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Intercultural
Lexicon

Revolution

Though its semantic origins are pre-modern, revolution has been a fundamental category of the interpretation of modern times.

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Secularisation and Post-Secularisation

“Secularisation” means the process that has above all characterised western countries during the contemporary era and led to the progressive abandonment of religious rules and sacral kinds of behaviour..

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Ethnic Violence

Many of the conflicts or mass violence of recent decades have been characterised by the adjective “ethnic”. This means that the leading players were groups opposing one another on the basis of identitarian, religious, linguistic or more generally cultural assertions..

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Tolerance

After the Nineties of the 20th Century tolerance returned to the centre stage in political thought, returning to fashion a concept that has certainly been central within the framework of political thought in modern times, but that appeared to have become a closed book with the French Revolution that...

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Participation

It is possible to participate in a brutal event – such as gang rape, lynching, an ethnic cleansing operation – or in a humanitarian event – fund raising, collective adoption, sacrificing oneself in an exchange of prisoners..

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Reset
A month of ideas.
Giancarlo Bosetti Editor-in-chief
Association for dialogue and intercultural understanding
Freedom and Democracy

Can Trump's Executive Order
Meet the Challenge of International Law?

Gaetano Pentassuglia

The latest of a raft of measures adopted by US President Donald Trump only a few days after he was sworn into office, the executive order on immigration has sparked heavy criticism in the country and around the world. The measure is intended primarily to suspend the national refugee system temporarily, and the Syrian refugees programme indefinitely, and to deny entry to the US to individuals from seven named, majority-Muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen) for 90 days.

ARTICLES for JANUARY 20 - FEBRUARY 1, 2017

Trump and the Supreme Court:
the risk of an anti-abortion turnaround

At the dawn of Trump's presidency, we selected a shortlist of our analyses on the path and consequences of his rise to power.

What is now the job of the American left? Michael Walzer on Dissent 2/01/2017
Freedom and Democracy

In today's Egypt stronger roots
for political violence

Paolo Gonzaga

Political repression in Egypt ravaged the Jama'at al Ikhwan al Muslimiin, the Muslim Brotherhood, formerly the strongest and most organized opposition group in the country. In today’s Egypt, the youth no longer recognize the old administration. They no longer believe in the non-violent tactics preached by the Brotherhood’s exiled former leadership,  like Mahmud ‘Ezzat and Ibrahim Munir.

Freedom and Democracy

Islamic radicalisation in prison
volunteers at work in Turin

Diletta Berardinelli

Perhaps not everyone knows that in Italy, in spite of an impelling need to regulate the traditions and customs of Islam, which counts has about 1.4 million followers in Italy, there is no agreement [1] stipulated between the state and “Islam”. This premise is fundamental for understanding the chaos surrounding the practice of this religion in Italy. The absence of a formal agreement with Islam leaves an enormous void for Muslim believers who find obstacles when it comes to practicing their faith on a daily basis.

Analysis

The Legacy of Tony Atkinson
Great Analyst of Inequality

Mattia Baglieri

Tony Atkinson died in Oxford, England where he taught political economy and served as chairman of the International Economic Association. An acclaimed economist, Atkinson had been previously shortlisted for the Nobel Prize for his pioneering work in the field of income inequality.

Analysis

Zygmund Bauman, the narrative
of the second modernity

Giancarlo Bosetti

He was the narrative voice of the “second modernity”, the one unmoored from its “solid” foundations and no longer tethered to mass heavy industry, a voice that was always in search of a revenge against extreme inequity and blind consumerism. Zygmunt Bauman, one of the most prominent European sociologists of recent decades, has died. The Polish-born thinker passed away at his home in Leeds, England at the age of 91.

History and Politics

Roman Herzog's death: the big loss of a man of dialogue

MP

Roman Herzog, former President of the Federal Republic of Germany, died on January 10th, 2017. A member of the Christian-Democratic Union party (CDU), Herzog was the first president elected after German reunification in 1990. He was also a member and president of the Federal Constitutional Court as well as minister for Culture and Education. During his mandate at the Constitutional Court, he intensely devoted his work to immigration and integration policies for minorities.

Philosophy and Religion

Does diversity need secularism?

Shaikh Mujibur Rehman

The expansion and consolidation of the Hindu Right’s political power has raised legitimate concerns about the future of India’s secularism. While criticism of secularism could be found in the public debate during the anti-colonial struggle, the sustained assault on it became particularly apparent during the Ayodhya movement. During the late 1980s and 1990s, the public campaign led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) advocated that the practice of secularism has led to the appeasement of Muslims. The BJP further argued that it has been quite harmful to India’s democratic polity because it has been institutionalising vote-bank politics, and that what is needed is in fact an attempt for a ‘positive’ secularism as opposed to ‘negative’ secularism. While these distinctions were widely used during those days, surprisingly it has vanished from the political lexicon of the Hindu Right in recent years.

Philosophy and Religion

Ashis Nandy: Why Nationalism and Secularism Failed Together

An interview by Giancarlo Bosetti

October 2016, New Delhi – Milan

Ashis Nandy sees vendors of nationalism inflicting damage all over the world, including in his own country, India. In India, the modern ideologies dominant during the liberation struggle against British rule were anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism. These then gave way to secular nationalism after Independence in 1947, under the first Prime Minister of free India, Jawaharlal Nehru (d. 1964). But less than seven decades later, what dominates Indian politics today is Hindu nationalism or “Hindutva”, and this is now being aggressively promoted by the 'strongman' currently leading the government in Delhi, Narendra Modi. Nandy, 79, a clinical psychologist by training, an analyst of culture and society, an astute political commentator and today India's most significant living public intellectual, has embraced the view of one of India’s founding fathers, Rabindranath Tagore, who thought that the idea of Indian nationalism was as absurd as Switzerland having a navy. In this interview below, Nandy will explain why.

