Federico Mayor Zaragoza


President of the ECPD Council
Director-General of UNESCO, a.d.
Chairman of the Foundation for a 
Culture of Peace



ART 48/2022
A duty of memory, a crime of silence for Other News


- The unpostponable time has come for “We, the peoples” to take conscious and well reasoned action”. Because, today, for the first time in history, it has become possible to put into practice the first sentence of the Charter of the United Nations -“We, the peoples... have resolved to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” —yes, it is possible. - In 1945 it was premature to entrust such an important mission to “the peoples” because “the peoples” did not exist: 90% of human beings were born, lived and died in just a few square kilometres, there was a total discrimination and male power was absolute and irrefutable. Now, since two or three decades ago, we have gradually reached the equal human dignity whatever the gender, the beliefs, the sexual sensibility, the ethnic group... And, thanks to a great extent to digital technology, the peoples can finally express themselves, they have at last a voice. Now they may participate, cease to be mere impassive spectators and become diligent actors. - Clearly the world cannot continue to be ruled by plutocratic andsupremacist groups (G.6, G.7, G.8, G.20) that have a de facto warindustrial power¹ that largely goes beyond the capacity of government structures based in “We, the peoples”: Democratic multilateralism is -no doubt - a good solution, but as it already happened in the case of the United Nations, which is a perfect design of a multilateral institution, it was immediately disabled by the veto of the five victors of the 2nd World War. One solution would be to wisely introduce some “unanimity” requirements —which are the antithesis of democracy, but are currently used in the European Union. - Now, that we are living the historical moment of the arrival of a new era —the anthropocene— with global threats that are potentially irreversible, when we have already reached 8,000 million human beings, most of them living in unbearable social conditions and displaying an irreflexive behaviour after being abducted by social nets operated by economical growth systems that dominate most of the scenario, it is imperative to achieve the fulfilment of the essential civic and intergenerational duties, taking into account that tax havens have already been accepted as unchangeable realities, which is extremely serious, a justice unbridled by ideology.- Given this general scenario, one could think that there is no solution and the time has come to surrender. It would be a great mistake because —as already indicated— now “the peoples” know they are equal in dignity and they may express themselves freely. Now at last, we may. Now at last, we must take action with no further delay. To this end, let’s remember our duty of memory. And the crime of silence. - A duty of memory of the global governance and the attempts made to change the use of force by the use of word.

- In 1919, at the end of the First World War, the American Democrat President Wilson introduced in the Place Concorde in Paris the Convention for a Permanent Peace, which involved the implementation of the Society or League of Nations in Geneva. The rearmament of Germany would thus be avoided and the disputes and disagreements between countries would be discussed in the democratic context of the League of Nations. This great project was frustrated because the United States Republican Party decided – what a huge nonsense! —that the country whose President had created the League of Nations would never be a member of this organization.

- Germany rearmed itself, there was a terrible Aryan, Roman and Japanese supremacism, with magnicides and a holocaust, and finally the Second World War broke out, at the end of which President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created in San Francisco, in 1945, the United Nations System whose operation and usefulness would later be hindered by the veto of the five victors of the great war. A few decades of “arms race” followed later between the USA and the Soviet Union.

- On the 10th October 1985, in Reykjavik, President Mikhail Gorbachev informed President Ronald Reagan that the Berlin Wall would fall apart and the USSR would become a Commonwealth of Independent States, but the most important issue of this meeting should be to put an end to the nuclear menace, who was then, and still is today, a dreadful and intolerable horizon for humanity as a whole. At the end of the meeting, the number of nuclear warheads was reduced from17,000 each to 6,000. Gorbachev asked that the military leadership be consulted, stressing that the aim was not to reduce but to eliminate this terrible danger. Finally, Reagan reduced, yet maintained, his proposal and, besides, he created the G6 immediately after this meeting! A bright possibility for change had just been closed. And, thus, the nuclear menace remained as sinister as ever.

