The election of a new government in Indian-controlled Jammu & Kashmir in September 2002 has opened the way to an initiative by Indias prime minister to restart discussions with Pakistan over the future of the disputed territory. In the light of historic India-Pakistan tension, twelve years of murderous violence, and the complex shades of Kashmirs politics, is there at last real hope of a resolution of this dangerous conflict?
Will mass immigration prove a similar threat to the integrity of European society and culture as it does to Americas? For the author of Alien Nation, the book which helped to catalyse the modern anti-immigration argument in the US, the current great wave from third to first world is undesirable, economically unnecessary, and driven by a misplaced sense of guilt over past racism and colonialism.
The German Bundestags first parliamentary representative of Turkish descent is currently in Washington, comparing how minority groups organise themselves politically in the United States and Germany. Recently named Multicultural Man of the Year by a German radio station, he turns a sometimes appalled gaze on his homeland, and asks how far Germany has to go to fulfil a truly multicultural vision.
US credibility, Hus globetrotting, Rwandas new era?
An indiscriminate assault on a small town in the countrys heartland prompts this Israeli writer to melancholy yet affectionate reflection.
Committees seldom produce genius, still less aspects of the divine, argues this young writer. But the translating of the King James Bible in 1604 did just that.
The scale of Africas political and social crises, exacerbated by the HIV/Aids pandemic and reinforced by failures of governance, make it a global dependent.
Another lightning raid on American political debate from Dominic Hilton. Fresh from skewering the neo-cons, the Democrats are in his sights. What do they want? Why wont they get it? And where does this leave democrats?
A year after 9/11, the Bush administration articulated a new security doctrine that committed the country to worldwide military intervention in pursuit of democracy. This strange fruit of Wilsonian idealism and neo-conservative ambition is triply misconceived: it will guarantee damaging over-extension of resources, fuel bitter resentment of the United States, and abandon homeland security to the chimera of global control. It is not empire that the US needs, but modesty.
The USs national security document of 2002 is a partial answer to the global challenges of terrorism and weapons proliferation. Charles Penas critique, by contrast, recommends a disengagement from the world that would entail even greater danger for the homeland. The real US need is to articulate a strategic doctrine that puts military pre-emption in the service of wise politics, alliance-building, and eventually a new understanding of international law.
The Israelis declare an easing of conditions on movement of the Palestinian population. On the ground, at the sharp end of occupation, it feels very different.
The flaws of the earlier Israel-Palestine peace process ambiguity, phasing, lack of trust consigned it to failure. The chances of its successor, the current roadmap, would benefit from a realistic appraisal that provides room for each side to move away from violence, restore peaceful relations and, with international help, find that their paths converge.
The market economy and fundamentalist religion each aspire to colonise minds, dominate the public realm, and suppress free debate. Terrorism is only the extreme end of the much wider disaffection that results. The multiple insights of cybernetics and systems thinking are urgently needed to refresh minds, revivify politics, and offer practical ways out of the tunnel of dogma which marketolatry imposes on the world.
The devastating human cost of the Iraq war is only now becoming clear. Its impact on a shattered society is one source of growing hostility to the American military presence. The dangers of escalating violence to post-war reconstruction and state-building in Iraq are increasing. But no change of US policy is in sight.
Peter Kimanis first novel, Before the Rooster Crows, is a harrowing tale of a young mans odyssey from a small Kenyan village to the big city on a mission to find his childhood sweetheart. The search unfurls the complicated city life where prostitution, murder, racism and the deep wounds of colonialism still fester. openDemocracy presents an exclusive extract.
The Estonian Genome Project Foundation tried to build on the experience of Icelands innovative, contested genetic research project (analysed by Skúli Sigurdsson in openDemocracy). Did the small Baltic state learn from Icelands mistakes? A research fellow and close observer of the Estonian initiative tells the fascinating, melancholy story which challenges the corporate interests involved to respond.
The EUs Television without Frontiers Directive sought to encourage the free movement of programming within the internal European market, and to challenge the screen dominance of the US. But at its heart are questionable assumptions about the desirability of a single, shared European culture, which continue to divide the member states, says this Media professor.
Can an ethic of protest itself become a creative element in helping to resolve political conflict? What happens in the attempt to move beyond no to an exploratory embrace of the unfamiliar? A peace activist travels to Israeli cities, Palestinian villages, and Jewish settlements to meet, listen to and argue with people living on the frontline. The result is an engaged, vivid, honest portrayal of the human realities of two societies locked in corrosive dispute.
The urgency and topicality of debates about migration should not create space for a language loaded by prejudice and presumption that fuels a far right agenda. Yet this is precisely the approach of Anthony Browne in the People Flow discussion. An analysis of his panic-laden, historically-myopic argument is a necessary prelude to creating a rational basis for responsible exchange.
Political repression and economic meltdown are pushing Zimbabwes people to breaking-point. They have come to understand that freedom from Mugabes evil regime is in their own hands.
This week's editor
Heather McRobie is a regular contributor to 50.50
Heather McRobie is a regular contributor to 50.50