCO may be reproduced and/or translated for non-commercial purposes providing Bioethics: unimagined challenges – Salvador Bergel 39 the credit line reads “Reproduced from the UNESCO Courier” and includes date and hyperlink. Photos without Seven pointers for the future of mankind – Cristovam Buarque 41 UNESCO credit require special permission. Articles express the opinions of the authors and do not OUR GUEST necessarily represent the opinions of UNESCO. Photographs belonging to UNESCO may be reproduced Child soldiers: a new life ahead – Forest Whitaker 44 freely. Photos must carry the following caption: © UNESCO interviewed by Katerina Markelova and photographers name. For high resolution, please contact the Photobank: THE FUTURE OF THE BOOK Boundaries on maps do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by UNESCO or the United Nations of the A special place for the imagination ‒ Antonio Skármeta 47 countries and territories concerned. From the series OVERCOMING DISABILITY Faces à lÂme by The flight of Prudence ‒ The story of Prudence Mabhena 51© Benjamin Bini - French artist, Benjamin Bini. As told by Roger Ross Williams to Cathy Nolan Dialogue between cultures. Fusion of MILESTONES contemporary and traditional art. UNESCO welcomes 53 Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Alsou Abramova, Blaise Compaoré, Roger-Pol Droit, Jorge Edwards, Ángeles González-Sinde, The Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, Herbie Hancock, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Pascal Irénée Koupaki, Julia Kristeva, Alassane Dramane Ouattara, Brigi Rafini, Roberto Toscano, Abdoulaye Wade THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 3
  • 4. In this issue“The affirmation of human commonality If humanist principles are not turned to the cause of child soldiers,and dignity is something that is no less into practice, though, humanism will explaining what drew him to thisurgent today than at any time before,” says remain no more than wishful thinking. barren and tragic universe, so farProfessor Sanjay Seth (India), in his In these times of globalization, we need removed from the luxury of Hollywoodintroduction to this special feature (p. 6). to make use of the “envisioning forces” (p. 44).He puts forward a number of thought- of law to forge a humanist form of The future of the book is a subjectprovoking ideas on contemporary justice that is pluralist and open, says close to the heart of the Chilean writer,humanism, like questioning the notion of the French lawyer, Mireille Delmas- Antonio Skármeta. Author of the novel,a singular Reason, the cohabitation of Marty (p. 28). Among other evidence to Burning Patience (which inspireddifferent visions of morality developed support her case, she cites two major Michael Radford’s film Il Postino) hearound the world, or the need for a global challenges of modernity: climate predicts that the various types of mediaform of justice. Issues like these are change and new digital and biomedical will continue to exist, side by side – thediscussed in depth from a range of technologies, which are also discussed digital book, that faithful ally ofviewpoints by Nigerian-born Michael by Milad Doueihi (USA) (p. 32), Ruth research and information, and theOnyebuchi Eze (p. 10), Asmina Karavanta Irwin, from New Zealand (p. 34), Michal paper book, which is ideally suited tofrom Greece (p. 14) and Paulette Dieterlen Meyer of Israel (p. 36) and Salvador “non-utilitarian imagination” (p. 47).from Mexico (p. 16). Bergel from Argentina (p. 39). To mark International Day of Persons The humanist turn that is currently To conclude this special feature, the with Disabilities (3 December), we willunderway draws on humanist traditions in Brazilian senator, Cristovam Buarque be publishing an interview with theall cultures, according to the German outlines his proposal for a new American director Roger Ross Williams,philosopher Oliver Kozlarek (p. 18). Indeed humanism based on seven pillars: whose film Music by Prudence won himcertain aspects of contemporary Islamic planetary politics, respect for diversity, an Oscar for best short documentary.philosophy have their roots in the very respect for the environment, equal He tells of meeting a youngidea of humanism (p. 22), says Mahmoud opportunities, production controlled by Zimbabwean woman, Prudence, whoHussein, an Egyptian political scientist and man, integration through education and lost both her legs, yet, through herIslamic scholar. And the doctrines of ethical modernity (p. 41). singing, managed to overcome aConfucius and Mencius could be seen as a Our guest for this issue is the number of obstacles, includingmodel for the development of the new American actor and film-maker, Forest rejection by her family, discriminationhumanism imagined by Professor Liu Ji of Whitaker, recently appointed UNESCO and poverty (p. 51).China (p. 25). Goodwill Ambassador. He is committed Jasmina Šopova4 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 5. Editorial Irina Bokova Humanism is an age-old promise, as well as an constitution, they have been guiding the actions idea that is always new, endlessly reinventing of our Organization for 65 years, in the itself. The humanist project has been part of our promotion of a peace that is “founded upon the history since Antiquity, yet it shines like new in intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind.” every epoch. In the early years of the third millennium the word can no longer have the Beyond the theory, humanist values same meaning as it had during the Renaissance have above all to be translated into in Europe, when it was forged on the image of© Fred de Noyelle/Godong the ideal man, master of himself and the practice. universe. It also goes beyond the meanings that the Enlightenment philosophers gave it, and Building a responsible world of solidarity is a which have remained, despite their universalist long-term endeavour that has to draw on all the aspirations, restricted to a Eurocentric vision of creative forces of humanity. Culture, education, the world. philosophy, science, information technology, law, and international cooperation provide us with Respect for cultural diversity is a core element of the means. Building the ramparts of human 21st century humanism. It is a vital constituent dignity in everyday life is not a Utopian quest. during these times of globalization. No single Humanism is a promise we must all keep. culture has a universal monopoly. Each and every one can contribute to the consolidation of our shared values. The current threats to the planet’s precarious ecological balance, the ethical problems raised by digital and biomedical technologies, the economic and political crises –these are all global challenges that demand concerted responses. The humanism that is emerging today has to provide a framework for our commonI Irina Bokova,Director-General of thoughts and reflections on global issues.UNESCO, at theOrganizations And, beyond the theory, humanist values have,headquarters, in above all, to be translated into practice, in everyFebruary 2010, during facet of human activity. The adoption of thethe first meeting of theHigh Level Panel on Millennium Development Goals in 2000Peace and Dialogue constitutes a humanist agenda par excellence. A © UNESCO/Andrew Wheelerbetween Cultures. In central preoccupation is the promotion ofMarch 2011, the Panel women’s rights and gender equality. Humanismmet again at the UN today also has a feminine side.headquarters in NewYork, to discuss NewHumanism for the 21st Humanist values form the very foundations ofCentury. the philosophy of UNESCO. Written into its THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 5
  • 6. Where ishumanism going?At the heart of the notion of In this essay, I ask whether the affirmation of human commonality and worth is best securedhumanism is that something that by an anthropological understanding of thewe all share and which sanctions world, and by the search for a singular rationality. In short, is the aspiration to affirm humanour aspirations towards equality, commonality and dignity best served bydespite our differences. The humanism?Enlightenment philosophers Man at the centre of the universelooked for it in the crucible of a Edward Said1 declares that the ‘core’ of humanism is the secular notion that thesingular rationality; today we historical world is made by men and women, andneed to search at the crossroads of not by God, and that it can be understood rationally. At the core of humanism, then, is adifferent visions of morality. philosophical anthropology, which in according centrality to man diminishes (though it does not necessarily eliminate) the role accorded to god(s). Once the purposes and the acts of gods SANJAY SETH explained the world of men; with humanism, to understand the gods of men you have to understand the men, for their gods are the fantastical creation of their minds.Humanism is, amongst other things, the claim or If the centrality accorded to Man as maker ofintuition that all humans have something meanings and purposes involves a diminution offundamental in common, and that this the role once accorded to god(s), it also involvesmandates equal entitlement to dignity and a separation, a distinction, between a humanrespect. This, however, does not serve to world and a non-human one. There are twodistinguish humanism from other doctrines and worlds, one of impersonal processes and laws,understandings, including religious ones, which the other of human intentions and meanings.treat all humans as sharing a commonality (an Nature is not a realm of purposes andimmortal soul, etc) which commands respect. meanings, and so to gain knowledge of nature is What historically distinguished humanism to gain understanding of the impersonal andfrom the many other affirmations of human often lawlike forces that shape it; knowledge ofdignity and worth was the specific form that this the historical or cultural world is knowledge ofaffirmation took; in particular, two supporting or purposes and meanings, for the historical worldbuttressing arguments which, in affirming is where the meanings and purposes of men arehuman equality and dignity, give this apparent in the traces they leave behind.affirmation its distinctively ‘humanist’ cast. These Knowledge of nature, the preserve of the naturalare, first, that human worth is affirmed sciences, can lead to mastery of natural forces;independently of god(s), and more generally, knowledge of the historical world, the preservethat ‘man’ replaces god as the measure of all of the human and humanist sciences, leads tothings. Second, that what all humans have in self-knowledge.common at once consists of, resides in, and can Humanism replaces a view of a single worldonly be discovered through, a singular shot through with meaning and purpose, inrationality. which the purposes and designs of nature are Thus understood, humanism is not simply a prefigured and reflected in the social world, withRenaissance phenomenon, but something that two worlds, one devoid of meaning and purpose,comes to full flower in the Enlightenment, in the and the other constituted of the meanings andform of the idea of a universal humanity and a purposes humans have given their world insingular Reason. different times and places.6 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 7. K Part of the cycle, Theoria ‘What has changed is, above all, an There have always been critics of theseSacra by French painter and presumptions, including Hamann2, Kierkegaard3,sculptor Richard Texier, environmental crisis that calls into Adorno4, Horkheimer5, and Heidegger6. In thereproduced with the kindpermission of the artist. question the absolute privileging of non-Western world, just as there were who accepted and celebrated the values that humans, as well as the sharp distinction were part of western humanism, there were also between man and nature, that are always those, like Gandhi7, Césaire8 and Fanon9, who were critics of a ‘civilisation’ that in characteristic of traditional humanism.” purporting to exalt Man frequently degraded men. Nonetheless, it is the account of the birth of this philosophical anthropology delivered by those who are the progeny of it that has been dominant, and this account celebrates its ancestry. I suggest, however, that circumstances have changed such that a critical reconsideration of this defining aspect of humanism is required. What has changed is, above all, an environmental crisis that calls into question the absolute privileging of humans, as well as the sharp distinction between man and nature, that are characteristic of traditional humanism (see pp. 34-35). It is not only and obviously that our privileging of man may have something to do with the despoliation of the conditions that make human life sustainable, but also that the very distinction between the world that men make and the world that exists independently of them is in the process of collapsing. With global warming and the mass extinction of species, humans have become geological, and not (as before) simply biological agents. 1. Edward Saïd [1935-2003], Palestinian American literary theorist and founding figure in postcolonial studies. Author of Orientalism (1978) and Humanism and Democratic Criticism (2004.) 2. Johann Georg Hamann [1730-1788], German philosopher, friend and intellectual opponent of Immanuel Kant. He was convinced that faith and belief, rather than knowledge, determine human actions. 3. Søren Kierkegaard [1813-1855], Danish Christian philosopher, known as the Father of Existentialism. 4. Theodor Adorno [1903-1969], German philosopher and social critic, and member, with Horkheimer and others, of the Frankfurt School of social theory and philosophy. 5. Max Horkheimer [1895–1973], German philosopher and sociologist, best known for his “critical theory” that combined Marxist-oriented political philosophy with social and cultural analysis informed by empirical research. He co-authored with Theodor Adorno Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947). 6. Martin Heidegger [1889-1976], German philosopher, known for his phenomenological exploration of the question of being, and for his critique of philosophical humanism. Read: The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays , Harper Torchbooks,1977; “Letter on Humanism”, in Basic Writings, 1993. 7. Mahatma Gandhi [1869-1948], political and ideological leader, father of the Indian nation. His philosophy of nonviolent resistance inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. 8. Aimé Césaire [1913-2008], French poet from Martinique, one of the founders of the Négritude movement. Read: Discourse on colonialism, Monthly Review Press, 2000. © Archive SOMOGY 9. Frantz Fanon [1925-1961] French psychiatrist from Martinique, active member of the Algerian struggle for independence. Well known as a thinker on the issue of decolonization. Read: The Wretched of the Earth, Grove Press, 1963. THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 7
  • 8. The Enlightenment project Modern The example of the political philosopherIf anthropology (and a consequent division John Rawls13 is especially instructive. In his Abetween nature and society) is one defining knowledge, as Theory of Justice and some subsequent workselement of humanism, the conviction that what elaborated and Rawls sought to draw upon Kant to develop aall humans have in common resides in, and can theory of justice (see pp. 16-18) that would beonly be discovered through a singular rationality, defended by Kant grounded upon a few rationally defensibleis another. The project to establish this was at the and by the principles that would be acknowledged byheart of the Enlightenment. almost all. In later works, he acknowledges thatIn his “Was ist Aufklärung” Kant10 famously Enlightenment his theory of justice, and his defence ofdefined Enlightenment as mankind coming to more generally, liberalism, already presuppose a certain kind ofmaturity through the exercise of its reason. But if public political culture, one shaped by the Warsthe pre-modern notion of a morally ordered and could now stake a of Religion in Europe, by the separation ofpurposive universe had been (in Weber’s later claim to having politics from religion thereafter, and so on. Thephrase11) ‘disenchanted’; if tradition and custom aim of his later theory is thus to elaborate ano longer seemed the source of Reason, or validated or pragmatic and procedural defence of a justiceindeed, even reasonable; and if Hume’s sceptical proven itself, thus which is acknowledged to be Western andchallenge12 raised the possibility of as many liberal, and cannot be passed off as ‘universal’.reasons as there are persons; then what Reason revealing all (Rawls 1995 and 1996).was this, and whose Reason? earlier knowledge That which Rawls reluctantly comes to The most enduring answer to this puzzle was ‘concede’ has been levelled as an accusation byoffered by Kant. Its power lay, above all else, in to have been others, who have charged that Reason alwaysthe argument Kant called ‘transcendental’. speculation or turns out to be not a placeless universal, butInstead of ‘dogmatically’ asserting certain European. Here are their arguments: What wepropositions to be true, or seeking to identify, on dogma. And of have learned to call Reason is not rationality asempirical grounds, a set of rational principles course this such, but a historically and culturally specific waycommon to all men, Kant instead asked what of constructing and construing the world.sort of beings we had to be to have cognitions singular Reason, Moreover, treating this tradition as universal hasand perceptions in the first place. The which does not been an essential part of the story of, andtranscendental question allowed Kant to deduce justification for, colonialism. Armed with theuniversal categories of Reason which were not vary from culture certainty that it possessed nothing less thanderived from human experience, which is varied, to culture, proved universal Reason, Europe could proceed with itsbut was the basis for our having any experience colonial conquests, no longer principally in thein the first place. Kant managed to make a that all humans, name of bringing the true word of god to thepowerful argument for a Reason that was irrespective of the heathen, but rather in the name of bringinguniversal, because notwithstanding the immense Enlightenment and civilization to the benighted.variety of human experience, moralities and differences among What were being encountered were not othernotions of beauty, it was the precondition for them, were to be traditions of reasoning and other ways of beinghumans having any sort of experience, morality in the world, but unreason. The institutions andor conception of beauty. treated as ends in practices that constituted colonialism, or came Modern knowledge, as elaborated and themselves, and in its wake, were now seen to be educating thedefended by Kant and by the Enlightenment colonized, so that they too might one day reachmore generally, could now stake a claim to not means. their maturity and be able to participate in andhaving validated or proven itself, thus revealing exercise the Reason that was to be Europe’s giftall earlier knowledge to have been speculation or to them.dogma. And of course this singular Reason, Lest there be any confusion, let me be verywhich does not vary from culture to culture, clear that I am not suggesting that theproved that all humans, irrespective of the intellectual and cultural tradition of moderndifferences among them, were to be treated asends in themselves, and not means. It is testimony to the vitality of the line of 10. Immanuel Kant [1724-1804], German philosopher and a pivotal figure in modern philosophy. “Answering the Question:argument initiated by Kant that the most What Is Enlightenment?” is the title of an essay published in thesophisticated contemporary attempts to salvage Berlinische Monatsschrift (Berlin Monthly), in 1784.or retrieve the Enlightenment project, while 11. Max Weber [1864-1920], German sociologist and economist.acknowledging, as they must, that Reason is 12. David Hume [1711-1776], one of the most importantinseparably bound with interests, culture and figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottishpower, all do so by returning to Kant. The Enlightenment. Known especially for his philosophical empiricism and scepticism.criticism that can be levelled at such arguments, 13. John Rawls [1921-2002], political philosopher. His book Aunsurprisingly, is similar to the criticism that was Theory of Justice (1971), is considered as one of the primarylevelled at Kant by his contemporaries and texts in contemporary political philosophy. Quoted works: “Justice as Fairness: Political Not Metaphysical” in Philosophyimmediate successors, namely that such proofs and Public Affairs, 1995; Political Liberalism, Columbia Universitypresuppose what needs to be proven. Press, 1996.8 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 9. Europe was the only one to think that it was knowledge and manipulation. The second isright and all others wrong, or the only the presumption that the counterpart of aone that has sought to impose its common humanity is a singular on others. Neither the modern I have gone on to argue thatage nor Europe has had a monopoly neither of these arguments oron arrogance or dogmatism. What I presumptions can be sustained; theyam suggesting is that the were never true, and are moreEnlightenment heritage – the demonstrably untrue today thanEuropean conviction in a context ever before. These were not ‘truths’and tradition-free Reason – made it finally discovered, but rather havepossible for Europe to conquer and been a particular way of construingrule not in the name of a tradition and constructing the world. As such,that claimed to be superior to all they have been the source of manyothers, but in the name of something human achievements; but they have alsothat did not see itself as a tradition at all. entailed great costs, costs which areThis was a knowledge which claimed not especially apparent today, as the exaltationonly to be true, but declared itself to be of man despoils that which is the verydeduced from nothing less than condition for any sort of human life; as theReason itself, rather than being distinction between the human and thegrounded in the ideals and practices natural collapses; and as it becomesof real historical communities. increasingly clear that what all humans In the era after decolonization, have in common neither resides in, nor isit should however be all too clear to be discovered through, the search for athat what humans have in singular Reason that abstracts from thecommon, and what may allow us differences that characterise ‘ground’ their claims to dignity The affirmation of human commonalityand respect, neither resides in nor and dignity is something that is no less urgentcan be discovered by a singular today than at any time before. Because such anReason. All attempts to do so have affirmation can plausibly be seen as being, inended up, whether wittingly or some sense, at the core of humanism, weunwittingly, by substituting ‘European’ cannot reject humanism, but rather need toor ‘Western’ for ‘human’. The idea of a re-found and to reinterpret it. I suggest thatsingular Reason, although deeply a reinterpreted and viable humanism, willrooted in Western culture and be one in which our moral intuitionsthought, cannot be sustained, and regarding human commonality and dignityneeds to be critically re-examined. no longer rest upon a questionable anthropocentrism or on dubious claims toNew avenues to explore a universal Reason. I further suggest thatI began this essay by suggesting such a reinterpretation will be thethat humanism consists of an product of a dialogue between differentaffirmation that all humans, civilizations and moral perspectives,notwithstanding their many rather than a declaration that one moraldifferences, have something perspective (that of the modern West) isimportant in common, and the correct one. ■thus that all humans shouldbe equally accorded respectand dignity; and that thisrests upon two supporting Sanjay Seth (India), held teaching orarguments/presumptions. research positions in Sydney,One of these is a Melbourne (Australia) and Tokyophilosophical (Japan), before joining Goldsmiths,anthropology, which University of London (United oismakes the ‘discovery’ Kingdom) in 2007, where he is Xavier Dubthat men are the source Professor and Head of Politics andof meanings and values, co-Director of the Centre fornot gods, and discovers Postcolonial Studies. © François-also a domain ofnature that is devoid of J “Homo Mundo”, sculpture by French artist,meaning and purpose, Richard Texier, reproduced by kind permissionan inert object that is of the author.subject to human THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 9
  • 10. I am becauseFor many people in the Bantu language countries of Africa, the term Ubuntu/bothoencapsulates all the qualities of a respected member of society. But the term is also usedby Africanist scholars as a critique of colonialist doctrine and even forms the core of ahumanist ideology upon which the new democratic South Africa is constructed.
