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Intercultural
Lexicon

The Kurds

An ethnic and linguistic minority in the Near East, the Kurds now live divided between Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, in a region unofficially known as Kurdistan, where they have always been the object of persecution and oppression.

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Mestizo

Following the conquest of the Americas, the word “mestizo” was used to indicate children born of parents belonging to different races, usually and an American Indian woman and a white man (or vice versa).

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Citizenship

Citizenship means the shared political belonging of those living in the same state and all this belonging involves in terms of rights and duties.

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Enlightenment

In the strictest sense Enlightenment means the cultural movement of philosophical origins that spread through Europe after the beginning of the 18th Century until the French revolution and that is characterised by trust in reason and its clarifying power.

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The Mediterranean

Mediterranean: literally the sea in the middle of lands, a bordering sea, and linking these lands. This characteristic makes the Mediterranean a sea that does belong to all the countries overlooking it, but to none in particular, a shared sea, not available for becoming private property..

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

Donald’s masculinity.
It’s all about the sex of the state

Roger Friedland

This election was about the sex of state. In the eyes of millions of his supporters, particularly the men who made him President, America’s manhood is at stake. Donald Trump ran as an erect phallus, a sexually aggressive man who can break through the forms, crush our enemies and make the American body politic strong once again.
Trump did not run on a policy platform. People voted for his dick. Never before has a candidate for the American Presidency defended his penis size, let alone a prime-time debate, assuring us that his small hands do not mean anything else is small. “I guarantee you, there’s no problem. I guarantee you,” he shot back at a primary debate. One of the rally posters for Trump now circulating proudly exhorts: “Don't’ be a pussy! Vote Trump.”

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.

Freedom and Democracy

Some saw early what Trump’s rise meant.
Others denied it (and us)

Jim Sleeper

Long before the final results, many Americans knew that our body politic was suffering a seizure after being injected with a poison that nothing in Hillary Clinton’s politics was potent enough to expel. The impotence of that politics — its inability to draw from wellsprings deeper than bromides about breaking glass ceilings, “fighting” for families and children, and slashing college tuition — has little to do with Clinton’s character or alleged corruption or even with the undoubted wave of misogyny in this election.  

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.

Life and Society

A new cosmopolitan sociology to match unity and diversity

Vincenzo Cicchelli interviewed by Lorenzo Kihlgren Grandi

Italian-French sociologist Vincenzo Cicchelli describes in his newest book (Pluriel et Commun. Sociologie d'un monde cosmopolite, Presses de Sciences Po, 2016) a world featuring both unifying and separating processes, mastered by a new generation of cosmopolites bearing in them such a duality. How is human experience shaped in such a world? How do individuals socialize today in Rome, Bombay, Lagos and Tokyo? In an attempt to answer these questions, the author has carried out an investigation using an innovative approach, matching the analysis of the cosmopolitan world and its global cultural dynamics with their impact on everyday life and ordinary socialization to the otherness.

Freedom and Democracy

Akyol: Europe should not abandon
Turkey to this authoritarian destiny

Azzurra Meringolo

In his articles, published in many Turkish as well as in international newspapers, Mustafa Akyol argues against Islamic extremism and terrorism, as well as gives his international readers some precious analyses and insights on the political and social situation of contemporary Turkey. Akyol’s book, “Islam without extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty” (W.W.Norton, 2011) was long-listed in 2012 for the Lionel Gelber Prize and was praised by The Financial Times as “a forthright and elegant Muslim defense of freedom”. Akyol is a well-known Turkish intellectual whose ideas shape the Turkish, as well as the wider Muslim, debate. These are some of the reasons that convinced ResetDoc to invite him, once again, to Rome, where, on September the 14th he spoke about  “Turkey After the failed Military Coup”, in a conference organized by the ResetDoc, in collaboration with Istituto di Affari Internazionali (IAI).

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.

Migrations

One milion refugees in Lebanon
A quarter of the population

Ilaria Romano

According to data published on September 6th 2016 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are almost five million Syrian citizens living in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and North Africa, comprising a total of 4,799,677 people who have fled the war, among them at least 1.5 million children. While Turkey is the country that hosts the most in proportion to its citizens with 2,726,980, it is Lebanon that has the most in total with 1,033,513, which amounts to about 25% of the country’s inhabitants.

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.

Freedom and Democracy

Pamuk, Shafak, Saviano and others
to stop Erdogan's witch hunt

The Turkish police has detained, since early Saturday, Ahmet Altan, prominent Turkish journalist and author, editor-in-chief of Taraf, a daily newspaper, until 2012, and his brother, Mehmet Altan, a distinguished academic, economic and writer. They were detained with the allegations of spreading “subliminal messages announcing a military coup” in a TV interview on 14th of July, the day before the failed coup. Both Taraf, the newspaper, and the channel – Can Erzincan TV – that aired the interview hosted by Mehmet Altan, have been shut down by the Turkish authorities since the botched putsch for having close links with the network of Fethullah Gülen. Also Nazlı Ilıcak, a well-known journalist, that participated in the programme was arrested on terrorism charges on 29 July.

Philosophy and Religion

The paradox of the Holy texts
where violent people look for legitimation

Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan and Ed Kessler

Christianity has been part of the essential fabric of the Middle East for two thousand years. Far from being a Western import as some, incredibly, now seem to suggest, it was born here and exported as a gift to the rest of the world. Christian communities have been intrinsic to the development of Arab culture and civilisation.

