The Brexit vote makes it all too clear that supporters of greater European integration must bring more to the debate than open borders and Europe’s success as a project for peace. For those of us who support the European project, it is a bitter irony that this vote of no confidence is aimed at a Europe that we never wanted: a Europe of business tycoons, of bureaucratic busybodies and over-regulation, of elites and the punishing austerity of the troika. The failure of this Europe is now being used as a means to crush any enthusiasm for the federalist ideal. It may well be, however, that there has been too much “business as usual” in our camp and that we made our case for Europe in a language devoid of passion. The Europe of tomorrow needs a fresh narrative and more opportunities for participation. Establishing a Future Council composed of a sample of European citizens could support the development of a new politics.
A military coup in Turkey. For years this seemed to be an indissoluble twosome. Even in 2007, when a general election was held, the foreign press, including Italy’s, poured into the country fearing a coup d’état. Nothing of the sort. Erdogan’s AKP’s continuous victories seemed to be a sign of stability and of a democratic process that appeared to have quashed the danger of military intervention that until just a few years ago had characterised Turkish history.
According to many recent studies, Muslims’ political history reveals certain particular processes and ideas, which is obvious since all historical processes differ, but at the end of the day result in one and the same universe encompassing them all and one that has ended up creating the practices, schools of thought and symbols adopted by Muslims. While, for example, this concerns Islam’s political language, or kingdom of God, or oriental despotism, etc., it appears to evoke a universe that is totally extraneous to everything that Europe has practiced and believed. As one will see, in observing the events rocking the Muslim world, a contemporary researcher has even suggested that there has been a fall and resurrection of the Islamic State (overturning the words of the famous book, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire).
There is no country in the “Old Continent” left immune by the terrorist attacks carried out or at least inspired by the Islamic State, although the largest number of victims of this unusual violence is reported in Middle Eastern countries (especially in Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey) as the control of those territories conquered in the name of Jihad's ideology in Syria and Iraq is becoming harder.
Defining Family and Citizenship
An Old Story or a New Phenomenon?
An Old Story or a New Phenomenon?
Family is one of the most "natural" and fluid social constructs of human history and can be easily affected in different ways by social, cultural and religious changes. So why does the pluralisation of ways of forming a family seem to be a new phenomenon, and such a radical one, that to some it appears to be a risk as far as social cohesion is concerned? This question inspired the conference organized by Reset-DoC on "Family regulations in a society with fluid borders", from which the following papers were drawn. Here, we are trying to understand new ways of conceiving and creating family in our globalized world, as well as the transformations occurred in the definition of citizenship and the legal framework behind new "types" of families.
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.
There have been 17 terrorist attacks in 12 months, in which 300 people died and about 1,000 were wounded. The suicide bombers who attacked Ankara’s airport carried out the sixth attack of 2016, a trail of blood and death that decreed the profoundly comatose state of Turkey’s tourism. The words spoken by the Minister for Tourism, guaranteeing that “all security measures to prevent further attacks have been implemented”, will not be enough to bring tourists back to Turkey. Among the elements that President Erdogan will not be able to underestimate anymore when drafting a “list of priorities” that Ankara intends to pursue to ensure a future without terrorism and relaunch Turkey’s image there is the resumption of negotiations with the Kurds and a zero tolerance policy as far as jihadists are concerned. This would mark a change of direction essential for the pacification of a country that, over the past years, has all too often found itself counting the victims of massacres that could (maybe) have been avoided.
The world discovered the Yazidi people in August 2014, when the Islamic State, recently self-proclaimed by the “caliph” al-Baghdadi, brutally and violently attacked Sinjar, in the north-west of Iraq, inflicting murder, rape and kidnappings that led the community to flee en masse to Mount Sinjar. And while U.S. President Barack Obama dutifully exploited the siege to order the first attacks on Iraq, it was the Syrian YPGs, Kurdish people’s defence units, supported by PKK combatants, who opened a humanitarian corridor that allowed thousands to escape. The Kurdish-Iraqi peshmerga fighters who had earlier abandoned the area due to Islamists’ advance also took part in the liberation of Mount Sinjar.
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.
“The migratory crisis does not concern distant places. It is happening right in front of us. This is not an Austrian crisis. This is not an Italian, French, German or a Greek or a Hungarian crisis. This is a European crisis and it requires a collective European response.” This comment made by Dimitri Avramopolous, EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs, when speaking of the horrifying discovery of 71 migrants who died of asphyxiation while attempting to reach northern Europe crammed in the back of a truck abandoned on the Austrian-Hungarian border, marked the epilogue of the tenuous new deal on European migration policies announced on July 20th.
The tragedy of the devil is a book published in 1969 by the great Syrian thinker Sadik al-Azm, at the time a young scholar, worried by the growing instrumental use of religion by political elites in the Arab world. The book, that had from the beginning a huge impact on the Arab intellectuals of the period, provoked the greatest uproar of the 20th century, leading to the arrest and trial of his author. This book, written over forty years ago, it has been now rediscovered and available for the first time in languages other than Arabic.
At the end of a divisive, toxic and often deceptive campaign, UK voters chose to leave the European Union on June 23rd. The economic fallout from Brexit is already apparent, with the pound going through the floor and credit ratings agencies engaging in rather gloomy forecasts for the British economy. What happens next politically is everybody’s guess.
The European Safe Country of Origin List:
Challenging the Geneva Convention’s Definition of Refugee?
Over the last years, we witnessed the worst refugee crisis since World War II (1); starting from 2011, when level stood at 42.5 million, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide has steadily increased, reaching up to 59.5 millions individuals at the end of 2014. As the number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons (IDPs) continued to grow, it is likely that the total number of forced migrants have far surpassed 60 million (2) in 2015. The rapid acceleration in the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide characterize the current situation in a way that lead politicians, journalists and public opinion to consider it as a migration or refugee crisis. This is fiercely affecting the European Union, as a growing number of migrants are reaching its boarders seeking protection. While the EU is facing this challenge, a debate has been going on at both media and political level concerning the differences between refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants.
Goodbye to political Islam. From now on the Tunisian political party Ennahda will be a Muslim democracy, or at least that is how its leader Rashid Ghannouchi renamed it on the eve of the last party conference held, finally, in May on the beach at Hammamet. Seven provisions were voted on, ranging from the manner in which the party will be organised to financial issues. This tenth conference was marked by the adoption of a motion on the basis of which Ennahda’s political activities will be separated from religious work that was at the basis of the birth of this movement, condemned to work in secrecy for decades.
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.
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.
When describing the situation in Ukraine, the media almost always reports the dichotomy between the nationalist centre-west and the Russian-speaking southeast. They always seize the significant aspects of a multi-faceted, identity-based image. In a multi-ethnic state like Ukraine, the concept of minorities assumes various meanings. In an attempt to sketch a brief outline, it is, first of all, necessary to unravel the Gordian knot of the Russian role in Ukrainian events.
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.
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.
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.