Étiquette : Schiller Institute

 

Israel-Palestine: Time to Make Water a Weapon for Peace

Water for Peace

Contents:

Introduction

This article provides readers with the keys. To understand the history of the water wars that continue to ravage the Middle East, it is essential to understand the geological, hydrographical, geographical and political issues at stake. In the second part, we examine the various options for developing water resources as part of a strategy to overcome the crisis. We will deal with the gas issue, another subject of potential conflict or cooperation, in a later article.

1. Geography

The Dead Sea lays at minus 415 meters below sea level (in black), while the mountains rise up till 1486 meters (red).

The Jordan River basin is shared by four countries: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel, plus the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza.

Situated in the hollow of a tectonic depression on the great fault that runs from Aqaba to Turkey, the Jordan Valley is one of the lowest-lying basins in the world, flowing into the Dead Sea at an altitude of 421 meters below sea level.

See interactive topographic map.

Added to this is the fact that this is an endorheic basin, i.e. a river that flows neither into the sea nor the ocean. As in the Aral Sea basin in Central Asia, this means that any water drawn or diverted upstream reduces the level of its ultimate receptacle, the Dead Sea (see below), and can even potentially make it disappear.

Jordan river.

While remaining a fundamental artery for the entire region, the Jordan River has a number of drawbacks: its course is not navigable, its flow remains low and its waters, which are highly saline, are polluted.

As one of the key factors in the « Water, Energy, Food nexus » – three factors whose interdependence is such that we can’t deal with one without dealing with the other two – water resource management remains a key issue, and holds a primordial place for any future shared between Israel and its Arab neighbors. To grow food, one needs water. But to desalinate sea water, Israel spends 10 % of its electricity generated by consuming gas and oil.

2. Rainfall and water resources

A gauche, moyenne des précipitations annuelle, à droite le relief géographique.

The Middle East forms a long, arid strip, only accidentally interrupted by areas of abundant rainfall (around 500-700 mm/year), such as the mountains of Lebanon, Palestine and Yemen.

Geographically, much of the Middle East lies south of the isohyet (imaginary line connecting points of equal rainfall) indicating 300 mm/year.

However, precipitation has only a limited effect due to its seasonality (October-February).

As a result, river flow and flooding are irregular throughout the year, as well as between years. The same applies to groundwater recharge.

On a state-by-state basis, total water resources are very unevenly distributed in the region:
Turkey and Iraq have over 4,000 cubic meters per person per year, and Lebanon around 3000 m³/person/year, which is above the regional average (1,800 m³/person/year).
Syria and Egypt have around 1200 m³/person/year, one third lower.

On the other hand, some countries are below the critical 500 m³/year/capita bracket:
Israel and Jordan have 300 m³/year/capita, and the Palestinian Territories (West Bank-Gaza) less than 200 m³/year/capita. They are in what the World Health Organization (WHO) calls a situation of « water stress ».

The Middle East enjoys plenty of water on a regional scale, but has many areas in chronic shortage, on a local scale.

3. Hydrography of the Jordan basin

A. Source

360 km long, the Jordan River rises from water flowing down the slopes of Jabal el-Sheikh (Mount Hermon) in southern Lebanon on the border with Syria.

B. Tributaries

Once over the Israeli border, three tributaries join the Jordan about 6 kilometers upstream from the former Lake Hula (now reclaimed):

1. The Hasbani, with a flow of 140 million cubic meters (MCM) per year, rises in Lebanon, a country it crosses over 21 kilometers. The upper reaches of the Hasbani vary greatly with the seasons, while the lower reaches are more regular.

2. The Banias, currently under Israeli control and 30 kilometers long, has an annual flow close to that of the Hasbani (140 MCM). It rises in Syria in the Golan Heights, and flows into Israel for around 12 kilometers before emptying into the Upper Jordan.

3. The Nahr Leddan (or Dan) forms in Israel when the waters of the Golan Heights come together. Although restricted, its course remains stable and its annual flow is greater than that of the other two tributaries of the Upper Jordan, exceeding 250 MCM per year.

C. Lake Tiberias or Kinneret (aka Sea of Galilee)

The Jordan then flows through 17 km of narrow gorges to reach Lake Tiberias, where the salinity is high, especially as the freshwater streams flowing into it have been diverted. Lake Tiberias, however, receives water from the many small streams running through the Golan Heights.

D. Yarmouk River

Next, the Jordan meets the Yarmouk River (bringing in water from Syria), then meanders for 320 km (109 km as the crow flies) to reach the Dead Sea. These 320 km are occupied by a humid plain (the humid zor), with subtropical vegetation, dominated on both sides (West Bank and Jordanian) by dry, gullied terraces.

4. Water sources for Israel

The Hebrew state has four main sources of water supply:

A. Surface Water

Israel benefits first and foremost from the freshwater reserves of Lake Tiberias in Galilee, in the north of the country. Crossed by the Jordan River, this small inland sea accounts for 25% of Israel’s water needs. The annexation of the Golan Heights and the occupation of southern Lebanon have made this source of water a sanctuary.

B. Groundwater

In addition to surface water (lakes and rivers), the country can rely on its coastal aquifers, from Haifa to Ashkelon.

Located between Israel and the occupied West Bank, the main aquifer, the Yarkon-Taninim mountain aquifer, has a capacity of 350 MCM per year. In the northeast and east of the West Bank are two other aquifers with capacities of 140 and 120 MCM per year respectively.

C. Seawater desalination

Water desalination in Israel.

Five desalination plants built along the country’s coastline — in Ashkelon (2005), Palmachin (2007), Hadera (2010), Sorek (2013) and Ashdod (2015) — currently operate and two more are under construction. Collectively, these plants are projected to account for 85-90 per cent of Israel’s annual water consumption, marking a remarkable turnaround.

The Sorek desalination plant, located about 15 km south of Tel Aviv, became operational in October 2013 with a seawater treatment capacity of 624,000m³/day, which makes it world’s biggest seawater desalination plant. The desalination facility uses seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) process providing water to Israel’s National Water Carrier system (NWC, see below). A dozen more units of this type are considered for construction.

Israel, which has been facing severe droughts since 2013, even began pumping desalinated seawater from the Mediterranean into Lake Tiberias, a unique performance worldwide. While Israel faced water scarcity two decades ago, it now exports water to its neighbors (not too much to Palestine). Israel currently supplies Jordan with 100 MCM and fulfills 20 % of Jordan’s water needs.

From 100 liters of seawater, 52 liters of drinking water and 48 liters of brine (brackish water) can be obtained. Although highly efficient and useful, desalination technology has still to be perfected, as it currently discharges brine into the sea, disrupting the marine ecosystem. To reduce this pollution and transform it into solid waste, we need to increase treatment and therefore energy consumption.

D. Wastewater

The country prides itself on reusing between 80% and 90% of its wastewater for agriculture. Treated wastewater used for irrigation is known as effluent. Israel’s effluent utilization rate is one of the highest in the world. Reclamation is carried out by 87 large wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) that supply over 660 MCM per year. This represents around 50% of total water demand for agriculture and around 25% of the country’s total water demand. Israel aims to more than double the amount of effluent produced for the agricultural sector by 2050.

5. Water infrastructure projects

David Ben-Gurion.

For Israel, acquiring water resources in a desert region, through technology, military conquest and/or diplomacy, was from the outset an imperative to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population and, in the eyes of the rest of the world, a demonstration of its sovereign power and its superiority.

This symbolism is particularly evident in the figure of the father of the Hebrew state, David Ben-Gurion (1886-1973), whose aim was to make the Negev desert in the south of the country « blossom ».

In his book Southwards (1956), Ben Gourion described his ambition:

A. National Water Carrier of Israel (NWC)

From 1959 to 1964, the Israelis built the National Water Carrier of Israel (NWC), the largest water project in Israel to date.

The first ideas appeared in Theodor Herzl‘s book Altneuland (1902), in which he spoke of using the springs of the Jordan for irrigation purposes and channeling seawater to generate electricity from the Mediterranean Sea near Haifa through the Beit She’an and Jordan valleys to a canal running parallel to the Jordan and Dead Sea.

In 1919, Chaïm Waizmann, leader of the World Zionist Organization, declared: « The whole economic future of Palestine depends on its water supply ».

However, he advocated incorporating the Litani Valley (in today’s southern Lebanon) into the Palestinian state.

The NWC project was conceived as early as 1937, although detailed planning began after the recognition of Israel in 1948. In practice, the natural flow of the Jordan River is prevented by the construction of a dam, built south of Lake Tiberias. From there, water is diverted to the NWC, a 130 km-long system combining giant pipes, open channels, tunnels, reservoirs and large-scale pumping stations. The aim is to transfer water from Lake Tiberias to the densely populated center and the arid south, including the Negev desert.

When it was inaugurated in 1964, 80% of its water was allocated to agriculture and 20% to drinking water. By 1990, the NWC supplied half of Israel’s drinking water. With the addition of water from seawater desalination plants, it now supplies Tel Aviv, a city of 3.5 million inhabitants, Jerusalem (1 million inhabitants) and (outside wartime) Gaza and the occupied territories of the West Bank.

Since 1948, the area of irrigated farmland has increased from 30,000 to 186,000 hectares. Thanks to micro-irrigation (drip irrigation, including subsurface irrigation), Israeli agricultural production increased by 26% between 1999 and 2009, although the number of farmers fell from 23,500 to 17,000.

The Water War

In launching its NWC, Israel went it alone, while for the rest of the world, it was clear that diverting the waters of the Jordan River would give rise to sharp tensions with neighboring countries, particularly with Jordan and Syria, not to mention the Palestinians who have been largely excluded from the project’s economic benefits.



As early as 1953, Israel began the unilateral draining of Lake Hula (or Huleh), north of Lake Tiberias, leading to skirmishes with Syria.

In 1959, Israel kickstarted the NWC. The project was initially interrupted by a halt in American funding, as the Americans did not want to see violence escalate in the context of the Cold War.

It should be noted that, following the Suez crisis of 1956, the Soviet Union established itself in Syria as the protecting power of Arab countries against the « Israeli threat ». As part of the deployment of its naval presence in the Mediterranean, it obtained facilities for its fleet at Latakia in Syria.

However, Israel managed to quietly resume and continue the work on the NWC. Filling the system by pumping of Lake Tiberias began in June 1964 in utmost secrecy. When the Arab countries learned of this, their anger was great. In November 1964, the Syrian army fired on Israeli patrols around the NWC pumping station, provoking Israeli counter-attacks. In January 1965, the NWC was the target of the first attack by the Fatah (organization fighting for the liberation of Palestine) led by Yasser Arafat.

The Arab states finally recognized that they would never be able to stop the project through direct military action.

They therefore adopted a plan, the Headwater Diversion Plan immediately implemented in 1965, to divert water upstream from the tributaries of the Jordan River into the Yarmouk River (in Syria). The project was technically complicated and costly, but if successful would have diverted 35% of the water Israel intended to withdraw from the upper Jordan…

Israel declared that it considered this deviation of the water as an infringement of its sovereign rights. Relations degenerated completely and border clashes followed, with Syrian forces firing on Israeli army farmers and patrols. In July 1966, the Israeli air force bombed a concentration of earth-moving equipment and shot down a Syrian MiG-21. The Arab states abandoned their counter plan, but the conflict continued along the Israel-Syria border, including an Israeli air attack on Syrian territory in April 1967.

1967. Israeli tanks on the Golan heights to control water.

For many analysts, this was a prelude to the Six-Day War in 1967, when Israel occupied the Golan Heights to protect its water supply. The Six-Day War profoundly altered the geopolitical situation in the basin, with Israel now occupying not only the Gaza Strip and Sinai, but also the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

As French researcher Hervé Amiot explains:

In fact, as early as 1955, between a quarter and a third of the water came from the groundwater in the south-western part of the West Bank. Today, the West Bank aquifers supply Israel with 475 million m³ of water, i.e. 25-30% of the country’s water consumption (and 50% of its drinking water).

Two months after the seizure of the occupied territories, Israel issued “Military Decree 92”, transferring authority over all water resources in the occupied territories to the Israeli army and conferring « absolute power to control all water-related matters to the Water Resources Officer, appointed by the Israeli courts ». This decree revoked all drilling licenses issued by the Jordanian government and designated the Jordan region a military zone, thus depriving Palestinians of all access to water while granting Israel total control over water resources, including those used to support its settlement projects.

Today, returning the Golan to Syria and recognizing the sovereignty of the Palestinian Authority over the West Bank seems impossible for Israel, given the Hebrew state’s increasing dependence on the water resources of these occupied territories. The exploitation of these resources will therefore continue, despite Article 55 of the Regulations of the IVth Hague Convention, which stipulates that an occupying power does not become the owner of water resources and cannot exploit them for the needs of its civilians…

B. Johnston Plan

Eric Allen Johnston

One might think that the United States tried very early on to prevent the situation from degenerating in such a predictable way. They tried to take into account Israel’s legitimate interest in securing access to water, the absolute key to its survival and development, while at the same time offering neighboring countries (Jordan, Syria and Lebanon) sufficient resources to accommodate the millions of Palestinians exiled from their homes following the Nakba.

Faced with the risk of conflict, as early as 1953 – years before Israel launched its NWC plan – the American government proposed its mediation to resolve disputes over the Jordan basin. The result was the « Jordan Valley Unified Water Plan » (known as the « Johnston Plan »), named after Eric Allen Johnston, president of the United States Chamber of Commerce and US President Dwight Eisenhower‘s water envoy.

More concretely, “The Unified Development of the Water Resources of the Jordan Valley Region,” was prepared at the request of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees under the direction of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

On Oct. 13, 1953, Eisenhower’s Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, in a top secret letter instructed Johnston what his mission was all about and on Oct. 16, in a public statement Eisenhower explained:

This plan established the transboundary nature of the Jordan basin and proposed an equitable sharing of the resource, giving 52% of the water to Jordan, 31% to Israel, 10% to Syria and 3% to Lebanon.

