This week's editor

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Adam Ramsay is co-editor of OurKingdom.

Understanding European democracy

Minstrels must demonstrate musical nerve, whether in Brussels or in their national headquarters. If not, they are just sycophant turncoats! 

Have they healed yet? Western dreams about Rwanda.

Shattered societies cannot be mended with pills or analysis or technology or foreign aid. Our need to hear that Rwanda is ‘healing’ tells us more about ourselves than it does about Rwanda.

Ukraine: lessons from the Balkans nightmare

One key driver of escalation in the Balkans in the early 1990s also poses a continuing risk as the Ukraine crisis unfolds. That is the contribution of ostensibly 'democratic' processes - elections, referenda, even constitution-making - to inflaming tensions.

Nelson Mandela’s ‘I Am Prepared To Die’ speech fifty years on

April 20, 2014, marks the fiftieth anniversary of Nelson Mandela's speech from the dock at Rivonia. What is the legacy of that trial? What does it mean for South Africans and for all those who struggle today?

China’s leftover women: an interview with Leta Hong Fincher

Chinese women face a resurgent crisis of gender inequality, argues Leta Hong Fincher in her new book Leftover Women. She talks to openDemocracy about the future of feminism under socialist neoliberalism.

Why these Algerian elections are essential

Caught between the dynamic of the Arab Springs and that of the destabilization of the Sahel, the Algerian trajectory remains profoundly uncertain. Since its stability is essential for Europe, the stakes of the April presidential elections are high. 

The role of Palestinian women in resistance

Despite fighting deeply rooted patriarchal structures, for decades Palestinian women have played an integral role in resistance. Without the prioritization of the emancipation of women, national liberation will not be achieved.  

Hawaii and Crimea

In 1898, Hawaii was officially annexed to the US illegally under a joint resolution of Congress, with the US using the excuse of ‘military necessity’ in the advent of the Spanish-American War.

US position over Iran’s ambassador generates confrontation with UN

If the UN does not act to reject this precedent, it will contribute to an international erosion of faith in its own integrity and independence -precisely the kind of behaviour which the carefully crafted ‘headquarters agreement’ was designed to prevent.

Boko Haram: time for an alternative approach

Military responses to Boko Haram have proved ineffective, as the latest atrocities in Nigeria highlight. An alternative focused on good governance, policing and socio-economic development, supported by the international community, would be much more likely to succeed.

Understanding the Chinese Communist Party: a conversation with Yu Keping

The challenges of changing a revolutionary party into a ruling party, as seen by no new Martin Luther, but a modernist.

Democracy blooming at the margins: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine and Taiwan

The terrifying spectre in these countries is not of ravenous foreign capital, though there is plenty of experience with this too, but of the persistent suffering of being an oft bloodied geopolitical borderland.

Libya, Syria and the “responsibility to protect”: a moment of inflection?

Since the Rwandan genocide and the wars in former Yugoslavia, the idea of a “responsibility to protect” vulnerable populations has acquired currency. The Libyan and Syrian crises have, however, seen the value of that currency recalibrated.

Pakistan’s authoritarian move

The government in Islamabad will face opposition in the coming week to its Protection of Pakistan Ordinance. Is it about protecting the citizen—or the state?

Bulgaria: leaving no man's land behind for the EU open door

One lesson we are learning is that although Brussels is important, it is not a universal solution. Brussels is used as an excuse in Bulgaria so that we do not worry about political lobbying, the judicial system, and the media, because somebody else has the big stick. An interview with Dimitar Bechev. 

Peacebuilding: The factor that makes a difference

Donors funding in conflict affected environments would be wise to focus on women’s leadership in conflict rather than women as victims of violence in conflict. This is key to changing the power structures which underlie violence, and to supporting sustainable peace efforts.

Sri Lanka inquiry: a Tamil asylum-seeker speaks

As an international inquiry on the bloodshed in Sri Lanka in 2009 looms, one Tamil asylum-seeker explains why it matters to him.

Myanmar’s long walk to democracy becomes even longer

The deafening silence from the international community on the incidents of last week displays a worrying underpinning weakness in its understanding of the Myanmar context.

The colours of a potential Indian prime minister

Transparency and accountability are hardly Mr Modi’s forte. Modi’s record in decentralised governance also fails to impress. Voters have no idea who will be in his ministerial team, and what their views are likely to be.

Turkish elections: money and the media

Measures aimed at limiting reporting by major independent news resources allowed Erdogan’s media to create an unquestioned atmosphere of electoral victory.

Erdogan’s choice: between hubris and sustainable peace

Erdoğan and his cabinet have represented their win as ‘certain victory’ against all oppositional political movements. But this is not the whole reality.

In Turkey's political contest, rule of the law is the real loser

The events of the past three months threw a stark light on the way the AKP government and Gülenists used the justice system in the past for common political ends. The result has been a clear erosion of the rule of law. Turkey’s voters deserve better than that.

Exploring Erdoğan’s unwavering support in Turkey

The fear of possible military coups have never left the collective imaginary of all forms of Turkish public, including the conservative constituency.

Sex workers in democratic societies

While there are certainly gendered imbalances in the actual structures of current sex markets, these imbalances are created, reinforced and strengthened not by sex work itself but by laws criminalizing sex work and by treating sex workers as second-class citizens without rights.

Turkey’s election failings may lead to yet another legitimacy crisis for Erdoğan

In line with the AKP government’s rudimentary understanding of “democracy” that considers it synonymous with elections, Erdoğan has reiterated countless times that the solution to all problems, including the allegations against his government, lay in that holy of holies: the Ballot Box.

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