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This week’s editor

“Sunny

Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

The Demirtaş verdict and ‘enemy criminal law’

Open letter to Selahattin Demirtaş, MP and co-president of HDP, in pre-trial detention since November 4, 2016.

Western Thrace: where your way of life is governed by a hundred year old treaty

I don’t know if the Treaty of Lausanne is anachronistic. I am, however, certain that what needs to be revised is the anchoring of people to the Treaty in order to claim equal and free lives.

2017 in feminist protests: in pictures

Women around the world led protests in 2017 for our rights and against threats from everyday sexism to femicide.

Let’s demonstrate the true meaning of Christmas: sharing

There’s no point spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need in order to make impressions that don’t really matter.

Catalan elections: all that for that?

Facilitators, middlemen, discrete openings so that both sides could start to talk to – and not scream at – each other again and try to reach a compromise, are these now European dirty words?

Shy radicals

‘“The notion of hate crime does not cover crime committed against people who have become victims simply because they’re different.” He wants Shy Radicals to become a voice for them.’  Book review.

The fight for human rights continues across the Middle East

As governments have become more  powerful, helped by Western companies and governments, civil society is finding it harder to keep up. New ideas are needed to restore civic space, explains Elsa Saade.

Anioł stróż Czeczenów

Przy białorusko-polskiej granicy utknęły setki zdesperowanych uchodźców z Czeczenii, którzy próbują przedostać się do Unii Europejskiej. Wielu miejscowych podchodzi do przybyszów z niechęcią – choć część decyduje się pomagać. English, RU

Antonio Guterres and the world as it is

The role of the UN Secretary-General is the most difficult job in the world. But it gets worse when the President of the United States represents a threat to the values enshrined in the Charter. 

ما بقي لي من حلب

اليوم، وبعد عام كامل على تلك الذكرى الأقسى في مخيلتي، لم يتبقِ لي من مدينتي سوى ذاك العلم المصنوع فيها، وكاميرتي التي وثقت جميع أحياء المدينة.

Российские солдаты в Дамаске: дело не сводится к политике

Российское военное присутствие в Сирии объясняется политическими причинами, однако отношения между российскими солдатами и сирийским гражданским населением завязаны главным образом не на политике. English

Threats to the right to protest in Argentina

Protests last week in Buenos Aires against pension and welfare reforms were met with a violent police response – reflecting a government rhetoric that seeks to criminalise protesters.

Six of Theresa May’s cabinet are paid up “members” of secret group demanding a total break from the European Union

The head of the secretive European Research Group won’t reveal which senior ministers are members of the hardline anti-EU group. Why not? Because the answer and the reach of the ERG leaves the Prime Minister looking like a Brexit hostage.

Will Iraq’s PM embrace a Trump-inspired Saudi-sponsored drive to curb Iranian influence?

Trump-MBS strategy has not made significant headway. Will they succeed in escalating anti-Shia confrontation against Iran and its allies?

The demoralized mind

Consumer culture is creating a psycho-spiritual crisis. How can we address it?

Azerbaijan’s unlucky lawyers

Baku-based lawyer Samed Rahimli discusses new changes in Azerbaijan that are set to make life (even more) difficult for the country’s independent lawyers.

The next war: ISIS plus expertise

In the ashes of the caliphate lie the seeds of a new and even more dangerous ISIS.

What we missed when the world's eyes fell on Standing Rock

It is too early too see the environmental impacts of the Dakota Access Pipeline. But Standing Rock learned a lot about how to resist the self-interest of dominant society for future movements, explains Dave Archambault II.

Wake up and smell the ruthenium

Russia’s recent ruthenium scare, which went viral around the globe, brought a serious problem to light: the absence in Russia of proper and transparent monitoring of its environment. 

Counter-gang strategies in Central America: mass imprisonment and crackdown is not working

There are many underlying causes of why people join gangs. The lesson of past policies is that mano dura strategies only lead to more violence and are not effective. Español

Internet shutdowns: the “new normal” in government repression?

We are starting to understand the social and economic impact of internet shutdowns, which were estimated to have had a global GDP cost of US$ 2.4 billion in 2016. Español

What motivated the 60,000 people who joined the far-right Polish Independence March?

On 11th November, around 60,000 people joined Poland’s Independence March, organised by members of two far-right groups. A march on such a scale raises serious questions about the country’s relationship to racism. 

The origins of populism: bogus-democracy and capitalism

The reality of racism, hatred, anger, insecurity and inequalities is spreading irresistibly. There is no way of escaping from all these daily phenomena unless there is an alternative systemic project to challenge it. Español.

Left-transformation versus left-populism: why it matters

The perception of political justice that transforms is very different from the discursive tool of the “national will” used by populists who degrade democracy by equating it with the ballot box.

Support independent feminist media

We are at a crucial moment for both independent media and women’s rights, and we need to be bolder and more impactful than ever.

Capital: A new ownership agenda

New models of common ownership can distribute wealth and power and give people a stake and a say in our national wealth.

Was 2017 the year that the tide finally turned against fossil fuel projects?

The end of 2017 saw a rapid escalation of big divestment announcements, including from global insurer Axa. 2018 brings more opportunity – so long as campaigning prioritises the voices of those most impacted by climate change.

A terminal crisis in Turkmenistan?

While Turkmens are told they’re living in a “golden age”, food shortages, labour unrest and unemployment are on the rise. Unless president Berdymukhamedov changes things fast, his days could be numbered.

Singing from the same songbook? How a growing number of Asian countries are enforcing the national anthem

‘Banal nationalism’ is taking some Asian countries by storm, as citizens are forced to sing national anthems – enthusiastically, or else.

Northern Ireland Electoral Commission in new bid to honour transparency laws from 2014

The government has been accused of trying to cover up for the DUP as it reverses a law which promised transparency in Northern Irish political donations from 2014.