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The Mediterranean

Mediterranean: literally the sea in the middle of lands, a bordering sea, and linking these lands. This characteristic makes the Mediterranean a sea that does belong to all the countries overlooking it, but to none in particular, a shared sea, not available for becoming private property..

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In the strictest sense Enlightenment means the cultural movement of philosophical origins that spread through Europe after the beginning of the 18th Century until the French revolution and that is characterised by trust in reason and its clarifying power.

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The word genocide is nowadays used in a number of different ways and one must to try and analyse them separately, to the extent that this is possible.

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This is an ambiguous word.

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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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A month of ideas.
Giancarlo Bosetti Editor-in-chief
Association for dialogue and intercultural understanding

Freedom and Democracy

IT After the Arab Spring

After the Revolutions: Different Paths to Democracy

Rajeev Bhargava, in a conversation with Giancarlo Bosetti

Many countries in the south-Mediterranean region have been experiencing profound changes in 2011 and 2012, and young Arab democracies will have to deal with problems and debates related to the relationship between religion and democracy, Islam and secularism, citizenship and the rights of minorities. People will have to chose between new or maybe existing “models” of democracy: will they chose to live in a secular democracy? If yes, which kind of secularism will they chose? Or will people rather prefer to build a “religious democracy?” To address these questions, Resetdoc has interviewed Rajeev Bhargava, currently Senior Fellow and Director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi. He has previously been a Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Delhi. He has been a fellow and visiting professor in many international universities, including Harvard and Columbia University. His research and publications focus on secularism, multiculturalism, political theory and India’s democracy.

IT After the Arab Spring

The Arab Spring seen from the Gulf

Alma Safira

While in North Africa the Arab Spring seems to be experiencing a “post-revolutionary” phase of maturity with citizens demanding results following the uprisings, in the Persian Gulf countries the “Arab Spring” is still in an embryonic form with uncertain prospects and results. The absence of democracy in the Gulf assumes various forms of government, ranging from sultanates to emirates and kingdoms, however, in different ways all the citizens in this region have challenged their governments. In Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, those in power have felt the need to protect themselves and to do so have often resorted to force.

IT After the Arab Spring

Libya, hope for the future?

Farid Adly talks to Ilaria Romano

In his book entitled The Libyan Revolution, from the Benghazi Uprising to Gaddafi’s Death, published in Italian, the Libyan journalist and author Farid Adly, who has lived in Italy for years, narrates the crucial months that in 2011 changed the course of events in the country. 50% of the author’s rights are used to contribute to the founding of the first Libyan ARCI club in Benghazi. “The uprising in Libya changed everything and it ended dramatically with the violent death of the dictator Gaddafi,” says Farid Adly, “but it also marked the beginning of something new, because my country has gained its freedom.”

IT After the Arab Spring

Egypt - Situating the Election of Mohammed Morsi

Francesco Aloisi de Larderel

Mohamed Morsi has been declared President, the first civilian Head of State of the Arab Republic of Egypt since 1953, when Mohamed Naguib inaugurated a line of long serving military Presidents that ended, eighteen months ago, with the demise of Mohamed Hosni Mubarak. He is also the first democratically elected President, ever. Quite independently from the result of the popular vote – which appears to have been in favour of the Muslim Brothers candidate by a slight margin – the proclamation of the victor has remained in doubt for several tense days during which the military establishment negotiated with the Brotherhood a series of very substantial restrictions to the effective powers and competences of the new President.

IT Turkey

Progress on the Kurdish question

Nicola Mirenzi

Last week Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan officially announced that the Kurdish language can at last be taught in all schools, acknowledging to the large minority living in Turkey a right so far always denied and feared by the republic, as if it were a mortal threat to national unity. The positive reaction from public opinion and from the press, with the exception of newspapers such as Cumhuriyet, whose secularist line strongly follows the principles of Kemalism, proves that  in the country and in Turkish society the times are ripe for moving forward towards a resolution of the “Kurdish issue”, opening up to diversity and not denying it as has always happened so far.

IT President Tomislav Nikolic

Serbia, is this the end of reconciliation?

Enza Roberta Petrillo

It was obvious that the newly-elected president of the Republic of Serbia, with a political pedigree that is not exactly immaculate such as that of Tomislav Nikolić, a former ultra-nationalist converted to soft conservatism and elected in May’s presidential elections, would be exposed to the spotlights of the international community. And yet, for the moment these spotlights – the burden and the delight of this leader so unaccustomed to making politically correct statements – have only confirmed the president’s hostility for the national pacification path embarked upon by his predecessor Boris Tadić.

Human Rights

Biram Ould Abeid and Slavery in Mauritania

Brahim El Guabli

Mauritania is the only country in the world where slavery exists in the real sense of the word with the exception the loathsome sponsor regime in the Gulf. Slavery simply means “ownership of a human being by another human being”; this ownership entitles the owner to treat “the owned” as a commodity that can be sold, purchased and inherited with no qualms, and without the “owned” having any say on their destiny. This shameful practice turns human beings into saleable and pursuable objects, and it so far has managed to sustain itself in Mauritania for various factors. Political corruption, lack of political will, the tribal composition of society, social norms and the vastness of the Mauritanian territory might be cited among many other factors that might explain the continuity of such a practice. Therefore, fighting a socially accepted practice, like slavery, requires a multiform struggle at the human rights, educational and politico-religious levels to deconstruct the politico-religious and social infrastructures that perdure its existence.

After the Arab Spring

Egypt, united we stand, divided we fall

Nawal El Saadawi, interviewed by Azzurra Meringolo

“We are building a country, but we haven’t laid its foundation. We still don’t have a constitution and at the moment we don’t know who will be in charge of writing it. How can we go to vote for a president without knowing what powers he will have?” asks Nawal El Saadawi, an Egyptian writer, activist, physician, psychiatrist and, above all, a pillar of feminist struggle. She has written many books translated into different languages on the subject of women in Islam, paying particular attention to the practice of female genital mutilation in her society. Resetdoc has interviewed her in Cairo.

IT Russian Federation

Violence and instability shake Dagestan

Matteo Tacconi

To understand the current situation in Dagestan one must take a step back in time. Radical Islamism is nothing new in Makhachkala, and was already present in the early Nineties when militant Wahabism began to spread, gaining followers and becoming more organised. It was then that Shariat Jamaat was formed, the armed group devoted to expanding the influence of radicalism, without however wanting secession from Moscow as a priority.

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.

IT France

French elections: what does normal stand for?

Nilüfer Göle

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.

IT After the Arab Spring

Bahrain’s #BloodyF1 Racing

Azzura Meringolo, an interview with Nazeeha Saeed

While Bahrain’s government concentrated last weekend exclusively on organizing the Formula 1 GP, those who for over a year have been the victims of a repression shrouded in silence, took advantage of this event to attract the world’s attention to their cause. The winds of the Arab Spring had reached Manama on February 4th 2011, when protesters decided to take to the streets demanding political reform and the departure of the Al-Khalifas, the Sunni royal family that rules the country where there is a Shiite majority. The harshest repression began on March 14th when the government allowed troops into the country sent by the Cooperation Council for the Arab States in the Gulf. One thousand soldiers sent by Saudi King Abdallah arrived in Bahrain with a specific mandate; stop the protests and save King Hamad.

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