  • 11. MICHAEL ONYEBUCHI EZE basis for communitarian ethics, discourses on Colonialism was a identity and even a bourgeoning pan-African ideology. powerful andAsk anyone on the streets of Harare, In terms of contemporary Africanist condescendingJohannesburg, Lusaka or Lilongwe (in Southern discourse, though, Ubuntu/botho is bestand Eastern Africa) what they understand by understood as a critique of the logic of narrative thatUbuntu/botho and they will probably list the colonialism – the process of attempting to thrived through avirtues to which a person in these societies is “humanize” or “civilize” non-Western culturesexpected to aspire – such as compassion, through colonization. Colonialism was a pretext ofgenerosity, honesty, magnanimity, empathy, powerful and condescending narrative that “humanizing” orunderstanding, forgiveness and the ability to thrived through a pretext of “humanizing” orshare. Indeed, Ubuntu/botho (or the local “civilizing” non-Western peoples. The “civilizing” non-equivalent in the various Bantu language consequences of this false doctrine of humanism Western peoples.groups)1 is understood as the very definition of were to become the bedrock of colonial practices‘person’ or ‘personhood’. But the term in Africa, as an institutionalized form of social The consequencesUbuntu/botho impregnates societies in the Darwinism2 nurtured by racialist capitalism. of this falseregion to a much greater extent, forming the Racialist capitalism is a theory in which a person’s race determines his or her life choices or doctrine of potential, like the kind of job to have, where to humanism were live, the kind of person to marry, the kind of school to attend, and so on. The effects of this to become the theory on the South African experience can be bedrock of seen in the many draconian laws aimed at curbing the potentialities of the black person. colonial practices This system motivated the 1913 Land Act that in Africa, as an forbade blacks from buying lands in South Africa; the colour bar of 1918; the Bantu Education Act institutionalized of 1953 which abolished the teaching of African form of social history; the job Reservation Act which gave priority to whites in matters of employment; the Darwinism various segregation policies from as early as 1907 nurtured by that restricted the movement of blacks and reduced them to mere instruments of labour. racialist As early as 1858, the South African-Boer capitalism. constitution had already ruled out any form of equality between blacks and whites in matters of State or Church. The prevailing argument was that forced labour was ordained by God as a divine privilege for the white race to claim authority of domination over blacks, as the then president of the South-African Republic, Paul Kruger, informed his Volksraad [Peoples’ Council] in August 1897 – “Our constitution wants no equality and equality is also against the Bible, because social classes were also applied by God.” And, later, in his Memoirs, he wrote: “…where there were only a handful of white men to keep hundreds of thousands of blacks in order, severity was essential. The black man had to be 1. The term Ubuntu/botho is generally derived from a vernacular mode of referring to a ‘person’ among the peoples of southern, eastern, (some western) and central Africa, generally referred to as the Bantu language groups. The Shona call a ‘person’ in the singular munhu and in the plural vanhu. The Zulu, Xhosa, and Ndebele call a ‘person’ umuntu in the singular and abantu in the plural. The Sotho and Tswana refer to a ‘person’ as muthu in the singular and bathu in the plural. © 2. A derivative of Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, Social Darwinism means that stronger nations have the moral authority or even an obligation to conquer, subjugate and dominate weaker nations. It is simply the natural order of things. THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 11
  • 12. taught that he came second, that he belongs to sledgehammer kind of ethics that helps us tothe inferior class which must obey and learn.” deal with the traumas of modernity and This mindset would form the political globalization. The argument is that, since weblueprint for South Africa’s colonial history and cannot positively identify Ubuntu as an authenticwas the foundation upon which the new South historical culture, it remains an inventedAfrica gained national sovereignty. But if the discourse, in an alien format. Being ‘invented’,South African colonial state had been founded Ubuntu is more or less an ‘empty concept’upon the ideology of social Darwinism, what through which Africanist academics perform ashould be the ideological foundation of the new, supple manoeuvre of identity formation using andemocratic, independent state? This is where ‘imported’ cultural nationalism. Evidence isUbuntu/botho comes in. sought from different African cultural traditions Everyday life under As a public discourse, Ubuntu/botho has to homogenize a range of values that are then Apartheidgained recognition as a peculiar form of African represented as Ubuntu. Ubuntu is thushumanism, encapsulated in the following Bantu generalized as a universal African value,aphorisms, like Motho ke motho ka batho babang; irrespective of the actual historical context of theUmuntu ngumuntu ngabantu (a person is a societies that practice it. However, Ubuntu doesperson through other people). In other words, a not need to generate a homogenous historicity3human being achieves humanity through his or to become an authentic African value. Andher relations with other human beings. But this neither does a lack of historical authenticityunderstanding does not need to generate an deprive Ubuntu of such normative legitimacy.oppressive structure, where the individual loseshis or her autonomy in an attempt to maintain a As a public discourse, Ubuntu/bothorelationship with an ‘other’. Many Africanist scholars would describe has gained recognition as a peculiarUbuntu/botho as an arbitrary communitarian form of African humanism.ethics that admits the individual’s good andwelfare only as a secondary necessity. But a The second conjecture is that Ubuntu has thecritical reading of this condition of relationship character of an ideology, appropriated forto others might suggest that a person’s humanity political ends, as was evident in its applicationflourishes through a process of relation and during the Truth and Reconciliation Commissiondistance, of uniqueness and difference. A (TRC), and the initial draft constitution of Southrealization of the subjective gifts (of humanity) Africa. As an ideology it can be applied as awe bear to each other motivates an ‘magic wand’ to deal with every emergent socialunconditional desire to view and harness other crisis. And as an ideology, its usage can also bepeople’s uniqueness and difference, not as a abused and ceases to be an ethical value,threat but as a complement to one’s own becoming a value-commodity which is thenhumanity. The Christian African philosopher, J. S. appropriated to create a positive corporate orMbiti’s now classic phrase, “I am, because we are; brand image, as in ‘Ubuntu security’, ‘Ubuntuand since we are therefore I am”, captures a key restaurant’, ‘Ubuntu linux’, ‘Ubuntu cola’, etc.feature of this kind of subjective formation The third sequence is a vision of history inthrough relation and distance. Mbiti subscribes which Ubuntu/botho is considered within the A beach for Whites only into an affirmation of human subjectivity that puts historical context in which it emerged. Being Cape Town, South Africa, incommunitarian good before individual good. I historical, it also gains an emotional and ethical January 1970disagree, however, with this prioritizing of the legitimacy, since it is signified as a good thatcommunity over the individual. Neither is prior. remains internal to the practices of a communityThe relation with the ‘other’ is one of subjective where Ubuntu/botho values are invoked.equality, where the mutual recognition of our The question, then, is whetherdifferent but equal humanity opens the door to Ubuntu/botho, construed as an ideology,unconditional tolerance and a deep appreciation precludes all possibilities of creative historicity?4of the ‘other’ as an embedded gift that enriches My answer is no! The context in whichone’s humanity. Ubuntu/botho emerged (even as an ideology) in the political history of South Africa was anA unifying ideology? attempt to configure a theory of politicalWithin the contemporary history of South Africa, succession that is consistent with the vision of anthere are three main ways in which Ubuntu hasbeen understood: First is the assumption that Ubuntu is merely 3. The idea that African historiography is a single historicalan anachronistic philosophy produced by African narrative irrespective of many cultures, people(s) and traditionsacademics. Here Ubuntu functions as an that inhabit the geographical place called Africa. 4. Creative historicity argues that history is neither a fixation onalternative narrative to replace colonial logic, a the past nor a mere chronology of events. Good history is opendesperate discourse of identity – a to multiple influences and contexts.12 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 13. emergent national imaginary. Irrespective of its Understood as a narrative of a new nationaldoubtful origins, the moment at which consciousness, Ubuntu not only offers anUbuntu/botho became a public virtue that is emotional legitimacy to displace the old politicaleasily recognized by all South Africans, order; it also gives the new political order aconstitutes its historicity. The lack of authentic sense of identity and political purpose. While thehistorical origins (in written records, or as a old order thrived on a notion of citizenshipnuanced cultural dogma) does not neutralize its based on discrimination and difference, the newcredibility. regime attempted to gain legitimacy by trying to forge a notion of democratic citizenship that thrives through inclusion and civic virtues. But the new dispensation has to be based on a system that excludes the oppressive structures of the past, and adopts instead a system of values that is built on a notion of rights and the unconditional dignity of the human person. At this point, the ‘notion’ of Ubuntu assumes an ethical character in forging a new sense of national identity. Critics of the use of Ubuntu as a unifying ideology argue that it is merely an incoherent, invented ethics with no history. But ideologies do not predate history; they emerge as a response to specific issues within a historical epoch, challenging, correcting or displacing a mindset (or old ideology). The challenge, then, is to see whether Ubuntu can be rehabilitated as an ideology, focusing primarily on its normative essence, or whether the lack of historicity will always deny it any real substance. At the same time, the practice of the human virtues through which a Bantu becomes a Munhu, Umuntu, or a Muntu (etc) is not external, © UNESCO/N.Mc Kenna Durrel but internal to the context where it is practiced. Yet, Ubuntu has been able to transcend this moral relativism by generating an ethical practice, which all South Africans, irrespective of their socio-cultural background, have judged to be good. This evaluative norm was to become the inspiration for building the new South Africa, guarded by the need for reconciliation and not division; forgiveness, not resentment; understanding, not vengeance; and ubuntu, not victimization (see the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Documents of South Africa). These were time-honoured values to which most South Africans already aspired, paving the way for a new national imaginary. And this gives Ubuntu its moral authority. ■ Michael Onyebuchi Eze is a Nigerian-American visiting research scholar at the Center for African Studies at Stanford University, (USA). He received his PhD in Intellectual History from Universität Witten-Herdecke (Germany) and taught African © United Nation Photo studies at the universities of Augsburg and Frankfurt. He is author of two books, The Politics of History in Contemporary Africa and Intellectual History in Contemporary South Africa (Palgrave- Macmillan, 2010). OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 13
  • 14. © Marie.C.Cambon What happened to hospitality? An ongoing series of crises and a growing number of refugees have transformed the socio- cultural landscape of the contemporary world. To address the challenges these changes have wrought, a new kind of humanism is required– one capable of responding to the needs of communities made up of different cultures that are forever multiplying. human being and a certain kind of respective communities and cultures, ASIMINA KARAVANTA society, namely that of western cultural often diasporic, multilingual, and values. intercultural. Two world wars, concentration camps, The discrepancy between the Because humanism is no longer sweat shops, and the other apparatus of promise of humanism and its solely the product of European global capitalism whatever their instrumental role in colonialism, monarchies and empires whose colonial qualifying differences, are defining imperialism, and the slave trade, projects grounded their ideological events of the twentieth century as generated a severe critique of humanism imperatives in Enlightenment ideals; having a very dark history. The victims and its ethically and politically because it no longer defines the nation of anticolonial and civil wars must also contradicting principles that reached a exclusively as a monocultural, be factored in. This sombre tableau is climax in the 1960s. This systematic monolingual construct, it is “making a evidence of the destructive potential deconstruction of humanism as an comeback” as a “newer variant, one that that was lurking beneath the cloaks of incontestable universal1 (see pp. 6-9) reprises an earlier humanism in which Enlightenment philosophers once their has intensified the need to reconfigure what is common to humans is not humanistic discourses were humanism from the perspective of rationality but the ontological fact of transformed into an ideological those who were “only recently mortality, not the capacity to reason but privilege of only a certain kind of recognized as humans”2 and their vulnerability to suffering.”3 14 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 15. J Demonstration in support of illegal migrant cultures. These ideas prompted heated Today, the political and economicworkers. France, 2009 debate after they appeared in his crises raging in the world are not only posthumously published Humanism and rapidly increasing the numbers of Democratic Criticism. For Said, as for refugees but also stripping thoseHumanism as a necessity others, humanism, “as the exertion of recognized as citizens of a long-In view of the growing number of one’s faculties in language in order to established right to work and a right torefugees and stateless people, of the understand, reinterpret, and grapple education. The citizen now becomes ansuccessive economic and political crises, with the products of language in a-polis citizen, one who is beingthe rise of fundamentalisms, history, other languages, and other deprived of rights. In the squares ofxenophobia and new forms of racism, histories,” […] “is not a way of Madrid, Cairo and Athens, to mentionand the subsequent revolts of masses consolidating and affirming what ‘we’ only a few recent cases of mass revolt,demanding democracy, humanism have always known and felt, but rather a the stateless refugee meets the a-polisemerges as part of the “need” – in the means of questioning, upsetting, and citizen. Even if their demands arewords of the Palestinian-American reformulating so much of what is different, they are bound by their sharedwriter Edward Said (1935-2003) − for presented to us as ‘commodified’, claims to a democratic ideal that“deintoxicated, sober histories that packaged, uncontroversial, and recognizes the anthropos as its first andmake evident the multiplicity and uncritically codified certainties.” most fundamental principle. Despite thecomplexity of history without allowing The need to engage the ‘complexity differences in their political andone to conclude that it moves forward of history’ by learning how to remember economic positions, both the statelessimpersonally, according to laws the forgetting of those constituencies refugee and the a-polis citizen requiredetermined either by the divine or by and their heretofore marginalized and that a new polis be configured. In thisthe powerful.”4 rejected cultures has become an new polis, where diversity of languages, imperative in the present age. If the 20th traditions and myths constitute a daily “Only where things can be seen century is the “age of exilic reality, the practice of translation and consciousness,” as Said avers at the end transculturation are practices of survival. by many in a variety of aspects of Culture and Imperialism,5 the 21st One of humanism’s current without changing their identity, century is the age of anthropos, that is, challenges is how to develop conditions of the human species. Anthropos means: favourable to intercultural societies. In so that those who are gathered having a human face. other words, how to create societies around them know they see Intercultural society sameness in utter diversity, can The ancient Greeks believed the human 1. See Judith Butler, Ernest Laclau and Savoj Žižek, worldly reality truly and reliably being’s specificity in relation to other Contingency, Hegemony, Universality. London & New species was that he lived in a society York: Verso, 2000. appear.” ruled by law, in other words, in a city 2. See contribution of Joan Anim-Addo, “Towards a Post-Western Humanism Made to the Measure of Hannah Arendt state (polis, in Greek). The philosopher Those Recently Recognized as Human.” Edward Said Aristotle [4th century BCE] developed and Jacques Derrida: Reconstellating Humanism and the Global Hybrid. Eds. Mina Karavanta and Nina Said is known for having analyzed the idea of human beings as “political Morgan. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press,the historical, philosophical and literary animals” dwelling in the city [bios 2008. 250-274.values of Western humanism; he has politicos in Greek]. Closer to our time 3. Honig, Bonnie. “Antigone’s Two Laws: Greek Tragedy and the Politics of Humanism.” New Literarystudied Western humanism’s violent the German-born American History, 41.1 (2010): 1-33.ideological impact on non-Western philosopher Hannah Arendt has 4. Said, Edward, Humanism and Democratic depicted the modern day refugee as a Criticism, New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.K Exercise in a Lebanese secondary school to teach bios politicos par excellence, but one 5. Said, Edward, Culture and Imperialism, Vintageabout dialogue, tolerance and peace, in 2003. bereft of a polis. Books, 1993.Photo : Bassam Jamalelddine © UNESCO/Aspnet
  • 16. that will allow both the refugee and thenative born citizen to establish exchanges Justicethat are at once durable and productive.When viewed as a common field sharedby multiple alliances and potentialaffiliations, this intercultural societypresupposes a radical reconfiguration ofthe institutions and social, educationaland political discourses that should beaddressing the needs of expandingintercultural communities in the nation-states and their supranational formations. Interculturality is a condition, bothontological and political, that hasalready transformed the nation-statefrom within. But for human beings to besocially and politically recognized assingular yet also equal, it is necessary toreform education so as to enable theblossoming of an intercultural learningand living that is − in the words ofFrench philosopher Jacques Derrida −continuously opening the laws ofhospitality to the foreigner to whom“hospitality is due.”6 Building this kind of humanism,hospitable to the one who remains aforeign anthropos, and which byreconstituting its laws and discourses,speaks to her/his often radicallydifferent ontological and politicalcondition is the task of the humanitiestoday. According to the Americanfeminist scholar Judith Butler, this task is“no doubt to return us to the humanwhere we do not expect to find it, in itsfrailty and at the limits of its capacity tomake sense.”7 In other words, it is tothink of the human as the anthroposalways already at stake, always alreadyat risk, the face whose gaze is fixed onus in an open and persistent invitationfor justice on a planetary scale. ■ Asimina Karavanta holds a doctorate in comparative literature and teaches at the University of Athens. She is specialized in postcolonial literatures and theories, and is the co-author with Nina Mogan of Edward Said and Jacques Derrida: Reconstellating Humanism and the Global Hybrid, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008.6. Derrida, Jacques. Of Hospitality. Trans. RachelBowlby. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000.7. Butler Judith. Precarious Life. The Powers ofMourning and Violence. London & New York: Verso,2004.16 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 17. Another version of distributive justice defines individuals essentially asdignityand economic agents seeking to ‘maximize outcome,’ in other words, to boost their income and/or their purchasing power. Proponents of this theory, which measures costs in monetary units and results in terms of ‘units of outcome,’ push for policies geared toward increasing the units of outcome for the most impoverished, to improve their Hundreds of millions of people suffer from hardship and well being and to mitigate their poverty throughout the world, a situation that sanctions a poverty. In this case, priorities are set according to their value for money. For philosophical approach promoting distributive justice. This example, in the USA a decision was theory underpins a truly humanist intervention when it is taken regarding medical care that favoured State funding for operations dispensed with respect for the dignity of the individual, his to remove tonsils, rather than for renal or her autonomy and personal responsibility. dialysis, even though dialysis patients are far more seriously ill. The decision meant reaching a larger number of people at lesser cost. example, an approach that views the If, however, we conceive of PAULETTE DIETERLEN most underprivileged people as individuals not only as means but also passive, unable to set goals for as ends, the ensuing distribution themselves and determine their own policies must foster better economic Despite the numerous treaties, needs, gives rise to paternalistic and social conditions so that the agreements and international summit policies. Those receiving the distributed beneficiaries can work toward meetings of the twentieth century, and benefits cannot voice their opinions nor achieving their life goals. This idea is the ongoing goal of combating poverty have any power over their essential based on the concept of the human and reducing inequality in the world, rights, as others are deciding in their being as an autonomous and worthy one fact is clear: far from declining, stead. This occurs frequently in many individual, able to choose from among poverty continues to grow. According countries. In Mexico, for example, as the various options at hand. This is to the World Bank, 1.4 billion people part of a social housing programme, certainly the most ethical and humanist were living below the poverty level in the government decided to put a position offered by distributive justice. 2008, surviving on less than $1.25 per laundry room into every house. But The Mexican “Progresa” programme is day, per person. The planet now women were used to taking their an example. Rather than offering food supports nearly 7 billion people, which washing down to the river. They turned handouts, it runs education and means that 20 per cent of the world’s the laundry rooms into family shrines, information campaigns on health and population do not have sufficient where their offerings ended up nutrition and allocates subsidies to resources to meet basic needs; these blocking the pipes. families, leaving them free to decide people suffer inhumane treatment and how to use the money. are doomed to subsist in conditions of If, however, we conceive of social, economic and political exclusion. Global justice individuals not only as means but There is a theory in moral That being so, should distributive philosophy that deals directly with also as ends, the ensuing justice opt for the individual or the poverty and inequality: ‘distributive social group as the unit of distribution? distribution policies must foster justice’. This concept examines ways to This question pitches liberal thinkers, alter the principles governing the better economic and social who have adopted an egalitarian distribution of goods and resources, position, against those who promote conditions so that the when these principles do not respect more communitarian theories. The the rights, worth and needs of each beneficiaries can work toward latter maintain that individual-based person. social policies are deficient in that they achieving their life goals. This idea The various facets of this theory fail to take into account the fact that arise from the particular vision of the is based on the concept of the human beings do not live in isolation, human being that underpins one policy but are an inseparable part of a culture human being as an autonomous of distribution rather than another. For or social group that defines their and worthy individual, able to identity. Hence the importance, for communitarian theorists, of factoring in J Outside the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court, in choose from among the various Brasilia, 1998 the history and peculiarities of each © UNESCO/Ivaldo Alves options at hand. community — as each social group THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 17