The plan, just as the Tennessee Valley Authority during FDR’s New Deal, was essentially based on building dams for irrigation and hydropower. The water was there and correctly managed, sufficient for the needs of the population at that time. Its main features were:

  • a dam on the Hasbani River to provide power and irrigate the Galilee area;
  • dams on the Dan and Banias Rivers to irrigate Galilee;
  • drainage of the Huleh swamps;
  • a dam at Maqarin on the Yarmouk River for water storage (capacity of 175 million m³) and power generation;
  • a small dam at Addassiyah on the Yarmouk to divert its water toward both the Lake Tiberias and south along the eastern Ghor;
  • a small dam at the outlet of Lake Tiberias to increase its storage capacity;
  • gravity-flow canals along the east and west sides of the Jordan valley to irrigate the area between the Yarmouk’s confluence with the Jordan and the Dead Sea;
  • control works and canals to utilize perennial flows from the wadis that the canals cross.

See details of the Johnston plan in this comprehensive article.

The project was validated by the technical committees of Israel and the Arab League, and did not require Israel to abandon its ambition to green the Negev desert. Unfortunately, however, the presentation of the plan to the Knesset in July 1955 did not result in a vote.

The Arab Committee approved the plan in September 1955 and forwarded it to the Council of the Arab League for final approval. Tragically, this institution also chose not to ratify it on October 11, because of its opposition to an act implying an implicit act of recognition of Israel that would prevent the return of the Palestinian refugees to their home… The mistake here was to isolate the water issue from a broader agreement on peace and justice as the foundation of mutual development.

Then, after the Suez Canal crisis in 1956, the Arab countries, with the exception of Jordan, hardened their stance towards Israel considerably, and henceforth opposed the Johnston plan head-on, arguing that it would amplify the threat posed by that country by enabling it to strengthen its economy. They also claim that increasing Israel’s water resources could only increase Jewish migration to the Hebrew state, thereby reducing the possibility of the return of Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war…

History cannot be rewritten, but the adoption of the Johnston Plan could well have prevented conflicts, such as that of 1967, which cost the lives of 15,000 Egyptians, 6,000 Jordanians, 2,500 Syrians and at least 1,000 Israelis.

C. Jordan’s response: the Ghor irrigation Canal

East Ghor or King Abadallah Canal (KAC).

At almost the same time as Israel was completing its NWC, Jordan was digging the East Ghor irrigation canal between 1955 and 1964, starting at the confluence of the Yarmouk and Jordan rivers and running parallel to the latter all the way to the Dead Sea on Jordanian territory.

Originally, this was part of a larger project – the « Greater Yarmouk » project – which included two storage dams on the Yarmouk and a future “Western Ghor Canal” on the west bank of the Jordan. The latter was never built, as Israel took the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War.

In effect, by diverting the waters of the Yarmouk to fill up its own canal, Jordan secured water for its capital Amman and its agriculture, but of course, contributed reducing the waters of the Jordan River.

In Jordan, the Jordan’s river watershed is a region of vital importance to the country. It is home to 83% of the population, the main industries and 80% of irrigated agriculture. It is also home to 80% of the country’s total water resources.

Overall, the Hashemite kingdom is one of the world’s most water-poor countries, with 92% of its territory desert. While Israel has 276 m³ of natural freshwater available per capita per year, Jordan has just 179 m³, more than half of which comes from groundwater.

The UN considers that a country with less than 500 m³ of freshwater per capita per year suffers from « absolute water stress ». Added to this is the fact that since the start of the Syrian civil war, Jordan has welcomed nearly 1.4 million refugees onto its soil, in addition to its 10 million inhabitants.

The East Ghor Canal was designed in 1957 and built between 1959 and 1961 competing with Israel’s NWC. In 1966, the upstream section as far as Wadi Zarqa was completed. The canal was then 70 km long and was extended three times between 1969 and 1987.

The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), financed the initial phase of the project, after obtaining explicit assurances from the Jordanian government that Jordan would not withdraw more water from the Yarmouk than had been allocated to it under the Johnston Plan. They were also involved in the subsequent phases.

Waterworks in the region are often named after great political figures. The East Ghor Canal was named « King Abdallah Canal (KAC) » by Abdalla II after his great-grandfather, the founder of Jordan. At the time of the peace treaty with Israel in 1994, the two countries shared the flow of the Jordan, and Jordan agreed to sell its water from Lake Tiberias.

D. Mediterranean – Dead Sea Aqueduct

Possible routes for water conveyance:
A: Crossing solely Israelian territory;
B and C: Crossing Israel and West Bank (shortest, 70 km);
D. Crossing Gaza and Israel;
E. Crossing only Jordan (longest, 200 km).

The idea of a Dead Sea-Mediterranean Canal was first proposed by William Allen in 1855 in a book entitled The Dead Sea – A new route to India. At the time, it was not known that the level of the Dead Sea was far below that of the Mediterranean, and Allen proposed the canal as an alternative to the Suez navigation Canal.

Later, several engineers and politicians took up the idea, including Theodor Herzl in his 1902 short story Altneuland. Most early projects were based on the left bank of the Jordan, but a modified form, using the right bank (West bank), was proposed after 1967.

After extensive research, German engineers Herbert Wendt and Wieland Kelm proposed not a navigable canal, but an aqueduct consisting essentially of an overhead gallery running West-East, linking the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea.

Their 1975 detailed project study Depressionskraftwerk am Toten Meer – Eine Projektstudie, on how to use the difference of water levels between the Mediterranean sea (level 0) and the Dead Sea (- 400 m) for power generation was the subject of a first publication in the German journal Wasserwirtschaft (1975,3).

The diagram indicates the system operates as follows:

  1. The seawater intake is at Ashdod.
  2. An open channel allows the water to flow by gravity for 7 km.
  3. From there, the pressurized water travels through a 65 km-long hydraulic gallery;
  4. The water arrives in a 3km-long reservoir created by a dam on the edge of the steep descent to the Dead Sea. At that point, the water can be used to cool a thermal or nuclear power plant, the heat from which can be used for industrial or agricultural purposes.
  5. Through a shaft running from the bottom of the reservoir, the water descends a steep 400 metres.
  6. There, it powers three turbines, each producing 100 MWe.
  7. Finally, via an evacuation gallery, the seawater reaches the Dead Sea.

However, since the project was elaborated exclusively by Israel and without any consultation with its Jordanian, Egyptian and Palestinian neighbors, the project ran against a wall of political opposition.

Of course, as with any large scale infrastructure projects, many things needed to be adapted, including tourist equipment, roads, hotels, Jordanian potash exploitation, Palestinian farmland, etc.

Questions were also raised about (very infrequent) potential earthquakes and the difference of salinity of water from the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea.

On Dec. 16, 1981, the UN General Assembly, arguing the canal project « will violate the principle of international law » adopted Resolution 36-150.

That resolution requested the UN Security Council « to consider initiating measures to halt the execution of this project » and calling « upon all States not to assist, either directly or indirectly, in the preparation for and the execution of this project. »

The request, in article 3, to submit a study was fulfilled. The report, not really convincing, details various objections but doesn’t call into question the technical feasability of the project.

E. Red Sea – Dead Sea Water Conveyance

In the framework of the peace treaty between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan the integrated development Master Plan for the Jordan Rift Valley (JRV) was studied in the mid 1990’s.

The Red Sea – Dead Sea Canal (RSDSC) was considered to be one of the most important potential elements for implementing this Master Plan. The principal development objective of the RSDSC was to provide desalinated drinking water for the people of the area.

On October 17, 1994, then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein of Jordan validated the draft peace treaty between their two countries in Amman, after reaching agreement on the last two points in dispute – the water issue and border demarcation.

Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton and King Hussein.

On November 26, the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty was signed with great fanfare in the Arava Valley, between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, by the prime ministers of the two countries, in the presence of US President Bill Clinton, whose country had helped bring the negotiations between Jerusalem and Amman to a successful conclusion.

This created the condition where the old idea of linking the Red Sea with the Dead Sea, a project renamed and supported by Shimon Peres as the « Peace Canal », could come back on the table.

Former Israeli water commissioner Professor Dan Zaslavsky, who opposed the project on cost grounds, wrote in the Jerusalem Post in 2006 about Peres’ obstinacy. To listen to the scientists, Peres summoned five of them. Each had to present his objections in a few minutes.

« At one point, Peres got up and said, ‘Excuse me. Don’t you remember that I built the nuclear reactor in Dimona? Do you remember that everyone was against it? Well I was right in the end. And this will prove to be the same thing! » And with that, Zaslavsky said with a flourish, « he left! »

The Dead Sea

For millennia, the Dead Sea was filled with fresh water from the Jordan River, via Lake Tiberias. Over the last fifty years, however, it has lost 28% of its depth and a third of its surface area. Its water level is falling inexorably, at an average rate of 1.45 meters per year. Its high salinity – over 27%, compared with the average for oceans and seas of 2-4% – and a level 430 meters below sea level, has always fascinated visitors and provided therapeutic benefits. Stretching 51 kilometers long and 18 kilometers wide, it is shared by Israel, Jordan and the West Bank.

The over-exploitation of upstream water resources (the National Aqueduct in Israel, the Ghor Canal in Jordan), together with potassium mining, is the cause of the sand desert which, if nothing is done, will continue to replace the Dead Sea.

If the Dead Sea needs the Jordan River, the Jordan River needs Lake Tiberias, from which it takes its source. However, the lake too has been affected by drastic drops in its water level in recent years, triggering a vicious circle between the three systems (Lake Tiberias, Jordan River and Dead Sea).

Aqueduct

In response, at the end of 2006, the World Bank and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) assisted Israel and Jordan in the design of a colossal project to link the Dead Sea to the Red Sea via a 180-kilometer mainly underground pipeline.

In the end, the project for an aqueduct starting from the Red Sea and built entirely on Jordanian territory was chosen, with the signing of a tripartite agreement between Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians in December 2013.

  1. Sea intake and pumping station
    The seawater is pumped to +125 m above sea level at the Red Sea.
  2. Pressure pipeline
    The first part of the conveyance system transmits the seawater to the planned elevation. The length is 5 km from Aqaba (3% of the whole alignment).
  3. A tunnel and canal conveyance system
    Seawater is transmitted to the regulating and pretreatment reservoirs with a design flow of 60 m3 /s. A 121 km tunnel with 7 m diameter and 39 km canal were designed.
  4. Regulating and pre-treatment reservoirs
    Several reservoirs were designed at +107 m at Wadi G’mal at the southeastern margin of the Dead Sea.
  5. Desalination plants
    The 2 desalination plants are designed to operate by using the process of hydrostatically supported reverse osmosis to provide desalinated seawater. The main plant will be located at Safi at 365 m below the sea level with a water column of 475 m.
  6. Fresh water
    The project will produce around 850 MMC of fresh water per year, to be shared between Jordan, Israel and Palestine, the three countries that manage the Dead Sea. For the transmission of the water to Amman a double pipeline of 200 km with 2.75 m diameter was designed with nine pumping stations for the uplift of 1,500 m. For the transmission to Hebron a double pipeline of 125 km with an elevation difference of 1,415 m was designed.
  7. The brine
    The brine reject water will be conveyed from the desalination plant via a 7 km canal to the Dead Sea. 1,100 MMC per year of brine reject water will enter the Dead Sea.
  8. Electricity generation
    As the brine runs through the tunnel and canal, the turbines of one or more hydroelectric power plants will generate around 800 megawatts of electricity to partially offset the electricity consumed by pumping;
  9. Three new cities will be built: North Aqaba city in northern Aqaba, South Dead Sea City, close to the desalination plant south of the Dead Sea, and South Amman City (see map at the beginning of this section).

In terms of environmental impact, scientists have expressed concern that mixing the brine (rich in sulfate) from the desalination plants with the Dead Sea water (rich in calcium) could cause the latter to turn white. It would therefore be necessary to proceed with a gradual water transfer to observe the effects of water transfer in this particular ecosystem.

Not enough to stabilize the level of the Dead Sea, but a first step to start slowing down its drying up, emphasized Frédéric Maurel, in charge of this project for AFD, in 2018. « We also need to use water more sparingly, both in agriculture and in the potash industry, » he stressed.

Political will?

Projected water intake at Red Sea.

In 2015, as a supplement to the program, agreements had been reached on reciprocal water sales: Jordan would supply drinking water to Israel in the south, which in return would increase its sales of water from Lake Tiberias to supply northern Jordan. And the Palestinians would also receive additional water supplies from Israel. By the end of 2016, five consortia of companies had been shortlisted.

In 2017, the European Investment Bank produced a 264 page detailed study to support the plan.

On the Israeli side, saving the Dead Sea is a necessity to maintain seaside tourism and thermalism. It is also a lever to guarantee its hydraulic control over the West Bank, as Israel does not trust the Palestinian Authority to manage water. Honest elements of the Hebrew state are aware of the peacemaking potential of this project, and need a stable partner in the region. Jordan, for its part, was by far the most interested in this project, given its critical situation.

In 2021, Jordan decided to put an end to the joint water pipeline project, believing that there was « no real desire on the part of the Israelis » for the plan, which had stagnated for several years, to go ahead.

To face its growing needs, Jordan has decided to build its own desalination plant directly on the Red Sea. The Aqaba-Amman Water Desalination and Conveyance Project will take water from the Red Sea at the Gulf of Aqaba in the south, desalinate it, and channel it 450 kilometres north to the capital Amman and its surrounding area, supplying a desperately needed 300 million cubic metres of water a year. Studies are complete and construction will start on July 2024. The plant will be powered with solar energy.

In 2022, Jordan, the UAE and Israel signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to continue feasibility studies for two interconnected projects: establishing the water desalination station at the Red Sea (Prosperity Blue) and establishing a solar power plant in Jordan (Prosperity Green). However, due to the ongoing war against Gaza and the rejection of the Jordanian public regarding the agreement’s signing, the Jordan government announced the suspension of the agreement.

The Dead Sea might slowly reappear

The desalination plant an pipeline pumping fresh water back in the Sea of Galilee are now operational.

With huge desalinization capacities in hand, Israel adopted in 2023 the National Carrier Flow Reversal Project to return water to its natural resources, in particular to Lake Tiberias, the very source of freshwater for its entire national water system.

Lake Tiberias, as we have seen, is therefore a national treasure, a centerpiece of tourism, agriculture and, as we have seen, geopolitics.

According to Dodi Belser, Director of Innovation at water state giant Mekorot, if Israel wants to increase the water it sends to its Jordanian neighbors and to protect its reservoir, it’s vital to retain the lake’s water level. Currently Israel taps 100 million cubic meters of water from Lake Tiberias to send to Jordan, and did so even during the drought years of 2013 to 2018.

Increase resilience to climate chaos and preparing eventual futur water sharing, gave birth to the idea to pump desalinated water into the Lake Tiberias, up to 120 million cubic meters a year until 2026. That is happening right now.

