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This week’s front page editor

Rosemary Bechler

Rosemary Bechler is a mainsite editor at openDemocracy

Rummy's intelligence review

US credibility, Hu’s globetrotting, Rwanda’s new era?

Translating the word of God: the King James Bible

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.

Afula: wounded heart of Israel

An indiscriminate assault on a small town in the country’s heartland prompts this Israeli writer to melancholy yet affectionate reflection.

The African state and global governance

The scale of Africa’s political and social crises, exacerbated by the HIV/Aids pandemic and reinforced by failures of governance, make it a global dependent.

Beating Bush - the neo-neo-Democrats

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 won’t they get it? And where does this leave…democrats?

World or homeland? US National Security Strategy in the 21st century

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.

United States security for a new world: a reply to Charles Pena

The US’s national security document of 2002 is a partial answer to the global challenges of terrorism and weapons proliferation. Charles Pena’s 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.

A Palestinian diary

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.

Two separate roadmaps: an Israeli view

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.

Mirror reflections: fundamentalism and the market economy

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 Iraqi calculus

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.

The Estonian Gene Bank Project - an overt business plan

The Estonian Genome Project Foundation tried to build on the experience of Iceland’s innovative, contested genetic research project (analysed by Skúli Sigurdsson in openDemocracy). Did the small Baltic state learn from Iceland’s mistakes? A research fellow and close observer of the Estonian initiative tells the fascinating, melancholy story – which challenges the corporate interests involved to respond.

Before the Rooster Crows

Peter Kimani’s first novel, “Before the Rooster Crows”, is a harrowing tale of a young man’s 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.

Identity & Television: Europe on Screen

The EU’s 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.

Passover near Palestine: some scenes from a diary

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.

Migration fantasies: how not to debate immigration and asylum

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.

Cape Farewell: an Arctic diary

For two weeks, openDemocracy’s Globalisation editor, Caspar Henderson, is on board the 93-year old ship “The Noorderlicht” – sailing to the Arctic in an innovative expedition that fuses art, film and science to monitor and communicate the impact of global warming. With the Dutch crew of four is a twenty-person group that includes photographers, oceanographers, artists, geographers, and writers. During the voyage, Globolog publishes Caspar’s vivid reports from an environment of deep currents and melting ice, where the bonds between nature and humanity take on fresh meanings.

Zimbabwe: people get ready

Political repression and economic meltdown are pushing Zimbabwe’s people to breaking-point. They have come to understand that freedom from Mugabe’s evil regime is in their own hands.

Eighteen hours in Ben Gurion airport

The detention and deportation by Israeli authorities of a British filmmaker of Palestinian origin is a lesson not just in the vicious political realities of the Middle East, but in a failure of courage by the British government.

West Papua: Dutch past, Indonesian present, independent future?

The West Papuan campaign against rule by Indonesia and corporate exploitation of the territory’s rich resources is one of the world’s most important and least known resistance movements.

Bush's bind

Iraqi glue, Colombian drugs, and Belgian humour.

Mass immigration: a route to environmental collapse

The authors of People Flow have failed to consider the effects of migration on the environment, argues this advocate for a Britain of 30 million people. You can have sustained immigration, or a sustainable nation: but not both.

'Asylum crisis' in the UK and Europe

The discussion of asylum-seeking, especially in the UK press, is sensationalist and distorting. The result is policy measures that are not just repressive but self-defeating. The reality, argues our regular columnist and migration-watcher, is that there is no ‘asylum crisis’. Rather, there is a complex, variable pattern of human movement that politicians are doing lamentably little to understand.

Uganda: women in flight

The story of three Uganda women whose suffering doesn't end when they leave their homeland.

Cultivating optimism

The addictions to bad news and to boosterism are alike protections from reality. One encourages cynicism, the other complacency; both evade responsibility for the world’s horror. For Dave Belden, it has been a long road to global optimism. But in the wake of the avalanche of violence and grief in the Iraq war, he wonders if giving up TV is a condition of sustaining long-term hope for the planet.

Al-Qaida: evolution, not comeback

Al-Qaida is not ‘back’: it has never been away. The sophistication and planning involved in the Riyadh and Casablanca bombings were in place even before regime change in Iraq. Yet if Afghanistan merely dispersed the network, US occupation of Iraq may indeed invigorate it. The prospect is endless war.

The absence of war

Even in remote areas of Namibia and Botswana, and in the Inuit region of Nunavut in Canada, the distant Iraq war enters social discourse and everyday encounters. War is both near and far. Hugh Brody journeys to a landscape where territory, history and mind all meet, to ask: are the world’s indigenous people ancestors or contemporaries of the rest of mankind?

The Turkish refusal

Turkey’s triple role in the Iraq war confounded many experts. While its neo-Islamist government supported the US invasion of Iraq, and its military refrained from major incursion into the Kurdish-controlled north, its parliament refused help to American forces. Turkey’s relations with the US were strained, yet without any diplomatic benefit from the EU to compensate. The crisis has shifted the political ground under Turkey’s feet. Who will design the new maps?

Aznar versus the people: a Spanish divorce?

The Spanish government ignored its people’s almost universal opposition to war in Iraq. This, itself the latest in a series of convulsive internal crises, raises serious questions about Spain’s political direction and even the commitment to democracy of its prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar. As a crucial election cycle approaches, will the bond between a troubled Spain and a hawkish US be renewed or broken?

Making a new world - Part Three: Apartheid: the sequel

Post-apartheid South Africa promised a new, fairer country. But Paul Kingsnorth, author of “One no, many yeses – a journey to the heart of the global resistance movement”, tells Caspar Henderson of openDemocracy that the African National Congress’s pro-globalisation policies are making many activists feel the country is in an even worse position than before.