  • 18. develops specific forms of production,redistribution and consumption ofgoods and services. Proponents of individual-baseddistributive justice maintain thatcommunities are not uniform in nature Towards a Humanistand that it is therefore impossible tomeet the criteria of distribution withoutgiving priority to the individuals whoform these communities. Yet a third version of distributive turnjustice exists, known as ‘global justice.’This theory transcends the traditionalconcept of the nation-state, focusinginstead on the problems posed bypoverty and inequality on a worldwidescale. Theorists of global justice supporta system of international institutions Instead of looking for the universal in biological nature, aresponsible for redressing injusticescommitted against individuals as recent humanist turn in the social sciences and humanitiesresidents of the planet, rather than as is focusing on what all human beings around the globemembers of a community, or citizens ina particular country. share, without neglecting their differences. And instead of From a humanist viewpoint, these thinking that a universal humanist culture has to bethree theories — individual,communitarian and global — share the invented or imposed on other cultures, the new approachsame goal: to implement policies of believes that universal ideas and values are already presentdistributive justice, by viewing peopleas worthy individuals capable of in all cultures. It also acknowledges that peopleexercising their own autonomy. The everywhere on the planet are sharing dehumanizingMexican government is currently usingincentives as part of its policies to experiences – which should encourage us to consider whatcombat poverty – people are able to it means to live a humane and dignified their needs and choose whatseems to them most essential. Thishelps to strengthen the beneficiaries’ awareness that, in our modern world, it OLIVER KOZLAREKsense of responsibility and their ability is important to reflect upon theto make decisions. coexistence of distinct cultures and If the person, in and of him- or forms of life, while at the same timeherself, forms the cornerstone of this In the 1960s social movements all around resisting the temptation to reduce thisphilosophy, and if policies to improve the globe started to modify their plurality once more to an artificial,quality of life with decent conditions of agendas. Instead of looking for universal abstract unity dominated by one set ofequality and respect for rights are solutions — which were increasingly interests. And this provides us with aproposed, distributive justice can be identified with totalitarian ambitions — glimpse of the critical potential of thesaid to comply with the values of they began to pay more attention to the ‘cultural turn’. In contrast to the idea thathumanism. ■ recognition of cultural, ethnic and sexual all human cultures are being propelled differences and identities. The student towards the same evolutional end-goal protests were perhaps the most (telos) — an idea that was promulgated emblematic sign of a profound by the influential ‘modernization Paulette Dieterlen is a Mexican reassessment of the role that culture theories’ in the first decades after World philosopher and researcher, member plays in human life that was also being War II — the cultural turn rescues the of the Instituto de Investigaciones played out in theoretical debates and in idea that processes of civilization and Filosóficas at the Universidad Nacional politics throughout the 1960s and 70s. culture – and their results – do not Autónoma de México (UNAM), and an Simultaneously, intellectual and follow a logical, predetermined path. expert on distributive justice and academic debates began to be interested But, however important the cultural public policy. She has published, more in culture and initiated what today turn may have been, I also believe that among other books, La pobreza: un is widely recognized as a ‘cultural turn’ in culturalism has given rise to a climate of estudio filosófico (Poverty: A the social sciences and humanities.1 cultural relativism that is not only Philosophical Approach), Fondo de This ‘cultural turn’ strengthened and dangerous but also incorrect. The errors Cultura Económica/Instituto de propagated a number of values, in these positions, though evident, have Investigaciones Filosóficas, 2002. including cultural pluralism and an been ignored for a long time. One of the18 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 19. solidarity. However, I do not believe that this shared humanity is sufficient; it is too abstract. Instead, we must engage in a dialogue between cultures to discuss what it means to live a dignified life as a human being. It is within and through culture that we learn how to perceive ourselves as human beings. By studying and comparing different cultures we can see just how much they share. The ‘humanist turn’ and the ‘cultural turn’ must complement one another. This means that humanism must be intercultural and involve dialogue. Lessons from traditional humanism All cultures and civilizations have humanist traditions. But the ‘humanist turn’ is not a return to traditional forms of humanism. One of the problems with traditional forms of humanism is that they are inspired by historical experiences that are no longer ours. The humanism that accompanied the European Renaissance, for instance, cannot be detached from ambitions to challenge the authority of the Church. Another problem is that many traditional forms of humanism are overly linked to naturalism. Again, the humanism of the European Renaissance could be quoted as an example. It was interested in discovering the ‘nature of © Janaka Dharmasena Man’ in accordance with the ‘nature of the universe’. This tradition of naturalism is still very much alive today in various scientific ideas that tend to reduce the human condition to biology. In contrastL "Study of the proportions of the human body according to Vitruvius" by Leonardo da Vinci at the end of to naturalism, a new humanism needsthe 15th century, as reworked by Sri Lankan photographer, Janaka Dharmasena to understand that we become human in and through culture.most obvious is that different cultures Civilizations’ — put forward by Samuel But it would be equally mistakenare incommensurable and cannot be Huntington, and which proposes that simply to forget about the traditionalreconciled, while in fact they share different cultures are profoundly forms of humanism that can be foundmany affinities and similarities. incommensurable — is wrong. in the legacies of many different The work of the German Antweiler’s ideas seem to have hit a cultures. It is in these traditions that weanthropologist, Christoph Antweiler, nerve. We can already see signs that can find clear evidence for the fact thatgives a spectacular account of how culturalism is losing its energy. Many human beings share, and have alwaysmany ‘norms, values and ideals’ authors feel the need to look for shared, very important ideas aboutdifferent cultures share2. Antweiler normative tendencies across cultures, what it means to be human. Butsuggests that we often do not see these not so much to deny the reality of learning from other traditions ofsimilarities because we do not want to. cultural differences, as to oppose humanism does not only mean toHowever, he also suggests that if only cultural relativism. The question then is: reaffirm what we already know. In hiswe looked for similarities we would find with what can we identify, as human book on Humanism in East Asianthem. With the right attitude, Antweiler beings, beyond the cultural andtells us, we are able to see formulations national differences that separate us?of human rights not only in the ‘West’ Many are looking for a new orientation 1. Doris Bachmann-Medick, Cultural Turns.but also in Confucianism, Buddhism in some form of humanism. They seem Neuorientierungen in den Kulturwissenschaften, Rowohlt Verlag: 2006.and Islam. Antweiler’s main argument is to think that the simple fact of being 2. Christoph Antweiler: Mensch und Weltkultur [Manthat the idea of the ‘Clash of human grants us a new form of global and World Culture], Transcript Verlag, 2010. THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 19
  • 20. experiences of alienation seem to At least a part of their endeavour should transcend these differences. We are all be dedicated to the cultivation and suffering from the destruction of our promulgation of a humanist culture natural environment; we are all living in beyond the ivory tower. societies where social relations suffer To sum up, the current humanist from a growing sense of mistrust. Those turn that is starting to appear in many who are better off may try to academic and non-academic arenas, compensate for the lack of satisfying seems to be motivated by the need to social relations through consumption, move beyond the awareness of cultural while those who do not have the means differences and to look for that which all © Ananya Banerjee − experience a desperate longing for human beings share, without consumption. In most parts of the world neglecting the differences. Instead of people are exposed to old and new looking for the universal in biological forms of violence and injustice. Political nature, or thinking that a universal and economic institutions behave in humanist culture has to be invented or ways that people can hardly identify imposed on other cultures, the current with. humanist turn presupposes that Again, despite considerable local universal ideas and values are already and social differences, the experiences present in all different cultures. At the of human beings under these same time, the new humanism seems to dehumanizing conditions tend to be recognize that global modernity needsL Painting courtesy of Indian artist, Ananya very similar all over the planet. And this normative orientations that all humanBanerjee. must surely be something we can learn beings can agree upon. And last but notConfucianism3 Professor Chun-chieh from, if we compare contemporary least, it is a result of commonHuang explains brilliantly that East cultures on a global scale. J. M. experiences of alienation that globalAsian Confucianism was very much Coetzee’s5 South Africa resembles modernity has provoked in differentconcerned with the harmonious Rubem Fonseca’s6 Brazil; Octavio Paz’7 parts of the world. The most importantrelationship between human beings critique of modernity is similar to that task, however, is to translate the ideasand the social and natural world that found in the writing of Theodor W. and values into everyday practices. ■they are a part of. One cannot help Adorno8. Comparative research in thethinking that a strong sense of ‘world social sciences and humanities could 3. Chun-chien Huang, Humanism in East Asianharmony’ such as this could guide us extend our understanding of the Confucian Contexts, Transcript Verlag, 2010.through the ecological and social dehumanization that people all over the 4. Erich Fromm (1900-1980), German-borndisasters accompanying the modern planet are suffering. American humanist psychoanalyst, and author of Escape from Freedom, 1941; The Art of Loving, 1956;destruction of the natural world as well The Sane Society, the devastations of our social worlds. Humanism in everyday life 5. J.M Coetzee, South African writer, Nobel Prize inQuestions like this have to be discussed By the same token, the ‘humanist turn’ Literature, 2003 6. Rubem Fonseca, Brazilian born writerwithin an intercultural perspective. And should not be seen as an endeavour 7. Octavio Paz (1914-1998), Mexican writer andI am convinced that the social sciences confined to academic or intellectual essayist, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1990and humanities provide excellent circles alone. Some time ago, the 8. Theodor W. Adorno (1903 – 1969), German-born sociologist, philosopher and musicologistspaces in which this kind of intercultural German historian, Jörn Rüsen, explained 9. Jörn Rüsen/Henner Laass (eds.), Humanism indialogue among different traditions of that humanism has to have ‘practical’ Intercultural Perspective. Experiences andhumanism can be cultivated. ambitions as well: “The idea of Expectations, Transcript Verlag, 2010. humanism must always be put intoShared experiences of social contexts in order to make itdehumanization plausible and give it its place in real Oliver Kozlarek is professor of politicalAn idea expressed by Erich Fromm,4 life”9. What Rüsen expresses here seems and social philosophy at the Instituteamong others, supports the possibility to me to be of fundamental importance. for Philosophical Research, Universidadof a common humanist understanding, It is only if humanism comes to Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgodespite differences. Humanism is always constitute a central influence on the (Mexico). He was a member of thea consequence of experiences of ways we think and act in everyday life research project on ‘Humanism in thealienation. It is an outcry from people that it can hope to begin to foster a Age of Globalization’ from 2007 to 2009.who feel that the conditions for living a humanist culture that is not only Since 2010 he has also been director ofhumanely dignified life are withering theoretical and abstract. It is my the research project ‘Modernity, Critiqueaway. In a world like ours, individual contention that this ‘translation’ of and Humanism’ in Mexico. He isexperiences may vary greatly. In our humanist ideas and values into currently co-editor of a major bookglobal, modern world, chances are everyday political, social and economic series on Intercultural Humanism. Hisunevenly distributed, and economic, practices represents above all a task for books include: Humanismo en la épocapolitical and military powers are political and economic institutions. But de la globalización: Desafíos y horizontesunevenly concentrated. However, it is again, the social sciences and (2009) (with Jörn Rüsen), Octavio Paz:also a world in which certain humanities can play an important role. Humanism and Critique (2009).20 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 21. Instead of looking for the universal in biological nature, or thinking that a universal humanist culture has to be invented or imposed on other cultures, the current humanist turn presupposes that universal ideas and values are already present in all different cultures. © Benjamin Bini - J From the Faces à lAme series by French artist, Benjamin Bini.International researchThe Project ‘Humanism in the Age of Globalization – an Intercultural Dialogue about Culture, Humanity and Values’ washosted by the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) in Essen, Germany and directed by Jörn Rüsen. Theproject initiated a dialogue between scholars from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America in order to show that differenthumanist traditions have existed in different parts of the world, but also that these humanist traditions could become animportant inspiration in our contemporary modern world. Although the project concluded officially in 2009, after havingreceived generous financial support from the German Mercator Foundation, publication of the results continues. From 2009to date a book series by the German publisher Transcript Verlag has published 14 volumes in German and English. The workof the project is being continued in other projects. The project ‘Modernity, Critique and Humanism’ directed by OliverKozlarek with funding from the Mexican Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACyT) can be seen as an offspring.
  • 22. The Muslim phase of humanismContrary to popular belief, humanism developed within the framework of religiousthought – first Greek, then Muslim and finally Christian. In the Golden Age of Islam fromthe 9th to the 12th centuries, first the Mu’tazili, then the Falasifa explored the limits ofhumanist thought and the concept of free will in a world dominated by a unique and all-powerful God, anticipating the 18th century encyclopedic approach to knowledge. MAHMOUD HUSSEIN Humanism did not arise in Europe in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. This period, known as the Renaissance, was one period in the long history of humanism, which began two thousand years earlier in Athens and continued during the Golden Age of Islam, from the ninth to the twelfth century. Renaissance thinkers referred specifically to the legacy of ancient Greece, which they revived and used as a model. But they preferred to overlook the Muslim period of humanism. Those who make the same mistake today do so because they believe that the humanist approach is, by definition, anti-religious. Yet for most of its history, humanism developed within the framework of religious thought, not outside of it. Neither Leonardo da Vinci,1 Michelangelo,2 Shakespeare,3 Racine,4 Descartes5 or Newton6 ever questioned the power of God. Humanism objected to a certain image of God: the image of an inaccessible God, indifferent to human suffering, who had determined the personal fate of each and every person for eternity. This was the image fostered by the dogma of predestination, according to which men and women © Izzedine - Wikimedia Commons have no free will over their lives. Not only does earthly existence have no importance in and of itself—it is only a J The Abu Dulaf mosque in Samarra (Iraq) is one of the most important works of architecture in the Islamic world. It dates from the 9th century. The Samarra archaeological city is inscribed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage
  • 23. path to heaven—but mankind has no In the democratic city, debate was could be expressed, as distinguishedcontrol over its destiny. There is no free widespread and speech ruled supreme. from the will of God, but withoutwill. On the one hand was the absolute To convince others, one had to reason. challenging His supreme authority.power of God; on the other, the The principles of abstract logic, valid This realm was conceptualized forabsolute powerlessness of mankind. everywhere and for all, encouraged the the first time in the ninth century in “We were … chosen from the exploration of philosophy and Baghdad, under the Abbasid Caliphate.beginning,” wrote Saint Paul, “under the mathematics. And with it, man Islam was by then an immense,predetermined plan of the one who developed powerful leverage over powerful and prosperous empire thatguides all things as he decides by his aspects of his life. encompassed a multitude of differentown will.”7 One millennium later, Humanism in ancient Greece people, religions and cultures. Itstraditionalists and classical theologians therefore formed a perimeter of capital, Baghdad, had a population ofof Islam adhered to this same belief; intellectual freedom and efficiency, one million, while Rome had 30,000seven centuries after them, Luther8 and through which human life—without people, and Lutetia, barely 10,000. InCalvin9 would use the same words. It challenging the overall global order or trade, trust was the rule, so that a bill ofwas against this concept of the all- the power of the gods—became a exchange signed in India was honoredpowerful divine that humanism fought. valued enterprise in and of itself. as far away as Morocco. But how was ancient Greece used The great caliphs decided toas a model for those who, first in the Qudra or the power of man embrace this power and diversity,Muslim world and later in the Christian The monotheistic God changed the opting to encourage intelligentworld, would wage the fight against the situation. He not only took over the thought. They supported efforts todogma of predestination? partial power wielded by the Greek gods, but also the universal cosmic forceA perimeter of intellectual freedom that applied to these gods as well as to 1. Leonardo da Vinci, [1452-1519], Italian painter,In a context entirely different from that mankind. The abstract, impersonal polymath and humanist philosopher.of monotheism, Greece had already power of the cosmos was replaced by 2. Michelangelo [1475-1564], Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor and architect.confronted this concept of the omnipotent, personal, creative and 3. William Shakespeare [1564-1616], one of thepredestination. In their view, the active power of God. He became both greatest English playwrights and poets.cosmos was a finite space, with a the One and the All-Powerful. 4. Jean Racine [1639-1699], classical French playwright.harmonious and hierarchical structure, From this point on, the believer had 5. René Descartes [1596-1650], Frenchin which everyone’s place was defined to explore his own freedom within the mathematician and rationalist philosopher.once and for all. Mankind was not at orbit of this Almighty. There was no 6. Isaac Newton [1643- 1727], English physicist, philosopher and theologian.the top of the cosmic structure; gods question of pitting the derisory power 7. Epistle to the Ephesiansstood above them. But cosmic laws of man against the infinite power of 8. Martin Luther [1483-1546], German priest andapplied to everyone, gods and men God. More humbly, it involved father of protestantism. 9 Jean Calvin, [1509-1564], French theologian andalike. cultivating the intellectual, moral and scholar, one of the main architects of the Protestant The latter therefore endured a dual aesthetic realms where human initiative reformation.burden: first, the abstract, impersonal,immutable one of the cosmos; and the K Miniature by Al-Mubashshir (Syria) from the early 13th century. It shows Socrates (left) with two of his studentsmore personal, familial and capriciousconstraints of the gods. Man was powerless against theorder of the cosmos; he could only tryto navigate his own way. Yet with thegods, who had superhuman powersbut were riddled with human frailties,mankind learned how to negotiate,trick and cheat. Ultimately, mandiscovered that nature operatedaccording to specific laws of thecosmos, which lay beyond the power ofthe gods, and that men could therefore © Musée du palais Topkapi, Istanbul, to learn and master these laws. This was the context in whichhumanism developed. The Greeksinvented a new, specifically humanenvironment: the polis. Within it, theindividual was no longer subject to thetraditional power of tribes and clans;citizens were equal before the law andpersonal merit could prevail over theprivilege of birth.
