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Intercultural
Lexicon

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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Cultural Pluralism, The Challenge of our Time

“Cultural pluralism” is a recent concept in Europe to the extent that many do not know what it means.

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The Honor Code

Appeals to personal honor often seem to belong to the past, conjuring images of gentlemen in wigs dueling at dawn; or worse, of blood-soaked Achaeans storming the walls of Troy.

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The Armenians

The Armenians descend from Indo-European populations who, between the 7th and 6th century B.

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Civil Society

From the mid-1980s to the present, civil society has been a key category of democratic politics, increasingly in a genuinely international setting.

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Reset
A month of ideas.
Giancarlo Bosetti Editor-in-chief
Association for dialogue and intercultural understanding
ARTICLES for APRIL 15 - MAY 15, 2016

Defining Family and Citizenship
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.   

MIGRATIONS

Two months since the EU-Turkey Statement: An unsuccessful partnership?

Bianca Benvenuti

On March 18 the European leaders agreed on a plan with Turkey to stem the flow of migrants to Europe, called the EU-Turkey Statement, which is well know by now for its controversy. The deal was presented as the last resort for the EU to address the migration crisis amid growing division among the member states on how to handle it. During the summer of 2015, confrontation among member states grew, as two opposing strategies revealed different visions to address the migration crisis.

Religion and Politics

The Tragedy of the Devil. An analysis of Sadik al-Azm's rediscovered book

Massimo Campanini

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. 

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.

WOMEN

International Peace and Security: the Contribution of Women

Azzurra Meringolo

South Sudanese soldiers allowed to rape women in lieu of wages and an UN Security Council resolution that calls for the repatriation of peacekeeping units whose troops face allegations of sexual abuse. These are the most recent (almost uncovered) news that give evidence of the widespread and systemic sexual exploitation and abuse that occurs not only during conflicts, but also in conflict resolution operations. Atrocities that a group of women from all over the world are trying to fight, increasing female role in the field of international security. A group of women who can now count on the Italian branch, just launched in the Italian Senate by Lia Quartapelle, a Democratic Party young MP, and Irene Fellin, a very active gender expert, Executive Director of Women in International Security (WIIS). «While living in the States working on gender, I was fascinated by WIIS activity and I found my mission: come back home to create the Italian branch» said Irene.

MIGRATIONS

The European Safe Country of Origin List:
Challenging the Geneva Convention’s Definition of Refugee?

Bianca Benvenuti

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. 

Human Rights

Why did Saudi Arabia execute the Saudi Shia opposition leader Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr?

Liisa Liimatainen

Of all the 47 men executed in Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the year, Ayatollah Nimr Baqir al-Nimr’s story is the most complex and must be seen within the historical and political context of sectarianism in Saudi Arabia and the entire region. Al-Nimr was executed after being charged as a terrorist, as were all the other 46 men who died that the same day. Forty-three of these men were members of al-Qaeda who had been kept in prison for a decade. The executioner’s sword also beheaded three young Shias, sentenced to death for lesser crimes and had been arrested some years ago when still minors. They are part of the same story as Nimr al-Nimr, the story of Saudi Shias, a religious minority amounting to between 10% and 15% of the country’s population.

FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY

Why the Iranian Elections Are a Turning Point

Ramin Jahanbegloo

Unlike what many may think, elections in an illiberal country like Iran are not only a political show. Their outcome serves as a test of strength among Iran's competing power centers. Over the weekend, the Iranian people went massively to the polls to elect members of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, the parliament, and the 88 members of the Assembly of Experts, which is in charge of selecting the next supreme leader to replace Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. This was the first time that the two political bodies were elected simultaneously.

Europe - Opinion

We should not fight (religious) radicalization
through (political) extremism

Andrea Mammone

Events in Paris established a sense of collective sadness, questioning our understanding of belonging and freedom. Wars and attacks caused casualties in Beirut and in many places in the Middle East. But it is usually when things happen “here” that us, Europeans and North Americans, usually pay real attention. What is evident is how Europe is living through some very difficult times, probably the worst since 1945, with many values on which European community was built undermined. The fact is that the continent is also caught in between a number of extremisms.

Migrations

Nobody wants to be a refugee

Seyla Benhabib interviewed by Slawomir Sierakowski

The current crisis is generating the myth of borders as controlled, says Seyla Benhabib. But this is only a myth. It is a fact that states are escaping their obligations under international and European law; while migrants themselves may be helping to keep the social peace between classes.