- Therefore, today the supreme requirement of humanity is the elimination of all nuclear weapons. “We, the peoples” should consider this decision as a priority at a global scale. A duty of memory. A crime of silence. - In September 2015 there was another reason for hope: the Democrat President Barack Obama signed in Paris the Agreements on Climate Change and, two months later, in United Nations General Assembly the Resolution “to transform the world” (2030 Agenda and SDGs). At last the clamours of the Earth Summits of 1992 (Rio) and 2002 (Johannesburg) were heard!

- With the arrival of the unusual President Donald Trump six months later, once again there was a complete submission to the G7 and the global governance... And everything remained unchanged. The European Union remains silent. A duty of memory….

- The ideological dependency of judges, who can either be “conservative” or “progressive”, has been normalized. Both are completely unacceptable. In the Supreme Court of both United States and Spain this total breakdown of independent justice is accepted. A duty of memory. A crime of silence. - With Putin's intolerable invasion and the subsequent media eruption, we have forgotten "the other wars" -Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Israel and Palestine...- as well as conflicts and situations that take human lives every day and leave to their fate a disorientated citizenry and – in many cases - in conditions of overcrowding and radical poverty... And the EU, unable to be Russia's interlocutor, as it should, transfers this representation to the NATO and the G7 due to "unanimity", a requirement that should be immediately removed. A duty of memory. A crime of silence. - We have witnessed, insensitive and spiritless, how incredible businesses on a global scale —based mainly on new technologies— have joined the war-industrial complex, without this plutocratic manifestation prompting the expected reaction, including in the first place the immediate elimination of tax havens, which facilitate and consent to the non-compliance with the basic rules of solidarity and distributive justice. The governance of the G7, G8 and G20 must be offset by a popular clamour of great intensity and reach that shall favour a democratic and effective multilateralism². We must now, before it is too late, remember and react. A duty of memory. A crime of silence.

- If there is anything we should be touched by and moved to look after the most vulnerable, people with more needs, the immigrants, the young people without horizons, of outstretched hands and asking for help, it is the progressive disenchantment and distraction of a large part of society. Only with a democratic multilateral governance can we implement the essential changes that are needed and have now become possible, since very shortly due to the recognition of the
equal dignity and the participation of “the peoples”, “compelled to rebellion”, as established in the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

- Material and intellectual and moral solidarity, as established in the UNESCO Constitution.

- Each time an immigrant or a refugee drowns or dies due to abandon, the efforts of sharing and justice for a new era are extinguished and the collective horizons grow bleaker. Every unique human being capable of creating, there lies our hope. Everybody should have the same opportunities and it is radically intolerable that more than 4,000 million dollars are invested every day in military expenses and armament while countless people are displaced, abandoned, without any resource. One of the main demands of “We, the peoples” should be a new concept of security that combines territorial security with the security of those who live in these well-protected territories, by ensuring them access to food, drinking water, health services, care for the environment, education throughout life and preventive systems for natural disasters... This daily reminder of "human security" is peremptory. A duty of memory. A crime of silence.

- Special attention should be given to the protection of the human species which is endowed with extraordinary distinctive faculties that make the difference: thinking, imagining, anticipating, innovating, creating! - These are the most important values we need to protect and who have - since the dawn of time - tried to be reduced or cancelled through submission or debasement. Now the risk is even greater because it is intended that artificial intelligence —which has many positive aspects as a contributing factor— dominates and robotizes natural intelligence. I have read with horror that the tycoon Musk intends “to place in six months the first chip in a human brain” (press of 2 December 2022) and to that end “he hopes to receive the approval of the United States Government"· This approval should unavoidably depend on an agreement between major scientific groups that, knowing the great current achievements and the possibility of using them to detect and prevent neurological and visual conditions, can duly advise on matters of such interest. But we cannot accept that human intelligence is once more replaced by artificial intelligence, no! A duty of memory. A crime of silence.- Now at last “We, the peoples”, we may. We now have to mobilize in order not to forget the current perverse trends and to put into practice, thanks to multilateral democratic governance, the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals “to transform the world”.

A duty of memory. A crime of silence.

December 7th 2022

Federico Mayor Zaragoza



¹Eisenhower Dwight, Discurso, enero, 1961

Source: Public Papers of the Presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960, p. 1035- 1040

²Project for a Universal Declaration of Democracy




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