It can partly increase the level of the Jordan river and therefore the water arriving into the Dead Sea. But the salt in the Dead Sea comes from the waters of the Jordan River. Every year, the famous river brings it some 850,000 tonnes of salt.

F. Turkish water sales

Projected possible water export from Turkye.

Turkye, a veritable « water tower » in the region, has long dreamed of exporting its water to Israel, Palestine, Cyprus and other Middle Eastern countries at a premium.

The most ambitious of these projects was President Turgut Ozal‘s « Peace Water Pipeline » in 1986, a $21 billion project to pipe water from the Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers to cities in Syria, Jordan and the Arab states of the Gulf.

In 2000, Israel was strongly considering purchasing 50 million m3 per year for 20 years from the Manavgat river near Antalya, but since November 2006, the deal has been put on hold.

The Manavgat project, technically completed in mid-March 2000, was a pilot project.

The complex on the Manavgat river – which rises in the Taurus mountains and flows into the Mediterranean between Antalya and Alanya – includes a pumping station, a refining center and a ten-kilometer-long canal. The aim was then to transport this fresh water by 250,000-ton tankers to the Israeli port of Ashkelon for injection into the Israeli NWC.

Eventually, Jordan was also interested in Turkey’s aquatic manna. A second customer downstream of its network would enable Israel to share costs. Another possibility would be to transport the water via a water pipeline linking Turkey to Syria and Jordan, and ultimately to Israel and Palestine if the latter could reach an agreement with its partners. The Palestinians, for their part, have been looking for a donor country to subsidize freshwater imports by tanker to Gaza.

The Manavgat project is not the only one through which Ankara hopes to sell its water. In 1992, Suleyman Demirel, then Prime Minister, expressed a credo that went viral: « Turkey can use the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers as it sees fit: Turkey’s water resources belong to Turkey, just as oil belongs to Arab countries.”

The countries downstream of the two rivers – Iraq and above all Syria – immediately protested. For them, the multiple dams that Ankara plans to build on the region’s main freshwater sources for irrigation or power generation are simply a way for the heir to the Ottoman Empire to assert its authority over the region.

Whatever Ankara’s real ambitions, the country has a real treasure trove at its disposal, especially given the dwindling resources of neighboring countries.

In the end, since November 2006, Israeli supporters of desalination have objected to the price of Turkish water and questioned the wisdom of relying on Ankara, whose government is critical of Israeli policies. Desalination or importation? The choice is a Cornelian one for Israel. And an eminently political one, since it comes down to knowing whether to stick to positions based on self-sufficiency or whether to play the regional cooperation card, which amounts to betting on trust…

G. Hidden defects and non-implementation of Oslo

The recognition of Israel by Yasser Arafat – leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation –, and the election of Yitzhak Rabin as Israel’s Prime minister in 1992 opened new opportunities for peace and cooperation. The Oslo accords they signed established the Palestinian Authority and determined temporary groundwater allocations from the West Bank to Israel and Palestine. In the declaration, both parties agreed on the principle of “equitable utilisation” between Palestinians and Israelis.

The collapse of mutual trust following the assassination of Rabin in November 1995 and the subsequent election of Benjamin Netanyahu, who had been highly critical of Oslo, negatively affected cooperation on water.

In 2000, during the first six months of the second Intifada, there was hardly any contact between both sides regarding water issues. But with reason coming back, despite the conflict, Israeli and Palestinian leaders committed themselves to separating the water issue from violence and reactivated cooperation over water.

In 2004, Israel reportedly proposed a plan to build a desalination plant in order to increase the quantity of freshwater available and to channel desalinated water to the West Bank. Fearing that this might in effect imply a renunciation to Palestinian water claims on the Mountain aquifer (75% of which is allocated to Israel even though the Aquifer is on Palestinian land), the Palestinians rejected this solution.

The Oslo Accords, signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1993, although stipulating that « Israel recognizes the water rights of Palestine », in reality allowed Israel to continue controlling the region’s water sources… while awaiting a resolution to the conflict. Oslo II provided for the postponement of negotiations on water rights until those on permanent status, as well as on the status of Jerusalem, refugees’ right of return, illegal settlements, security arrangements and other issues.

But final status talks, scheduled to take place five years after the implementation of the Oslo Accords (in 1999, as planned), have not yet taken place.

The Oslo Accords also provided for the creation of a water management authority, and their « Declaration of Principles » stressed the need to ensure « the equitable use of common water resources, for application during the interim period [of the Oslo Accords] and thereafter ».

Hence, for decades, Israel has perpetuated a principle of water distribution that existed before the Oslo Accords were signed, allowing Israelis to consume water at will while limiting Palestinians to a predetermined 15% share.

Zones A, B and C.

The Oslo agreements did not take into account the division of the West Bank into zones A, B and C when it came to organizing water distribution between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel was finally granted the right to control water sources, even in PA-controlled areas A and B.

Most water sources were already located in Area C, which is entirely controlled by Israel and comprises almost 61% of the West Bank.

On the ground, Israel has connected all the settlements built in the West Bank, with the exception of the Jordan Valley, to the Israeli water network. The water supply to Israeli communities on both sides of the Green Line is managed as a single system, under the responsibility of Israel’s national water company, Mekorot.

While the Oslo Accords allowed Israel to pump water from areas under its control to supply settlements in the occupied West Bank, they also prevent the PA from transferring water from one area to another in those it administers in the West Bank. Israel has disavowed most of the provisions of the Oslo Accords, but remains committed to those relating to water.

A member of the Palestinian delegation that signed the Oslo Accords, wishing to remain anonymous, tells Middle East Eye magazine that the delegation’s lack of expertise at the time resulted in the signing of an agreement that

The borders between on the one side Gaza and the occupied territories and Israel don’t need to be drawn with a line, since the sharp shift of brilliance of the green color (irrigated land) marks them.

In practice, this means that Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are at the mercy of the Israeli occupation when it comes to their water supply.

Inequalities in terms of access to water in the West Bank are glaring, as shown by the Israeli NGO B’Tselem in a report entitled Parched, published in May 2023.

In 2020, each Palestinian in the West Bank consumed an average of 82.4 liters of water per day, compared with 247 liters per person in Israel and the settlements.

This figure drops to 26 liters per day for Palestinian communities in the West Bank that are not connected to the water distribution network. 36% of West Bank Palestinians have year-round access to running water, compared with 100% of Israelis, including settlers.

The Palestinian Authority, which claims more water, points out that Palestinian agriculture plays a major role in the economy of the Occupied Territories (15% of GDP, 14% of the working population in 2000). In comparison, Israeli agriculture, while far more productive, employs 2.5% of the working population and produces 3% of GDP.

Added to this the fact that the arable land recognized by Israel under the Oslo Accords as totally or partially autonomous to the Palestinians is located in the limestone uplands, where access to water is difficult, since it is necessary to dig deep to reach the water table.

What’s more, in Israel and the settlements, 47% of land is irrigated, compared with only 6% of Palestinian land. The Palestinian Authority is currently demanding rights to 80% of the mountain aquifer, which Israel cannot conceive of.

Myth of Thirsty Palestinian

Israeli spokespeople, such as Akiva Bigman in his article titled « The Myth of the Thirsty Palestinian » have three answers ready to pull out when they are confronted with the water shortages in West Bank Palestinian towns:

Answer: leakage varies from 20 to 50% in the USA, far above the rate of poor Palestine.

One can ask where the money went. And yes, in reality, at the end of the day, for various technical reasons and unexpected drilling failures in the eastern basin of the aquifer (the only place the agreement allows the Palestinians to drill), the Palestinians ended up producing less water than the agreements set.

True. However, Oslo didn’t set a limit to the amount of water Israel can take, but limited the Palestinians to 118 MCM from the wells that existed prior to the accords, and another 70-80 MCM from new drilling. According to the Israeli NGO B’Tselem, as of 2014 the Palestinians are only getting 14 percent of the aquifer’s water. That is why the Israeli state company Mekorot (obeying to government directives) is selling the Palestinians the double of water stipulated in the Oslo Agreement – 64 MCM, as opposed to 31 MCM. 64 + 31 = 95 MCM in total, to be compated with current consumption by Palestinians in the West Bank: 239 MCM of water in 2020 of which 77.1 of them purchased from Israel.

A final detail that speaks volumes: Palestinians are charged the price of drinking water for their agricultural water while Jewish settlers benefit from agricultural tariffs and subsidies. The justification being that the Jewish settlers have invested in expensive irrigation techniques such as desalination

H. Ben Gurion Navigation Canal


At the end of 2023, the idea of the Ben-Gurion navigation Canal project was revived in the media. The canal would link the Gulf of Aqaba (Eilat) in the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, passing through Israel to terminate in or near the Gaza Strip (Ashkelon). This is an Israeli alternative to the Suez Canal, which became topical in the 1960s following Nasser’s nationalization of Suez.

The first ideas for a connection between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean appeared in the mid-19th century, on the initiative of the British, who wanted to link the three seas: the Red, the Dead and the Mediterranean. As the Dead Sea lies 430.5 meters below sea level, such an idea was not feasible, but it could be realized in another direction. Frightened by Nasser’s nationalization of Suez, the Americans considered the option of the Israeli canal, their loyal ally in the Middle East.

In July 1963, H. D. Maccabee of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, under contract to the U.S. Department of Energy, wrote a memorandum exploring the possibility of using 520 underground nuclear explosions to help dig some 250 kilometers of canals across the Negev desert. The document was classified until 1993. « Such a canal would constitute a strategically valuable alternative to the present Suez Canal and would probably contribute greatly to the economic development of the surrounding region, » says the declassified document.

The idea of the Ben Gurion Canal resurfaced at the same time as the signing of the so-called « Abraham Agreements » between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.

On October 20, 2020, the unthinkable happened: Israel’s state-owned Europe Asia Pipeline Company (EAPC) and the UAE’s MED-RED Land Bridge signed an agreement to use the Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline to transport oil from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, avoiding de facto the Suez Canal.

On April 2, 2021, Israel announced that work on the Ben Gurion Canal was due to start in June of the same year. But this has not been the case. Some analysts interpret the current Israeli reoccupation of the Gaza Strip as an event that many Israeli politicians were waiting for to revive an old project.

Proposed route for Ben Gurion navigation canal.

A closer look at the planned route shows that the canal starts at the southern edge of the Gulf of Aqaba, from the port city of Eilat, close to the Israeli-Palestinian border, and continues through the Arabah valley for around 100 km, between the Negev mountains and the Jordanian highlands. It then turns west before the Dead Sea, continues through a valley in the Negev mountain range, then turns north again to bypass the Gaza Strip and reach the Mediterranean Sea in the Ashkelon region.

The project’s promoters argue that their canal would be more efficient than the Suez Canal because, in addition to being able to accommodate a greater number of ships, it would allow the simultaneous two-way navigation of large vessels thanks to the design of two canal arms.

Unlike the Suez Canal, which runs along sandy banks, the Israeli canal would have hard walls that require almost no maintenance. Israel plans to build small towns, hotels, restaurants and cafés along the canal.

Each proposed branch of the canal would be 50 meters deep and around 200 meters wide. It would be 10 meters deeper than the Suez Canal. Ships 300 meters long and 110 meters wide could pass through the canal, corresponding to the size of the world’s largest ships.

If completed, the Ben-Gurion Canal would be almost a third longer than the Suez Canal, which measures 193.3 km, or 292.9 km. Construction of the canal would take 5 years and involve 300,000 engineers and technicians from all over the world. Construction costs are estimated at between $16 and $55 billion. Israel stands to gain $6 billion a year.

Whoever controls the canal, and apparently it can only be Israel and its allies (mainly the USA and Great Britain), will have enormous influence over international supply chains for oil, gas and grain, as well as world trade in general.

Israel argues that such a project would undermine the power of Egypt, a country strongly allied with Russia, China and the BRICS and therefore « a threat » to the West! With the depopulation of Gaza and the prospect of total Israeli control over this tiny territory, some Israeli politicians, including Netanyahu, are once again salivating over the prospect of such a project.

As Croatian analyst Matia Seric pointed out in Asia Review in November 2023:

I. Oasis Plan

It is in the light of all these failures that the fundamental contribution of the « Oasis Plan » proposed by the American economist Lyndon LaRouche (1922-2019) becomes apparent.

In 1975, following talks with the leaders of the Iraqi Baath Party and sane elements of the Israeli Labor Party, the American economist LaRouche saw his Oasis Plan as the basis for mutual development to the benefit of the entire region.

Instead of waiting for « stability » and « lasting peace » to arrive magically, LaRouche proposed and even launched projects in the interests of all, and « recruited » all partners to participate fully, first and foremost in their own interests, but in reality in the interests of all.

Banksy mural painting.



LaRouche’s « Blue Peace » Oasis plan, to be put on the table of diplomatic negotiations as the « spine » of a durable peace agreement », includes:

  1. Israel’s relinquishment of exclusive control over water resources in favor of a fair resource-sharing agreement between all the countries in the region;
  2. The reconstruction and economic development of the Gaza Strip, including the Yasser Arafat International Airport (inaugurated in 1998 and bulldozered by Israeli in 2002), a major seaport backed up by a hinterland equipped with industrial and agricultural infrastructure.
  3. A floating, underwater or off-shore desalination plant will be stationed in front of Gaza.
  4. The construction of a fast rail network reconnecting Palestine (including Gaza) and Israel to its neighbors;
  5. The construction, for less than 20 billion US dollars of both the Red-Dead and the Med-Dead water conveyance system composed of tunnels, pipelines, water galeries, pumping stations, hydro-power units and nuclear powered desalination plants.
  6. Salted sea water, arriving at the Dead Sea, before desalination, will « fall » through a 400 meter deep shaft and generate hydro-electricity.
  7. Following desalination, the fresh water will go to Jordan, Palestine and Israel; the brine will refill and save the Dead Sea.
  8. The nuclear powered desalination plant will produce heat and electricity with « hybrid desalination » combining evaporation and Reverse Osmosis (RO) ;
  9. The industrial heat of the high temperature reactors (HTR) will also be tapped for industrial and agricultural purposes;
  10. The reservoirs of the water conveyance systems will also function as a Pumped Storage Power Plant (PSPP), essential for regulating the region’s power grids;
  11. Part of the seawater going through the Med-Dead Water conveyance system will be desalinated in Beersheba, the « capital of the Negev » whose population, with new fresh water supplies, can be doubled.
  12. New cities and « development corridors » will grow around the new water conveyance systems.
  13. Israel’s Dimona nuclear center and power plant (currently a military reactor) will form the basis to create a civilian nuclear program and contribute to the construction of nuclear desalination plants. Jordan can supply the uranium.
  14. « Blueprint Negev », a 2012 proposal of the US based Jewish National Foundation (JNF), to prepare the housing of 500,000/1 million people in the Negev should be taken in consideration. For us, this plan cannot remain a mere extension of exclusively Jewish settlements but an opportunity for all Israeli citizens, in cooperation with Palestinians, to fight a common ennemi: the desert.
  15. The policy of illegal settlements in the West Bank shall be halted. Settlers will be offered incentives to occupy productive jobs in the Negev and make the desert (62% of Israeli territory) bloom.
Floating desalination plant.