Middle East and North Africa

Change in the Mediterranean Claims Europe’s Awareness

Olivier Roy interviewed by Federica Zoja

Europe and the Maghreb are two increasingly blended realities that, in many ways, share the same difficulties. Olivier Roy, Chair in Mediterranean Studies at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute in Fiesole, calls this the “post-migration era”, with the Maghreb’s inhabitants no longer pressing against the gates of the European countries, and wishing to come and go, freely “circulating” by following the best economic opportunities, which, at times, are more advantageous in Rabat or Algiers than in the North. Reset DoC has reached Professor Roy some days before the Nobel Peace Price conferred to the Tunisian civil society organizations.

In depth

Tension with the Kurds sparks fear of civil war in Turkey

Giuseppe Didonna

Last week in Turkey will be remembered for a long time in the country’s recent history. Late on Sunday, September 6th, news of clashes came from the border, obliging Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to leave immediately for Ankara to chair a special national security summit. That same evening, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, appearing on CNN, commented on the news arriving from the south-east, saying, “If one party had obtained 400 MPs and reformed the constitution, we would not be in this situation.” As president of the republic, and thus an impartial figure, Erdogan did not mention which party, but he certainly was not referring to the pro-Kurdish HDP, which he considers the political wing of the PKK, which “with the HDP now represented in parliament, has become stronger and is now attacking.” Turkey would only hear about the 16 soldiers killed in Daglica, on the Iraqi border, following an attack by the PKK, the next afternoon.

An international press review

Merkel’s U-turn on the migrants issue reveals new image of European hope

Mattia Baglieri

From the New York Times to the Washington Post, from Der Spiegel to Le NouvelObs, the most prestigious international magazines have begun to call it “the U-turn”: we are talking about Angela Merkel’s approval of a new hospitality policy towards thousands of Syrian migrants. Maintaining financial rigor and economic conservatism on the one hand, and making each country responsible for safeguarding human life, on the other, seem nevertheless two sides of the same coin in Germany.

In depth

Iran. The Silent Revolution That (still) Frightens Power

Marina Forti

The Iranian monthly magazine Zanan-e Emruz (“Today’s Women”) had barely reached its tenth issue when it was forced to stop publication following a ruling by the Tehran courts’ Office of Press Control. The announcement was made in April and the news itself is nothing new; over the past fifteen years dozens of newspapers have had authorisations issued and then revoked on the basis of changing internal political events. In the past two years, following the election of President Hasan Rouhani, the social and political atmosphere has certainly changed drastically. Books once censored are now given an imprimatur, banned films have returned to theatres and new newspapers are published. Censorship, however, has not disappeared although the ‘red lines’, the boundaries of what is permissible, have been moved.

IT After the Arab Spring

Reforms, human rights and transitional justice in Ennahda’s Tunisia

Samir Dilou, interviewed by Francesca Bellino

When I arrived at the entrance of the Barbo Palace in Tunis to meet Samir Dilou, the acting Human Rights and Justice Minister and spokesman for Hamadi Jebali’s government, the building was besieged by groups of people waiting to enter. One man said that every day he goes to the high gates of the Palace (which in the days of Ben Ali’s regime was the headquarters of the Chamber of Councillors) simply to exercise his post-revolution rights. Like all the others, this man is angry, so visibly angry that the guards have placed a table in front of the door to avoid it being knocked down, a sign that tension in Tunisia still runs high although the atmosphere is lighter in the streets of Tunis and there is a new vitality.

Freedom and Democracy

Italian Islam in Mainstream TV: Either Invisible or Visibly Othered

Mohammed Hashas

This piece reflects on reputed Italian TV programmes and how they tackle issues of terrorism, Islam and Muslims. Reference will especially be made to these particular programmes and dates, though they do not differ from what I have seen from them for the last six years or so of my stay (studies and work) in this country: Porta a Porta (14/11/2015), Virus and Virus Speciale Parigi (15/11/15; 18/11/15), Ballarò (18/11/15; 24/11/15), Linea Notte TG3 (20/11/15), L’Arena (22/11/15). Among these, Ballarò - and mildly so also Porta a Porta of Bruno Vespa – seems to have discussed the Paris tragedy in the fairest manners, presented by Massimo Giannini who holds the tone of a journalist that tries to present and understand, instead of the tone of provocation and suspicion that Virus and L’Arena have shown on this particular topic. However reputed the list of these programmes may be, and however many fair observers agree with these reflections and findings, one has to underline the fact that this is not a systematic study of all mainstream Italian media. Still, broadly, the mainstream presentation of the issue is simply very negative, biased, dis-informed, and lacks professionalism. The Italian mainstream media is not open, and it entertains itself with the little it knows and does. This makes it fall into prejudices, un-ethical statements, and lack of professionalism with regards to Islam and Muslims whose contribution to society dynamics remains invisible and whose values remain stigmatized, misrepresented and othered. 

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