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  Lessons Report from this article

Excerpts from the lessons report considering the WK newspaper article of November 26, 2003, written by Bianca Gunkel

Lesson Topic - The Global Marshall Plan's importance and topicality, clarified by the “VdW”-Congress with the topic “Peace” in Berlin and

Mr. Gansczyk's meeting with Germany's chancellor Mr. Schröder

The lesson began today quite differently than others: Mr. Eckhoff, journalist at Hagen's local newspaper WK, asked us to take a photo of the entire philosophy course's students. However, the Global Marshall Plan Flyers had to be at the centre of attention, which most of the students showed to the camera, as well as the following two books:


  1. “Peace Policy” by Hans Küng – A book in which many representatives for peace policy, including Hans Küng himself, move into position.
  2. “Earth in the Balance” by Al Gore – in this book, the author discusses his theory that only a radical changing of views considering our relationship to environmental topics might help our earth to remain the way we know her for following generations. In Mr. Gore's view, the effort to surmount the present situation will be as hard as the effort to surmount fascism, which, in the end, was only possible with a war.

Afterwards, Mr. Gansczyk tried to answer our questions, clarify why the photo had been taken and explain which role we could play in furthering the Global Marshall Plan. We began by looking back to the past lesson, in which we watched a Power-Point presentation dealing with the GMP:

In World War II, the “Marshall Plan” made the reconstruction of Europe possible, which resulted in the German economic miracle. Now the plan is to manage a global “Marshall Plan” aimed at the benefit of the entire world. The key positions are to make possible fair interactions between the cultures of the world while simultaneously overcoming poverty in the world by protecting environmental protection laws and keeping in mind the scarcity of resources.

The fact that we were familiar with the GMP due to our lessons dealing with the foretold global problems in 21 st century, which Mr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker had declared the “century of the environment” and Mr. Huntington had declared “the century of religion and culture”, showed us the topicality of this project which surely won't lose its importance. In light of the World Conference in Rio de Janeiro 10 years ago or the September 11 th terrorist attacks, the GMP will no longer be excluded in world policy.

One sign of this is the “VdW”-Congress in Berlin last weekend, which dealt with the subject of peace, as Mr. Gansczyk mentioned. One indication as to the importance of the topic is that nearly a hundred people, including climatologists, jurists, politicians and representatives from the Institute for Peace Science took part in the congress. There have been no lectures without references to September 11, 2001, as our prophecies mentioned in the lessons two years ago have been confirmed by the urgent need for world policy.

Another important event was a congress on the current SPD (Germany's Social Democrats) policy given by Mr. Erler. Mr. Gansczyk worked with Mr. Erler in clarifying his demand for structural measures to prevent wars and terrorism. Mr. Gansczyk pointed out in the plenum that the Global Marshall Plan would represent such a concept on the global level. A misunderstanding resulted from this, as Mr. Erler addressed the topic by emphasizing the conferences in Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg, which showed that the promise of first-world countries to double foreign aid to upwards of 0.7% of their Gross National Product has been broken in the past decade. In reality, aid to the poorest countries actually decreased from 0.35% to 0.22%. However, wouldn't it be important for the European Union to implement more preventive measures in order to find a balance as an outline for the future?

Many peace strategists complained about the media, arguing that despite the topicality of this subject, they aren't at all interested in reporting on peace strategies. With a bit of luck, one can only find a very short article on the last page of a newspaper next to the latest soccer or baseball results. As a result, the population isn't well informed on this issue.

Informing us on the topicality of the Global Marshall Plan, Mr. Gansczyk furthermore told us about his ride home after the congress, where he learned that the chancellor Mr. Schröder was travelling coincidentally on the same train. Mr. Gansczyk did not miss his chance to look for the chancellor and to hand him a GMP-flyer. In his mind, he awaited a heavily guarded 1 st class railway compartment with several bodyguards surrounding Mr. Schröder. Therefore he was surprised to spot the chancellor in a 2 nd class compartment and unguarded, sitting next to civilians. Flabbergasted by this sudden meeting, Mr. Gansczyk handed the flyer to the chancellor and told him that he was on his way home from the congress of German scientists, which dealt with the Global Marshall Plan. To his amazement, the chancellor answered that he had talked to Al Gore about this topic in the U.S. the day before. Mr. Gansczyk would later read an article published by the newspaper SZ about the meeting. Al Gore, who virtually introduced the GMP in scene in his book, and Mikhail Gorbachev, with his book “My Manifest for the Earth,” in dealing with the subject, were making it hard for the explosive and topical nature of this issue to continue to be denied. Because of this, Mr. Gansczyk returned to the chancellor to offer him the book “Peace Policy – No War” written by Hans Küng. The chancellor was, however, already familiar with this book as well, as Mr. Küng had sent it to his address. Mr. Gansczyk then had the possibility to have his book autographed by the chancellor.

Why did Mr. Gansczyk tell us the story? He emphasized that he didn't want to engage in party politics, but rather to show us the enormous meaning of this topic of world policy for the future. Then we got an explanation for the photo at the beginning of the lesson: He hadn't wanted to appear in the newspaper at the time, but he thought it important to counter the pessimistic view that the media hasn't taken interested in such topics and to show that young people and students are dealing with this issue. The message has to be that rather than resign, we will discuss the international Marshall Plan as an advantage for the environment and against terrorism.

As an example of other discussions, we have named the “Earth Charta“, which also gives a moral basis for living together in the world.

Mr. Gansczyk further emphasised that the aim of this article is to show that the issues being discussed during the lessons will now be approached on the global level, and this is needed to help the ideas of the GMP succeed. Another lecture, “Weather and War”, given by a climatologist in Berlin, had made clear that in the future, wars will not only be carried out because of religious tensions or border disputes, but also as a result of water shortages. In dealing with these issues, we need a Global Marshall Plan to provide regulations and to prevent wars and problems in the upcoming future.

As for media reporting, Mr. Gansczyk told us about Daniel Elsberg, who was honoured as a “whistleblower” at the peace congress in Berlin.

During the 1970s, Mr. Elsberg had become fed up with the lies by the U.S. concerning the Vietnam War and subsequently published the “Pentagon Papers.” He saw a deeper knowledge in the stories that wasn't being broadcasted by the media and news reporters. Similar to the invasion of Vietnam in earlier times, Mr. Elsberg describes the invasion of Iraq as a “train to hell”.

This example explains that in the future, we will have to pay close attention to policy and not just the cliché that we aren't affected by the issue, and we must not be deceived by the delusion of a safety net. Changing this way of thinking is the aim of the WK newspaper article.

Finishing the lessons, Mr. Gansczyk asked us to describe our impressions of the lesson: Lars told us that the lesson was very refreshing in contrast to the many text analyses in the past. Mr. Gansczyk replied that analysing texts written by Kant or Descartes need time in order to be understood. After all, these texts have been philosophies which have shaped Europe for many years and aren't quite so easily understood.

With this final comment, the lesson ended.

The lessons report considering the WK newspaper article of November 26, 2003 written by Bianca Gunkel

Translated by Max Arndt