One year ago, a photograph of a tidal wave of humanity queuing for food, filling what remained of a street amid the ruins left by bombs, made its way around the world. Yarmouk became the symbol of the horrors of war in Syria. One of the many sieges, like those of Homs, Kobane, Aleppo and other cities and villages, in a conflict that is almost in its fifth year and has caused over 200,000 deaths, 7.6 million internal refugees and 3.2 million finding refuge abroad.
From Polarization to Compromise
From Polarization to Compromise
Reset-DoC is dedicating its new issue to Tunisia’s exceptional democratic experience within a regional scenario still broadly characterised by instability, violence and new authoritarianisms, with new articles closely examining Tunisia’s post-revolutionary evolution in its media, society and politics. As Jonathan Laurence from Boston College explains in his introductory analysis, today we can say that, although threatened by polarization and radicalisms, Tunisia’s transition has been a success. This is above all thanks to a search for dialogue and acceptance of democratic compromise by the key political players involved, who have understood that concessions are necessary in order to hold together the republican front of Tunisians who swear by the rule of law, while keeping at bay the twin national demons of militant Islamism and overzealous anti-Islamism.
These were weeks during which negotiations between Kiev and pro-Russian rebels were to take place, but it was all over even before talks began. What is worse is that fighting has increased very violently in the east of the former Soviet republic. “Bus stops, schools, kindergartens, hospitals and residential areas have become normal battlefields in the Donetsk and Lugansk region,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, speaking of the kind of war now being fought in Ukraine; a Yugoslav-styled war one might say. This is perhaps the reason for which Angela Merkel and François Hollande have decided to travel first to Kiev and then to Moscow to re-establish dialogue and avoid a total catastrophe.
After the tragic attack in Paris that killed twelve people and injured many others in the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, Reset-Dialogues is offering its readers op-eds by our authors followed by a selection of articles, interviews and videos published on this website in recent years and months. Ranging from 9/11 to the Danish cartoons affair, from the reactions inflamed by the offensive “Innocence of Muslims” film to very different events such as the Utoya killings and the Boko Haram kidnappings, these articles and their authors tackle fundamental questions and issues raised once again by a violent incident that troubles and questions democracies and liberal thought at the heart of their commitment to tolerance, freedom of speech and openness.
Matteo Renzi is arguably the first Italian prime minister to enjoy the unusual power to choose, all by himself, the person to become the president of the republic. That he would pass over several of the “papabili” and name instead to that high office a relatively unknown jurist surprised many. The nagging question is why he would not have named Giuliano Amato, whose credentials made him a compelling figure to succeed Giorgio Napolitano at the Quirinale.
Philosophical investigations in Delhi: about moral choices, intellectual honesty and political freedom
Delhi - In the weeks just before and after the new year, when the overall atmosphere of the capital was vitiated on account of the government’s attempts to override Christmas as a Christian observance and an official holiday, replacing it with a so-called “Good Governance Day” and the birth anniversaries of Madan Mohan Malaviya and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, brief visits by two eminent philosophers provided some relief. The visitors were the Bengali philosopher, Arindam Chakrabarti, who teaches at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, and the Iranian philosopher, Ramin Jahanbegloo, who teaches at York University in Canada. Both lectured at public fora, met with students and scholars, and brought to the denizens of beleaguered Delhi a much-needed reminder of the importance of philosophy as the core of humanistic intellectual inquiry and democratic dissent.
“I must say that the Tunisian constitution was not only the work of the National Constituent Assembly, but really an achievement shared by the whole of society.” The jurist Yadh Ben Achour made a significant contribution to the drafting of Tunisia’s new constitution, celebrated worldwide as a document of openness and tolerance. Here he talks to Romain Faure and Manuela Lenzen about the path set out by Tunisia in the Arab Spring.
On the occasion of his birthday (b. 27 December, 1936, in Figuig, eastern Morocco, d. 3 May 2010), this piece is an homage to a towering figure in modern Arab-Islamic thought, a figure that any serious scholar in the field cannot do without. One has either to build on the heritage he has left, or overcome it with a more challenging one. In both cases, one cannot escape reading him. In the age of Arab turmoils, al Jabri must be in the library of every Arab house for one simple reason: he genuinely managed to classify Arab-Islamic thought, a thing that is still missing from Arab socio-political life.