Alvin Weinberg, Yitzhak Rabin and Lyndon LaRouche

LaRouche proposed coupling hydrological, energy, agricultural and industrial infrastructures. These agro-industrial complexes, built around small high-temperature nuclear reactors, were called « nuplexes », a concept put forward in the post-war period by the American scientist Alvin Weinberg, head of the Oak Ridge Laboratories in Tennessee (ORNL) and co-inventor of several types of nuclear reactor, notably the molten-salt line using thorium as fuel (and therefore without the production of weapons-grade plutonium).

In chapter 8 of his autobiography, Weinberg recounts how ORNL, « embarked on a great enterprise: desalinating the sea with cheap nuclear power », with « multi-purpose » plants, « producing water, electricity and process heat at the same time ». The assertion that this was possible, Weinberg reports, « caused a stir within the Atomic Energy Commission ».

Senator John F. Kennedy listens to his science advisor Dr. Alvin Weinberg, Director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Tennessee. Courtesy of Department of Energy. (February 1959)

In the end, it was President John F. Kennedy who reacted most enthusiastically, speaking on September 25, 1963:

The idea reached later the ear of AEC’s patron Lewis Strauss.

Lewis conveyed this idea to Eisenhower and Ike published in Life magazine an outline of what became known as the Eisenhower plan, based “on what Lewis and I had discussed”, writes Weinberg.

ORNL then sent a team to visit Egypt, Israel and Lebanon where they were warmly received. The visit brought to Tennessee Israeli and Egyptian engineers who were integrated in the Middle East Study Project,

Weinberg, clearly unaware of the Dulles brothers‘ operations sabotaging anything good Ike wanted to accomplish regretted: “The Eisenhower-Baker plan was never implemented: the political will needed to support building large reactors in the strife-riven Middle East was lacking…”

The LaRouche Oasis plan, like any other proposal along the same lines, has so far been blocked by the Israeli, American and British sides, and we know only too well what happened to Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated after signing the Oslo Accords, to Shimon Peres, ousted, and to a demonized Yasser Arafat. In addition, LaRouche has been slandered and called an anti-Semite.

Merci de partager !

Paris Schiller Institute stages Afghan civil society protest against UNESCO

How it started

Following a highly successful conference in Kabul last November by the Ibn-e-Sina Research & Development Center on the reconstruction of Afghanistan, a group of senior archaeologists of the Afghan Academy of Sciences (ASA), in discussion with the organizers and the invited experts of the Schiller Institute, suggested to launch a common appeal to UNESCO and Western governments to “lift the sanctions against cultural heritage cooperation.”

Initiators of the call, Kabul, November 2023.

The Call

The dramatic neglect of international cultural institutions and donors to Afghanistan, the lack of sufficient funds in the field of cultural heritage protection, and the political treatment of international cultural heritage institutions have seriously endangered Afghanistan,” underscores the petition.

Specifically, “UNESCO, which should raise its voice against any new form of ‘cultural and scientific apartheid,’ has repeatedly worsened the situation by politicizing issues beyond its prerogatives.”

To conclude, the signers call

Living Spirit of Afghanistan

To date, over 550 signatures have been collected, mainly from both Afghan male (370) and female (140) citizens, whose socio-professional profiles indicates they truly represent the « living spirit of the nation ».

Among the signatories: 62 university lecturers, 27 doctors, 25 teachers, 25 members of the Afghan Academy of Sciences, 23 merchants, 16 civil and women’s rights activists, 16 engineers, 10 directors and deans of private and public universities, 7 political analysts, 6 journalists, 5 prosecutors, several business leaders and dozens of qualified professionals from various sectors.

International support

On four continents (Europe, Asia, America, Africa), senior archaeologists, scientists, researchers, members of the Academy of Sciences, historians and musicians from over 20 countries have welcomed and signed this appeal.

Italian Professor Pino Arlacchi, a former member of the European Parliament and the former head of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was the first to sign. Award-winning American filmmaker Oliver Stone, is a more recent signer.

In France, Syria, Italy, the UK and Russia, among the signers one finds senior researchers suffering the consequences of what some have identified as a « New Cultural Cold War. » Superseding the very different opinions they have on many questions, the signatories stand united on the core issue of this appeal: for science to progress, all players, beyond ideological, political and religious differences, and far from the geopolitical logic of ‘blocs’, must be able to exchange freely and cooperate, in particular to protect mankind’s historical and cultural heritage.

Testifying to the firm commitment of the Afghan authorities, the petition has also been endorsed by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Culture and Arts, and the Minister of Agriculture, as well as senior officials from the Ministries of Higher Education, Water and Energy, Mines, Finance, and others.

The 46th session of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, to be held in New Delhi in July this year, offers UNESCO the opportunity to announce Afghanistan’s full return into world heritage cooperation, if we can have our voice heard,” says Karel Vereycken of the Paris Schiller Institute. “We certainly will not miss transmitting this appeal to HE Vishal V Sharma, India’s permanent representative to UNESCO, recently nominated to make the Delhi 46th session a success.”

Full text of the appeal

SIGNERS:
A. FROM AFGHAN CIVIL SOCIETY:

Hussain Burhani, Archaeologist, Numismatist, Afghanistan ;

Ketab Khan Faizi, Archaeologist, Director of the Academy of Sciences at the International Centre for Kushan Studies in Kabul, Afghanistan;

Stora Ishams Mayar, Archaeologist, member of the Academy of Sciences at the International Centre for Kushan Studies in Kabul, editor in chief of the journal of this mentioned center, Afghanistan;

Mahmood Jan Drost, Senior Architect, head of protection of old cities of Afghanistan, Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, Afghanistan;

Ghulam Haidar Kushkaky, Archaeologist, associate professor, Archaeology Investigation Center, Afghanistan ;

Shawkatullah Abed, Chief of staff, Afghan Science Academy, Afghanistan;

Sardar Ghulam Ali Balouch, Head of Afghanistan Balochs Union, Afghanistan;

Daud Azimi Shinwari, Ibn-e-Sina Research & Development Center, Germany;

Abdul Fatah Raufi, Ibn-e-Sina Research & Development Center, Kabul, Afghanistan;

Mirwais Popal, Dip, Master, Ibn-e-Sina Research & Development Center, Germany;

B. FROM ABROAD:


(Russia, China, USA, Indonesia, France, Angola, Germany, Turkiye, Italy, UK, Mexico, Sweden, Iran, Belgium, Argentina, Czech Republic, Syria, Congo Brazzaville, Yemen, Venezuela, Pakistan, Canada, Democratic Republic of Congo.)

H.E. Mr Mohammad Homayoon Azizi, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Paris, UNESCO and ICESCO, France;

Julio Bendezu-Sarmiento, Researcher at the National Scientific Research Centre (CNRS), Archaeologist specializing in Central Asia; Former director of the Delegation of French Archaeologists in Afghanistan (DAFA) (2014-2018), France;

Inès Safi, CNRS, Researcher in Theoretical Nanophysics, France;

Pierre Leriche, Archeologist, Director of Research Emeritus at CNRS-AOROC, Scientific Director of the Urban Archaeology of the Hellenized Orient research program, France;

Nadezhda A. Dubova, Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Dr. in Biology, Prof. in History. Head of the Russian-Turkmen Margiana archaeological expedition, Russian Academy of Science (RAS), Russia;

Raffaele Biscione, retired, associate Researcher, Consiglio Nazionale delle Recerche (CNR); former first researcher of CNR, former director of the CNR archaeological mission in Eastern Iran (2009-2022), Italy;

Dr. Razia Sultanova, Professor, Cambridge University, UK;

Dr. Houmam Saad, Archaeologist, Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums, Syria;

Estelle Ottenwelter, Institute of Archaeology, Czech Academy of Sciences, Natural Sciences and Archaeometry, Post-Doc, Czech Republic;

Didier Destremau, author, diplomat, former French Ambassador, President of the Franco-Syrian Friendship Association (AFS), France ;

Wang Feng, Professor, South-West Asia Department of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), China;

Dr. Engin Beksaç, Professor, Trakya University, Department of Art History, Turkiye;

Bruno Drweski, Professor, National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO), France;

Maurizio Abbate, National President of National Agency of Cultural Activities (ENAC), Italy;

Patricia Lalonde, Former Member of the European Parliament, vice-president of Geopragma, author of several books on Afghanistan, France;

Pino Arlacchi, Professor of sociology, Former Member of the European Parliament, former head of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Italy;

Oliver Stone, Academy Award-winning Film director, Producer, and Screenwriter;

Graham E. Fuller, Author, former Station chief for the CIA in Kabul until 1978, former Vice-Chair of the National Intelligence Council (1986), USA;

Prof. H.C. Fouad Al Ghaffari, Advisor to Prime Minister of Yemen for BRICS Countries affairs, Yemen;

Farhat Asif, President of Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies (IPDS), Pakistan;

Dursun Yildiz, Director, Hydropolitics Association, Türkiye;

Irène Neto, president, Fundacao Dr. Antonio Agostinho Neto (FAAN), Angola;

Luc Reychler, Professor international politics, University of Leuven, Belgium;

Pierre-Emmanuel Dupont, Expert and Consultant in public International Law, Senior Lecturer at the Institut Catholique de Vendée, France;

Irene Rodríguez, Departamento de Historia, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina;

Dr. Ririn Tri Ratnasari, Professor, Head of Center for Halal Industry and Digitalization, Advisory Board at Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research, Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitas Airlangga, Indonesia;

Dr. Clifford A. Kiracofe, Author, retired Professor of International Relations, USA;

Bernard Bourdin, Dominican priest, Philosophy and Theology teacher, Institut Catholique de Paris (ICP), France;

Dr. jur. Wolfgang Bittner, Author, Göttingen, Germany;

Annie Lacroix-Riz, Professor Emeritus of Contemporary History, Université Paris-Cité, France;

Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim, Ph.D in Philology and Literature, University Lecturer and former editor in chief of the Syria Times, Syria;

Jean Bricmont, Author, retired Physics Professor, Belgium;

Syed Mohsin Abbas, Journalist, Broadcaster, Political Analyst and Political Justice activist, Pakistan;

Eduardo D. Greaves PhD, Professor of Physics, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Caracas, Venezuela;

Dora Muanda, Scientific Director, Kinshasa Science and Technology Week, Democratic Republic of Congo;

Dr. Christian Parenti, Professor of Political Economy, John Jay College CUNY, New York, USA;

Diogène Senny, President of the Panafrican Ligue UMOJA, Congo Brazzaville;

Waheed Seyed Hasan, Journalist based in Qatar, former Special correspondent of IRNA in New Delhi, former collaborator of Tehran Times, Iran;

Alain Corvez, Colonel (retired), Consultant International Strategy consultant, France;

Stefano Citati, Journalist, Italy;

Gaston Pardo, Journalist, graduate of the National University of Mexico. Co-founder of the daily Liberacion, Mexico;

Jan Oberg, PhD, Peace and Future Research, Art Photographer, Lund, Sweden.

Julie Péréa, City Councilor for the town of Poussan (Hérault), delegate for gender equality and the fight against domestic violence, member of the Sète Agglopole Méditerranée gender equality committee, France;

Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Founder and International President of the Schiller Institute, Germany;

Abid Hussein, independent journalist, Pakistan;

Anne Lettrée, Founder and President of the Garden of Titans, Cultural Relations Ambassador between France and China for the Greater Paris region, France;

Karel Vereycken, Painter-engraver, amateur Art Historian, Schiller Institute, France;

Carlo Levi Minzi, Pianist, Musician, Italy;

Leena Malkki Brobjerg, Opera singer, Sweden;

Georges Bériachvili, Pianist, Musicologist, France;

Jacques Pauwels, Historian, Canada;

C. FROM AFGHAN AUTHORITIES

Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, Deputy Foreign Minister, Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA);

Mawlawi Muhibullah Wasiq, Head of Foreign Minister’s Office, IEA;

Waliwullah Shahin, Member of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IEA;

Sayedull Afghani, Member of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IEA;

Hekmatullah Zaland, Member of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IEA;

Shafi Azam, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IEA;

Atiqullah Azizi, Deputy Minister of Culture and Art, Ministry of Information and Culture, IEA;

Ghorzang Farhand, Ministry of Information and Culture, IEA;

Ghulam Dastgir Khawari, Advisor of Ministry of Higher Education, IEA;

Mawlawi Rahmat Kaka Zadah, Member of ministry of Interior Affairs, IEA;

Mawlawi Arefullah, Member of Interior Affairs, IEA;

Ataullah Omari, Acting Agriculture Minister, IEA;

Mawlawi Hussain Ahmad, Head of office in Ministry of Agriculture, IEA:

Musa Noorzai, Member of Ministry of Agriculture, IEA;

Mawlawi Hussain Ahmad, Head of office, Ministry of Agriculture, IEA;

Mawlawi Shar Aqa, Head of Kunar Agriculture Administration, IEA;

Matiulah Mujadidi, Head of Communication of Ministry of Finance, IEA;

Zabiullah Noori, Executive Manager, Ministry of Finance, IEA;

Akbar Wazizi, Member of Ministry of Finance, IEA;

Nasrullah Ebrahimi, Auditor, Ministry of Finance, IEA;

Mir M. Haroon Noori, Representative, Ministry of Economy, IEA;

Abdul Qahar Mahmodi, Ministry of Commerce, IEA;

Dr. Ghulam Farooq Azam, Adviser, Ministry of Water & Energy (MoWE), IEA;

Faisal Mahmoodi, Investment Facilitation Expert, Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, IEA;

Rustam Hafiz Yar, Ministry of Transportation, IEA;