  • 24. revive ancient knowledge—including This vision, which fully expressed thesecular knowledge drawn from the dogma of predestination, may seemlegacy of Greek science and philosophy, unjust and immoral. What is required ofwhich would soon be translated into the believer is not understanding, butArabic. rather acceptance and submission to God This context fostered the through an unconditional embrace ofdevelopment of a theological movement total faith. One is then allowed to placeamong religious scholars of the period; one’s hopes in divine mercy andthese were the Mu‘tazili, who interpreted compassion.the Quran from a viewpoint of rational © All rights reserved Source Wikimediathought and inquiry. Precursors of the Encylopedists According to this interpretation, men By the late ninth century, theare distinct creatures, separate from the confrontation between the Mu‘tazili andrest of Creation, due to the fact that God the traditionalists was decided in favor ofgave them an effective power (qudra), the latter. They not only eliminated theonce and for all time, by which they can concept of free will, but worked to flushchoose to act freely. out and combat all the rationalist This freedom allows them to act as movements that appeared in Muslim‘God’s lieutenants on earth.’ During their thought.time on earth, men are not supposed to They specifically targeted the Falasifa L Avicenna as "Princeps Abinsceni" with crown andbe self-effacing. Quite the opposite, they (philosophers), who were pursuing an sceptre, woodcut, Venice 1520are encouraged to be assertive, to display encyclopedic approach that embraceda sense of initiative and to develop their every sphere of knowledge. They on divine revelation, they heralded thetalents, all with the purpose of redeemed the secular disciplines encyclopedic approach of the eighteenthconstructing a fair and united Muslim developed by the Greeks—medicine, mathematics, astronomy and The Falasifa had a longer, although Within this community, worldly pharmacology—and studied nature as it less specific influence than that of theexistence is celebrated for its own value. It was, and not as a reflection of the all- Mu‘tazili. They were in the forefront for ais recommended, insofar as is possible, to powerful divine. time in Baghdad, Cordoba and Cairo, butimprove the living conditions of others. Al-Kindi,10 al-Farabi,11 Ibn Sina were also eclipsed for long periods. TheirBeauty is prized, the body is honoured (Avicenna)12 and Ibn Rushd (Averroes)13 doctrinal authority ended with the deathand pleasures are encouraged, within the developed a new philosophy, through of Averroes in the late twelfth century.limits of decency and moderation. which Aristotelian reason was reconciled In the meantime, the Islamic empire “Allah is He Who made the earth a with monotheism; it would inspire split into two, then three rival empires.resting place for you and the sky for a Maimonides14 and later, Thomas Islam suffered major military defeatscanopy, and fashioned you and perfected Aquinas.15 There is no ontological against the Crusaders around Jerusalemyour shapes, and hath provided you with difference between the truths reached by and the Catholic kings in al-Andalus.good things ...” (Quran, Sura 40, verse 64). philosophers and those revealed by God Soon after, it was devastated by the On Judgment Day, each person will to His prophets. The prophets perceived Mongol invasions.have to personally answer for the good through instant illumination that which In various capitals, Islam wasand the evil they have done during their philosophers discovered, step by step, via undermined by doubt, and power shiftedlifetimes. As God has full knowledge of rational thought. from the hands of cultivated princes totheir actions, He will reward or punish The Falasifa therefore explored the those of military leaders. The confidentaccording to a rational and moral justice. limits of humanist thought within a quest for knowledge was replaced by a The Mu‘tazili approach was monotheistic framework. Adopting the cautious defense of well-establishedsupported and even imposed on the argument of reason over that of beliefs. The concept of free will was lost inreligious elite by some of the greatest authority, even when the latter is based the Islamic world. And with it, theAbbasid caliphs. But it was so bold and so significance of a humanist approach.disturbing that, in the end, most of the Yet the works of the Muslim Falasifa,traditionalists, jurists and ultimately the 10. Al-Kindi (Alkindus) [801- 873], one of the translated from Arabic into Latin, would greatest Arab philosophers, translator of manytheologians themselves would unite Greek manuscripts. be taught in every European university.against it. 11. Al-Farabi (Alpharabius) [872- 873], Arab For several centuries, they nourished the All of them rejected the very idea of a polymath and commentator on the works of Plato. great debates that would lead to 12. Ibn Sina (Avicenna) [980-1037], Persianrational interpretation of the acts of God, philosopher, writer, doctor, astronomer and Renaissance thought. ■insofar as this placed limits on His all- alchemist.mighty power. Divine will is a mystery; it 13. Ibn Rushd (Averroes) [1126-1198], Andalusian philosopher, lawyer, mathematician, doctor andis not subject to any limitation. Hence, Islamic theologian .while having preordained the destiny of 14. Moïse Maimonides [1138-1204], doctor, Mahmoud Hussein (Egypt) is aeach person, God reserves the privilege philosopher and Andalusian rabbi. political scientist and Islamic scholar. His 15. Thomas Aquinus [1224-1274], one of theof reward and punishment, according to principal masters of scholastic philosophy and latest book (in French), “Penser le Coran,”His unfathomable will. Catholic theology. is published by Gallimard, Paris: 2011.24 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 25. The Confucianists honourbenevolence, the Mohistsuniversal love, the Taoistscompassion, and theBuddhists loving-kindness.As society evolves at highspeed, the core values ofChinese civilization can be © Zheng Ping Qiu/UNESCOconsidered a blueprint forthe development ofuniversal harmony and,thus, new humanism. L "Love" an ink painting on rice paper pasted onto damask paper, by Zhen Ping Qiu. The artist donated this work to UNESCO in 2006, on the 60th anniversary of the Organization. It is reproduced by kind permission of the artist. For a world of LIU JINew humanism is by no means novel the origins of science to understand the considered a founder of the movement.but rather a product of the evolutionary complexities of human behaviour and Shocked by a progressively materialisticpath forged by humanity. Its prominent advocated a synthesized philosophy of society in the United States, Babbittemergence can be linked to George science to bridge the gap between the believed Western society had becomeSarton [1884 – 1956], a renowned sciences and humanities, calling it ‘newBelgian-born American historian of humanism’. Adapted from the speech, “Embrace the Era of Newscience, who redefined humanism However, American literary critic Humanism”, delivered by Liu Ji at the 9th Euro-Chinathrough a scientific lens. He turned to Irving Babbitt [1865 – 1933] is largely Forum on June 27-28 at UNESCO Headquarters. THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 25
  • 26. victim to emotional and individualistic conscience to normalize social Confucian roots of humanisminstincts and thus campaigned for self- behaviour. In contrast, Western The great Chinese philosopherrestraint. An opponent of Romanticism, civilization regulates social behaviour Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC) describedhis key principles conflicted with the by external powers based on scientific benevolence as “loving people”; “Youintellectual trend of his time and were reasoning, hence the rule of law. yourself desire rank and standing, thendeemed controversial, yet sparked a The dichotomy between Western help others get rank and standing,” hegreat philosophical debate, which and Chinese civilizations is much like said. “You want to turn your ownshaped conservative intellectual the two hemispheres of the human merits to account, then help others tothinking post-World War II. brain: the logical left side and the turn theirs to account.” Babbitt’s humanistic philosophy emotional right side. Only when these For Confucianists, the ultimateentered China’s political and literary two hemispheres are mobilized goal is to develop a world of universalconsciousness through numerous simultaneously can their full potential harmony where people love allChinese scholars who studied with him be realized. Thus, logic and affection equally. As a result, those who are lessat Harvard University. Inspired by should be combined together to give a fortunate in society, the aged, orphansBuddhist and Confucian values, Babbitt full-scale representation of new and people with disabilities would beappealed culturally to his students who humanism. supported by the community. Materiallater adapted new humanism locally as Chinese people attach extreme resources would be used for goodwill,a counter-reaction to the May 4th importance to “the debt of gratitude” and social wealth owned and sharedmovement, which called for a rejection they owe others, repaying debt at any by all.of Chinese traditional values, Marxism price. According to notable Confucianist,and radical beliefs. They hold family affection sacred, Meng Ke, known as Mencius [372 - and try to avoid public conflict like 289 BC), man possesses four initialVirtue, affection and harmony suing relatives. However, the challenge senses just as he possesses four limbs.The practices of Chinese ancient is to simultaneously attain loyalty to “The sense of compassion is theculture can be considered a blueprint the nation and filial piety, which is the beginning of benevolence; the sensefor the development of new respect a child should show his or her of shame the beginning ofhumanism. Specifically, The Book of parents. righteousness; the sense of modestyChanges (also known as the I Ching), Harmony instils “good-tempered” the beginning of decorum; the senseone of China’s oldest classic texts, said individual behaviour in Chinese social of right and wrong the beginning ofto have been written by Emperor Fu order. Families believe that if they live wisdom.” These four sensesHsi (2953-2838 B.C.). It focuses on the in harmony, they will prosper. Business differentiate man from animal, andbalance of opposites and the etiquette is based on the notion that only with their integratedinevitability of change. According to “harmony brings wealth.” In country development can man really bethis text, “By observing the ornaments governance, harmony is the ultimate considered human. The doctrines of Confucius and Mencius have been the cornerstone of The dichotomy between Western and Chinese civilizations is much traditional Chinese culture for thousands of years and are stilllike the two hemispheres of the human brain: the logical left side and dominant today. According to some the emotional right side. Only when these two hemispheres are thinkers, it is under the influence of Confucianism that the Enlightenment mobilized simultaneously can their full potential be realized. Thus, philosophers of the 18th century logic and affection should be combined together to give a full-scale constructed the monumental Declaration of the Rights of Man and representation of new humanism. of the Citizen in 1789. Thus, the substance of newof the sky, we may understand the pursuit, whereas Western society humanism can only be enriched withprinciple of the transformation of the believes in the “survival of the fittest” the ingredients of Chinese culture. Asfour seasons; by observing ethical and ‘a law of the jungle’ where “the human society evolves at high speed,human relations and teaching the weak are the prey of the strong.” the construction of a harmoniouscommon people, we may transform Harmony also encompasses the world, which has long been thesocial traditions for the better.” Thus, ideal relationship of oneness between universal ideal of mankind, calls for thewe should observe human nature to man and nature, whereby man is an rise of new humanism. ■learn how to improve it, and in doing inherent part of nature and thusso, follow the fundamental values of should act according to natural laws.Chinese culture such as virtue, The Confucianists pay tribute toaffection, harmony and love. benevolence, the Mohists to universal Liu Ji is honorary president of CEIBS Throughout China’s long love, the Taoists to compassion, and (China Europe International Businesscivilization, virtue, both personal and the Buddhists to loving-kindness. Love School) and former vice president ofsocial, has guided people in their day- seems to be an omnipresent topic for the Chinese Academy of Socialto-day living, relying on one’s inner all schools of thought in China. Sciences.26 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 27. J Photograph from the Reflections in an eye of gold series by French artist, Laurent Goldstein, reproduced by kind permission of the artist. were to insist on taking the pre- eminence of human reason as absolute. But man’s excessive and outmoded pretensions today are to a total awareness of his own truth and energy. After four centuries of striving to dissociate all things by means of analysis, starting with himself, he is coming back to a synthetic view of the person, revivified by the soul. As a consequence, all values, everywhere in the world, and from all periods of world © Laurent Goldstein/La Collection history, not only find their use, but also their order and hierarchy. Whether these values have their origins in the UNESCO in 1951: East or West, they are no longer rivals, but are all converging towards this newTowards a new humanism humanism, with its tendency towards universalism arising from a real inner impulse, and no longer from some questionable aspiration […]Sixty years ago, UNESCO […] What Western man has, for four centuries, been calling humanism is the But the impulse that is needed today isheld a ‘Discussion on the ambition to achieve mastery over to liberate the human spirit from theCultural and Philosophical himself and the universe by the exercise bonds by which Western thinking has of his intellect in isolation from the rest held it captive for so long. The newRelations Between East and of his being. […] What it has called the humanism will be one where theWest’ in New Delhi, the dominion of the complete man is the methods of leadership and labour that contemplation of the entire world by a the Western intellect has been able tocapital of India, which man reduced to a part of himself. We acquire will be applied to theendorsed the idea of a new must abandon this error if we are to rediscovery of spiritual domains that repair humanism and expand it. have long been deserted. So, instead ofholistic humanism. Here we the intellect leading man to run the risksare publishing extracts Certainly not to destroy it, nor, as we that arise from his presumptions and have said, to renounce the conquests of usurpations, it will need all the vivacityfrom the discussion science, which are, after all, positive and strength it can muster, this time todocument submitted by achievements of the same spirit. For a serve the cause of the truly complete certain time and in certain places, man – not the man steered off courseparticipants, under the title Western humanism has been the sphere into the material world by his intellect,‘Towards a new Humanism’. for human accomplishments that are of but a man with body and soul united,At the time, Asian nations inherently outstanding value. But we using his mind to confront his own can no longer allow it to be exclusive mystery.were gaining […] If the word humanism is the nameindependence, while the we have to give to the home of human We believe that if this latter humanism genius, humanism does not date from were to develop, East and West wouldworld was still suffering the the 16th century; its only and permanent see the disappearance of much thataftermath of the Second home is not Mediterranean Europe; its separates them, and the appearance of sole source is not a certain idea of all that unites them and that unites allWorld War. The first steps in Classical Greek and Roman antiquity mankind […]this humanist project, […]. On the other hand, when modern Western humanism is put squarely backsupported by UNESCO, within the limits that need to beaimed to bring Eastern and imposed on it, the crisis that it is The full text of the document, written by the French currently facing comes as no surprise, writer, André Rousseaux, can be found in UNESCO’sWestern cultures closer and is not a hopeless disaster. This digital archives (in French only): adversity would only be absolute if one ns/unesdoc-database/ THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 27
  • 28. HumanizingMaking use of the ‘envisioning force’ of the law to forge a form of legal humanism that isboth pluralistic and open, in areas as diverse as lasting peace, global warming or theregulation of new digital and biomedical technologies – in these times of rampantglobalization, this is the credo of the French lawyer, Mireille Delmas-Marty. MIREILLE DELMAS-MARTY interviewed by Jasmina ŠopovaAre legal systems becomingprogressively more humanized withglobalization, or are they stayingmuch the same?At first sight, legal humanism seems tobe gaining in strength with themultiplication of legal instruments andinternational bodies monitoring theobservance of human rights, as well asthrough the appearance ofhumanitarian law and the emergenceof universally applicable criminaljustice. And in terms of the economy,the global market should create jobsand increase prosperity. So, on the surface, everythingseems to be for the better, in the best ofworlds… But globalization acts like akind of magnifying glass and isrevealing a series of contradictions,raising a whole host of questions. Howcan we reconcile the concept ofsecurity with the principle of freedom?Economic rights and protection of theenvironment, etc? Globalization caneven makes the situation worse when,for example, it separates alreadyglobalized rights such as economicrights, from social rights, which are thepreserve of States, themselvesweakened by constraints imposed by © Najah Zarboutfinancial markets. We could evenI Work by the artist Najah Zarbout (Tunisia)www.najahzarbout.blogspot.com28 . THE UNESCO COURIER
  • 29. wonder if there is not a contradiction same countries destabilize local the notion of equitable developmentbetween the universalism laid down by markets and encourage people to has not been integrated, this synergythe 1948 Declaration on Human Rights leave. Basically, the same players are will remain an illusion.and the 2005 UNESCO Convention on simultaneously manufacturingthe Protection and Promotion of the immigration and repressing it. By modifying man’s fate, aren’t newDiversity of Cultural Expression, which At the same time, the dissociation technologies adding to thequalifies cultural expression as the of economic and social rights restricts paradoxes?common heritage of mankind. growth to economic and monetary Technologies have always been ‘new’. profit, while doing nothing to limit What has changed is the rate at whichHow do these contradictions increasing vulnerability and social innovations are being made. So, fortranslate into reality? exclusion, whether in terms of digital technologies, French law isOne of the most marked contradictions unemployment or poverty. As unable to keep pace. By the time theconcerns migration. Borders are open prosperity increases, the gap between Constitutional Council has given itsfor trade and capital but closed to the highest and lowest incomes ruling on a law, actual practice hashuman beings. The trend is even widens. already moved on and escapes thetowards a tightening of control and Finally, multinational companies legislation!repression in many countries, to the are often a driving force in the natural Information technologies can helppoint of merging immigration and resources sector and are behind a large strengthen democracy, as we havecrime together. But, by opening their number of conflicts across the world, seen recently in certain Arab countries,borders to the global market, these notably in Africa and Latin America. but, at the same time, they encourage This is why war crimes, genocide, a move towards a surveillance society. crimes against humanity and crimes of This ambivalence is equally marked aggression continue, despite the in the field of biotechnology, which creation of an International Criminal can be used to counteract sterility, Court (ICC).2 It is true that it only came through artificial procreation, as well as into force relatively recently (2002), but to select embryos using pre- there are also structural reasons – the implantation genetic diagnosis, thus statutes of the ICC do not cover the moving towards eugenics, which is responsibility of legal persons,3 and so considered a crime. enterprises go unpunished when they The widespread use of such commit a crime. This undermines the practices would reduce the dissuasive role of the ICC, which was randomness of genetic selection – the written into its statutes. Unlike ad hoc element of chance – and thus the tribunals, which judge crimes already biological diversity of human beings. committed, the ICC sits permanently. And this is where the paradox arises – in the name of individual liberty (being And what of the contradictions in control of one’s body and one’s between economic rights and offspring), our societies run the risk of environmental rights? provoking a kind of artificial shaping of The imperative for development and the human species (see pp. 39-40). competitiveness is discouraging States Another paradox is that the more from taking action to protect the we come to depend on digital environment. And this raises the technologies, the more we lose our question of how best to protect the autonomy; yet at the same time we are planet against the negative effects of making increasingly autonomous climate change, declining biodiversity robots. Robots can help the elderly and or water pollution (see pp. 34-35). the sick and contribute to general While industrialized countries are wellbeing. But in both the USA and aligning their own commitments to France, programmes have been those of developing or emerging launched to develop robots to replace countries, these latter countries are flesh and blood soldiers to carry out invoking the notion of historical equity ‘clean wars’ and reach military – if industrialized countries were objectives without harming civilians. originally responsible for the pollution This would mean entering ethical rules of our planet, they now need to join in into the robot’s programme, with all the general effort to preserve the the risks of error involved in environment, while allowing others to interpreting such a programme. The develop. The expression ‘sustainable most important ethical choices are development’ is supposed to stimulate extremely subtle and difficult to synergy between economic rights and anticipate with mathematical environmental rights, but so long as precision. THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 29