In depth

Erdogan, human rights, and the idea of democracy

Gaetano Pentassuglia, University of Liverpool

Erdogan’s proclaimed state of emergency under Article 120 of the Turkish Constitution following the failed military putsch on the night between July 15th and 16th has further heightened concerns about Turkey’s internal and external direction of travel. There is an obvious mismatch between the cross-party rejection of the coup and the reality of an ongoing one-sided dismantling of significant sectors of the military, the judiciary, academia, and the media. What began as a legitimate response from the government aimed to restore law and order is increasingly turning into an awkward wide-ranging purge of long-time political opponents some believe may have already been in the making.

ARTICLES for JULY 31 - AUGUST 31, 2016

Turkey: after a failed coup a new authoritarian grip, what comes next?

After the coup, the two principal actors in Turkey have been the current President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the multi-billionaire and Islamic ideologue, Fetullah Gülen, who has been in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1998. Much of what one has to know about Gülen's media empire is in this monograph from 2015. Reset DoC's articles try to analyze this ongoing process and its actors: Erdogan with his new authoritarian tendencies and Gülen with his global media network. The international academic, intellectual community ask the US government and the European Union to stop Erdogan's authoritarian and violent grip on the country.

Analysis

Egypt: Al Sisi’s Coup Enters its Fourth Year

Gianni Del Panta

Egyptian President al-Sisi’s absence at the Arab League’s 27th summit – where he was replaced by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail – led the daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm to speculate on a violent attempt, discovered at a later date, to remove from power the field marshal who has become president. The usual denials that followed from the Egyptian government’s spokesman had certainly not managed to dispel doubts surrounding these events. It does, however, seem sensible to hypothesise that al-Sisi’s decision to not attend the summit does not in any way provide a strong argument for fuelling suspicion of a foiled internal plot.

Rights and diversity

Banning clothes, from bikinis to burkinis
When ideology becomes law

Silvio Ferrari, Milan University

Once upon a time, not that long ago, it was a crime to go to the beach wearing skimpy clothes. Nowadays, at least in France, it is crime to appear on a beach if excessively overdressed. Bikinis and topless swimsuits were forbidden in the name of rules governing public morals and behaviour that forbade women from showing off too much of their bodies. According to Prime Minister Manuel Valls, burkinis are not compatible with new French public morals established by the republic’s values and women’s emancipation. An excessively covered-up woman is not sufficiently secular and independent.

In depth

The debate surrounding Algerian identity, a tug-of-war

Federica Zoja

In the torrid heat of the summer of 2016 there has been unrest in President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika’s Algeria. Three new laws, either passed or drafted, reflect the country’s identity debate amidst independence-linked demands and political rivalry. Algeria is passionately debating identity, with emphasis ranging from the affirmation of exclusive nationality, to the recognition of multilinguism, from religious issues to electoral reform.

Press and tv

Roger Ailes, the hawk who created Fox News, brought down by sexual harassment allegations

Chiara Galbersanini

Sexual harassment allegations by female employees have proved to be the downfall of Roger Ailes, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Fox News. They have resulted in his resignation after 20 years. Sexual harassment had been going on for a long time and, until now, kept under wraps.

Press and tv

Ailes, the spin-man from Nixon to Bush: a war machine takes the stage

Giancarlo Bosetti

Based on the book:
Spin.Trucchi e tele-imbrogli della politica
by Giancarlo Bosetti, published by Marsilio Editore, 2007.

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.

FOCUS ON TURKEY

Erdogan's New Victory in a Polarised Nation

Mustafa Akyol interviewed by Azzurra Meringolo

Love him or hate him but Recep Tayyip Erdogan has yet again demonstrated his supreme talent as a political operator. In the elections of November 1st 2015, his Justice & Development Party (AKP) obtained a majority in Turkey’s Grand National Assembly, winning 49.4% of the vote – an increase from 40.9% (and 4.5 million voters) since the inconclusive elections of June 7. The AKP is now able to form a cabinet alone. Turkey, however, is more or less in the same position as before the vote of June: a powerful, directly elected president driven by limitless ambition in control of the legislature. Reset-DOC has talked about the last elections' results with prominent Turkish intellectual Mustafa Akyol, the author of Islam Without Extremes (2013).

In depth

India: The Students' Growing Revolt against Discrimination

Marina Forti

It was late May in New Delhi. On the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University, a group of students had built a “protest camp” under the Administrative building's entrance portico. A banner announced an “indefinite hunger strike”. JNU, as it is usually called, is one of India’s most illustrious universities and occupies a large campus set on the hilly and very green southern side of the city, although this is not sufficient to lessen early summer’s suffocating heat. The students, nineteen men and women, had been fasting for 12 days when I met with them. Some of their companions had been taken to hospital due to their extreme weakness. They would manage to continue their hunger strike for 16 days, the second longest protests in the history of this Indian university.

Minorities and Affirmative Action

India’s Quota System and Patel’s Middle-Class Revolt

Marina Forti

There is a relatively privileged social group in India that is in turmoil wanting to be included in the quota system that privileges the most disadvantaged castes. The Patels’ revolt reopens the debate on policies involving “Reservation” intrinsic to India. However, it also marks the failure of the economic model envisaged by Prime Minister Modi.

History and Dialogue

Israel and Palestine twenty years after Oslo
Rabin's and Arafat’s problematic legacy

Claudia De Martino

Twenty years ago Yasser Arafat, President of the PLO, and Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s Labour Prime Minister, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the brave choices they had made a year earlier in Oslo, agreeing to reciprocally acknowledge each other’s country as an independent nation with a right to statehood, to start the process involving the division of historical Palestine and forever renouncing war.

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