A young Iranian director used the forum of the 'International debate: The Rights and Roles of Young People as Artsmakers' to talk about the oppression students experience in his country. Remembering the old tradition human rights have in Iran he calls upon the power of Art to re-establish these.
The Iraq Reconstruction Assessment Mission, an independent team of experts commissioned by the Pentagon, recently published a report of their ten-day Iraqi tour. After presenting evidence to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the authors draw on their report to challenge the Coalitions masters of war to a gargantuan effort of peacemaking and society-building.
Young people from around the world took part in a London workshop on their roles and rights as artmakers as part of the LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre) 'Family-Friendly Season'. They presented their views at the concluding event in a combination of polemic and performance through their skills in music, dance, poetry and drama. This was followed by a discussion between the participants and the audience, including politicians, policy makers, children's rights specialists, business people, and teachers.
The epic journey of a Sikh man from the Afghan city of Jalalabad to Londons Southall district ended with his deportation to Kabul by the British authorities. If this policy of forced return of Afghans becomes standard practice, what will happen to the legions of the lost in Iran and Pakistan?
Sierra Leone, torn apart by a decade of brutal civil war, desperately needs the catharsis that truth and reconciliation can bring. But the attempt to establish this process has encountered problems - confusion about the role of the two different commissions, a lack of public engagement and the non-compliance of critical witnesses.
A few weeks after the war in Iraq, three Iraqi poets read to an audience at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Uncertainty and excitement mingled, as the writers spoke of a time that seemed to be both receding and emerging into view. New freedom was ahead, bringing unheard stories and fresh voices. Identities were shifting just as attention fell upon them. Fadhil Assultani was one of the poets present. These translations of his poems come from Iraqi Poetry Today, the Spring 2003 issue of Modern Poetry in Translation. Poetry by Salah Niazi and Hashem Shafiq will follow soon on openDemocracy, along with the discussion from that evening, which ranged over many of the political, personal and artistic questions these exiled Iraqi writers now face.
The US economic model that commands around a third of the worlds wealth fascinates and infuriates Europeans. But both reactions reveal ignorance of its most essential features. The keys to its success lie not in industry, but in those sectors providing social amenities to the middle class health care, education, housing and pensions: systems of provision that have little to do with the free market.
Trouble in the evil axis, Islamic anti-capitalism, sexing up Germany
For most of the 20th century the foreign policy of Brazil has been linked to the extraordinary ‘developmentalist’ adventure which has turned Brazil into one of the largest industrialised economies of the world.
Its growth concentrated income and power, to make one of the most unequal societies on earth. At the same time, for most of the century, Brazil sought to gain from the changing pattern of international politics. It endeavoured to retain the degree of sovereignty required to forge its own development, while rejecting the autarchy of an isolationist approach which its size made tempting.
The immense financial costs of war and occupation are putting strains on the United States budget and its armys manpower resources alike. Indias refusal to send a major troop deployment to northern Iraq is symbolic of the USs relative isolation. Washington is now facing the painful political as well as military consequences of its Iraq strategy.
As Silvio Berlusconi took on Italys presidency of the EU, his kapo gaffe in the European Parliament gave warning of fireworks to come. It was preceded by his coalition partner Umberto Bossis demand for cannon fire on illegal immigrants. Here a long-time observer of the new right in Italy tells the story of the rise of the Northern League, talks to Bossi, and reads the portents for the collapse of Berlusconis House of Liberties
Against the deep background of the Holocaust, a secular Zionist education and officer training in the Israel Defence Force shaped Ruth Firers identity. The experience of peace education, including research into the influence of school textbooks in moulding national memory, then led her to understand that building trust across divides is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Irresponsible behaviour on peer-to-peer networks will never be significant without intelligent public debate. Anarchy on its own will not achieve anything but cynicism and draconian reaction. As for cultural diversity and world music, Sandy Starr argues that Siva Vaidhyanathan is deaf to the celestial jukebox that everyone can share.
A few months ago in northern Iraq, Ayub Nuri was barely surviving. Now he is engaged as a fixer/translator for the BBC in Baghdad, and has bought a state-of-the-art laptop plus satellite phone. Through the internet he can communicate with the whole world. In this vivid kaleidoscope of current public opinion in Iraq, he foresees difficult times. But intelligent guys seem to be thriving already.
Paul Hirst was a vital influence on a number of institutions, but his polymathic range is perhaps best embodied in the London Consortium. This collaborative educational enterprise connects architecture, film, planning and politics in a dynamic, fertile, intellectual community. Mark Cousins, a co-founder, reflects on the exemplary qualities as educator, strategist, political thinker with a militancy of temperament which Paul Hirst brought to this unique project.
Italys presidency of Europe, and the continents summer holiday season, are alike starting in rancour. The diplomatic storm caused by Silvio Berlusconi and Stefano Stefani will pass, says our German columnist; but their routine anti-German prejudice is also emblematic of the condition of Europe. To move beyond it will need time, imagination, and tolerant curiosity on all sides.
A wary platform encounter with a self-styled spiritual warrior offers unexpectedly renewed hope to a weary Omair Ahmad.
The transition from war to post-war in Iraq is proving more painful and bloody than coalition leaders expected. US and British troops on the ground are forced to adapt quickly from the role of war-fighters to peace-keepers, while strategic planners confront the failures and lacunae of pre-war projections. If lives are to be saved and the reconstruction of Iraqi society is to succeed, an urgent rethinking is needed.
Jihad has become one of the most inflamed and misunderstood words in the political lexicon. How did this happen, and what is the true meaning both of the word and its abuse? A student of Islam tracks the long journey from Islamic theology to global politics, registers what has been lost and found along the way and asks what can be done to restore truth to language and reason to thought.
Read also in this series:
- Global comparisons in policy-making: the view from the centre, by Geoff Mulgan
- Governance as learning: the challenge of democracy, by Tom Bentley
- A new way for British government?, by Anthony Barnett