Qudratullah Abu Hamza, Governor of Kunar, IEA;

Mansor Faryabi, Member of Kabul Municipality, IEA;

Mohammad Sediq Patman, Former Deputy Minister of Education for Academic Affairs, IEA;

COMPLEMENTARY LIST

A. FROM AFGHANS

  • Jawad Nikzad, Ibn-e-Sina R&D Centre, Kabul, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Akram Azimi, Ibn-e-Sina R&D Centre, Kabul, Afghanistan ;
  • Najibullah Totakhel, Ibn-e-Sina R&D Centre, Germany 
  • Ghulam Farooq Ansari, Professor, Ibn-e-Sina R&D Centre, Kabul, Afghanistan ;
  • Imran Zakeria, Researcher at Regional Studies Center, Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan, Ibn Sina R&D Centre, Kabul, Afghanistan ;
  • Subhanullah Obaidi, Doctor, Ibn-e-Sina R&D Centre, Germany ;
  • Ali Shabeez, Ibn-e-Sina R&D Centre, Kabul, Germany ;
  • Mawlawi Wahid Ameen, Ibn-e-Sina R&D Centre, Kabul, Afghanistan ;
  • Shar M. Amir Zadah, Ibne-eSina R&D Centre, Kabul, Afghanistan ;
  • Sayed Rafiullah Halim, Professor, Ibn-e-Sina R&D Centre, Kabul Afghanistan ;
  • Nazar Mohmmad Ragheb, Ibn-e-Sina R&D Centre, Kabul, Afghanistan ;
  • Ali Sina Masoumi, Ibn-e-Sina R&D Centre Kabul, Afghanistan ;
  • Faisal Mahmoodi, Ibn-e-Sina R&D Centre, Kabul, Afghanistan ;
  • Fatima Basir, Ibn-e-Sina R&D Centre, Kabul, Afghanistan ;
  • Muneera Aman, Ibn-e-Sina R&D Centre, Kabul, Afghanistan ;
  • Abdul Shakoor, Ibn-e-Sina R&D Centre, Kabul, Afghanistan ;
  • Abdul Waris Ebad, Employee of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Afghanistan ;
  • Waisullah Sediqi, Ibn-e-Sina R&D Centre, Kabul, Afghanistan ;
  • Sayed Hakim Aria, Employee of Ministry of Information and Culture, Afghanistan ;
  • Nayebuddin Ekrami, Employee of Ministry of information and Culture, Afghanistan ;
  • Latifa Azimi, Former Employee of Ministry of Education, Afghanistan ;
  • Latifa Noori, Former Employee of Ministry of Education, Afghanistan ;
  • Habibullah Haqani, Employee of Kabul Municipality, Afghanistan ;
  • Shafiqullah Baburzai, Cultural Heritage, Afghanistan ;
  • Abdullah Kamawal, Cultural Heritage, Afghanistan ;
  • Abdul Rashid Lodin, Cultural Heritage, Afghanistan ;
  • Asef Nang, Cultural Heritage, Afghanistan ;
  • Awal Khan Shekib, Member of Afghanistan Regional Studies Center, Afghanistan ;
  • Mohammad Anwar Fayaz, Lecturer, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Farhad Ahmadi, Lecturer, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Fayqa Lahza Faizi, Lecturer, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Hakim Haidar, Lecturer, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Rahimullah Harifal, Lecturer, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Sharifullah Dost, Lecturer, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Eshaq Momand, Lecturer, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Khalil Rahman Barekzal, Lecturer, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Ghulam Haidar Kushkaki, Lecturer, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Ghulam Nabi Hanifi, Lecturer, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Marina Bahar, Lecturer, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Sayed Muhaidin Hashimi, Lecturer, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Abdul Majid Nadim, Lecturer, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Elaha Maqsoodi, Lecturer, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Khadim Ahmad Haqiqi, Lecturer, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Shahidullah Safi, Member, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Abdul Wahab Hamdard, Member, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Burhanullah Niazi, Member, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • M. Alam Eshaq Zai, Member, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Ghulam Hasan Farmand, Member, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Zalmai Hewad Mal, Member, Afghanistan Science Academy, Afghanistan ;
  • Abdul Rahman Atash, Head of Afghanistan National Development Company (NDC), Afghanistan ;
  • Obaidullah, Head of Public Library, Afghanistan ;
  • Sayed Abdul Maqdam, Head of Khawar construction company, Afghanistan ;
  • Zaki Zarifi, Head of Zarifi company, Afghanistan ;
  • Jamshid Faizi, Head of Faizi company, Afghanistan ;
  • M. Yasin Farahman, Head of Agriculture Center, Afghanistan ;
  • Mawlawi Nik M. Nikmal, Head of Planning in Technical Administration, Afghanistan ;
  • Abdul Wahid Rahimi, Member of Bashtani Bank, Afghanistan ;
  • M. Daud Mangal, Head of Ariana Afghan Airlines, Afghanistan ;
  • Mostafa Yari, entrepreneur, Afghanistan;
  • Gharwal Roshan, Head of Kabul International Airfield, Afghanistan ;
  • Eqbal Mirzad, Head of New Kabul City Project, Afghanistan ;
  • Najibullah Sadiq, Vice-president of Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Indunstry (ACCI), Afghanistan;
  • M. Yunis Mohmand, Vice-president of ACCI, Afghanistan;
  • Khanjan Alikozai, Member of ACCI, Afghanistan;
  • Mawlawi Abdul Rashid, Kabul Municipality, Afghanistan ;
  • Atiqullah Safi, Employee of Kabul Municipality, Afghanistan ;
  • Abdul Jalil Safi, Employee of Kabul Municipality, Afghanistan ;
  • Hujat Fazli, Head of Harakat, Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Mehrab Hamidi, Member of Economical Commission, Afghanistan;
  • Hamid Pazhwak, Economist, Afghanistan ;
  • M. Awaz Ali Alizai, Economist, Afghanistan ;
  • Shamshad Omar, Economist, Afghanistan ;
  • Helai Fahang, Economy Specialist, Afghanistan ;
  • Maryam Alikozai, Economy Specialist, Afghanistan ;
  • Dunya Farooz, Economy Specialist, Afghanistan ;
  • Soman Khamoosh, Economy Specialist, Afghanistan ;
  • Drs. Shokoria Yousofi, Bachelor of Economy, Afghanistan;
  • Sharifa Wardak, Specialist of Agriculture, Afghanistan;
  • M. Asef Dawlat Shahi, Specialist of Chemistry, Afghanistan;
  • Pashtana Hamami, Specialist of Statistics, Afghanistan;
  • Asma Karimi, Master of Management, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Ahmad Zaki Afghanyar, Vice-President of Herat Health committee, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Hashem Mudaber, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Hekmatullah Arian, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Abdul Wahab Rahmani, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Karima Rahimyar, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Sayeeda Basiri, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Emran Sayeedi, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Abdul Hadi Dawlatzai, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Ghani Naseri, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Nafisa Naseri, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Abdul Ghani Naseri, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Mohammad Younis Shouaib, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Halima Akbari, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Manizha Emaq, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Shafiq Shinwari, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Akbar Jan Foolad, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Haidar Omar, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Ehsanuddin Ehsan, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Abdul Wakil Matin, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Abdul Matalib, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Azizi Amer, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Nasr Sajar, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Humayon Hemat, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Humaira Fayaq, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Sadruddin Tajik, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Abdul Baqi Ahmad Zai, Surgery Specialist, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Beqis Kohistani, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Nafisa Nasiri, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Aziza Yousuf, Head of Malalai Hospital, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Yasamin Hashimi, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Zuhal Najimi, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Ahmad Salem Sedeqi, Medical Doctor, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Fazel Raman, veterinary, Afghanistan;
  • Khatera Anwary, Health, Afghanistan;
  • Rajina Noori, Member of Afghanistan Journalists Union, Afghanistan ;
  • Sajad Nikzad, Journalist, Afghanistan ;
  • Ahmad Suhaib Hasrat, Journalist, Afghanistan ;
  • Shar Aqa Karimi, Journalist, Afghanistan ;
  • Sayed Mohammad Suhrabi , Journalist, Afghanistan ;
  • Mohammad Nasir Kuhzad, Journalist and Political Analyst, Afghanistan ;
  • Fazel Menallah, Political Analyst, Afghanistan;
  • M. Wahid Benish, Political Analyst, Afghanistan ;
  • Mahmood Jan Shafizada, Political Analyst, Afghanistan ;
  • Fazel Rahman Orya, Political Analyst, Afghanistan ;
  • Zarghon Shah Shinwari, Political Analyst, Afghanistan ;
  • Abdul Ghafor Shinwari, Political Analyst, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Ahmad Yousufi, Dean, Kateb University, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Yayia Balaghat, Scientific Vice-President, Kateb University, Afghanistan ;
  • Chaman Shah Etemadi, Head of Gharjistan University, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Mesbah, Head of Salam University, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Pirzad Ahmad Fawad, Kabul University;
  • Dr. Nasir Nawidi, Dean of a Private University, Afghanistan;
  • Zabiullah Fazli, Dean of a Private University, Afghanistan;
  • Ramish Adib, Vice of a Private University, Afghanistan;
  • M. Taloot Muahid, Dean of a Private University, Afghanistan;
  • Ebrahim Ansari, School Manager, Afghanistan;
  • Abas Ali Zimozai, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Arshad Rahimi, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Fasihuddin Fasihi, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Waisuddin Jawad, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • M. Murtaza Sharzoi, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • M. Matin Monis, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Mohammad Wahid Benish, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Hussian Iqbal, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Muhsin Reshad, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Mohammad Sadiq Baqori, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Mohammad Zahir Halimi, Univ. Lecturer , Afghanistan ;
  • Rohla Qurbani, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Murtaza Rezaee, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Ghulam Rasoul Qarluq, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Najim Wahidi, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • M. Rashid Iqbal, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Abdul Rahman Matin, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • M. Mujtaba Amin, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Amanullah Faqiri, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Abuzar Khpelwak Zazai, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Belal Tayab, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • M. Adel Hakimi, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Wasiqullah Ghyas, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Faridduin Atar, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Safiullah Jawhar, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Amir Jan Saqib, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Ahmad Shekib Rahmani, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • M. Gulzar Hashimi, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • Taj Mohammad, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Hekmatullah Mirzad, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Abdul Haq Atid, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan ;
  • M. Fahim Momand, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Ahmad Fawad Ehsas, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Naqibullah Sediqi, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Maiwand Wahidi, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • M. Nazir Hayati, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Najiba Rahmani, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Abeda Baba Karkhil, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. M. Qayoum Karim, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Sayed Sharif Shabir, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Ahmad Walid Howaida, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Zalmai Rahib, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Sadiq Baqori, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Mir Zafaruddin Ansari, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Atta Mohammad Alwak, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Zabiullah Iqbal, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Hasan Fazaili, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • M. Jawad Jalili, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Mukhtar Ali Nasto, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Namatullah Nabawi, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Ghulam Abas Noori, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Mustafa Anwari, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Fakhria Popal, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Shiba Sharzai, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Marya Hashimi, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Nilofar Hashimi, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Munisa Hasan, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Nazifa Azimi, Univ. Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Sweeta Sharify, Lecturer; Afghanistan;
  • Fayaz Gul, Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Zakia Ahmad Zai, Lecturer, Afghanistan;
  • Nigani Barati, Education Specialist, Afghanistan ;
  • Azeeta Nazhand, Teacher, Afghanistan ;
  • Sughra, Teacher, Afghanistan;
  • Nadia Sharif, Teacher, Afghanistan;
  • Maryam Omari, Teacher, Afghanistan;
  • Masoud, Teacher, Afghanistan;
  • Zubair Ahmad, Teacher, Afghanistan;
  • Khalil Ahmad, Teacher, Afghanistan;
  • Khadija Omid, Teacher, Afghanistan;
  • Haida Rasouli, Teacher, Afghanistan;
  • Hemat Hamad, Teacher, Afghanistan ;
  • Wazir Safi, Teacher, Afghanistan ;
  • Mohammad Qasim, Teacher, Afghanistan ;
  • Zamin Shah, Teacher, Afghanistan ;
  • Sayed Qayas, Teacher, Afghanistan ;
  • Mehrabuddin, Teacher, Afghanistan ;
  • Zahidullah Zahid, Teacher, Afghanistan ;
  • Akmal Mahros, Teacher, Afghanistan ;
  • Sadia Mohammadi, Teacher, Afghanistan;
  • Mina Amiri, Teacher, Afghanistan;
  • M. Sajad Nikzad, Teacher, Afghanistan ;
  • Mursal Nikzad, Teacher, Afghanistan ;
  • Abdul Qadir Shahab, Teacher, Afghanistan;
  • M. Hasan Sahi, Teacher, Afghanistan ;
  • Mirwais Haqmal, Teacher, Afghanistan ;
  • Leeda Khurasai, Teacher, Afghanistan ;
  • Karishma Hashimi, Instructor, Afghanistan;
  • Majeed Shams, Architect, Afghanistan;
  • Azimullah Esmati, Master of Civil Engineering, Afghanistan;
  • Najibullah Hussaini, Engineer, Afghanistan ;
  • Burhanuddin Nezami, Engineer, Afghanistan ;
  • Abdul Hafiz Hafizi, Engineer, Afghanistan ;
  • Bahir, Engineer, Afghanistan;
  • Wali Bayan, Engineer, Afghanistan;
  • Abdul Khaliq Najir, Engineer, Afghanistan;
  • Diana Niazi, Engineer, Afghanistan;
  • Imam Jan, Engineer, Afghanistan ;
  • Khalil Ahmad Nadem, Engineer, Afghanistan;
  • Sayeed Aqa, Engineer, Afghanistan ;
  • Edris Rasouli, Engineer, Afghanistan ;
  • Raz Mohammad, Engineer of Mines, Afghanistan ;
  • Nasrullah Rahimi, Technical Engineer, Afghanistan ;
  • Ehsanullah, Helmand, Construction Engineer, Netherlands;
  • Ahmad Hamad, Technologist, Afghanistan ;
  • Akmal Ahmadi, Technologist, Afghanistan ;
  • Ershad Hurmati, Technologist, Afghanistan ;
  • M. Akram Shafim, Technologist, Afghanistan ;
  • M. Akbar Ehsan, Technologist, Afghanistan ;
  • Raziullah, Technologist, Afghanistan ;
  • Zaki Khorrami, IT Officer, Afghanistan ;
  • Osman Nikzad, Graphic Designer, Afghanistan ;
  • Maryam Ayani, Carpet Weaver, Afghanistan ;
  • Be be sima Hashimi, Tailor, Afghanistan ;
  • Maryam Masoumi, Tailor, Afghanistan ;
  • Roya Mohammadi, Craftsman, Afghanistan ;
  • Nadia Sayes, Craftsman, Afghanistan ;
  • Nazdana Ebad, Craftsman, Afghanistan ;
  • Sima Ahmadi , Bachelor of Biology, Afghanistan;
  • Sima Rasouli, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • Khatera Nawabi, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • Haji Noor Agha Haqyar, Merchant, Afghanstan;
  • Husna Anwari, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • Nargis Hashimi, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • Shakira Barish, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • Nasima Darwish, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • Wajiha Haidari, Merchant of Jawzjan, Afghanistan ;
  • Shagul, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • Fatima Nik Rasoul, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • Haji Farid Alikozai, Merchant, Afghanistan;
  • Nigina Nawabi, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • Masouda Nazimi, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • Najla Kohistani, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • Kerisma Jawhari, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • Hasina Hashimi, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • Husna Anwari, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • Maaz Baburzai, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • Freshta Safari, Merchant, Afghanistan;
  • Yalda Azimi, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • Azim Jan Baba Karkhil, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • Akhtar Mohammad, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • M. Haroon Ahmadzai, Merchant, Afghanistan ;
  • Azizullah Faizi, Former head of Afghanistan Cricket Board, Afghanistan ;
  • Wakil Akhar, Prosecutor, Afghanistan ;
  • Akhtar M. Azimi, Prosecutor, Afghanistan;
  • Shabnam Noori, Prosecutor, Afghanistan;
  • Be be Abeda Wayar, Prosecutor, Afghanistan;
  • Madina Ahmad Zai, Prosecutor, Afghanistan;
  • Shakila Joya, Former Employee of Attorney General, Afghanistan;
  • Sardar M. Akbar Bashash, Member, Afghanistan Balochs Union, Afghanistan ;
  • Eng. Abdul Dayan Balouch, Spokesperson of Afghanistan Balochs Union, Afghanistan ;
  • Shah Mahmood Lahoti, Member of Afghanistan Balochs Union, Afghanistan ;
  • Abdul Khaliq Barekzai, Advisor, Afghanistan Balochs Union, Afghanistan ;
  • Salahuddin Ayoubi Balouch, Advisor, Afghanistan Balochs Union, Afghanistan ;
  • Faizuddin Lashkari Balouch, Member, Afghanistan Balochs Union, Afghanistan ;
  • Sayed Ishaq Gilani, head of the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan, IEA;
  • Haji Zalmai Latifi, Representative, Qizilbash tribes, Afghanistan ;
  • Gul Nabi Ahmad Zai, Former Commander of Kabul Garrison, Afghanistan ;
  • Ghulam Hussain Rezaee, Member, Habitat Organization, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Amani Adiba, Doctor of Liberal Arts in Architecture and Urban Planning, Afghanistan;
  • Ismael Paienda, Afghan Peace Activist, France;
  • Mohammad Belal Rahimi, Head of Peace institution, Afghanistan ;
  • M. Mushtaq Hanafi, Head of Sayadan council, Afghanistan ;
  • Sabira Waizi, Founder of T.W.P.S., Afghanistan ;
  • Majabin Sharifi, Member of Women Network Organization, Afghanistan;
  • Shekiba Saadat, Former head of women affairs, Afghanistan ;
  • Atya Salik, Women rights activist, Afghanistan ;
  • Fatima Mahmoodi, Women rights activist, Afghanistan;
  • Diana Rohin, Women rights activist , Afghanistan;
  • Amena Hashimi, Head of Women Organization, Afghanistan;
  • Fatanh Sharif, Former employee of Gender equality, Afghanistan;
  • Sediq Mansour Ansari, Civil Activist, Afghanistan ;
  • Sebghatullah Najibi, Civil Activist, Afghanistan ;
  • Naemullah Nasiri, Civil Activist, Afghanistan;
  • Reha Ramazani, Civil Activist, Afghanistan ;
  • Lia Jawad, Civil Activist, Afghanistan;
  • Arezo Khurasani, Social Activist, Afghanistan ;
  • Beheshta Bairn, Social Activist, Afghanistan;
  • Samsama Haidari, Social Activist, Afghanistan;
  • Shabnam Nikzad, Humans Rights Activist, Afghanistan;
  • Mliha Sadiqi, Head of Young Development Organization, Afghanistan;
  • Mehria, Sharify, University Student;
  • Shiba Azimi, Member of IPSO Organization, Afghanistan;
  • Nadira Rashidi, Master of Management, Afghanistan;
  • Sefatullah Atayee, Banking, Afghanistan;
  • Khatira Yousufi, Employee of RTA, Afghanistan;
  • Yalda Mirzad , Employee of Breshna Company, Afghanistan;
  • Izzatullah Sherzad, Employee, Afghanistan;
  • Erfanullah Salamzai , Afghanistan;
  • Naser Abdul Rahim Khil, Afghanistan;
  • Ghulam Rasoul Faizi, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Mir Agha Hasan Khil, Afghanistan;
  • Abdul Ghafor Muradi, Afghanistan;
  • Gul M. Azhir, Afghanistan;
  • Gul Ahmad Zahiryan, Afghanistan;
  • Shamsul Rahman Shams, Afghanistan;
  • Khaliq Stanekzai, Afghanistan;
  • M. Daud Haidari, Afghanistan;
  • Marhaba Subhani, Afghanistan;
  • Maazullah Nasim, Afghanistan;
  • Haji Mohammad Tayeb, Afghanistan;
  • Ali Sina Masoumi, Afghanistan ;
  • Sweeta Sadiqi Hotak, Afghanistan ;
  • Khatira Anwari, Afghanistan ;
  • Fatima Sharzad, Afghanistan ; Momen Shah Kakar, Afghanistan ;
  • Shah Rukh Raufi, Afghanistan ;
  • Hanifa Rasouli, Kabul, Afghanistan ;
  • Qudsia Ebrahimi, Afghanistan ;
  • Mahmood Haqiqat, Afghanistan ;
  • Nasir Abdul Rahim Khan, Kabul, Afghanistan ;
  • Abdul Hamid Ahmadzai, Afghanistan ;
  • Sardar Khan Sirat, Afghanistan ;
  • Zurmatullah Ahmadi, Afghanistan ;
  • Yasar Khogyani, Afghanistan ;
  • Shar Sha Lodi, Afghanistan ;
  • Ahmad Shah Omar, Afghanistan ;
  • M. Azam Khan Ahmad Zai, Afghanistan;
  • Nadia Farooq Sharzoi, Afghanistan;
  • Shar Ali Tazari, Afghanistan ;
  • Mayel Aqa Hakim, Afghanistan ;
  • Khatira Hesar, Afghanistan ;
  • Tamim Mehraban, Afghanistan ;
  • Lina Noori, Afghanistan ;
  • Khubaib Ghufran, Afghanistan ;
  • M. Yasin Farahmand, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Mir M. Ayoubi, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Namatullah Nabawi, Afghanistan ;
  • Abozar Zazai, Afghanistan ;
  • Atiqullah Rahimi, Afghanistan ;
  • Fahim Ahmad Sultan, Afghanistan ;
  • Humaira Farhangyar, Afghanistan ;
  • Imam M. Wrimaj, Afghanistan ;
  • Masoud Ashna, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Yahia Baiza, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Besmila, Afghanistan ;
  • Ehsan Shorish, Germany;
  • Irshad, Omer, Afghanistan;
  • Musa Noorzai, Afghanistan;
  • Lida Noori Nazhand, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Abdul Masood Panah, Afghanistan;
  • Gholam Sachi Hassanzadah, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Sayed Ali Eqbal, Afghanistan;
  • Hashmatullah Atmar, Afghanistan;
  • Ahmad Matin Safi, Afghanistan;
  • Ahmad Helmand, Afghanistan;
  • Ehsanullah Helmand, Afghanistan;
  • Izazatullah Sherzad, Afghanistan;
  • Hafizullah Omarzai, Afghanistan;
  • Hedayatullah Hilal, Afghanistan;
  • Edris Ramez, student, Afghanistan;
  • Amina Saadaty, Afghanistan;
  • Muska Hamidi, Afghanistan;
  • Raihana Ahmadi, Afghanistan;
  • Zuhal Sherzad, Afghanistan;
  • Meelad Ahmad, Afghanistan;
  • Devah Kubra Falcone, Germany;
  • Maryam Baburi, Germany;
  • Suraya Paikan, Afghanistan;
  • Abdul Fatah Ahmadzai, Afghanistan ;
  • Dr. Mohammad Zalmai, Afghanistan ;
  • Hashmatullah Parwarni, Afghanistan ;
  • Asadullah, Afghanistan;
  • Hedayat ullah Hillal, Afghanistan;
  • Najibullah Zazai, Afghanistan;
  • M. Yousuf Ahmadi, Afghanistan;
  • Ahmad Reshad Reka, Afghanistan;
  • Sayed Ahmad Arghandiwal, Afghanistan;
  • Nooria Noozai, Afghanistan;
  • Eng. Fahim Osmani, Afghanistan;
  • Wafiullah Maaraj, Afghanistan;
  • Roya Shujaee, Afghanistan;
  • Shakira Shujaee, Afghanistan ;
  • Adina Ranjbar, Afghanistan;
  • Ayesha Shafiq, Afghanistan;
  • Hajira Mujadidi, Afghanistan ;
  • Abdul Zahir Shekib, Afghanistan;
  • Zuhra Mohammad Zai, Afghanistan;
  • Razia Ghaws, Afghanistan;
  • Abdul Sabor Mubariz, Afghanistan;
  • Abdul Khaliq Ferdows, Afghanistan;
  • Abdul Shakoor Salangi, Afghanistan;
  • Nasir Ahmad Basharyar, Afghanistan;
  • Mohammad Mukhtar Sharifi, Afghanistan;
  • Mukhtar Ahmad Haqtash, Afghanistan;
  • Yousuf Amin Zazai, Afghanistan;
  • Zakiri Sahib, Afghanistan;
  • Mirwais Ghafori, Afghanistan;
  • Nesar Rahmani, Afghanistan;
  • Shar M. Amir Zadah, Afghanistan;
  • Yasin Farahmand, Afghanistan;
  • Faizul Haq Faizan, Afghanistan;
  • Khaibar Sarwary, Afghanistan;
  • Ali Sina Masoumi, Afghanistan;
  • Hamidullah Akhund Zadah, Afghanistan;
  • Dr. Benish, Afghanistan;
  • Hayatullah Fazel, Afghanistan;
  • Faizullah Habibi, Afghanistan;
  • Abdul Hamid Lyan, Afghanistan;
  • Abdul Qayoum Qayoum Zadah, Afghanistan;
  • Qazi Qudratullah Safi, Afghanistan;
  • Noor Agha Haqyar, Afghanistan;
  • Maryan Aiany, Afghanistan;

