We marked the International Day of Peace yesterday, as we have done on 21 September since 1981. At the United Nations in New York the Peace Bell rang. The bell is cast from coins given by children from all over the world, with the inscription, Long Live Absolute Peace, reminding us mainly of the importance of peace between countries. But it is also reminding us that peace is not just absence of war; it is more than that. It is also absence of structural violence, unfair trade between North and South and between classes and groups within and between countries. When I was a young student in social sciences at the University of Oslo, yes, it is already a generation ago, we focused on active peace, and we discussed how important it was to live in peaceful countries. Norway and the other Scandinavian countries were particularly peaceful then as peaceful now. Yet, we were also told much about the Second World War, which was quite near in time, with stories about the Nazi brutality and the Norwegian Resistance Movement. All our teachers, parents and relatives talked about this and kept reminding us that war must never happen again. True, the Cold War was there, based on ideological competition or dominance between the capitalist West led by USA, and the socialist or communist East led by the Soviet Union, USSR. It wasnt war, although we used or rather, misused the word for it. Today, we again misuse the same word when we talk about war on terror. We should instead use positive words and actions that can actually lead to peace, not hammer others and be so full of arrogance of power. In my student days in Oslo, a particularly popular and competent teacher and preacher, notably Professor Johan Galtung, kept reminding his attentive students that we, in the early 1970s, had had at least one hundred wars after the Second World War. It was wrong to call it a time of peace. The wars were local and regional, not global (except for the Cold War). Very few of them involved Europe and America directly. But, indeed, indirectly and in structural ways, we - the West - were always involved, such as in South America, USAs backyard, in Africa, where the East and West had their various sympathisers, and in Asia, of course, where the Vietnam War was indeed a sad chapter in our history, and in Korea, earlier on. It was not until 1979 that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan became an issue, and a shock, too. I remember well that my professor in education, Dr. Eva Nordland, and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Oslo, Professor Bjarne Waaler became leaders of a popular movement for the superpowers withdrawal from Afghanistan. And Professor Fredrik Barth, a renowned Norwegian anthropologist with expertise on Swat and the Pathans, came on TV explaining that foreign war in Afghanistan had not and could not be won through invasion. How right he was about USSRs fate, and how right it is about USAs and NATOs fate today. And I should add: how little we learn and how little we understand. But then, it is power that rules, it seems, although in the end, it is actually not so; people are more sensible, it is leaders that fail. In our peaceful corner in Oslo in my student days we were also outward looking. We were concerned about development aid and the role of the United Nations, both more important that time than now, or maybe it is just that with the passage of time there is 'wear and tear, and we all become more realistic. True, there were positive results of development aid, either bilaterally or through the UN, and many aid workers, including in the Peace Corps and voluntary organisations, helped in doing good work and creating an understanding for the Third World, as we used to term the developing countries that time (with the West being the First World and the Soviet block the Second World). I believe that radical groups in West helped end apartheid in South Africa sooner than what would otherwise have been the case. But I think we ran away from many of the socialist-oriented countries in the 1980s when the rightwing wind blew. I still believe that socialist values or social democratic values, which we confess to in Scandinavia, will indeed be revived in the future. We have seen in recent years that the world needs state and people regulations in finance and economy otherwise the capitalists run wild. They become risk-taking adventurers and administrators of structural violence, because money is indeed a weapon, often the real weapon, deciding on peoples life and death. I remember in my youthful days that my parents, and one of my important primary school teachers, were concerned about the freedom struggles in Africa at the time when so many states there gained independence. Often, the wars were brutal. I remember in particular the concern people had during the Algeria War, and ordinary Norwegians collected clothes and other items for suffering people in Algeria. Let us hope now, that the second freedom fight in North Africa will take them on the right path. I also remember my parents interest in the Civil Rights Movement in USA, finding it particularly important that the American dream could be extended to everyone and that all citizens could live peacefully together. I believe that we set higher standards for America than anybody else; it was after all the land we that time thought had the moral leadership. Since there are more people of Norwegian decent in America than the number of inhabitants in old Norway (5 million), we all have relatives and contacts in the country, making it closer to us than most other foreign countries. It is also interesting that since Norway in the last 150 years has sent many missionaries to African countries in particular, but also to India, Nepal, Japan and elsewhere, ordinary Norwegians often feel close to people in such countries and the aid that is provided, and often missionaries are humanitarian aid workers more that preachers. Besides, that is also the advice given by Issas in the Bible and the Quran. We also talked about basic human needs, notably access to shelter, clean water, health services and education and a voice in decisions about own life and environment. Professor Galtung was for a while the director for a major UN research project in Geneva dealing with basic human needs and global indicators of development. We discussed these issues as students, and together with diplomats and international civil servants we began formulating ways of establishing a New International Economic Order (NIEO), realising that the existing order was unjust and indeed the main cause for structural violence, and that it would also lead to armed conflicts within and between countries. To work for NIEO was therefore also to work for peace in the world. It would be pre-emptive strike, to use a terrible word from the army mens vocabulary, but this time to be used in a positive way. Alas, except for a lasting UNCTAD office in Geneva, little came out of the work, and instead we got the antisocial World Trade Organisation (WTO), which is a class-organisation, where the rich in the West and in the Third World bake the cake and keeps it all, or at least the sweetest pieces. But the world has not come to an end yet. Americas powerfulness is beginning to decline, as it happened to UKs world empire. UK became better for the Brits and the world. USA, too, will become better for the Americans and indeed for the rest of the world. In Pakistan and Afghanistan, I believe we will see positive developments when the links to the superpower becomes lesser, and when the wasted war against the clouds, notably the war on terror, ends, and when the geopolitical and structural wars in our region end. Then peace, development and democracy can take root and flourish. Migrants may come this way and Pakistan and Afghanistan not experiencing drain of human resources, refugees, and economic migrants. As we reflect on issues after the International Day of Peace, I realise that we must become much firmer and forceful in our education, information work and other actions for peace. We must not let army men reign. We must let the Peace Movement become the real movement for the future. That is the moral and practical duty and imperative we all face. The writer is a senior Norwegian social scientist based in Islamabad. He has served as United Nations Specialist in the United States, as well as various countries in Africa and Asia. He has also spent a decade dealing with the Afghan refugee crisis and university education in Pakistan. Email: atlehetland@yahoo.com