  • 30. All of these examples demonstrate a citizenship – that is intercultural rather have neither the means nor the will toprocess of dehumanization. What can than multicultural, since it is not enough pursue them, for fear of losing the jobsthe law do? to juxtapose cultures, but important to they provide. And the parent countriesIts role is difficult because, in a world of aim for the more ambitious objective of are rarely competent (and do not wish toaccelerating change, we cannot return reciprocal humanism (see pp. 14-16). be) to pursue deeds committed abroadto a static concept that we might call against foreign victims.‘legal humanism’, but need to establish Is it utopian to imagine global There is a very old text (Alien Tortmore dynamic processes of governance founded on humanist Claims Act, 1789) that empowers thehumanization. Rather than repeatedly principles? federal legal system in the USA toaffirming principles, we need to try to At present it is still utopian. The unequal prosecute anyone who has violatedreverse the movement towards distribution of power, shared between a human rights, even abroad and againstdehumanization in reality. Only through few States and multinational foreigners, which has been used recentlythe effective upholding of human rights corporations, renders the organization of against multinationals. But sentences arecan we avoid some of the aberrations of this kind of global governance extremely rare. And, in fact, I am not in favour of thistotalitarian politics, such as market difficult. In cases where human rights are principle of ‘universal competence’ if ittotalitarianism, notably in the financial violated we need to be able to hold all transforms superpowers into judgesmarket. those in power to account. For States, presiding over the whole world. In the this kind of process is beginning to absence of a world court, we will soonWhat resources does the law have? operate within the Council of Europe need an international convention which,The law does not offer a response to (with the Convention for the Protection when multinationals violate humaneach of the challenges I have of Human Rights and Fundamental rights, assigns competence to the parentmentioned. But certain current legal Freedoms and the European Court on country and, if this country does notprocesses do offer the beginnings of a Human Rights in Strasbourg), as well as prosecute the perpetrator, would provideresponse in order to humanize in Latin America (with the Inter-American the country in which the corporation isglobalization. For example, to create a Convention on Human Rights not having established with the resources (in termsmulti-tiered form of citizenship – it is a been ratified by Canada and the USA) of personnel and logistics) to take theslow and difficult process, but it does and more recently in Africa (with the matter to court.respond to problems of immigration as African Charter on Human and People’swell as to those of the environment. Rights). In the absence of a World Court Could such a case not be referred to The idea of global citizenship is a of Human Rights less restrictive the International Criminal Court?dream that dates back to Antiquity. But mechanisms are being established, but Even if we were to extend its range ofmore recently, in the Germany of the they are inadequate and scattered. competence to include corporate bodies,late 18th century, Emmanuel Kant the multinationals would only be judgeddreamed of perpetual peace between And multinational corporations? for the most serious crimes – such asnations,4 just as, Kang Youwei,5 in China, So-called ‘social’ responsibility is limited genocide, crimes against humanity, wardreamed of the age of great world to a few small islands of hard law7 in an crimes, etc. On the other hand, the ICCpeace at the end of the 19th century. ocean of soft law (guiding principles, can prosecute an incumbent Head of This ‘Dream of the two Ks’ could codes of conduct, etc). In the case of State, which is something of a political asgradually become reality. We are already serious violations, the countries where well as a legal revolution. Unfortunately,seeing that the creation of European the multinational firms are established without a police force, it has no means tocitizenship tends to complementnational citizenship, rather thanundermine it. And on a planetary scalethe Global Forum on Migration andDevelopment6 is gradually instigating aglobal approach, integrating a concernfor humanization alongside economicconstraints. While we wait for theemigration countries to ratify the UnitedNations Convention on the Protection ofthe Rights of Migrant Workers (signed in1990!), we can see the beginnings of aprocess of recognition of certain rightsthat foreshadows global citizenship. It is by looking towards the future,to global risks, that we begin to seehumanity as a community with a sharedfate. But it is only by referring back tothe history of humanity that UNESCOcan help to establish, disseminate andconstruct intercultural forms of30 . THE UNESCO COURIER
  • 31. make an arrest. At present it appeals to has constitutional validity. In practice, a Both generations are concernedStates, as well as UN and NATO forces, to certain amount of imagination is about the dangers arising fromcooperate, but with very unsatisfactory needed to introduce future generations technological innovations, which youresults. The link between the law and the into the law. Who can represent their have cited as one of the challengesforces of order still needs to be organized interests? What is one responsible for facing modern humanism.on a global scale. and for how long? How can we We obviously cannot ban all compensate those who have not yet technological innovation. That would beAnd the links between the law and been born? etc. I personally am absurd, given that throughout history,peace? reluctant to speak about the ‘rights’ of mankind has become humanized byOrdinarily, lasting peace is not future generations, or the ‘rights’ of developing technologies and globalizingconsidered possible if justice has not nature or animals, because there can be them. We globalized the wheel, then thepreviously been seen to be done. But no reciprocity. But as responsible wheel-barrow, the compass, etc. But thisexamples like the South African Truth beings, humans do have duties towards does not mean that just becauseand Reconciliation Commission show their future descendants, and indeed something is possible it should bethat peace can be re-established without towards non-human living beings. allowed (as innovations are unavoidable,all the criminals being brought to justice, But we still need to be careful, it would be pointless to resist them). It isbut just those who refuse to recognize because, for a long time, the notion of therefore important to adapt the legaltheir guilt. And in this respect, the ‘human duties’ was part of the responses to technological innovations.developed world has probably a great argument used to legalize State tyranny, Relations between scientists anddeal to learn from Africa if it is to avoid whereas the expression ‘human rights’, politicians also need to be revised –what I call ‘legal fundamentalism’, which, when attached to States, enables limits between knowledge and power –like religious fundamentalism, means to be placed on the abuse of power, and because there is also a gap in globallimiting and rejecting any plurality of to make it possible to ‘rationalize’ the governance there. States defend nationalinterpretations. The exigency of the law reasons (or lack of reasons) of State. On interests, corporate and private interests,has to be reconciled with the need for the other hand, when relations are not and, apart from a few internationalpeace. And the refusal to let the guilty reciprocal, duties still need to be organizations with few means of action,go unpunished must not itself become recognized. The right balance has to be noone is responsible for defending theoverly rigid. found, because the duties that we have general interest. Experts fill the gap. In with respect to future generations must principle, they do not have the power toWhat do you think about our not obliterate the rights of present make decisions but in practice they oftenresponsibility vis-à-vis future generations. play a key role regarding scientificgenerations, which is already written innovations and their applications. Whileinto the French Charter on the expertise still has no global status,Environment? K "Borders are open for trade and capital but various scattered bodies are beginning closed to human beings," says Mireille Delmas-It is true that references to future Marty. This idea is illustrated in the "New World to guarantee the independence andgenerations are beginning to appear in Climax" installation by Cameroonian artist, impartiality of experts in order to avoidlegal texts, especially this charter, which Berthélémy Toguo. conflicts of interest. 1. La Force imaginante is the title of a book by Mireille Delmas-Marty not yet available in English 2 .Established by the Rome Convention of 17 July 1998, the International Criminal Court, which entered into force in July 2002, is the first permanent court set up to judge, according to its preamble, the perpetrators of “…unimaginable atrocities that deeply shock the conscience of humanity.” 3. A legal person (persona ficta) is an entity, other than a natural (human) person, with a legal existence and, as such, has rights and responsibilities. 4. In a 1795 text, Zum Ewigen Frieden (Perpetual Peace), Kant summarized Enlightenment thinking on peace and the idea of the federation of free nations. 5. Kang Youwei, Datong Shu, trad. L.G Thompson, The One World Philosophy of K’angYu-wei, London, © Laurent Goldstein/La Collection 1958. 6. The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), which held its first meeting in Brussels in 2007, is a platform for exchanging practices and experiences in an attempt to define the means to use international migration to best effect for development and to reduce its negative effects. 7. Hard law refers to a traditional form of law, while soft law is a norm that is not legally binding. THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 31
  • 32. The notion of humanism is evolving, apace with scientific discoveries and political developments. In this digital age, technologies are increasing the opportunities of the hybridization of cultures, but also encouraging the advent of democracy and© Emmanuelle Marchadour/Le Seuil the emergence of a universal form of humanism. MILAD DOUEIHI L Portrait of Mireille Delmas-Marty by Emmanuelle Marchadour. But adapting the law to encompass It is by referring to these three The global nature of communications practices arising from new components that the law could play its and what we have chosen to call the technologies, or trying to anticipate real role – to resist, to render ‘information society’ are inviting the risks to come, is not enough… responsible and to anticipate. Resisting anthropologists to rethink, at least Quite true. Ambivalences also have to be dehumanization, holding those who partially, the basic matter and categories taken into account. Technologies hold the reins of global power of their discipline – forms of exchange engender dehumanizing effects, like the responsible for their acts, thinking and the ways in which social links are emergence of a surveillance society or ahead about future risks. This could be woven. shaping of the species, which we need to the instrument for a new form of For the French anthropologist resist if we are not to lose what we have humanism, which would not be a fixed Claude Lévi-Strauss [1908-2009], gained from humanization, on the dogma but conceived as a dynamic anthropology is not only a humanist grounds that globalization would wipe process of humanizing practices. ■ discipline, but also the product of forms out the history of all peoples. of humanism that have left a mark on history and the development of Western What would be the components of this societies. As early as 1956, in a human community of values? Elected member of the French document written for UNESCO,1 he It is hard to tell in advance. They gradually Académie des Sciences Morales et identified three forms of humanism in emerge through reciprocal humanization, Politiques in 2007, Mireille Delmas- conclusion to his analyses of the as cultures intermingle. Even the notion Marty (France) has, since 2002, been relationships between the sciences and of human dignity, which we might think chair of ‘Comparative legal studies and social sciences: Renaissance humanism, has been defined once and for all, still the internationalization of law’ at the with its roots in the rediscovery of needs to be consolidated, especially Collège de France where her course classical antiquity texts; exotic regarding the status of women. on ‘Sense and nonsense in legal humanism, associated with the Even so, the list of crimes against humanism’ questions the knowledge of Eastern and Far Eastern humanity, or prohibitions like torture humanization of legal systems, at a cultures; and democratic humanism, and inhuman or degrading treatment, time when it seems more than ever associated with an anthropology that implicitly allow the common necessary. She is the author of several embraces all the activities of human components of humanity to appear, seminal books, some of which have societies. such as the uniqueness of every been translated into English, including These three forms of humanism, it individual and their equal membership Towards a Truly Common Law should be pointed out, are linked to of the human community. And the risks (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and discoveries of texts, oral traditions or created by new technologies suggest Ordering Pluralism (Hart Publishing, other expressions of culture, which that a third component needs to be 2009). She is noted for her opened up new fields of investigation added – indeterminism. Human beings monumental work comprising several and allowed the development of new are not determined in advance, this is volumes, entitled La Force imaginante critical methods and, as a result, new their share of freedom and the basis for (Seuil), the latest volume of which will knowledge. In the case of Renaissance their responsibility. be published in 2012. humanism, it was the knowledge of 32 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 33. J Flux an interactive video installation by Belgian artist, Thomas Israel in the entrance hall of the International Youth Office in Brussels (Belgium) Cultural practices like writing, reading or communication, for example, have continually been subject to transformation since the arrival of digital technologies. As the French anthropologist Marcel Mauss [1872- 1950] pointed out, technology can play an essential role, when access to the technical instruments not only modifies individual behaviour, but also the entire surrounding culture. Digital technologies can play an even more essential role by radically changing categories of space and time, DIGITAL thus facilitating meetings between © Thomas Israël cultures and their hybridization – through the elimination of frontiers and geographical distances, the immediacyhumanism? of communication, etc. Of course, they have their limitations – digital technologies have been based on mainly Western socio- cultural models; they have not managed to overcome linguistic barriers, and theyGreek and Latin, an awareness of history privileged few; the second was are not immune to abuse. Also, theirand an internal critique that bourgeois, because it accompanied global distribution is unequal, whichundermined the authority of an Western industrial development; and the can exaggerate inequalities betweeninstitution as powerful as the Church. third, democratic, as it excluded no one. rich and poor.For exotic humanism, the meeting of It is this universal dimension that But despite this, digital technologiesEast and West encouraged urges me, in all modesty, to propose a have become a global reality, a universalcomparativism, which in turn gave rise fourth humanism, digital humanism. means of communication, even anto new sciences and disciplines, like instrument for democratisation, as welinguistics. And the humanism that The fourth humanism saw in the Arab Spring at the beginningembraced all human societies gave rise, Digital humanism is the result of a of 2011.among other things, to the structural totally new convergence between our The hybrid space of the digitalmethodology. This enabled Lévi-Strauss, complex, cultural heritage and a culture is a new way of “living together”,in particular, to observe the world in its technology that has become a space for with its myths, discoveries and utopias.globality and to discover an order unprecedented sociability. This It makes the global village a reality.underlying the diversity of forms of convergence is new in the sense that it Digital humanism is one way of thinkingsocial organization and manifestations redistributes concepts and objects, as about this new reality. ■of culture. For the father of well as the practices associated withstructuralism, this order was a mark of them, within a virtual environment.the human mind. And, like the three forms of humanism defined by Lévi-Strauss, Milad Doueihi (USA) is a religiousDigital humanism is the result of digital humanism is linked to a major historian and Chair of Research on discovery that opened multiple fields of Digital Cultures at Laval University a totally new convergence (Quebec). He is the author of several investigation – the new technologies, between our complex cultural which are overturning established books, including Digital Cultures heritage and a technique that socio-cultural categories. (Harvard University Press, 2011) and A Besides its technical and economic Perverse History of the Human Heart has become a space for (Harvard University Press, 1998) aspects, which need constant scrutiny unprecedented sociability. and questioning, digital technology is in the process of becoming a culture, in the 1. “How the social sciences have humanised It is also worth remembering that sense that it is changing our view of technical civilisation,” a document dated 8 Augustthese three forms of humanism objects, relations and values, and that it 1956, first published in the UNESCO Courier n° 2008- 5, ‘Claude Lévi-Strauss: the view from afar.’ Availablecorrespond to political developments: is introducing new perspectives into the in the digital archives of the Courier:the first was aristocratic, limited to a field of human activity. THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 33
  • 34. Welcome to theAnthropoceneSince the industrial revolution, technological innovationhas been freeing mankind from many of the bonds that linkit to the rest of Nature. But this supposed progress couldhave a tragic ending. Climate change is now showing usthat it is time we stopped behaving like strangers in ourown ecological niche. than the densely populated, sprawling RUTH IRWIN concrete jungles of the New World, where public transport is a much moreApocalypse scenarios crop up often in effective way to get around. But in theour modern civilization. We have seen low-density suburban sprawl, if publiceconomically driven famines, wars over transport is not well organized, the car isgold, oil and diamonds. There are still king.threats of imminent ecological disaster In the end, then, it is up to ourand global nuclear war. Civilizations political leaders to make the righthave disappeared in the past and ours decisions. Yet, on an international scalecould also come to an end. Now climate – the scale on which our future is beingchange, like nuclear winter, joins the played out – there is an evident lack ofgrowing list of potential disasters that leadership. Every year in thecould tip mankind towards calamity. international conferences on climate Unlike nuclear war, the agency that change that have been held since 1995,triggers climate change is not clear-cut. our political leaders have failed toScience has ‘very high confidence’ that challenge the technological norms thatthe changes occurring in the prevail in modern societies.atmosphere are a result of human For me, the reasons that those inindustrial activity, pumping billions of leadership positions find it so difficult totonnes of greenhouse gases into the challenge the status quo lie in the twinlower atmosphere for the past 150 apparatus of modern technology andyears.1 global economics, which are central to L Maputo, Mozambique. No single individual has triggered modern civilisation. And we are allclimate change, any more than one struggling with this. To transform them likely, towards the end of the 18thindividual – not even an individual State seems impossible, tantamount to century, when the Industrial Revolution– is in a position to halt the industrial changing civilizations, shifting from one significantly changed the way peopletechnologies of modernity. It is true that ecological epoch to another. But, relate to their local ecosystems.consumer decisions on a mass scale according to the Royal Society of Greatcould alter the way corporations Britain, we have already done just that. Damaged links between man andproduce goods and services and this In 2010 this venerable body officially naturecould, in turn, have an impact on declared that the planet has shifted Post-industrial technologies have givenclimate change. But, more from the temperate, placid, Holocene modern man the feeling that he is freefundamentally, to cope adequately with epoch – which lasted for over 10,000 from the bonds that link him to the restclimate change, the very role of years, and saw the development of‘consumer’ needs to be transformed. agricultural and urban civilizations – to Individuals can and do lead very the turbulent and probably catastrophic 1. Climate change 2007, IPCC reportecologically friendly lifestyles. But they Anthropocene epoch, influenced by 2. The ecological footprint is a measure of the amount of land needed to fill the needs of ansoon realize how hard it is when the man’s activities (from the Greek, individual (or population) according to his lifestyle:community as a whole is not designed anthropos: human). consumption versus have a light ecological footprint.2 The shift had undoubtedly begun 3. Workers movement at the beginning of the 19th century in England led by Ned Ludd, which turnedAncient cities in Europe and the Middle much earlier, at least by 1945 (with our into the massive destruction of machinery, seen asEast are much easier to walk around entry into the nuclear era) and, more the main cause of unemployment.34 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 35. Globalization – the new ecology? While there has been a long tradition of small groups of ecologically mindful people, their impact on the norms of modern life has been limited. Individual ethics has meant little to the juggernaut of modern progress. But climate change has brought the scale of modern industrial technology and its by-product of greenhouse gas emissions into global consciousness in an unprecedented way. The Anthropocene epoch may become one of the planet’s major extinction periods, similar to when the dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago. For the first time, we can see clearly the impacts of modern technological progress on ecology at a global, planetary scale - unless something radical shifts. But this shift is slow in coming. International schemes for trading greenhouse gas emissions, for example, show just how little the real scale of ecological realities is being taken into account. This is not a Luddite, anti- technological position.3 But we can no longer remain strangers in our own ecological niche. Modernity is global in scope, and our ecological niche has © Alfredo DAmato/Panos Pictures become global too. Climate change makes it clear that ecological boundary conditions need to be taken seriously. Gone are the days when the human imagination is free to construct an ideal reality. Human activities, technologies and economics need to be appropriate for the harsh realities of ecological conditions. The awareness of planetary ecologyof Nature. In cities, we are no longer constellation of technological and that climate change has awakened in usdependent on local seasonal produce. economic necessities, rather than should force us to shift the normativeThanks to refrigerated transport and public need, dictating how they are lens through which we comprehend thestorage, people living in urban areas built. world. We can do nothing withoutcan import food stuffs and other goods The physical shape of our cities, our strong political decisions on anfrom far afield, compared to a ten modes of agriculture, mining, energy international scale. Perhapskilometres or so walking distance in the production, forestry, fishing and globalization can also be seen as the18th century. We will not die of hunger if commerce have all changed radically in ‘new Green.’ ■the crops fail, as we would have in the the space of a century and a half,past – and this has changed the transforming the way much of therelationship of city-dwellers to their world now looks.local ecology. We may even be unaware Our communities have become so Ruth Irwin is Senior Lecturer inof floods and droughts in surrounding embedded in the tempo and Business Ethics at Auckland Universityrural areas, or where our drinking water expectations of modern technological of Technology, New Zealand. She is thecomes from, or how healthy our forests innovations that these are even author of Heidegger, Politics and Climateare. And, as the proportion of global shaping our understanding of ourselves Change (2008) and Editor of Climatepopulation living in urban areas grows, as ‘individuals’, as humans, while Change and Philosophy:cities are continuing to spread into the narrowing our view of the Earth, Transformational Possibilities (2010),surrounding countryside, with a rendering it increasingly remote. both published by Continuum, London. THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 35
  • 36. Dreams ofscienceBecause of the power it bestows onthose who practice it and apply itsresults to the real world, sciencefeeds our hope that planning andorganizing can drive humanevolution to a higher plane. Thishas often proved a dangerousquest. MICHAL MEYERAfter Victor Frankenstein’s Monsterescaped from the laboratory he went ona rampage of murder and mayhem. Yetthe Monster had potential for good: Hecraved friendship and love and hehelped a starving family. Mary Shelley’s1 famous tale is atleast in part the story of responsibilityabandoned. Victor Frankenstein,scientist, had wished to “pour a torrent Science and human identityof light into our dark world,” but had Take, for example, the case ofended by forsaking all moral transhumanism, which focuses onresponsibility for his creation, which he individual rather than societalabandons in the hope he will forget improvement. Transhumanism is futureabout what he has wrought. Out of that oriented and relies on technologiestheme has come a long list of both new and as yet confined to theHollywood mad scientists who seek pages of science fiction books. Itspower by fleeing from responsibility. ultimate goal is to transcend human Science (and technology) is power biological limitations and so create aover the world, and increasingly power technologically based immortality.over our biological selves. The While transhumanism’s technologicalcombination of science and humanism origins lie in post World War II Transhumanism ranges from theaims to harness science for the cybernetics, nanotechnology, and currently realistic to the futuristicallybetterment of humanity. Yet we tend to genetic engineering, its essence surreal, from stem cell therapy to theforget that using science to better the connects to the ancient alchemical uploading of human consciousness intoworld is a project as old as science itself. quest to create the Philosopher’s Stone, machines—at which point it morphsHow we use science in the real world of which supposedly provided near into a strange religious brings up questions of meaning, immortality to those alchemical adepts Transhumanist British thinker Max Morevalues, and responsibility. clever enough to create it. writes that transhumanism is a “blanket36 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 37. L Sparkle Man. Group F. Firework display. © Danica Bijeljac imagination emerged towards the end of the 19th century. In the United States a potent brew of cultural fears − high immigration, cities as hotbeds of depravity, evolution and degeneration − intersected with the scientific knowledge of the day to create eugenics. The goal of the eugenicists was to put science into the service of bettering the human stock, and, indeed, some appeared to regard humans as similar to livestock when it came to avoidingterm given to the school of thought that Verne’s scientific romances2 captured arefuses to accept traditional human wildly progressive view of science, withlimitations such as death, disease and such wonderful creations as deep-sea 1. Frankenstein: the modern Prometheus, published in 1818, is British author Mary Shelley’s (1797-1851]other biological frailties.” submarines and ships to the moon. most famous work. Other older examples have also Science dazzled the human imagination 2. Jules Verne [1828-1905], a French writer, is bestgiven science the power to influence and grounded a universal belief in known for his Voyage to the Centre of the Earth (1864), From the Earth to the Moon (1865), Twentywhat it means to be human. In the human progress, both moral and Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), and Aroundsecond half of the 19th century, Jules material. But a darker side of that the World in Eighty Days (1873). THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 37
  • 38. In the 1970s, science and humanism finally clashed when they intersected in sociobiology. In this new discipline, evolutionary theory was applied to social behavior in animals and humans. Extreme forms of biological determinism argued that the social status quo reflected biology. Society, in effect, was being forced to mirror the science of the day. Applying biological determinism to male aggression, female subjugation, or lagging IQ scores among African Americans suggested an unchangeable reality of inequality and inferiority. © Philippe Plailly / Eurelios / LookatSciences Science cannot tell us who we should be and it cannot tell us what “better” means. Paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould fought the determinists through such popular books as The Mismeasure of Man (1981). For Gould, humanity shared a common genetic heritage, on top of whichL Microscope photos of stem cells taken in 2001 by the Généthon laboratory in Evry (Génopole) in France. existed significant social and cultural differences. G. P. Marsh,6 the man who first sounded a warning about‘negative’ traits. In the U.S. and Britain, Using science to better the world humanity’s environmental impact oneugenics was often class- and privilege the natural world, beginning in the 19thbased, with the middle and upper is a project as old as science itself. century, believed that science andclasses considered to be biologically technology would solve the problemssuperior. For a while eugenics was Another universalist, Morris Goran, created by humans, but in that solvingmainstream, subscribed to by scientific writing in The Journal of Higher would create new problems.humanists like the great science-fiction Education in 1943 described his perfect We will need both science andauthor H. G. Wells,3 who was concerned scientist in a politically utopian vision: humanism to work together in theabout species immortality. “He will belong to mankind at all times, future. We should also learn from past serving human values, eternally vigilant mistakes. We must not expect fromPortraits of the ‘perfect’ scientist for transgressions, and policing society science that it will provide us withOther scientific humanists, such as against tyranny, intolerance, and ultimate meanings. It cannot tell us whoGeorge Sarton,4 one of the founders of despotism . . . The threat of one we should be and it cannot tell us whatthe discipline of the history of science moment’s refusal by the scientists of the “better” means. Science is a humantook a more benign (though still elitist) world to do the bidding of tyrants creation, and it has the meaning andapproach. In 1924, in an article on ‘The would forever ensure peaceful solutions purpose that each generation gives it.New Humanism’5 published in Isis, he of world problems.” This is the scientist Responsibility and ethical behaviorwrote that science is the “fruit of an as philosopher king, whose knowledge should be central to the choices weinternational and ageless collaboration, of science gives him power and moral make. ■one single organized body, the authority.common treasure of all peoples, of allraces; in fact, the only patrimony upon Michal Meyer was born in Israel. Shewhich they all have equal rights.” For has worked as a meteorologist in New 3. Herbert George Wells [1866-1946], English writerSarton, humanity’s true purpose is in of science fiction, is best known to readers for The Zealand and Fiji and as a journalist inthe “creation of new values, intellectual Time Machine (1895), The Invisible Man (1897) and Israel. She has a Ph.D. in the history ofvalues; the gradual unveiling and The War of the Worlds (1898). science and has worked for the 4. George Sarton [1884-1956], the Belgian bornunfolding of the harmony of nature, the American historian, is known primarily for his 3- Chemical Heritage Foundation sincedevelopment and organization of what volume Introduction to the History of Science. September 2009. She is the editor inwe call art and science.” Yet again, 5. This article was originally published in 1918, in chief of Chemical Heritage magazine Scientia, in was given power over values 6 George Perkins Marsh [1801-1882], was an ( meaning. American diplomat and philologist. gazine/index.aspx)38 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 39. Bioethics: unimagined challengesFaced with the major dilemmas raised by progress in bioscience and biotechnology,bioethics needs to provide new ethical solutions, aimed at reconciling greater acceptanceof the potential of these disciplines with a vigilance and responsibility that is crucial forprotecting the values of humanism in all circumstances. SALVADOR BERGELBioethics did not arise through someaccident or sudden illumination on thepart of a clairvoyant thinker. Itsemergence can be explained byhistorical, scientific and social factors.Over the past fifty years, spectacularprogress in medical science has openedup unforeseen possibilities for scientificresearch, and has brought irrefutableimprovement in public health, whileraising unanticipated challenges interms of ethics and morals.Each new breakthrough in biology andthe health sciences, such as organgrafts, which have saved countless lives,or assisted reproduction techniques,which can solve fertility issues forcouples, has faced social andpsychological obstacles, and raisedreligious and ethical questions. Thesame is true of research on humanembryos—a particularly sensitivesubject as it touches on the origins oflife, and involves moral concepts as wellas scientific and even financialinterests—from pre-implantationgenetic diagnosis (a technique thatpermits babies to be born who are freeof incurable inherited diseases), to the © Massimo Brega/LookatSciencesuse of stem cells (which can transforminto a wide range of specialized cellsand are crucial for the future ofregenerative medicine). Bioethics has to find the right1. American scientist Van R. Potter was the first to balance between medicaluse the term “bioethics”, in an article published in progress and respect for1970. human life.
  • 40. has to impose an attitude of openness and tolerance, geared toward the adoption of standards and laws that respect the realities of multicultural communities, with their own unique traditions and beliefs. But these humanist values do more than just encourage theoretical thought; they also apply to specific issues in © Massimo Brega/LookatSciences everyday life, such as problems raised by hospital practices. The field has also expanded to include the social dimensions of health, such as poverty, food and access to safe drinking water, to health services and drugs. Bioethics has sparked a global militancy that is helping to turn theL Flasks of liquid nitrogen containing paillettes manipulation and its various ideals of world justice into reality,used in assisted reproductive technology. applications, the return of eugenic through the initiatives of national ethics doctrines—which now have a range of committees and hospital committees, as These are not isolated or limited sophisticated tools at their disposal—or well as through teaching and research. Itdiscoveries. We are witnessing a genuine experiments on vulnerable populations. should also be noted that, almostbiological revolution. In just a few The appearance of bioethics without exception, medical schools nowdecades, scientists have managed to coincided with the widespread outcry include bioethics in their teachingdecode the chemical basis of heredity, raised by the horrors of the Second programmes, demonstrating its essentialthe genetic code shared by all living World War, a reaction that culminated in role in medical practice.beings, and to lay the foundations for the Universal Declaration of Human Hospital bioethics committees havemolecular biology and a new genetics. Rights in 1948. The overriding goal of been set up in virtually every healthThis has led to genetic engineering, in bioethics is based on this humanist service, and there is not a single countryother words, a ‘technoscience’ that can principle, of affirming the primacy of the without a national bioethics committeemanipulate and exchange genes human being and defending the dignity or an equivalent group of ad hoc experts.between members of a single species and freedom inherent in the mere fact of Codes, standards and protocolsand between different species. Mankind belonging to the species, in the face of addressing bioethics have been adoptedcan now manipulate and modify genetic the shifting and constantly evolving everywhere, and UNESCO considered itinformation for practical purposes, and context of the life sciences. essential to create a forum for reflectioncan even act on his own biological and debate—the International Bioethicsnature as a species—which is certainly Dialogue, consensus and tolerance Committee—and to strengthen thethe most disturbing aspect from a Bioethics stands as a bulwark of discipline by drawing up guidelinesbioethical point of view. humanism both in terms of its goals as based on human rights, as set out in This progress in the life sciences has well as its multidisciplinary nature. To three Universal Declarations.repercussions for the very concept of provide appropriate solutions to new This alliance between bioethics andwhat it means to be human, and raises scientific challenges, for which human rights heralds a new form ofethical, social and legal issues that go traditional ethics has proven to be humanism that is in tune with thebeyond science. This is where bioethics is insufficient, we have had to find ways expectations and challenges of ourcalled upon, to arrive at a fair and for the natural sciences and social times. This renewed humanisminsightful balance between medical sciences to communicate with one recognizes the biological and ethicalprogress and respect for human life. another, each with its own components of human nature, whose Bioethics must recognize the methodologies and specific viewpoints, dignity must be safeguarded here andbenefits of these scientific and to bring together different fields of now, while assuming the responsibilitybreakthroughs, while remaining knowledge, ranging from philosophy, and the duty to protect life in all itsconstantly alert to the risks and dangers medicine and biology, to law, sociology manifestations, for generations to comethey may present. While this progress and anthropology. and ultimately, to guarantee the survivalcan lead to promising new ways of Bioethics also integrates the values of of the species. ■eradicating diseases that have long humanism in its methods and practices,affected human health, it also raises aiming to achieve consensus through ajustifiable fears about undesirable effects constructive and intelligent dialogueand possible misuse, such as genetic with all the various sectors concerned. Salvador Bergel (Argentina) holds a Society is no longer content to look on law degree, is a specialist in bioethics, passively when faced with choices that and occupies the UNESCO Chair in2. An example, among others is the aberrantpseudo-scientific experiments to which prisoners in threaten its survival and compromise its Bioethics at the Universidad de Buenosthe Nazi concentration camps were subjected. moral responsibility. Bioethics therefore Aires.40 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 41. "Moon Game", photograph by Laurent Laveder© Laurent Laveder / LookatSciences Seven pointers for the future of If, nowadays, value has been transformed into price, and a tree is only worth the timber it produces, or an animal its meat and leather, it is, according to Cristovam Buarque, because the humanist project has lost its way over the centuries. For a new form of humanism to emerge that is founded on ethical modernity, it must take account of the planetary challenges we are facing. While this humanism has gained humanist project, which, for me must be CRISTOVAM BUARQUE ground, it nevertheless began a course built on seven pillars. of dehumanization. The atomic bomb alone is a symbol of the creation of a Promoting planetary politics Humanism, as it appeared in the schizophrenic civilization. The human What the city meant to the Athenians Renaissance, resulted from a merging of being dominated nature, using the has, today, become the nation state for revived classical Greek thinking, with its technology that he created, but modern democracies. And citizenship – sense of the primacy of man over the humanity started to be dominated by this Greek creation that indicated the Earth, consolidating man as a being technology that now defines the commitment of city residents to the city apart from the rest of nature – characteristics of the social system, separated and dominant. This vision not destroying the environment and only prevailed, it was reinforced by the increasing social inequality. This article is an extract of a presentation given by Cristovam Buarque at the Third Global Forum of the absolute domination and The uncertain future of our planet Alliance of Civilizations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in transformation of nature by man. means that we will have to rethink the May 2010. THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 41