B. FROM ABROAD

  • Odile Mojon, Schiller Institute, Paris, France ;
  • Johanna Clerc, Choir Conductor, Schiller Institute Chorus, France ;
  • Sébastien Perimony, Africa Department, Schiller Institute, France ;
  • Christine Bierre, Journalist, Chief Editor of Nouvelle Solidarité, monthly, France ;
  • Marcia Merry Baker, agriculture expert, EIR, Co-Editor, USA ;
  • Bob Van Hee,Redwood County Minnesota Commissioner, USA ;
  • Dr. Tarik Vardag, Doctor in Natural Sciences (RER), Business Owner, Germany;
  • Richard Freeman, Department of Physical Economy, Schiller Institute, USA ;
  • Liliana Gorini, chairwoman of Movisol and singer, Italy;
  • Ulrike Lillge,Editor Ibykus Magazine, Berlin, Germany ;
  • Michelle Rasmussen, Vice President, Schiller Institute in Denmark, amateur musician;
  • Feride Istogu Gillesberg, Vice President, Schiller Institute in Denmark;
  • Jason Ross, Science Department, Schiller Institute, USA ;
  • Dennis Small, Director of the Economic Department, Schiller Institute, USA ;
  • Robert “Bob” Baker, Agriculture Commission, Schiller Institute, USA ;
  • Dr. Wolfgang Lillge, Medical Doctor, Editor, Fusion Magazine, Berlin, Germany ;
  • Ulf Sandmark, Vice-Chairman of the Belt and Road Institute, Sweden ;
  • Mary Jane Freeman, Schiller Institute, USA ;
  • Hussein Askary, South West Asia Coordinator, Schiller Institute, Sweden ;
  • David Dobrodt, EIR News, USA ;
  • Klaus Fimmen, 2nd Vice-Chairman of the Bürgerrechtsbewegung Solidarität (Büso) party, Germany;
  • Christophe Lamotte, Consulting Engineer, France ;
  • Richard Burden, EIR production staff, USA ;
  • Rolf Gerdes, Electronic Engineer, Germany;
  • Marcella Skinner, USA ;
  • Delaveau Mathieu, Farm Worker, France ;
  • Shekeba Jentsch, StayIN, Board, Germany;
  • Bernard Carail, retired Postal Worker, France ;
  • Etienne Dreyfus, Social Activist, France ;
  • Harrison Elfrink, Social Activist, USA ;
  • Jason Seidmann,USA ;

Merci de partager !

With Kondiaronk and Leibniz, re-inventing a society without oligarchy

By Karel Vereycken, May 2023.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the founder of the Schiller Institute, in her keynote address to the Schiller Institute’s Nov. 22, 2022 videoconference, “For World Peace—Stop the Danger of Nuclear War: Third Seminar of Political and Social Leaders of the World,” called on world leaders to eradicate the evil principle of oligarchy.

Oligarchy is defined as a power structure in which power rests with a small number of people having certain characteristics (nobility, fame, wealth, education, or corporate, religious, political, or military control) and who impose their own power over that of their people.

To be precise, Zepp-LaRouche said :

“For 600 years, there has been a continuous battle between two forms of government, between the sovereign nation state and the oligarchical form of society, vacillating back and forth with sometimes a greater emphasis in this or that direction.
All empires based on the oligarchical model have been oriented towards protecting the privileges of the ruling elite, while trying to keep the masses of the population as backward as possible,
because as sheep they are easier to control (…)”

Now, unfortunately, most of the citizens of the transatlantic world and elsewhere will tell you that abolishing the oligarchical principle is “a good idea”, a “beautiful dream”, but that reality tells us “it can’t happen” for the very simple reason that “it never happened before”.