Freedom and Democracy

Stop calling it democracy
Turkey more distant than ever from Europe

Cengiz Aktar interviewed by Azzurra Meringolo

He was one the first people to sign a petition protesting the Turkish government’s military operations against Kurdish areas in his country at the beginning of this year. Not even the attempted coup d’état of July 15th, which was neutralized by the government, has softened his criticism of President Racep Tayyp Erdogan. Cengiz Aktar, a professor of international relations at Istanbul’s Bahcesehir University, has a hard time describing his country as a democracy.

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

The Country of First Boys: Amartya Sen Again on Identity and Violence Ten Years Later

Mattia Baglieri

Two years after the publication of An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions, Indian economist and philosopher Amartya Sen of Harvard University returns to focus on the relationship between identity and violence. The Country of First Boys appeared a few months ago in bookstores as a collection of Sen’s essays made available with the contribution of Antara Dev Sen and Pratik Kanjilal. In it, the Bangladeshi-born economist updates his earlier reflections on ‘identity politics’ and its relationship with extremism and violence, both at the inter-ethnic as well as at the international level.

FOCUS ON TURKEY

The EU reopens the door to Turkey but “forgets” the journalists in prison

Giuseppe Didonna

Over the past week newspapers in Turkey have reported alternating events one in apparent contradiction with the other. On December 14th the chapter involving negotiations concerning economic and monetary policies linked to Turkey’s EU membership was reopened. The integration process was resumed with unexpected speediness as part of the agreement on the management of Syrian refugees that will fill Ankara’s coffers with $3 billion to be used to build camps to keep Syrians far from the EU. With perfect timing, a court in Istanbul rejected the request presented by lawyers representing Can Dundar and Erdem Gul, respectively editor and editor-in-chief of the historical daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, for their release from prison.   

Interview with Italy’s Deputy Foreign Minister

"ISIS can be stopped, but rebuilding Iraq is up to its people"

Lapo Pistelli interviewed by Francesco Bravi

Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli is the Italian government’s delegate for the Middle East and in the past was a professor and OSCE representative as well as being a former member of the Italian and European parliaments’ Foreign Affairs Committees. Pistelli’s long summer started when he returned to Italy with the last flight out of Erbil before U.S. air strikes on ISIS jihadists began. There he saw first-hand Iraq’s wounded image in refugee camps, filled with those who had already abandoned everything to flee the men led by “Caliph” al-Baghdadi, and were now preparing to flee once again. Today, he believes, such an international crisis or the decision-making system in place called upon to remedy matters, are no longer issues to be addressed by desk-strategists, because when events are this harsh, a backlash can only be prevented by the United Nations’ centrality and the flexible of politics and diplomacy.

FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY

Al-Sadr’s Movement is now challenging the government of Iraq

Chiara Cruciati

Dust, ruins and entire districts burned to the ground; that is today’s Ramadi, the Sunni city that is the capital of the very turbulent Anbar Province. Freed by the Iraqi army at the end of last year, it now looks like a ghost city. Satellite photographs published in recent days by the Associated Press show the extent of the devastation, with over three thousand buildings destroyed, 400 roads seriously damaged, bridges reduced to dust and collapsing infrastructure. About 800 civilians have died in Ramadi and the challenge faced is now a political one.

After the Dhaka Attack

Bangladesh's Deep Crisis and its Origins

Marina Forti

Only twice has Bangladesh made headline news in recent years: three years ago, when a complex of clothes factories collapsed in the suburbs of Dhaka killing over 1,200 people, and again last Friday when a group of armed men attacked a place patronised by Westerners killing 20 people, eighteen of them Westeners. The attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery, a café-restaurant in Dhaka’s most exclusive district, was not totally unexpected. There had been many signs indicating that Bangladesh, one of the poorest and most unstable countries in south Asia with 150 million inhabitants, of which the majority are Muslims, had sunk into a political crisis in which Islamist extremism is a destabilising force.

Business and Geopolitics: Iran’s New Asian Course

Eleonora Ardemagni

Once upon a time there was a prince called Muhammad Dara Sikoh who belonged to the Moghul dynasty. In 1655, before embracing the Sufi confraternity of the Qadiriyya, Dara Sikoh wrote a treatise comparing Hinduism and Sufism, the beautiful Majma‘ al-bahrayn (The Confluence of the Two Seas); he wrote it in Persian, at the time the official and cultured language of the Indian administration. Nowadays everything has changed. Iran, however, still has great potential in its cultural and political influence over Asia. With the end of international sanctions, Iranians have returned to the centre of geopolitics, and not only Middle Eastern geopolitics.

Migrations

Central Europe says ‘no’ to the Refugees
Who is rejecting quotas and why?

Matteo Tacconi

Europe will welcome 160,000 refugees in 2015. Each member state will be called upon to receive a quota in proportion to their economic and demographic size. This is the proposal put forward by the EU Commission’s President Jean-Claude Junker in his ‘State of the Union’ speech on Wednesday. Germany has been promoting this plan and has been putting it into action for some time, giving the the states, the Länder, responsibility for sharing the burden of managing asylum seekers. They are allocated on the basis of the so-called “Königsteiner key”, a system created in the ‘50s and originally aimed at spreading over what was then West Germany the funds destined for research.

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