Having survived the announced end of the world on Dec. 21, we can now try to foretell our immediate future, based on geopolitical principles that will help us understand the overall shifts of global powers and assess the major risks and dangers.
People in the streets and squares of the Colombian capital are breathing easier. The air is fresh with hope, in contrast to the former leaden and fearful atmosphere of eternal violence and interminable conflict.
For anyone who might not have realised it yet, the current crisis is demonstrating beyond a shadow of a doubt that the financial markets are the lead players in the current economic situation in Europe. Power has passed from the politicians to speculators and crooked bankers. This is a fundamental change.
As if the summer holiday were a veil of forgetfulness, the media have tried to distract us the brutality of the crisis with massive doses of collective stupefaction: the European Football Championship, the Olympics, the summer adventures of celebrities, etc. Do they want us to forget that a new wave of cuts is on the way and that the second bailout of Spain will be even more painful? But they haven't succeeded. This fall will be a hot one.
Sadism? Yes, sadism. What other word is there for this complacency at the infliction of pain and humiliation on so many people?
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development will be held in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, from Jun. 20- 22, twenty years after the first great Earth Summit in 1992. Dubbed Rio+20, the conference will draw more than 80 heads of state. Discussion will focus on two main themes: the "green economy" in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional context of sustainable development. The People's Summit will be held parallel to the conference, bringing together social and ecological movements from around the world.
"The greatest strength of tyrants is the inaction of the people."
In France, presidential elections are "the mother of all elections" and the fiery core of political debate. They are held every five years, in two rounds. In principle any French citizen can run in the first round, which will take place on April 22. If no candidate wins an absolute majority (over 50 percent of votes), a runoff election will be held two weeks later.
Will 2012 be the year the world ends? That is the prediction of a Mayan legend that gives 12/12/12 (December12, 2012) as the date of the apocalypse. In any case, in the context of recession in Europe and its grave financial and social problems, there will be no shortage of risks this year, which will also feature decisive elections in the US, Russia, France, Mexico, and Venezuela.
The grave financial crisis and the economic horrors besieging European societies are causing people to forget that climate change and the destruction of biodiversity remain the greatest threats to humanity, as they were reminded only last December at the climate summit in Durban, South Africa. If we do not radically change the dominant modes of production imposed by economic globalisation, we will soon reach the point of no return, after which human life on the planet will become gradually unviable.
It is clear that the European Union cannot summon the political will to stand up to the markets and resolve the crisis. Until now the lamentable behaviour of European leaders has been blamed on their staggering incompetence. However, this (correct) assessment doesn't go far enough, particularly after the recent ''financial coups d'etat'' that in Greece and Italy have dynamited a certain conception of democracy. What has been happening is less a matter of mediocrity and incompetence than active complicity with the markets.
Ten years from the attacks of September 11 and three years from the collapse of Lehman Brothers, what are the features of the new "global system"?
"The world will be saved, if it can be, by the unsubmissive." Andre Gide
Two centuries after the abolition of slavery we are seeing the reintroduction of an abominable practice: human trafficking. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that 12.3 million people each year are taken captive by networks tied to international crime and used as forced labour in inhuman conditions.
One of the most powerful men in the world, director of the largest financial institution of the planet, sexually assaults one of the world's most vulnerable people, a humble African immigrant. In its raw concision, this image sums up with the expressive force of an editorial cartoon one of the central characteristics of our age: the violence of inequality.