Societies, by definition, they argue, are in-egalitarian. Kings and Presidents of Republics, they argue, eventually might have “pretended” they ruled over the masses for their “common good”, but in reality, our fellow-citizens think, it was always the rule of a handful favoring their own interest over the majority.

The BRICS

Interesting for all of us, is that some leading thinkers involved in the BRICS movement, are trying to imagine new ways of collective rule excluding oligarchical principles.

For example, going in that direction, economist Pedro Paez, former advisor to Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, in his intervention at the April 15-16 Schiller Institute’s video conference, defended

“a new concept of currency based on monetary arrangements of clearing houses for regional payments, that can be joined into a world clearing house system, which could also prevent another type of unilateral, unipolar hegemony from arising, such as the one that was established with Bretton Woods, and that would instead open the doors to multipolar management”.

Also Belgian philosopher and theologian Marc Luyckx, a former member of the Jacques Delors famous taskforce « Cellule de Prospective » of the European Commission, in a video interview on the de-dollarization of the world economy, underlined that the BRICS countries are creating a world order whose nature makes it so that not a single member of their own group can become the dominant power.

The Dawn of Everything

The good news is that a mind-provoking, 700-page book, titled “The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity”, written and published in 2021 by the American anthropologist David Graeber and the British archaeologist David Wengrow, destroys the conventional notions of ancient human cultures making linear progress toward the neo-liberal economic model and therefore, by implication, high levels of inequality.

Even better, based on hard facts, the book largely debunks the “narrative” that oligarchical rule is somehow “natural”. Of course, the oligarchical principle ruled often and often for a long time. But, surprisingly, the book offers overwhelming indications and “hard facts” proving that in ancient times, some societies, though not all, which eventually prospered over centuries, through political choices, consciously adopted modes of governance preventing minority groups from permanently keeping a hegemonic grip over societies.

Zepp-LaRouche’s 10th point

The subject matter of this issue is intimately linked to the 10th point raised by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, which, in order to demonstrate that all sources of evil can be eradicated by education and political decision, that man’s natural inclination, is intrinsically to do the good. The very existence of historical precedents of societies surviving without oligarchy over hundreds of years, is of course, the “practical” proof of man’s axiomatic inclination to do the good.

Unsurprisingly, some argue that the issue of “good” and “evil” is nothing but a “theological debate”, since the concepts of “good” and “evil” are concepts made up by humans in order to compare themselves with one another. They argue it would never occur to anyone to argue about whether a fish, or a tree, were good or evil, since they lack any form of self-conscience enabling them to measure if their deeds and actions fulfill their own inclination or that of their creator.

Now, part of the “Biblical answer” to this question, if man is bad or evil, claims that people “once lived in a state of innocence”, yet were tainted by original sin. We desired to be godlike and have been punished for it; now we live in a fallen state while hoping for future redemption.

Overturning the evil Rousseau and Hobbes

Graeber and Wengrow, establishing the core argument of their entire book, demonstrate in a very provocative way how we got brainwashed by the pessimistic and destructive oligarchical ideology, especially that promoted by both Rousseau and Hobbes, for whom inequality is the natural state of man, a humanity which might have eventually been good as “a noble savage”, before becoming “civilized” and a society only surviving thanks to a “social contract” (voluntary bottom-up submission) or a “Leviathan” (top down dictatorship) :

Today, the popular version of this [biblical] story [of man thrown out of the Garden of Eden] is typically some updated variation on Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Discourse on the Origin and the Foundation of Inequality Among Mankind, which he wrote in 1754. Once upon a time, the story goes, we were hunter-gatherers, living in a prolonged state of childlike innocence, in tiny bands. These bands were egalitarian; they could be for the very reason that they were so small. It was only after the “Agricultural Revolution,” and then still more the rise of cities, that this happy condition came to an end, ushering in ‘civilization’ and ‘the state’—which also meant the appearance of written literature, science and philosophy, but at the same time, almost everything bad in human life: patriarchy, standing armies, mass executions and annoying bureaucrats demanding that we spend much of our lives filling in forms.

Of course, this is a very crude simplification, but it really does seem to be the foundational story that rises to the surface whenever anyone, from industrial psychologists to revolutionary theorists, says something like ‘but of course human beings spent most of their evolutionary history living in groups of ten or twenty people,’ or ‘agriculture was perhaps humanity’s worst mistake.’ And as we’ll see, many popular writers make the argument quite explicitly. The problem is that anyone seeking an alternative to this rather depressing view of history will quickly find that the only one on offer is actually even worse: if not Rousseau, then Thomas Hobbes.

Hobbes’s Leviathan, published in 1651, is in many ways the founding text of modern political theory. It held that, humans being the selfish creatures they are, life in an original State of Nature was in no sense innocent; it must instead have been ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short’—basically, a state of war, with everybody fighting against everybody else. Insofar as there has been any progress from this benighted state of affairs, a Hobbesian would argue, it has been largely due to exactly those repressive mechanisms that Rousseau was complaining about: governments, courts, bureaucracies, police. This view of things has been around for a very long time as well. There’s a reason why, in English, the words ‘politics’ ‘polite’ and ‘police’ all sound the same—they’re all derived from the Greek word polis, or city, the Latin equivalent of which is civitas, which also gives us ‘civility,’ ‘civic’ and a certain modern understanding of ‘civilization.

Human society, in this view, is founded on the collective repression of our baser instincts, which becomes all the more necessary when humans are living in large numbers in the same place. The modern-day Hobbesian, then, would argue that, yes, we did live most of our evolutionary history in tiny bands, who could get along mainly because they shared a common interest in the survival of their offspring (‘parental investment,’ as evolutionary biologists call it). But even these were in no sense founded on equality. There was always, in this version, some ‘alpha-male’ leader. Hierarchy and domination, and cynical self-interest, have always been the basis of human society. It’s just that, collectively, we have learned it’s to our advantage to prioritize our long-term interests over our short-term instincts; or, better, to create laws that force us to confine our worst impulses to socially useful areas like the economy, while forbidding them everywhere else

As the reader can probably detect from our tone, we don’t much like the choice between these two alternatives. Our objections can be classified into three broad categories. As accounts of the general course of human history, they:
1) simply aren’t true;
2) have dire political implications and
3) make the past needlessly dull.”

As a consequence of the victory of imperial models of political power, the only accepted “narrative” of man’s “evolution”, automatically validating an oligarchical grip over society, is that which allows “confirming” the pre-agreed-upon dogma erected as immortal “truth”. And any historical findings or artifacts contradicting or invalidating the Rousseau-Hobbes narrative will be, at best, declared anomalies.

Open our eyes

Graeber and Wengrow’s book is an attempt

“to tell another, more hopeful and more interesting story; one which, at the same time, takes better account of what the last few decades of research have taught us. Partly, this is a matter of bringing together evidence that has accumulated in archaeology, anthropology and kindred disciplines; evidence that points towards a completely new account of how human societies developed over roughly the last 30,000 years. Almost all of this research goes against the familiar narrative, but too often the most remarkable discoveries remain confined to the work of specialists, or have to be teased out by reading between the lines of scientific publications.”

To give just a sense of how different the emerging picture is:

“[I]t is clear now that human societies before the advent of farming were not confined to small, egalitarian bands. On the contrary, the world of hunter-gatherers as it existed before the coming of agriculture was one of bold social experiments, resembling a carnival parade of political forms, far more than it does the drab abstractions of evolutionary theory. Agriculture, in turn, did not mean the inception of private property, nor did it mark an irreversible step towards inequality. In fact, many of the first farming communities were relatively free of ranks and hierarchies. And far from setting class differences in stone, a surprising number of the world’s earliest cities were organized on robustly egalitarian lines, with no need for authoritarian rulers,
ambitious warrior-politicians, or even bossy administrators.”

Kondiaronk, Leibniz and the Enlightenment

In fact, Rousseau’s story, argue the authors, was in part a response to critiques of European civilization, which began in the early decades of the 18th century. “The origins of that critique, however, lie not with the philosophers of the Enlightenment (much though they initially admired and imitated it), but with indigenous commentators and observers of European society, such as the Native American (Huron-Wendat) statesman Kondiaronk,” and many others.

And when prominent thinkers, such as Leibniz, “urged his patriots to adopt Chinese models of statecraft, there is a tendency for contemporary historians to insist they weren’t really serious”.

However, many influential Enlightenment thinkers did in fact claim that some of their ideas on the subject of inequality were directly taken from Chinese or Native American sources!

Just as Leibniz became familiar with Chinese civilization through his contact with the Jesuit missions, the ideas from Native Americans reached Europe by way of books such as the widely read seventy-one-volume report The Jesuit Relations, published between 1633 and 1673.

While today, we would think personal freedom is a good thing, this was not the case for the Jesuits complaining about the Native Americans. The Jesuits were opposed to freedom in principle:

“This, without doubt, is a disposition quite contrary to the spirit of the Faith, which requires us to submit not only our wills, but our minds, our judgments, and all the sentiments of man
to a power unknown to the laws and sentiments of corrupt nature.”

Jesuit father Jérôme Lallemant, whose correspondence provided an initial model for The Jesuit Relations, noted of the Wendat Indians in 1644: “I do not believe that there is a people on earth freer than they, and less able to allow to the subjection of their wills to any power whatever”.

Jesuit father Paul Le Jeune.

Even more worrisome, their high level of intelligence. Father Paul Le Jeune, Superior of the Jesuits in Canada in the 1630:

“There are almost none of them incapable of conversing or reasoning very well, and in good terms, on matters within their knowledge. The councils, held almost every day in the Villages, and on almost all matters, improve their capacity for talking”.

Or in Lallemant’s words:

“I can say in truth that, as regards intelligence, they are in no ways inferior to Europeans and to those who dwell in France. I would never have believed that, without instruction, nature could have supplied a most ready and vigorous eloquence, which I have admired in many Hurons (American Natives); or more clear-nearsightedness in public affairs, or a more discreet management in things to which they are accustomed”.

(The Jesuit Relations, vol. XXVIII, p. 62.)

Some Jesuits went much further, noting – not without a trace of frustration – that New World “savages” seemed rather cleverer overall than the people they were used to dealing with at home.

The ideas of Native Indian statesman Kondiaronk (c. 1649–1701), known as “The Rat” and the Chief of the Native American Wendat people at Michilimackinac in New France, reached Leibniz via an impoverished French aristocrat named Louis-Armand de Lom d’Arce, Baron de la Hontan, better known as Lahontan.

In 1683, Lahontan, age 17, joined the French army and was posted in Canada. In his various missions, he became fluent in both Algonkian and Wendat and good friends with a number of indigenous political figures, including the brilliant Wendat statesman Kondiaronk. The latter impressed many French observers with his eloquence and brilliance and frequently met with the royal governor, Count Louis de Buade de Frontenac. Kondiaronk himself, as Speaker of the Council (their governing body) of the Wendat Confederation, is thought to have been sent as an ambassador to the Court of the French King, Louis XIV, in 1691.

The Great Peace of Montreal

Kandiaronk calling on over a thousand of native americans to engage in peaceful relationship.

Even after being betrayed by the French, and obliged to conduct his own wars to secure his fellow men, Kondiaronk, played a key role in what is remembered as the “Great Peace of Montreal” of August 1, 1701, which ended the bloody Beaver Wars, in reality proxy wars between the British and the French, each of them using the native Indians as “cannon fodder” for their own geopolitical schemes

France was increasingly cornered by the British. Therefore, at the request of the French, in the summer of 1701, more than 1,300 Indians, from forty different nations, gathered near Montreal, dispite the fact that the city was ravaged by influenza. They came from the Mississippi Valley, the Great Lakes, and Acadia. Many were lifelong enemies, but all had responded to an invitation from the French governor. Their future and the fate of the colony were at stake. Their goal was to negotiate a comprehensive peace, among themselves and with the French. The negotiations dragged on for days, and peace was far from being guaranteed. The chiefs were wary. The main stumbling block to peace was the return of prisoners who had been captured during previous campaigns and enslaved or adopted.

Without Kondiaronk’s support, peace was unattainable. On August 1, seriously ill, he spoke for two hours in favor of a peace treaty that would be guaranteed by the French. Many were moved by his speech. The following night, Kondiaronk died, struck down by influenza at the age of 52.

But the next day, the peace treaty was signed. From now on there would be no more wars between the French and the Indians. Thirty-eight nations signed the treaty, including the Iroquois. The Iroquois promised to remain neutral in any future conflict between the French and the Iroquois’ former allies, the English colonists of New England.

Kondiaronk was praised by the French and presented as a “model” of peace-loving natives. The Jesuits immediately put out the lie that, just before dying, he had “converted” to the Catholic faith in the hope other natives would follow his model.

Lahontan from Amsterdam to Hanover

Now, following various events, Lahontan ended up in Amsterdam. In order to make a living he wrote a series of books about his adventures in Canada, the third one entitled Curious Dialogues with a Savage of Good Sense Who Has Travelled (1703), comprising four dialogues with a fictional figure, “Adario” (in reality Kondiaronk), which were rapidly translated into German, Dutch, English, and Italian. Lahontan, himself, gaining some sort of celebrity, settled in Hannover, where he befriended the great philosopher and scientist Wilhelm Gottfried Leibniz.

On the lookout for everything that was being discussed in Europe, the philosopher, then 64 years old, seems to have been put on the track of Lahontan by Dutch and German journalists, but also by the text of an obscure theologian from Helmstedt, Conrad Schramm, whose introductory lecture, the « The Stammering Philosophy of the Canadians », had been published in Latin in 1707. Referring first to Plato and Aristotle (which he abandoned almost immediately), Schramm used the Dialogues and the Memoirs of Lahontan to show how the « Canadian barbarians knock on the door of philosophy but do not enter because they lack the means or are locked into their customs”.

Far less narrow-minded, Leibniz saw in Lahontan a confirmation of his own political optimism, which allowed him to affirm that the birth of society does not come from the need to get out of a terrible state of war, as Thomas Hobbes believed, but from a natural aspiration to concord.

But what captured his main interest, was not so much whether the “American savages” were capable, or not, of philosophizing, but whether they really lived in concord without government.