  • 42. itself - began to turn into a commitment Promoting balanced production longer come from the market, butto the whole country. The idea of valuing labour, instead of instead from a ‘trickle up’ induced by The present planetary crisis raises the land, made man the value-maker and education.issue of our responsibility as citizens of put workers at the centre of the The long-term purpose of thisthe Earth. In other words, it calls for an production process. However, this great process will be the integration of allindividual commitment to the fate of leap worked against humanism when peoples around the world, using allhumankind and of the Earth. For me, this the value was transformed into a price available techniques in a planetarynew humanism must be sensitive to the defined by mystical market forces network.importance of all human beings, to the beyond human control. Explanationsfeeling of global solidarity. replace justice, demands replace will, An ethical technical modernity and consumer desires replace the The industrial process of civilization isRespecting cultural diversity fulfilment of needs. To build a new characterized by the pursuit ofIn the past, man has been contemptuous humanism we must redefine the march technical modernity, defined by the useof his fellow men, as witnessed by the of nations and of humankind towards of up-to-date technology. This requiredgenocide against indigenous peoples of an ecologically balanced production the creation of an economic rationalityAmerica, the enslavement of Africa and process. And it must assign value to that justifies the products of cutting-all the other forms of racism and non-tradable goods. edge technology and leaves behind thexenophobia that reveal a sense of The new humanism must also social goals, thus relegating ethicalsuperiority. A new humanism must get abolish the slavery that continues to values.rid of ethnocentrism; it must become imprison man by reducing him to a The new humanism must use ethical‘acentric’ and respect cultural diversity. mere cog in the production process. values as vectors that set up the socialWe must calm the conflicts between goals, and will see them as thecultures and consider their variety as an foundation of an economic rationality Nowadays, under the newindicator of the wealth of civilization, that defines all technical choices. Evenwhere their interaction is more than the knowledge and human capital here, techniques should be chosensum of the parts. according to ethical and aesthetic economy, the key to economic standards, not only in terms ofCaring for the environment progress and social justice must economic efficiency.Humanism has been irresponsibly Technical modernity, defined by the be sought in quality educationarrogant with regard to nature, seeing no originality of technology andvalue in it. It has exhausted natural for all. The challenge of the new humanism, will be replaced, in the newresources and undermined the humanism, by an ethical modernity. For humanism is to ensure thatecological balance to such an extent that instance, instead of being defined bythe continuity of civilization is each child has access to equally the number of private cars inthreatened. Only human labour or a price circulation, modern transportation good education, regardless ofset by the market generate value on a would be judged by its results –threatened and worthless planet. The race, family income or place of reduction in travel time, user comfort,value of trees is in its timber, that of punctuality, universal access. residence.animals in its meat and leather. Like Einstein trying to dialogue withThe new humanism that I am calling for God – in whom he did not believe – toshould seek a civilization that is fully Integration through education learn how he had drawn all the detailsintegrated into the environmental Humanism in the industrial era of the world, the new humanism mustbalance. Economic output should no promised a world of equal income, imagine the ideal way to build alonger be measured only by the sum of thanks to the economy. Capitalism said civilization that is democratic, tolerant,material goods and services - GDP. It that the increase in production and the efficient for humanity and each humanmust also take into account any costs laws of the market would lead to a being, and that respects nature. Thedue to waste resulting from the ‘trickle down’, distributing the income only way is dialogue between peopleproduction process. from top to bottom of the social and between men and nature. The new pyramid; whereas in socialism, the humanism will promote the dialogueGuaranteeing equal opportunities distribution would be ensured by the between cultures and Mother Earth. ■Humanism was an oasis for the dream of state and the laws of planning.equality, but capitalism widened Nowadays, under the newinequalities to such an extent that knowledge and human capital Cristovam Buarque is a Senator anddifferences in life expectancy now economy, the key to economic progress Professor at the University of Brasilia,depend on personal income. I dream of a and social justice must be sought in and was Minister of Education in 2003.humanism that ensures equal quality education for all. The challenge He has devoted his political careeropportunities, that will act as a ladder for of the new humanism is to ensure that particularly to combating illiteracy,social ascent, drawing ecological lines to each child has access to equally good implementing agrarian reforms,define the limits on a consumption that education, regardless of race, family improving the Brazilian health systemis depleting the environment, while income or place of residence. The ‘trickle and improving working conditions inprotecting the dispossessed. down’ promised by capitalism will no the country.42 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 43. © UNESCO/Michel Ravassard 2011: UNESCO HEADQUARTERS © UNESCO/Ania Freindorf Jean-Marie Lehn at the launch of the International Year of Chemistry on 27 January. © UNESCO/Michel Ravassard Africa Week, 25 to 28 May. © UNESCO/Danica Bijeljac © UNESCO/Michel Ravassard Stéphane Hessel at the fourth University of the 8 March, International Womens Day: Irina Bokova Earth on 2 April. with a delegation from Thailand. Claude Lanzmann launches his film Shoah in Persian on 7 March, 2011 © UNESCO/Michel Ravassard © UNESCO/Michel Ravassard © UNESCO/Danica Bijeljac Alasita festival, a Bolivian ritual, 24 January. Modeste Nzapassara (Central African Amos Coulanges, a year after the Republic), 27 March. earthquake in Haiti on 21 January. © UNESCO/Danica Bijeljac © UNESCO/Ania Freindorf © UNESCO/Danica Bijeljac An afternoon with some astronautson 22 March.Mónica González Mujica (Chile), on 26 January. Homage to Franz Liszt by the Zoltan Kodaly orchestra (Hungary) on 29 July. © UNESCO/Michel Ravassard © UNESCO/Danica Bijeljac Mimi Barthelemy (Haiti) dedicates her International UNESCO-LOréal latest childrens books on 21 February. laureates, 2 March 2011
  • 44. © UNESCO/Danica BijeljacOUR GUEST Child soldiers: a new life ahead Recently appointed UNESCO FOREST WHITAKER interviewed by Katerina Markelova Goodwill Ambassador, the American actor and In the 2008 film Kassim, The Dream, him. Kassim has lost his self-esteem and where you were Executive Producer, watches himself deteriorating from director, Forest Whitaker, is the hero is a former child soldier who within, as he tries to reconcile – not just doing his utmost to help cannot forgive himself for the crimes with the world, but with himself, with he committed. Who is he? the things he did as a child soldier. child soldiers. He uses every The tragic story of the young Ugandan, available opportunity to Kassim Ousama, is a good example. He Have many of the former child is a beautiful man, a great boxer who soldiers that you met managed to help them find a voice, to was famous as a light middleweight in forgive themselves? rejoin the communities they the early 2000’s. But the demons from No. But I met a lot who still have his past caught up with him, preventing nightmares. Some of those who had have been banished from, to him from realizing his dream. He quit in committed atrocities had come to some get an education, to forgive the middle of training for the world form of self-forgiveness, but it was not championship. In the film you see him complete. The most difficult part for themselves and regain their go back to Uganda and visit the grave of them is rejoining their own self esteem. his father, who was killed because of communities, where they may have 44 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 45. J Forest Whitaker at UNESCO in June, 2011. Why did you decide to support the What do the gangs in the USA and the cause of child soldiers? civil wars in Africa have in common? carried out acts of violence against their I began working with child soldiers That is precisely the question I look at in own neighbours. It’s one thing to know four or five years ago. Before that, I’d the documentary “Common Destiny” that these children were taken away and been campaigning against malaria in that we are working on right now. We forced to kill, but a killer remains a killer Africa and working with organizations interviewed a Ugandan child soldier in the eyes of society. How, under these dealing with physical abuse. I’ve also and a member of the Blood gang in Los conditions, does one forgive oneself? worked with gangs in the USA. I see Angeles. We started to compare their How to heal oneself of such suffering? It parallels between the child soldiers in stories and realized that they were needs the most extraordinary efforts. Africa and some of the people I have extremely similar. They were both These young people need to find known in gangs. forced into violence. And they’re both activities that occupy them completely. I don’t divorce myself from the rest fighting people from their own Otherwise it’s hard for them to move on. of the world. I see these young people neighbourhood, even their own family. I’m convinced that education as parts of myself. I strongly believe As a child, I grew up watching the provides a way out for them. Education is that we are part of a single entity and birth of the gangs in the United States, an opening of the mind, so that people that ultimately we want to connect as particularly the Crips and the Bloods in can see the possibilities that are available one. Trying to understand and help Los Angeles. I watched them as they to each of us. Education can bring these young gang members and child first named themselves and then understanding, and then, hopefully, we soldiers is, for me, not an intellectual, became international gangs. I lived in can move to a form of compassion. And or even an emotional choice. It’s a the Blue or Crip neighbourhood, and my this, hopefully, can lead us to forgiveness, spiritual choice. It doesn’t need to be cousin lived in the Red or Blood which in turn leads to love – a love of explained or justified, it’s in the natural neighbourhood. My cousin joined the ourselves and a love of others. This is order of events. It’s the way I see the Bloods, and if I had joined the Crips, we something that child soldiers continue to universe and the way I perceive God. would have been enemies and might work through with the tools that they’ve have killed each other. In the conflict been given. And some are more zones of Africa, where armed rebels successful than others. K Child soldier with his family, Angola, 2004. kidnap children and turn them into© UN Photo/Chris Sattlberger THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 45
  • 46. soldiers, don’t young cousins becomeenemies in just the same way? So there are similarities between thegangs and child soldiers. They bothslowly get caught up in the world ofsmuggling, trafficking drugs and arms,even if they’re not always visible.In ‘Common Destiny’ you are going toshow the mechanisms that can bringpeace to communities torn apart byconflict. How do you intend to do this?We’re going to follow a number of © A Believe Media and Urban Landscapes film productionindividuals around the world living inconflict zones. With the support ofUNESCO, we will be following theirjourneys, their struggles, their successes.And at the same time there will beinterviews about what people feel peaceis. We will be talking to people fromgovernment and to NGOs. Thedocumentary will allow people’s voices tobe heard, while giving examples of howwe come to peace. We haven’t yet decided whichcountries we will be going to. I’m in theprocess of doing that right now and wasin discussions earlier, here at UNESCO. L Poster for the film, Kassim, the Dream, for which Forest Whitaker was executive producer in 2008.I can just say that I think we will be lookingat different types of conflict, such as those make sure that we were completely cyclists who were caught up in the civillinked to the environment, migration, and accurate in what we were portraying. war in the early 1990s. It’s an upliftingxenophobia. I think I will be working on Meanwhile we are doing a piece just on film. And we shouldn’t forget that thethis project for about two years. compassion, and what compassion 2012 Olympics in London will be the really means. We’ve just started working first time a Rwandan cyclist hasDo you have any other projects as a on a documentary about the Rwandan competed. ■new UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador?I have a few. I’m going to be working on atraining process with youth on conflict 250,000 child soldiers worldwideresolution. We’ll help child refugees to According to a UN report published in 2010, almost a quarter of a millionmove back to their countries of origin, children worldwide have been recruited by rebel groups and armies. Theand will train others to support them on previous year, though, there had been some success in demobilizing childtheir return. We will also set up an soldiers, particularly in the Philippines, Democratic Republic of Congo, SouthernInternet space, so that they can be Sudan, Sri Lanka and Burundi, where they were reformed and reintegrated intoconnected to the rest of the world and society. The UN pointed out that there are no statistics on the number ofeach other. children killed in conflicts around the world. My own production company is Children are easy prey for militias and other rebel organizations and can bepresently making about six very useful to them. It is not hard to indoctrinate children or get them to takedocumentaries, most of them on peace greater risks than an adult, even to commit worse atrocities. Children are likelyand reconciliation. We are also making a to feel they have to do what an adult tells them to do. And they will more readilyfeature film called ‘Better Angels’ with a take any drugs they are given. In the July-September 2011 issue of the UNESCOFrench company, Studio 37, on the same Courier, the former Congolese soldier, Serge Amisi, who went on to become ansubject. This film is about a war reporter artist, gives a compelling account of his experiences.who goes to Uganda to interview Kony, 2010 marked the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Optional Protocolchief of the Lord’s Resistance Army, to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, concerning the involvement ofwhich includes child soldiers. children in armed conflicts. To date, 132 Member States have ratified the Optional Protocol, while 24 have signed it and 36 have neither signed norYou are going to play that journalist, ratified it. – J.Š.aren’t you?Yes, we went to Uganda a few months See: ‘Serge Amisi and his Miracle Weapons’ available on line:ago to do some more research, to (use keywords to searchinterview some more soldiers and to within the digital archive).46 . THE UNESCO COURIER
  • 47. A special place for THE FUTURE OF THE BOOK <> <> © Patrick Medrano & Katy Anderson Book of Psalms, by painter and sculptor, Patrick Medrano and photographer, Katy Anderson. These two American artists work together in Houston, Texas (USA)Since the turn of the 21st century we have been seeing a flurry of virtual libraries openingon the Internet and eBooks getting off to a flying start. Are these new media likely todethrone King Paper, until now the unchallenged ruler of his kingdom? The Chileanwriter Antonio Skármeta, whose childhood experiences of radio started him on his career,wagers that the ‘traditional’ book will survive the digital frenzy. more imagination than money, I made since childhood that tales that are ANTONIO SKÁRMETA television programmes that went out written down shine more brilliantly very late at night and were often in the when they capture the primary joy ofI am an incurable romantic who top ten most popular programmes,admires the paper book, along with rebroadcast all across Latin America. 1. Colombian writer, who received the Nobel Prizeancient parchments and the cave art of This is not just a result of the vein of in Literature in 1982.long-disappeared cultures. But that has magical realism that runs through Latinnot stopped me from being one of that American literature, with its spiritual This article is taken from a paper presented by Antonio Skármeta at the Second UNESCO Worldspecies of writer that has not hated leader, Nobel laureate Gabriel García Forum on Culture and Cultural Industries, Focustelevision. For over ten years, and with Márquez,1 but also of a deep conviction 2011, in Monza, Italy, 6 to 8 June 2011. THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 47
  • 48. © Dominique Mantel L "Box of books", painting by Dominique Mantel spoken language. This conviction did Getting started as a writer Being a writer who learned to love not come to me through reading The electricity supply in the village was literature without any material – except Foucault2 or anthropologists like Lévi- precarious. The frequent power cuts perhaps the human voice and the Strauss,3 but from living in a rural meant that it was impossible to keep silence of the desert – it didn’t much village at the age of eight with my the radio on. My grandmother used to matter in which airport stories landed. grandmother, and, at eleven or twelve, curse if the power cut out at the height For me, the problem that literature with my friends in a neighbourhood of of the action. So she would turn to me poses lies not so much in what media is Buenos Aires. and say, “So, Antonio, what do you think used, but in the lack of readers. If I sing My childhood was a long love affair is happening right now?” And with a lot the praises of the paper book, it is with radio, and my first experience of of gesticulating and “um’s and ah’s,” I because, until now it has been the stories told without using any kind of would tell her the story, with completely vehicle that enabled me to find readers equipment. After dinner, when my fantastic details, just as she liked it, in over thirty languages. But that is also grandmother sat down to knit her straight out of my imagination. My the case for the films based on my endless cardigans, she would ask me to grandmother would nod and continue novels, and even the operas made from sit next to her, while she listened to her knitting, her eyes fixed on the them. episodes of horrible melodramas with ceiling, as if that were where my story So I am not afraid of plaintive music. She was so engrossed was coming from. transformations. On the contrary, I in these radio serials that she would get One Saturday, when the electricity welcome them. I use them. I know that cross if anyone asked her a question or was working and her thriller was blaring the letters my postman will deliver to if the telephone rang. And she would out of the radio at full volume, my Pablo Neruda will provoke the same rant at the stupidity of the protagonists grandmother turned off the set and said emotion, whatever medium or surface who were more reluctant than her to to me “Antonio, I prefer it when you tell they are presented on, be it a book, act. the story.” This, I think, was what got me iPad, eBook, film or even a theatre play. I remember one serial where, started in my career as a writer – with no episode after episode, two crooks tried help whatsoever! Literature is much more than in vain to steal a million-dollar diamond As you will understand, satisfying information ring from an aristocrat. Every time they the appetite for fiction of a grandmother When I looked at the statistics on the were about to succeed, something was a fabulous invitation to embrace the number of people reading electronic happened – the maid came into the fragile condition of writer. The glowing books I noticed that, up to now, the bedroom, her husband came over to report handed out by my forebear for market for them in my own language, kiss her, the lady shut herself in the my dramatic ‘supplements’ turned out to Castillian, is disproportionately far less bathroom to take a shower. One day be more encouragement for me than a than that in English. they poured a sleeping draught into PhD in Creative writing from Harvard. But I would like to put forward the her soup, and, when their victim fell to For a Chilean teenager at the time, to following idea – that the medium of the floor, they went about removing be a writer obviously meant being a paper when used in literature, in other her ring. But it was so tight that, after North American writer. And in New York! words the book, is so sophisticated an ten minutes of struggling, they had to Climbing to the top of the Empire State object, at least in the field of art, that it escape without the jewel. “The fools!” Building with a pretty blonde in the will always hold its place alongside the she said to me, beside herself, in her palm of his hand like King Kong. There, new media. And I even wonder if it will Croatian-tinted Spanish. My in that great global city, was all the not do so to its own advantage, for one grandmother was a passionate woman. excitement anyone needed. I’d have to very good reason – the screen has “All they had to do was chop off her go ‘on the road’ like Kerouac4 and the become the basic working tool for finger with an axe!” Beat poets. mankind. 48 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 49. Wherever we are, most of the whole days burning our retinas on the its graphic design, its illustrations, itsworking day is spent between the more movements of the stock market, and covers, and the people who flockor less strident flashes – according to then, in the evening, watch a superb around them in public spaces.the quality of the machine – of film where the beaches of Tahiti are The publication of a good bookcomputers. The electronic world is portrayed in three dimensions, with the rapidly evokes collective admiration – itabove all associated with work. It beauties painted by Gauguin. But what is a cultural event. I doubt whether theintensifies our vision, and absorbs our we really want is to be on these ghost-like publication of a story in theattention. It controls us. beaches, admiring the skin, enjoying private solitude of digital space ever Of course the computer also offers a the breeze, swimming in the warm possessed the same enthusiastic gracespecial place for communication cobalt waters of the sea, and not left as the birth of a book printed on paper.between individuals who feel with a substitute.connected when they are using it. But itis interesting that the most popular A sensible cohabitation betweenform of expression between surfers on media 2. Michel Foucault, [1926-1984], French philosopher and Professor at the Collège de France.the internet is the abbreviated, concise, In any discussion of the future of the 3. Claude Lévi-Strauss [1908-2009], Frenchminimalist message. That of book, we need to remember that the anthropologist and member of the Académieinformation. Twitter. story carried by the paper – from française. 4. Jack Kerouac [1922-1969], American writer, is ancient parchments to modern print – best known for his novel On the Road. He belonged I know that the letters my has created prestigious spaces for to the Beat Generation (beatniks), young writers communication, such as bookshops, and poets revolting against a society that they postman will deliver to Pablo considered to be materialistic and superficial. national and local libraries and book 5. Pablo Neruda [1904-1973], Chilean poet, Nobel Neruda will provoke the same clubs, and that these forms of laureate in Literature, 1971. In his novel, Burning publication have joined with other arts, Patience, Skármeta tells the story of Mario Jimenez, emotion, whatever medium or the postman on Isla Negra in Chile, where his only transforming the printed and bound client is Pablo Neruda, who went there to write insurface they are presented on, be story into an object like no other – with peace and quiet. it a book, iPad, eBook, film or K "Blinking Transcendent" by American artist, Ruth Lantz even a theatre play. But that is exactly the point.Literature is so much more thaninformation. A scientific document is amine of information, and that is all thattextbooks are – information that has tobe understood, learned, mastered andapplied. Literature is far removed from thesepragmatic criteria. It is the pleasure ofwords, conjuring images that transportthe soul to places that the language ofscience has not yet codified. To be briefbut clear, creative literature, whethernarrative or poetry, belongs more to thedomain of pleasure than of work. I think that this psychological factor– avoidance of the other – will protectthe book from the voracity ofinformation. From those who provide itand those who ask for it. Obviously we © Ruth Lantz - buy a DVD and watch the latest filmto win an award at Cannes on a screenat home. But we continue to go to thecinema. We are apparently religiousenough that our intimate conversationswith God take place through prayer. Butwe go to temples and churches andtake part in the rituals. We can obviouslyspeak words of love to a loved one bytelephone or by email – but we seekthem out so that our kiss can transportus beyond their lips. We can spend THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 49