The outrageous murder of innocent citizens in France by militant Muslims left everyone around the world, including the vast majority of followers of Islam, with a number of questions. Among these, the most fundamental coming from the non-Muslims: Is Islam incompatible with free thinking? Let us not hide behind the conveniently general opinion that Islam is a religion of violence and the only way to save the West is to put an extreme pressure on Muslims living in Europe and North America. This path does not lead to any solution and is perceived only as a new form of intolerance and barbarity.
The publication of a posthumous book has obliged us to once again address the case involving Jacques Dupuis, the Belgian Catholic theologian of religious pluralism, treated and “notified” as a heretic by the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger, all in 2000, the same year and days of the publication of the Declaration “Dominus Iesus”, the most criticised pontifical document of recent decades, acclaimed only by “devout atheists.”
Last Sunday, three months after they were sworn in, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani and almost “prime minister” Abdullah Abdullah announced their list of candidate-ministers. In order to discuss the prospects of the national unity government and the many challenges it will have to face over the coming years - ranging from Taliban guerrilla warfare to the fragile economy, from external interference to corruption and including the consequences of the partial withdrawal of foreign troops - we met in Kabul with Thomas Ruttig, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, the country’s most authoritative research centre.
The round-up of journalists, the anniversary of the worst corruption scandal in the history of the Turkish republic and the beginning of court cases involving supporters of the Beşiktaş football team, mingled in a week from hell both for Turkish society and for President Racep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government.
Like other classical world traditions and civilizations that seek renewal for survival, continuity and contribution to world affairs, the Islamic one is convened and questioned, maybe more than others and more than ever before, seeing its geographical and intellectual positions between the so-called East and West, an archaic dichotomy that disrupts politics and stirs philosophy at the same time. The ongoing dire socio-political chaos in the Arab-Islamic world questions the intellectual tradition of this part of the world, to see where it stands, and what contributions it offers to overcome the turmoil. Reset-DoC is pleased to present three reflections on Islamic Philosophy by Mohammed Hashas (PhD), as part of an ongoing conversation with a civilization that was, and a worldview that is still vibrant and confident that it can still contribute to world intellect and local politics.
Past and Present Conditions for Existence and Difference
Islamic Philosophy I
The Moderns and Contemporaries in Search for a New Paradigm
Islamic Philosophy II
The Question of Ethics: Taha Abderrahmane’s Praxeology and Trusteeship Paradigm
Islamic Philosophy III
The subject I am about to address, specifically the relationship between food and religion, between nutrition and the attribution of values to eating rituals carried out by all religions, is a complex one presenting not just a few methodological problems of which it is worth analysing two in particular. The first is linked to the problem of comparison. What should one compare in the infinite landscape of these values? How should one compare the different food customs and ideologies that each tradition is obliged to develop? And, above all, with what objective, posing which questions would allow one to successfully select - within an immense mass of documentation that clearly cannot be checked by an individual specialist – all that will then allow one to observe these practices and feeding customs of specific religious traditions in a productive manner?
Emma Bonino, Italy’s former minister of foreign affairs, has returned from Iran, where, with a group of European and Arab experts on Middle Eastern affairs organised by the European Council on Foreign Relations, she attended a two and a half hour long briefing with Foreign Minister Zarif. However, returning from the country from which, as Italy’s Foreign Minister, she was the first to sense a strong signal of political change when the reformists won, Emma Bonino has brought a warning: “Should negotiations on nuclear issues fail, the only real chance of beginning a stabilisation process for the entire region would be lost.”
This article was published by the Italian daily newspaper La Stampa on November 12th, after the 4th edition of Reset-DoC’s Venice-Delhi seminars held in Italy on 6-8 November 2014.
What if Islamic State’s contemporary terrorism, so clever at using the communication devices of affluent societies, were nothing more than a variation – an atrocious one – of populism? And what if modern western societies, gripped by deviant nationalist egoisms and the xenophobic particularism of “small homelands” shared this kind of danger with the democratic reawakening partly affecting the Arab world?