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It is possible to participate in a brutal event – such as gang rape, lynching, an ethnic cleansing operation – or in a humanitarian event – fund raising, collective adoption, sacrificing oneself in an exchange of prisoners..

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Islamism is a highly militant mobilizing ideology selectively developed out of Islam’s scriptures, texts, legends, historical precedents, organizational experiences and present-day grievances, all as a defensive reaction against the long-term erosion of Islam’s primacy over the public...

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Though its semantic origins are pre-modern, revolution has been a fundamental category of the interpretation of modern times.

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The word began to be used at the end of the Eighties in the United States to indicate an ideal society in which various cultures could co-exist with reciprocal respect, but avoiding all domination and assimilation into the dominant culture..

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In recent times, "dialogue" has emerged as an important and even central notion in both philosophy and politics.

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

Freedom and Democracy

After the Arab Spring

Tunisia, the work of the Constituent Assembly worries Human Rights Watch

Antonella Vicini

The alarm has been sounded not only by Human Rights Watch, but also by many Tunisian citizens who have taken to the streets to protest, in particular the young, women and activists, who had not been overjoyed by Ennahda’s victory in the October elections. The draft of the new Tunisian constitution being prepared by the Assembly, elected less than a year ago, is causing concerns due to, let us say,  regression as far as human rights are concerned.

In depth

Syria, On The Edge

Ilaria Romano for Resetdoc

To date, the victims of the Syrian regime's bloody crackdown have surpassed twenty-two thousand while refugees from the fighting have grown to over two-hundred thousand. International pressure on Bashar Al-Assad is mounting, but little tangible progress has been made. Meanwhile, the regime's growing isolation and the increasing number of defections affecting its leadership have led Syrian authorities to escalate their repression, dragging the whole of the country into a bloody civil war. Today, a peaceful solution appears unlikely and remote. Ilaria Romano analyzes the latest developments in Syria's tragic predicament for Resetdoc.Post-Annan Mission ImpossibleVictims and RefugeesAssad, between defectors and loyalists

IT Syria

Assad, between defectors and loyalists

Ilaria Romano

The Syrian state’s leadership is the result of a complex mix of President Assad’s family interests and the military’s strict control over intelligence. Bashar Al Assad inherited the presidency from his father Hafez in 2000, but his family has always played a fundamental role in the country’s politics since 1971, when Bashar’s father became president. In recent times this has not however prevented defections from within the apparatus. In Syria political and government organisation consists of a cabinet, parliament, a military network of agencies responsible for internal and external security and a diplomatic corps.

IT Syria

Victims and Refugees

Ilaria Romano

According to information gathered by the Centre for Documentation of Violations in Syria (http://vdc-sy.org/index.php/en/), which processes data from local committees of anti-government activists, updating them on a daily basis, so far 22,176 people have died in the Syrian civil war. Data indicates that 19,883 of those killed were civilians, of which 18,872 were men and 1,236 women. The victims also included 1,467 boys and 601 girls.


Reflections on the unfolding debate about sexual freedom in Morocco

Brahim El Guabli

The political atmosphere, created by the sexual liberty debate in Morocco, is reminiscent of the early 2000, when the then brave Family, Childhood and Social Solidarity Minister, Professor Said Essaidi, proposed and staunchly defended his National Plan for the Integration of Women in Development. This latter would have assuredly catapulted Moroccan women into the heart of the socioeconomic development of the country; had it been passed the way it was drafted, it would have allowed Moroccan women to be on the foot of equality with men and would have allowed them to acquire more clout in economy and politics.

IT Africa

Sudan’s economy collapses amidst arrests and protests

Salma El-Wardany talks to Azzurra Meringolo

In the last week of June, Khartoum and other cities in the Sudan experienced a new wave of protests caused by President Omar Al-Bashir’s announcement of a new austerity plan. On June 18th the president had announced the progressive abolition of fuel subsidies as well as higher taxes and customs duty on luxury goods. With this plan, the dictator, in power since 1991 and wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity perpetrated in Darfur, is desperately attempting to increase revenue to reduce the country’s $2.4 billion deficit.

IT After the Arab Spring

A New Marshall Plan for Tunisia

An interview with Radwan Masmoudi

Radwan Masmoudi is the director of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy. A dual Tunisian-American citizen, he has worked tirelessly to improve cooperation between the two countries and to promote a moderate vision for the co-existence of democracy and Islam. As the Arab world’s best candidate for democracy, Tunisia is seen as a crucial test case – the success or failure of Tunisian democracy, Masmoudi believes, could create either a pro- or an anti- democratic wave across the Arab world. “In the end, democracy has to deliver,” he says. “It has to improve the economic situation of the people. So this is the real test: Freedom has to improve the quality of citizen’s lives.” A year after Tunisia’s unprecedented revolution, the economic turbulence threatens to spoil the democratic experiment and possibly represent a fatal setback to democratization in the Arab world. To address this risk, Masmoudi is promoting an ambitious plan to ensure Tunisia’s success: a New Marshall Plan for economic development, on the order of 5 billion dollars for 5 years.

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.

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