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.
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 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.
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
Stop and go is a continuous scenario in the relations between Turkey and Europe. For every step forward there is another one back. Doors wide open, then an impasse once again. Now we have reached a point in which the rope can no longer be pulled. Perhaps! Fifty years after taking the first step towards European integration Ankara could be prepared to let everything go up in smoke. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the first to break this taboo by stating that entry into the European Union is no longer an essential objective for Turkey.
This paper is an elaborated version of the contribution that David Zoletto, a Researcher at the Department of Human Sciences, University of Udine, presented on December 12, 2013 in Milan, for the last meeting of the series of conferences "Words and ideas for a plural world. An intercultural lexicon" sponsored by Reset-DoC and Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Foundation. The 2014 edition of our Milan-dialogues, this year dedicated to the theme of "inclusive citizenship", begins April 17 with a lecture by Constitutional Court Judge Giuliano Amato on "A new season for citizenship in Europe."
A toll booth on the ill-famed Salerno-Reggio Calabria motorway. It is not just any old toll booth, but the one that most keeps alive the memories of the wounds Fascism inflicted on our history. Tarsia, the exit leading to Campi Ferramonti, the largest concentration camp built in Italy following the proclamation of racial laws. It is on this strip of land extending all the way to the River Crati, where on September 8th, 1943, 2,200 people were crowded, that the cemetery for migrants will be built. An international burial ground created to provide a dignified resting place for the thousands who have perished chasing the dream of coming to Europe, the continent in which they placed all hope of redemption from hunger and destitution.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is a tragedy that obliges us to question the relationship between freedom and security, between democracy and violence. Political theorist Benjamin Barber and Jim Sleeper from Yale explain why, at last, the American establishment should find the courage to defy society's steadily advancing culture of death and to confront the powerful gun lobby that fuels and exploits it. For Giancarlo Bosetti, the discussion on the relationship between the use of freedom and responsibility aroused by this terrible event can also help us better understand the challenges newborn Arab democracies will soon have to face.
The First Amendment, something too hot from Newtown to Tunis?
Gun Lovers, as 'Normal' Now as Segregationists Once Were
Obama's Speech in the Wake of the Newtown Massacre
What We Should Tell the Gun Lobby and Producers/Editors
The vote for Hollande is not so much as a radical desire for change as a possibly illusory desire to go back to the pre-crisis period. The socialists, however, have also opened up a new alternative approach to the economy. But ‘racism from above’ has led the way on this historic fight over what is normal.
The West and the Arab world have for a period of time developed into two civilizations, with two different social classes and hierarchies, different government systems, economy, and urbanism, channeled through technological development. To go for one system of thought and governance immediately without educating the two of their common values and practices will endanger the idea envisaged here. A ‘Common Mediterranean Civilization’ will take more time than a ‘Common Mediterranean Culture’; the latter precedes the former.
In my estimation, the Ground Zero Muslim construction project shows, at its best, lack of tact, inconsiderate approaches and bad live-and let-live strategies and tactics. This can only be of great disservice to a religious minority, like the Muslims, in a country such as the USA where the disabling backlash phenomenon is pervasive, powerful and so well known. At its worst, the project is open to charges of gratuitous provocation, bad faith, and hypocrisy. So, all in all I am for moving the Center and Mosque to another and more suitable location in New York City to prove good faith and honorable intentions. In any case the organizers and financial backers of the project have already made so many concessions to the opposition as to render the whole idea pointless.
The rise to power of the Fethullah Gülen confraternity has transformed Turkey since the 90s. This spiritual movement has given rise to a vast media and financial empire, doubled by an imposing network of schools, universities and residences within Turkey, but also on a global scale. Scattered throughout all levels of social and political life, its members weigh heavily on government choices. Yet, the movement’s omnipotence is no longer compatible with the ambitions of its former ally Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The hard daily lives of Palestinian refugees remain stuck between the impossibility to return to their homeland and the difficulties presented by naturalization: all Arab countries oppose it for political reasons and the West is criticized for understanding any new citizenship as a renouncement to the right of return. And today, in the face of a new exodus from Syria, the assistance of Palestinian refugees is in the hands of a neglected UN agency, sidelined by the marginalization of the only UN-sanctioned route to improve their conditions: the right to return to Palestine. Andrea Glioti for Reset-DoC.
UNRWA: an agency neglected to forget about its mission
Palestinian refugees stuck between naturalization and right of return
In Egypt, as in Tunisia, democracy is something still to be shaped, but these societies are not voiceless, nor are they without public opinion. The oppositions consist of a broad galaxy of movements, but they are not burning Israeli or American flags in the streets. They are demanding rights, transparency and legality. Resetdoc presents an article by our late and much missed friend Silvio Fagiolo, a scholar and former ambassador to Egypt, who died a few days ago. This article was published in the March-April 2011 issue of our magazine Reset, devoted to the Arab Spring.
For a few years, for far too long, ideas became radicalized, language was militarized, reasoning impoverished, reduced to simplistic and misleading pairs, such as black/white, good/bad, with God pitted against God (with God of course privatized by all parties involved). In this sense al Qaeda’s school of thought won the day and was reflected in the arrogant Bushism of the Iraqi adventure (based on lies and producing more terrorism than it defeated, not to mention the thousands of innocent victims, including the western soldiers sent to die there pointlessly), until recently all dominant and winning paradigms. But, today, something has changed.
“Cultural pluralism” is a recent concept in Europe to the extent that many do not know what it means. While political pluralism and freedom of thought are deeply-rooted in our continent, and everyone is capable of distinguishing a democratic regime from one that is not, there are some extremely extravagant and vague opinions concerning pluralism of cultures and the relationship between the various religious, linguistic and ethnic cultures. Intellectuals and scholars from all over the world are helping Reset-DoC and its Intercultural Lexicon project to foster cultural pluralism with their contributions to our publications, debates and public conferences. Today, Anthony Appiah from Princeton explains what the evolution of honor codes can mean to cross-cultural understanding.
Cultural Pluralism, The Challenge of our Time
The Honor Code
Kwame Anthony Appiah
On February 16, 2014 The New York Times Magazine ran an article called “Container City.” “Container City” refers to the Kilis camp in southern Turkey housing 14, 000 refugees from Syria. Protected by high gates and surrounded by barbed wire, Kilis from the outside shares features with many refugee camps all over the world that make them indistinguishable from prisons or criminal detention centers. Kilis houses its population in 2,053 identical containers, spread in neat rows. The pictures that accompany the article remind one of shipping containers at a harbor. Each container is a 23 by 10 foot trailer with 3 rooms; and a color TV with close to 1000 channels, probably picking up programs from all the surrounding countries of the Mediterranean.
Constant attention to the world of women, to Indian social situations and policies that are only now slowly changing; violence, rape, or threats made against women, only nowadays at times reported with all the risks and dangers this involves, are words the Bengali director Aparna Sen, born in 1945, has always used with the special attention she has always paid to social issues and especially the feminine universe.
As India enters its 2014 general election to constitute the 16th Lok Sabha, the spectacle of prominent commentators adjusting their views towards the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi unfolds before our eyes with escalating frequency and vivid clarity. These adjustments — to use a term that is more descriptive than judgmental, at least for starters — take a variety of forms, and come from a range of observers, analysts and experts.