To his correspondent Wilhelm Bierling, who asked him how the Indians of Canada could live “in peace although they have neither laws nor public magistracies [tribunals]”, Leibniz replied:

“It is quite true […] that the Americans of these regions live together without any government but in peace; they know neither fights, nor hatreds, nor battles, or very few, except against men of different nations and languages.
I would almost say that this is a political miracle,
unknown to Aristotle and ignored by Hobbes.”

Leibniz, who claimed to know Lahontan well, underlined that Adario, “who came in France a few years ago and who, even if he belongs to the Huron nation, judged its institutions superior to ours.”

This conviction of Leibniz will be expressed again in his Judgment on the works of M. le Comte Shaftesbury, published in London in 1711 under the title of Charactersticks:

« The Iroquois and the Hurons, savages neighboring New France and New England, have overturned the too universal political maxims of Aristotle and Hobbes. They have shown, by their super-prominent conduct, that entire peoples can be without magistrates and without quarrels, and that consequently men are neither sufficiently motivated by their good nature, nor sufficiently forced by their wickedness to provide themselves with a government and to renounce their liberty. But these savages shows that it is not so much the necessity, as the inclination to go to the best and to approach felicity, by mutual assistance, which makes the foundation of societies and states; and it must be admitted that security is the most essential point”.

While these dialogues are often downplayed as fictional and therefore merely invented for the sake of literature, Leibniz, in a letter to Bierling dated November 10, 1719, responded: « The Lahontan’s Dialogues, although not entirely true, are not completely invented either.”

As a matter of fact, Lahontan himself, in the preface to the dialogues, wrote:

“When I was in the village of this [Native] American, I took on the agreeable task of carefully noting all his arguments. No sooner had I returned from my trip to the Canadian lakes than I showed my manuscript to Count Frontenac, who was so pleased to read it that he made the effort to help me put these Dialogues into their present state.”

People today tend to forget that tape-recorders weren’t around in those days.

For Leibniz, of course, political institutions were born of a natural aspiration to happiness and harmony. In this perspective, Lahontan’s work does not contribute to the construction of a new knowledge; it only confirms a thesis Leibniz had already constituted.

A critical view on the Europeans and the French in particular

Hence, Lahontan, in his memoirs, says that Native Americans, such as Kondiaronk, who had been in France,

“were continually teasing us with the faults and disorders they observed in our towns, as being occasioned by money. There’s no point in trying to remonstrate with them about how useful the distinction of property is for the support of society: they make a joke of everything you say on that account. In short, they neither quarrel nor fight, nor slander one another; they scoff at arts and sciences, and laugh at the difference of ranks which is observed with us. They brand us for slaves, and call us miserable souls, whose life is not worth having, alleging that we degrade ourselves in subjecting ourselves to one man [the king] who possesses all power, and is bound by no law but his own will.”

Lahontan continues:

“They think it unaccountable that one man should have more than another,
and that the rich should have more respect than the poor.
In short, they say, the name of savages, which we bestow upon them, would fit ourselves better,
since there is nothing in our actions that bears an appearance of wisdom.”

In his dialogue with Kondiaronk, Lahontan tells him that if the wicked remained unpunished, we would become the most miserable people of the earth. Kondiaronk responds:

“For my part, I find it hard to see how you could be much more miserable than you already are. What kind of human, what species or creature, most Europeans be, that they have to be forced to do the good, and only refrain from evil because of fear of punishment?… You have observed we lack judges. What is the reason for that? Well, we never bring lawsuits against one another. And why do we never bring lawsuits? Well because we made a decision neither to accept or make use of money. And why do we refuse to allow money in our communities? The reason is this: we are determined not to have laws – because, since the world was a world, our ancestors have been able to live contentedly without them.”

Brother Gabriel Sagard, a French Recollect Friar, reported that the Wendat people were particularly offended by the French lack of generosity to one another:

“They reciprocate hospitality and give such assistance to one another that the necessities of all are provided for without there being any indigent beggar in their towns and villages;
and they considered it a very bad thing when they heard it said
that there were in France a great many of these needy beggars,
and thought that this was for lack of charity in us, and blamed us for it severely”.

Money, thinks Kondiaronk, creates an environment that encourages people to behave badly:

I have spent six years reflecting on the state of European society and I still can’t think of a single way they act that’s not inhuman, and I genuinely think this can only be the case, as long as you stick to your distinctions of ‘mine’ and ‘thine’. I affirm that what you call money is the devil of devils; the tyrant of the French, the source of all evils; the bane of souls and the slaughterhouse of the living. To imagine one can live in the country of money and preserve one’s soul is like imagining one could preserve one’s life at the bottom of a lake. Money is the father of luxury, lasciviousness, intrigues, trickery, lies, betrayal, insincerity, – all of the world’s worst behaviors. Fathers sell their children, husbands their wives, wives betray their husbands, brothers kill each other, friends are false, and all because of money. In the light of all this, tell me that we Wendat are not right in refusing to touch, or so much as to look at money?”

In the third footnote of his speech on the origins on inequality, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who invented the idea of the “noble savage” presumably existing before man engaged in agriculture, himself refers to

“those happy nations, who do not know even the names of the vices
which we have such trouble controlling,
of those American savages whose simple and natural ways of keeping public order
Montaigne does not hesitate to prefer to Plato’s laws…”

Europeans refusing to return

Another observation is that of Swedish botanist Peher Kalm, who, in 1749, was astonished by the fact that a large number of Europeans, exposed to Aboriginal life, did not want to return:

“It is also remarkable that the greater part of the European prisoners who, on the occasion of the war, were taken in this way and mixed with the Indians, especially if they were taken at a young age, never wanted to return to their country of origin afterwards, even though their father and mother or close relatives came to see them to try to persuade them to do so, and they themselves had every freedom to do so. But they found the Indians’ independent way of life preferable to that of the Europeans; they adopted native clothing and conformed in every way to the Indians, to the point where it is difficult to distinguish them from the Indians, except that their skin and complexion are slightly whiter. We also know of several examples of Frenchmen who have voluntarily married native women and adopted their way of life; on the other hand, we have no example of an Indian marrying a European woman and adopting her way of life; if he happens to be taken prisoner by the Europeans during a war, he always looks for an opportunity, on the contrary, to return home, even if he has been detained for several years and has enjoyed all the freedoms that a European can enjoy.”

Before Lahontan:
Thomas More’s Utopians


In 1492, as the joke goes, “America discovered Columbus, a Genoese captain lost at sea”. The mission he had been entrusted with was motivated by a variety of intentions, not least the idea of reaching, by traveling west, China, a continent thought to be populated by vast populations unaware of Christ’s inspiring and optimistic message, and therefore in urgent need of evangelization.

Unfortunately, two years later, a less theological interest arose when, on June 7, 1494, the Portuguese and Spanish signed the Treaty of Tordesillas at the Vatican, under the supervision of Pope Alexander IV (Borgia), dividing the entire world between two dominant world powers:

  • the Spanish Empire under top-down control of the continental Habsburg/Venice alliance;
  • the Portuguese Empire under that of the banking cartel of Genoese maritime slave traders.

This didn’t stop the best European humanists, two centuries before Lahontan, from raising their voices and showing that some of the so-called “savages” of the United States had virtues and qualities absolutely worthy of consideration and possibly lacking here in Europe.

Such was the case with Erasmus of Rotterdam and his close friend and collaborator Thomas More, who shared what are thought to be their views on America in a little book entitled “U-topia” (meaning ‘any’ place), jointly written and published in 1516 in Leuven, Belgium.

By instinct, the reports they received of America and the cultural characteristics of its natives, led them to believe that they were dealing with some lost colony of Greeks or even the famous lost continent of Atlantis described by Plato in both his Timaeus and Critias.

In More’s Utopia, the Portuguese captain Hythlodeus describes a highly organized civilization: it has flat-hulled ships and “sails made of sewn papyrus”, made up of people who “like to be informed about what’s going on in the world” and whom he “believes to be Greek by origin”.

At one point he says:

“Ah, if I were to propose what Plato imagined in his Republic, or what the Utopians put into practice in theirs, these principles, although far superior to ours – and they certainly are –
might come as a surprise, since with us, everyone owns his property,
whereas there, everything is held in common.”
(no private property).

As far as religion is concerned, the Utopians (like the Native Americans)

“have different religions but, just as many roads lead to one and the same place, all their aspects, despite their multiplicity and variety, converge towards the worship of the divine essence. That’s why nothing can be seen or heard in their temples except what is consistent with all beliefs.
The particular rites of each sect are performed in each person’s home;
public ceremonies are performed in a common place;
Public ceremonies are performed in a form that in no way contradicts them.« 

And to conclude :

Some worship the Sun, others the Moon or some other planet (…) The majority, however, and by far the wisest, reject these beliefs, but recognize a unique god, unknown, eternal, in-commensurable, impenetrable, inaccessible to human reason, spread throughout our universe in the manner, not of a body, but of a power. They call him Father, and relate to him alone the origins, growth, progress, vicissitudes and decline of all things. They bestow divine honors on him alone (…) Moreover, despite the multiplicity of their beliefs, the other Utopians at least agree on the existence of a supreme being, creator and protector of the world.”

Exposing the trap of woke ideology

Does that mean that “all Europeans were evil” and that “all Native Americans were good”? Not at all! The authors don’t fall for such simplistic generalizations and “woke” ideology in general.

For example, even with major similarities, the cultural difference between the First Nation of the Canadian Northwest Coast and those of California, was as big as that between Athens and Sparta in Greek antiquity, the first a republic, the latter an oligarchy.

Different people and different societies, at different times, made experiments and different political choices about the axiomatics of their culture.

While in California, forms of egalitarian and anti-oligarchical self-government erupted, in some areas of the north, oligarchical rule prevailed:

“[F]rom the Klamath River northwards, there existed societies dominated by warrior aristocrats engaged in frequent inter-group raiding, an in which, traditionally, a significant portion of the population had consisted of chattel slaves. This apparently had been true as long as anyone living there could remember.”

Northwest societies took delight in displays of excess, notably during festivals known as “potlach” sometimes culminating in

“the sacrificial killing of slaves (…) In many ways, the behavior or Northwest Coast aristocrats resembles that of Mafia dons, with their strict codes of honor and patronage relations; or what sociologists speak of as ‘court societies’ – the sort of arrangement one might expect in, say, feudal Sicily, from which the Mafia derived many of its cultural codes.”

So, the first point made by the authors is that the infinite diversity of human societies has to be taken into account. Second, instead of merely observing the fact, the authors underline that these diversities very often didn’t result from “objective” conditions, but from political choices. That also carries the very optimistic message, that choices different from the current world system, can become reality if people rise to the challenge of changing them for the better.

Urbanization before agriculture

The boulders you see in the photo, weighing several tonnes and measuring up to almost 7 metres in height, are at least 11,000 years old according to C14 radiocarbon analysis. They are just a few of the many pillars that made up the settlement of Göbekli Tepe, on the border between Turkey and Syria. The civilization that built this settlement and others like it still has no name. In fact, until recently, their existence was totally unknown.

In the largest part of the book, the authors depict the life of hunter-gatherers living thousands of years before the agricultural revolution but able to create huge urban complexes and eventually ruling without a dominant oligarchy.

The book identifies examples in China, Peru, the Indus Valley (Mohenjo-Daru), Ukraine ((Taljanki, Maidenetske, Nebelivka), Mexico (Tlaxcala), the USA (Poverty Point), and Turkey (Catalhoyuk), where large-scale, city-level living was taking place (from about 10,000 BC to 6,000 BC).

But these didn’t involve a ruling caste or aristocratic class; they were explicitly egalitarian in their house building and market trading; made many innovations in plumbing and street design; and were part of continental networks which shared best practice. The agricultural revolution was not a “revolution”, the book argues, but rather a continual transformative process spread across thousands of years when hunter-gatherers were able to flexibly organize themselves into mega-sites (several thousand inhabitants), organized without centers or monumental buildings, but built with standardized houses, comfortable for daily life, all of this achieved without static hierarchies, kings, or overwhelming bureaucracy.

Another case in point is the example of Teotihuacan, which rivaled Rome in grandeur between about 100 BC and 600 AD, where, following a political revolution in 300 AD, an egalitarian culture embarked on a massive social housing program designed to give all residents decent quarters.

Conclusion

Living today, it is very difficult for most of us to imagine that a society, a culture, or a civilization, could survive over centuries without a centralized, forcibly hierarchical power structure.

While, as the authors indicate, archaeological evidence, if we are ready to look at it, tell us the contrary. But are we ready to challenge our own prejudices?

« King-Priest » of Mohenjo-Daro (Indus Valley, Pakistan).

As an example of such self-inflicted blindness, worth mentioning is the case of the “King-Priest”, a small male carved figure showing a neatly bearded man, found during the excavation of the ruined Bronze Age city of Mohenjo-daro (Pakistan), dated to around 2000 BC and considered « the most famous stone sculpture » of the Indus Valley civilization. While in Mohenjo-Daro there exists neither a royal palace or tomb, nor a religious temple of any nature, British archaeologists immediately called it a “King-Priest”, because very simply “it can’t be otherwise”.

Reading Graeber and Wengrow’s book obliges us to adjust our views and become optimistic. They show that radically different human systems are not only possible but have been tried many times by our species. In a public talk in 2022, Wengrow presented what he sees as lessons for the political present from the past, where human beings were much more fluid, conscious and experimental with their social and economic structures :

“Now what do all these details amount to? What does it all mean? Well, at the very least, I’d suggest it’s really a bit far-fetched these days to cling to this notion that the invention of agriculture meant a departure from some egalitarian Eden. Or to cling to the idea that small-scale societies are especially likely to be egalitarian, while large-scale ones must necessarily have kings, presidents and top-down structures of management. And there are also some contemporary implications. Take, for example, the commonplace notion that participatory democracy is somehow natural in a small community—or perhaps an activist group—but couldn’t possibly have a scale-up for anything like a city, a nation or even a region. Well, actually, the evidence of human history, if we’re prepared to look at it, suggests the opposite. If cities and regional confederacies, held together mostly by consensus and cooperation, existed thousands of years ago, who’s to stop us creating them again today with technologies that allow us to overcome the friction of distance and numbers? Perhaps it’s not too late to begin learning from all this new evidence of the human past, even to begin imagining what other kinds of civilization we might create if we can just stop telling ourselves that this particular world is the only one possible.”

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