One of the brighter aspects is the popular participation in a largely spontaneous and uncoordinated movement, which cuts across Egyptian society and sees mainly women and young people demonstrating. However there is a lack of an executive body of the revolution, a party in particular that could act as a hegemonic drive and one that is able to interpret the revolt in institutional terms.
Freedom and Democracy
A “newborn” country has had to wait for a revolution to make itself heard. The political crisis in Tunisia had been smouldering for some time under the ashes. However, as explained by Reporters Sans Frontières’ Maghreb correspondent Soazig Dollet , reporting on this country in “normal” times was all but easy for local journalists and for foreign correspondents. With censorship unmatched in other Arab countries, Ben Ali’s regime had managed to hide behind the “cover of women’s emancipation and the fight against terrorism.”
This history of the Copts “is a long history of suffering that has lasted since the days of the Islamic invasion in Egypt.” Sounding exasperated, Ashraf Ramelah, president of the Voice of the Copts association, speaks of how the conditions experienced by Christians in Egypt “have constantly worsened” since the coup d’état carried out by Gamal Abd el Nasser. “His nationalisation policies,” says Ramelah, “were addressed at discriminating against the Copts.”Interview by Ernesto Pagano
The attack in Alexandria emphasises a problem the seriousness of which goes far beyond the despicable act of terrorism seen as a threat involving the Islamic world’s cultural self-mutilation through the progressive annihilation of Eastern Christianity. And Alexandria is not an isolated case; in just two years the number of Christians present in Iraq, often members of some of the most ancient communities in the world, has halved. For those who kill in the name of purity the most serious provocation is the integration that takes place in the most natural way, without fear, the one on which the great strength of open societies is founded.
Post-2003 Iraq was conceived as a federal country, with a strongly decentralised framework. However, when it comes to the exploitation of oil, then what is at stake are “the interests of all the Iraqi people.” It is a pity that Kurdistan, at the moment “the only strictly federal region,” has for sometime been exploiting its black gold, signing agreements with foreign oil companies without bothering to consult with the central government in Baghdad. On the contrary, as we are reminded by Ornella Sangiovanni, a journalist and the founder of the news website Osservatorio Iraq, the Kurds also lay claim to control over Kirkuk, “their Jerusalem” to be liberated with all the oil that surrounds it.Interview by Ernesto Pagano
The predominant majority of Iraqis identify themselves primarily as Iraqi nationals. However, it is the disagreement over what ‘Iraq-ness’ means that has perpetuated the internal conflict, and prevented Iraqis from defining their political community in an inclusive and pluralistic way. The country has been deeply affected by the lack of an inclusive national narrative and effective political system, and the ‘democratic’ system that emerged in post-Saddam Iraq did not improve the situation.
The June 1st elections held in Egypt for partially renewing the Shura Council (parliament’s Upper House) marked the beginning of an electoral process that will end with the 2011 presidential elections, which may result in the appointment of a successor to Hosni Mubarak, in power since 1981. The homecoming of the former IAEA secretary and Egyptian diplomat Mohamed El Baradei, who many believe will be the next president, the doubts concerning the elderly Mubarak’s re-election (this would be his sixth consecutive term), and the recent campaign of arrests against the main opposition group, the Islamic Muslim Brotherhood movement, are fuelling many questions about the future stability of this, the most highly populated Arab country. We discuss the matter with the Italian historian and journalist Paola Caridi – author of Hamas. Che cosa è e cosa vuole il movimento radicale palestinese published by Feltrinelli – who for years has followed the evolution of the situation from nearby Jerusalem.
The challenges posed by globalisation, the AKP’s foreign policy, the Kurds and the Armenians. The 2010 Istanbul Seminars ended with a debate on Turkey, a country that in the immediate future will be called upon to face increasingly difficult challenges, not least that of the tricky process of joining the Club of 27. There are still a number of problems to be solved. There is Northern Cyprus, the Armenian and Kurdish issues, but also the completion of modernisation plans to prevent Turkey from drifting towards radical nationalism and religious extremism.
The fragility of the agreements signed is there for everyone to see and contradicts President Al Bashir’s triumphant statements, when, speaking on State television and to the international press, he declared that the civil war in Darfur was “over.” Not all the players in the Sudanese political scenario wish for reconciliation. On the contrary, there have been violent clashes between government troops and the rebels of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA/SLM), a group that has not signed the truce.
Dear Muslim World,I am one of your distant sons who observes you from the outside and from afar – from this country, France, where so many of your children live today. I look at you with the strict eyes of a philosopher nourished since childhood both by the taçawwuf (Sufism) and by Western thought. I am observing you therefore from – great image in the Koran - the isthmus between the two seas of East and West!
The Tunisian electoral run-off has handed victory to Beji Caid Essebsi. With 55.7% of the vote, the 88-year-old whose career developed alongside President Bourghiba, has become Tunisia’s third head of state. The second candidate, Moncef al-Marzuqi – former interim president and before that a human rights activists who spent time in Ben Ali’s prisons – won 44.32% of the votes (1,378,513) proving to be a worthy challenger. Turnout fell slightly from 64% in the first ballot to 59% in the second.
As expected, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been elected president of Turkey and was sworn in on August the 28th. He won the August 10th elections, once again, by a wide margin. The outgoing prime minister obtained 51.79% of votes, surpassing the best results ever achieved by his party, the AKP, thus avoiding a second ballot and winning in many constituencies, both less urbanised ones and in the country’s two main cities; Ankara and Istanbul. This confirms that Erdogan’s success transcends the urban-rural divide.