Armed conflicts, civilians debased by both terrorist groups and dictatorial governments, a worrying repression of dissent and waves of populism and racism experiencing a staggering rise, are in the words of Gianni Ruffini, director of Amnesty International Italia, an indication that the world is moving backwards as far as human rights are concerned.
In October 2015, the Law and Justice Party (PiS), the reference party for Polish conservativism, returned to power obtaining an absolute majority of seats and putting an end to a series of centrist-liberal governments (PO-Civic Platform). As of 2007, this party’s most important representative has been Donald Tusk, former prime minister and current president of the European Council.
In the mid-1970s democracy seemed to have fallen to an all-time low. In Latin America, two of the most successful democratic stories, Uruguay and Chile, were violently overthrown by military coups in 1973, while only two years later Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency in India, cancelling a general election and eliminating the most basic civil freedoms.
“Political science must be relevant, it does not involve studying butterflies.” Attempting to discover the theory of reality is what the Florentine political analyst Giovanni Sartori, who died on April 1st at the age of almost 93, had tried to do for his entire life. This amusing comment was made by Gianfranco Pasquino, a political scientist, a former senator.
If we want to understand what is going on today in France, we need to start by saying something about the global geopolitical trend, of which France is obviously part. If a single phrase could summarize the global geopolitical trend, we should say that we are witnessing an era of shift of power: in the last four decades, the geopolitical axis of the world has been shifting from the “developed countries” toward the “developing countries”.
In all countries, established political parties have the dangerous propensity to counter this electoral wave of populism by adopting the issues and language used by them. Political scientists have long believed that when a country succeeds in achieving a democratic transition, creating stable institutions and accomplishing a certain level of wealth, it has a rather low risk of an authoritarian backlash.
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.
Alireza was in Kabul when he received his father’s call urging him to leave the country. A letter signed by the Taliban requested the immediate closure of the English institute that Alireza was directing in Ghazni. After having received a second letter including death threats, Alireza understood he and his family had no chance but to flee the country. The father sold his bakery and the house and paid a smuggler 32.000 dollars to get Alireza, his wife and his two other children out of Afghanistan.
The Rise of Illiberal Trends
From India to Russia, the world is experiencing a new rise of illiberal trends and the return of strongmen. Reset DOC 's articles try to analyze this ongoing process and its actors.
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.
A moment of sharing and gathering, a vehicle for traditions and a means of communication, food signifies far more than simply providing the body with the energy is requires to work. Food is also a religious symbol; it nourishes the soul and sharing it at the table is a moment of conviviality and intimacy with others. But what happens when we dine with someone only eating halal food? And what attitude should the authorities assume regarding school cafeterias when faced with families refusing to eat pork? And what answer should the state provide to those demanding to know how an animal was butchered before its meat is sold in supermarkets? - Read the special focus
The centenary of the Armenian genocide will go down in history, if for no other reason that Pope Francis’ words will still echo powerfully over the days and years to come. Many things have been said and written about Jorge Bergoglio’s speech and there is no need to add anything. Here the issue of the genocide’s centenary starts from a different perspective, to be more specific from a location; Gallipoli.
Whether “European Islam” is possible or not appears to be one of the controversial questions of our recent times. “Institutionalized ignorance” – in the words of Mohammed Arkoun - feeds mistrust, which in turn feeds fear. Fear becomes a prejudice, which in turn becomes a generalization; and generalizations are wrong. Thus, [institutionalized] ignorance is wrong. European arrogance seems to have forgotten the legacy of its earlier Enlightenment. Muslims’ moral order and Golden Age, long time passed, seems hijacked by terrorists. Wise moderates from both sides are needed more than any other times, and there are plenty of them. Bloody events in the name of politicized Allah, especially since the 1970s until the current horrendous massacres committed by the “Intolerant State” of ISIS nurture the stories that demagogues use to uphold their antagonistic views about each other.
Vendors in the vicinity of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) supplement the distribution center in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, displaying the same goods Palestinian refugees receive from the UNRWA distribution centers. Many Palestinians receiving aid from UNRWA and other NGOs sell some or all of the aid in exchange for cash. These people have enough food but need money for daily expenses not covered by the aid provided to them. Recent United Nations report says Gaza could be "uninhabitable" in less than five years if current economic trends continue.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
The announcement that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2015 had been awarded to Tunisia and the Tunisians came as a surprise. The prestigious award was attributed to the National Dialogue Quartet for its “decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.”
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.