  • 50. If the printed book is to survive alongside the almost instantaneous publication offered by the Internet and the eBook, large bookstores and places where books are sold have to become more appealing. When someone likes a book, they often think it would make a good present. And a printed book is the perfect choice. We are already familiar with these large, communal spaces – cinema has not killed off theatre, television has not meant the end of cinema, any more than the excellent quality of reproductions has not sunk museums and their originals... And there is another aspect, which I have detected as I move through various different languages and continents – people have a longing for intimacy, to be close to the artist and the work of art, a wish to flee all the ear-splitting braying, to be in real life, at the heart of events. There is a desire to by-pass the intermediaries. This might be a minor trend now, but it is on the increase. Those who say that the book offers a © Saulius Valius/UNESCO more intimate and less mediatized form of communication with the reader are right – there is no need to click on a mouse to plunge in. May our dearest dream be this intimacy with art, with the artist and with the reflected silenceL The Open Book, temporary installation by Lithuanian sculptor Saulius Valius, exhibited at UNESCO inJanuary 2004 that comes from entering the world of creation and coming away with the When we sit at home in front of the Print on paper will remain a inspiration to approach life with greaterTV, we have a whole range of joy and a bit more spice! special place for the non-programmes to choose from, in several Today the printed book is still thelanguages. By zapping we can go all utilitarian imagination, the most intimate medium, the leastover the world. But our initial inclination ephemeral, the most concrete, the most combination of the arts that findis always towards local news, towards sensual, the most visionary and eventhe intimacy and sense of belonging expression in the book as object. the one that gives off the mostinspired by faces close at hand and the marvellous aroma – that of blessed inkevents of our own country, which intellect, the ‘solitary’ contact with a story. spread onto the page. ■provide the subject matter for our And print on paper will remain a specialeveryday conversations and discussions. place for the non-utilitarian imagination, I do not see how the electronic book the combination of the arts that findcould acquire this aura of admiring expression in the book as object. Antonio Skármeta, is a Chilean writersimultaneity and collective attention Meanwhile, the noble task that those of Croatian descent. Between 1973 andoffered by the solid structure of the institutions concerned with universal 1989, he lived in exile, first in Argentinapublications industry and its networks of culture have set out upon – the creation then Germany, a country to which hedistribution, from bookshops to of virtual libraries – deserves the highest returned in 2000 as ambassador tonewspapers. What I am trying to say is forms of praise. By making all the Chile. His novels include The Dancerthat the publication of a book using magnificent knowledge of mankind and the Thief (Norton, 2008), Burningexisting methods is a cultural event that available to people, since stories were Patience (Pantheon, 1987), and I Dreamtputs the extravagant imagination born of first written down, is an event that we the Snow was Burning (Readersthe writer’s fantasy onto the collective welcome with joy, as it means that this International, 1985). His illustratedagenda of the people. information will be distributed and will children’s book, The Composition I wager that there will be a wide influence the existence of millions of (Groundwood Books, 2000), won himcohabitation of many media – the digital people, who will, as a result, become the 2003 UNESCO Prize for Children’smedia will remain the faithful allies of better informed, more sensitive and, and Young People’s Literature in theresearch, information, the ‘work’ of the consequently, more free. Service of Tolerance.50 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 51. 3 DECEMBER  INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIESThe Flight ofPrudence © Jennifer KoskienenL Prudence Mabhena at the Mountain Film Festival, in July 2010.Prudence Mabhena does not have legs, but music has given her wings. Through singing,this 22-year-old Zimbabwean has overcome several obstacles that hindered her journey:a congenital disease, amputation of both legs, family rejection, discrimination, poverty.Together with seven other young people who shared a similar fate, she founded the groupLiyana (‘It’s raining’ in Ndebele), which inspired American film director, Roger Ross Williamsto produce the 2010 Oscar-winning short film, “Music by Prudence.” He tells us about hisencounter with Prudence that changed his life. ROGER ROSS WILLIAMS interviewed by Cathy NolanHow did you meet Prudence? drama! Yet, such hope at the same time! Was Prudence cooperative with you?It was a friend from New York who told I then decided to make my first Prudence took a little bit of about her. I started writing to the independent documentary. She didn’t really believe that I wouldKing George VI School for children with By Christmas Day 2008, a few show up, since she was used to a life ofdisabilities that Prudence attends in months later, I was already in betrayal and disappointment. So, sheBulawayo, Zimbabwe. The Headmistress Zimbabwe. There, I followed and filmed was amazed to see me.sent me some footage of the band Prudence for two weeks. When I Our first meeting was very intenseperforming along with a three-page returned to the United States and and emotionally charged. Never beforetext of Prudence recounting her life watched the footage, I thought to had Prudence been asked to talk aboutstory. It was so heart wrenching. What myself, “I have discovered a true star.” what had happened to her. It was like a THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 51
  • 52. J Roger Ross Williams in the UNESCO Courier offices in December 2010 abandoned by my father too, although not to the same extent as Prudence. Every one of us feels admiration for people who succeed in triumphing above their suffering. Prudence did it. And today, she is sending her message loud and clear through her song, ‘Never give up’. She was always determined and convinced that life would one day get better. She believes you have to go through the hard times to appreciate your gifts in life. And your film shows that outcasts can have extraordinary gifts to share. Disabled children, especially in developing countries – and particularly girls – are the last anyone will pay © UNESCO/Michel Ravassard school fees for, or anything else. They’re at the bottom of the pecking order. And yet, every disabled child who is abandoned and cast off represents budding potential. They could grow up to be singers, writers or even the president of the United States.psychotherapy session. The words just the country after the film received an What has Prudence been doing sincepoured out of her. She was in tears. I was Oscar, she couldn’t imagine what to the Oscars?in tears. The cameraman was in tears. I expect. When the plane landed, she saw I connected her with Human Rightsknew then it would be one of the most hundreds of people, dozens of media Watch and several NGOs who supportimportant stories of my life. from all over Africa, and the mayor of people with disabilities. She has been I was determined to make it all the Bulawayo waiting to welcome her. As training, to travel around the world, asway, but met with many roadblocks. she was carried off the plane, her father an advocate for this cause.Filming in Zimbabwe is a physical was at the foot of its steps on his knees,challenge. We were never safe from a tears streaming down his face, and What kind of impact did meetingpower outage, so we had to be sure that begging for forgiveness. Prudence have on you?cameras and projectors were At this time, the mayor declared, An enormous impact. Getting close toconsistently charged. And to make “Prudence Mabhena has taught all of us Prudence made me realise that thematters worse, it’s literally not allowed in Zimbabwe that disability does not things I complained about wereto film in Zimbabwe. It’s lucky that I mean inability, and we must change our actually insignificant. Prudence, shewasn’t arrested or shot during the attitude towards the disabled.” The never complains. It put my life intoelection, which was a very violent newspapers resonated this idea, and perspective. I’m much more thankful forperiod. Several times we almost got praised Prudence for putting her what I have and all that has gone rightthrown out, and I had to talk my way country on the map. One notable for me. And of course, meetingout of it at the immigration office. But, headline read, “Prudence brings Oscar Prudence has had a profound effect onwe were in Prudence’s world, a school gold to Zimbabwe.” I don’t know if the my career. I’m not just speaking aboutfor disabled children. We weren’t doing political mentality towards people with the Oscar. I mean, this film has given myanything political, and the government disabilities will change, but one thing is work a whole new dimension: it’sknew that. sure: Prudence has touched the hearts become an opportunity to do some of many. good in the world. Hopefully, it willHow did the film change Prudence’s inspire countries, families andlife? What attracted you to this subject? everybody to fully appreciate peoplePrudence was already a star in her I often think about outsiders and people with disabilities. ■community, performing concerts all who are left behind, forgotten. I identifyover town. But, she wasn’t known in the with being a minority, I always of her country. Now, she’s certainly Mainly because I’ve usually been anone of the most famous women in outsider, myself. So Prudence’s story Visit the website of Prudence Mabhena:Zimbabwe. When she arrived back in struck a personal chord with me. I was . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 53. © UNESCO/Danica Bijeljac MILESTONES © UNESCO/Ania FreindorfRussian singer Félix Houphouët-BoignyAlsou Peace Prize, 2010 for Plaza deAbramova Mayo Grandmothersnamed The Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize for 2010 was awarded on 14 (Mauritania); Pascal Irénée Koupaki (Benin) and Brigi Rafini (Niger).UNESCO Artist September 2011, in a ceremony at UNESCO HQ, to The Grandmothers of UNESCO chose the organization in recognition of itsfor Peace the Plaza de Mayo, a non- governmental organization, based in tireless battle for over thirty years in favour of human rights, justiceIn recognition of her commitment to Argentina which was represented by and peace. It was founded inhelp the world’s most vulnerable Estela de Carlotto, President of the 1977 to locate the biologicalpeople, 28-year-old Russian singer organization. The Prize, which families of children kidnappedAlsou Abramova, was named UNESCO consisted of a cheque for US$ 150,000, during the political repression ofArtist for Peace on 7 July at a a gold medal and a peace diploma, the military dictatorship inceremony at UNESCO headquarters. was awarded by Irina Bokava, Argentina. Her ‘Radouga’ [Rainbow] Director-General of UNESCO, in the The Félix Houphouët-BoignyFoundation helps restore schools and presence of several Heads of State Peace Prize created in 1989 andhospitals, build churches and and of Government: Cristina awarded by UNESCO annually,mosques. The musician also supports Fernández de Kirchner (Argentina); honours people, institutions andseveral orphanages. Alassane Dramane Ouattara (Côte organizations that have In her new role, Alsou will devote d’Ivoire); Blaise Compaoré (Burkina contributed significantly to theeven more attention to education and Faso); Abdoulaye Wade (Senegal); promotion, research, preservationmedical aid for children, as well as Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz or maintaining of peace. ■building orphanages. Born in Tatarstan, she wonrecognition on the Russian musicalscene when she was 15 with her firstalbum, Alsou. A year later she waschosen to represent Russia at the HumanismEurovision Song Contest in Stockholm(Sweden), where she won second in the digital ageplace. ‘Is the new humanism the response to writer, Roberto Toscano, French Singer, songwriter, pianist and the scientific and cultural challenges philosophers Julia Kristeva and Roger-actor, Alsou joins the list of of our time?’ This is the theme of a Pol Droit, Spanish philosophers Adeladistinguished Artists for Peace, that conference organized by the Cortina and Víctor Gómez Pin, theincludes Céline Dion (Canada), Permanent Delegation of Spain to Senegalese writer, Fatou Diome, asFranghiz Ali-Zadeh (Azerbaijan) and UNESCO at the Organization’s well as other jurists, journalists,Marcel Khalifé (Lebanon). The title is headquarters on 14 and 15 November scientists and experts. ■awarded to internationally renowned 2011. The thirty participants willpersonalities who lend a particular include the Spanish Minister of For further information contact:resonance to the messages of Culture, Ángeles González-Sinde, ■ Chilean writer, Jorge Edwards, Italian Tel: (+ 33 1) 4568 3385. THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011 . 53
  • 54. MILESTONES © UNESCO/Ania Freindorf © Málaga Club de Fútbol Promoting peace Herbie through sport Hancock The first football match in which the Málaga CF will develop initiatives to is appointed Málaga Club wore UNESCO jerseys reach these objectives. La Academia, was against the Qatari Al-Rayyan the training centre for Malaga CF’s UNESCO Sports Club, on 20 July 2011, in the youth team, serves as a practical Marbella Football Centre. laboratory for the agreement, to Goodwill This game was held after the inspire young people with a new Director-General of UNESCO, Irina understanding of peace. The Ambassador Bokova, and the President of the internet and social media will also be Málaga Football Club (Málaga CF), used to promote UNESCO’s values Herbie Hancock, the prominent US Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani, had concerning intercultural dialogue jazz musician, was named as a signed a four-year agreement at the and the importance of education. At Goodwill Ambassador by the Picasso Museum in Malaga, Spain, present, 15 teams of young Director-General of UNESCO, Irina on 1 June 2011, to promote peace footballers aged 6 to 19 (i.e. 500 Bokova, in a ceremony on 22 July, through sport, the internet and players in total) are trained there. ■ 2011 at UNESCO HQ, for his social media. dedication to the promotion of A joint commission with See the Málaga Club website: peace through dialogue, culture and representatives of UNESCO and the arts. “I watch the news, I vote, I have opinions about the world I am living in. I am living in this world just like everybody else […] I want to justify UNESCO and Japan my life and the only justification is how you have fought the battle to come to the aid of Pakistan serve humanity,” said Herbie Hancock in an interview during the The tragic severe floods in Pakistan The project will benefit from the ceremony. has triggered UNESCO to launch, in technical expertise of the International Now aged 71, the jazz musician July 2011, a major project in Centre for Water Hazard and Risk was born in Chicago, Illinois, and cooperation with the Government of Management under the auspices of started with a classical music Japan with the aim of upgrading the UNESCO (ICHARM), which developed education from the age of seven. He flood forecasting and early warning a concise flood-runoff analysis system is now in the fifth decade of his systems of Pakistan, and to conduct as a toolkit for more effective and professional career, with an Academy risk mapping of flood plains along efficient flood forecasting in Award for his film score to Round the Indus River. The project will be developing countries. Midnight and 14 Grammy Awards. In implemented by UNESCO (Science Pakistan suffered its most severe addition to being recognized as a Sector ) in close collaboration with floods in living history in 2010. The legendary pianist and composer, the Japan International Cooperation floods began in late July 2010, in the Herbie Hancock has been an integral Agency (JICA) and in coordination Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab part of every popular music with the Government of Pakistan. and Baluchistan regions of Pakistan. ■ movement since the 1960’s. ■ 54 . THE UNESCO COURIER . OC TOBERDECEMBER 2011
  • 55. The UNESCO Universal Declaration Human Rights: Questions andon Bioethics and Human Rights AnswersBackground, principles and By Leah Levin with cartoons by PlantuapplicationEdited by Henk A. M. J. ten Have Human Rights: Questions and Answers providesand Michèle S. Jean. clear, concise and up-to-date information on human rights standards, mechanisms for theirIn October 2005, UNESCO Member States promotion and protection, organizationsadopted by acclamation the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and working for human rights, and majorHuman Rights. For the first time in the history of bioethics, some 190 international events. It also includes reflections on the maincountries committed themselves and the international community to challenges to human rights. First published in 1981, it has been updatedrespect and apply fundamental ethical principles related to medicine, several times and translated into over 30 languages. This revised editionthe life sciences and associated technologies. ■ 2009 reflects substantial recent developments in the field of human rights. The publication is one of UNESCO’s contributions to the International Year of Human Rights Learning (2009) and the World Programme for Human Rights Education, launched in 2005. It is a useful guide for anyoneInvesting in Cultural Diversity and interested in the subject and aims to contribute to a universal culture ofIntercultural Dialogue human rights. ■ 2009This report analyzes all aspects of culturaldiversity, which has emerged as a keyconcern of the international community in Migration and Climate Changerecent decades, and maps out new Edited by Étienne Piguet, Antoineapproaches to monitoring and shaping the Pécoud and Paul de Guchteneirechanges that are taking place. It highlights,in particular, the interrelated challenges of Migration and Climate Change provides thecultural diversity and intercultural dialogue and the way in which strong first authoritative overview of thehomogenizing forces are matched by persistent diversifying trends. The relationship between climate change andreport proposes a series of ten policy-oriented recommendations, for the migration, bringing together both caseattention of States, intergovernmental and non-governmental studies and syntheses from different parts oforganizations, international and regional bodies, national institutions the world. It discusses policy responses, normative issues and criticaland the private sector on how to invest in cultural diversity. ■ 2009 perspectives from the point of view of human rights, international law, political science, and ethics, and addresses the concepts, notions and methods most suited to confronting this complex issue. ■ 2011History of HumanityVolume VII: The Twentieth CenturyEdited by Sarvepalli Gopal and Freedom from Poverty as a Human RightSergei L. Tikhvinsky Who Owes What to the Very Poor? Edited by Thomas PoggeThe product of almost fifteen years ofintense effort, the seven-volume History Collected here are fifteen cutting-edge essays byof Humanity is a radically new work that leading academics about the severe poverty thatsheds light on hitherto unknown today afflicts billions of human lives. The essayshistorical events, in the light of new facts seek to explain why freedom from poverty is aand methods of historiographical investigation. human right and what duties this right createsThis major undertaking required an International Commission and the for the affluent. Addressing even the mostco-operation of some 450 distinguished specialists from all over the complex aspects of human rights in clear language, theseworld. The seventh volume is devoted to the history of the 20th discussions are accessible to specialists and lay readers alike. ■ 2007century. ■ 2008 Migration and Human RightsIntroducing Democracy: The United Nations Convention on Migrant80 Questions and Answers Workers RightsBy David Beetham and Kevin Edited by Paul de Guchteneire, AntoineBoyle with cartoons by Plantu Pécoud and Ryszard CholewinskiWhat is democracy? What is the The International Convention on Migrantrelation between democracy and Workers Rights is one of the UNs main humanindividual rights? Is majority rule rights treaties. It sets a standard in terms ofalways democratic? How can access to human rights for migrant workersdemocracy be maintained and and their families. Yet hardly more than 40improved? states have ratified it and no major developed country has This revised edition also takes into account new challenges facing done so. Although migrant labour is essential in the world economy,our societies, from international terrorism to the HIV and AIDS the human aspect of migration - and especially migrants rights -pandemic. ■ 2009 remains a neglected dimension of globalization. ■ 2009
  • 56. The Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversitycelebrates its 10th anniversaryThe UNESCO Universal Declaration on CulturalDiversity, adopted on 2 November 2001, raises culturaldiversity to the level of "the common heritage ofhumanity [...] as necessary for humankind asbiodiversity is for nature" and makes its defence anethical imperative indissociable from respect for thedignity of the individual. Detail from the poster for the UNESCO © UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.