Homosexuals in the Arab world? They have been “invented” by the West. In his book Desiring Arabs, Joseph Massad, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin and an associate professor at Columbia University, attempts to follow the process through which the gay movement, born in the USA, has resulted in and tried to impose a homosexual identity on those Arabs who entertain relations with people of their own sex. A process that according to Massad, follows the tracks of western imperialism.
Dialogue of Cultures
The roots of the difficult coexistence between the gay and the Muslim worlds are deep-rooted in the Koran, which defines homosexuality as “Lot’s sin.” In Muslim countries gays are obliged to live their lives in secret not only for religious reasons but also due to social contempt, just as happens in the west. Thus homosexuals continue to be the most persecuted minority in the world.
Beirut’s gay community has ‘come out’ and started to make its voice heard. This slow revolution has made the Lebanese capital the only city in the Arab world in which it has become possible to publicly acknowledge one’s homosexuality, also thanks to the NGO Helem (in Arabic this word means “dream”), the acronym for the “protection of Lebanese who are gay, lesbian and transgender.” An article by Ernesto Pagano.
Turkey and the Lebanon are the countries most tolerant of gays; Iran and Saudi Arabia are the most homophobic. The picture painted by Hossein Alizadeh, a young Iranian who is the spokesman for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHTC) with headquarters in New York, is that of a patchy Middle East, where on the one hand embryonic gay movements appear while on the other sentences against sodomy are ferociously applied. An interview by Ernesto Pagano.
The question “that brought the Wall down" was posed at 6.53 P.M. on November 9th 1989 by Riccardo Ehrman, the ANSA correspondent in Berlin. The answer, provided live on TV by the then DDR government spokesperson Günter Schabowski, resulted in the borders being opened and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The East Germany correspondent for ANSA from 1976 to 1982, and then from 1985 until the Wall fell, Riccardo Ehrman is now 80 years old and lives in Madrid. ResetDOC contacted him and asked him to retrace the events of those memorable days. This is the clear and exclusive testimony of a journalist who played a leading role in one of the 20th Century’s most significant events.
“Obama realizes that Syria plays a key-role. Damascus could be the backbone of any future agreement in the Middle East. Syria could establish a new equilibrium between the US and Iran as well as between Iran and Saudi Arabia.” Sami Moubayed, a political analyst and lecturer at the Faculty of International Relations at al-Kalamoun University in Syria, comments for Resetdoc, Syria’s new foreign policy and its overtures to the West. “Syrians now have a multitude of alliances on the table: France, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and the US as well.” The editor-in-chief of Forward Magazine underlines that “Although Syria is allied with old friends as well as secular states, Damascus will never renounce its national interest: the liberation of the Golan Heights.”
Tolerance – accepting the others differences within the same political space – has become a problem because we do not know how to manage settlement requests. What happens when a visitor want to extend his status, when he does not accept to become part of our family or our country and in spite of this demands hospitality? In Europe we experience this situation when groups of immigrants are not prepared to accept aspects of our culture we consider fundamental for social and political integration.
The son of Jews who survived the World War II Holocaust in Europe, inventor of the Evergreen Investment Funds, with head offices in Tel Aviv, entrepreneur Jacob Burak is now one of the richest men in Israel. His book “Do Chimpanzees Dream of Retirement?” was one of the best-selling books in Israel in recent years. In this interview he speaks of his work, of the need to humanise the world of finance and the peace process between Israel and the Arab world.
Without change implemented by Kohl, Germany would not be the great country it is today and the differences between the East and the West would be significantly greater. At an economic level, reunification has been a positive event. A clearly positive one. At a cultural level and as far as remembrance is concerned there is instead “resistance.” The superstructure has survived cultural change as the success of Die Linke in the recent national elections proves . This is the opinion expressed by Angelo Bolaffi, an authority on German affairs who runs the Italian Institute of Culture in Berlin. Resetdoc spoke to him on the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Without tacit approval from the Soviet Union, 1989 would never have happened. There would have been no peaceful and democratic mass revolts that resulted in the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is thus to Moscow, at the centre of the communist empire, that one must look, if wishing to examine the now two-decade-old epoch-making changes. An unexpected, sudden and phenomenal change that led the Eastern regimes to collapse one after the other. Two years later the Soviet Union also imploded and Mikhail Gorbachev lost his battle. We discuss these events with Andrea Graziosi, Professor of Contemporary History at the Federico II University in Naples, President of the Italian Society for the Study of Contemporary History and author of two scholarly books on Soviet history published by Il Mulino; Lenin and Stalin’s USSR and The USSR from triumph to collapse. An interview by Matteo Tacconi.
I do not wish to seem irenical, but there is something more serious going on, almost a tragic destiny. A bipolar system of hatred one cannot avoid and one hard to escape; an element that infiltrates and becomes a founding element of many aspects of Italian life. The antagonism present in the public sphere is also visible in social life. Ours (Italy) is an angry and anxious country. Due to the crisis experienced by the great political and social networks, the breakdown induced by neo- techno-capitalism, people live isolated lives or at best stay within the family circle. Hence the emotive dimension of individuals has become amplified, alone in front of a TV set, reacting to symbolic-personalities and events.
“One cannot really identify a specific winner or a loser in the recent Lebanese parliamentary elections.” Rami Khouri, director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut and editor of The Daily Star, comments for Resetdoc the Lebanese political situation, after the parliamentary elections held on the 7th of June and the first steps taken by the new Saad Hariri Government: “All Lebanese political groups, Shiite, Sunni and Christian, will respect the legitimate Lebanese Government and its role. And foreign countries will continue to interfere in Lebanese internal affairs, with the complicity of some local politicians.”