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This week's editor

Manuel Serrano

Manuel Serrano is Junior Editor at DemocraciaAbierta.

Your TV is watching you

The interactive television revolution will mean more choice, more control and more freedom for the viewer, right? Wrong says the man behind White Dot – the campaign to switch off television – all it means is more ways for media corporations to keep tabs on your viewing habits and tailor their products to your tastes. Don’t believe him? Listen to what the corporations say…

After the Iraq war: planning the humanitarian response

To win a war in Iraq, the US has to win the peace. Its military forces as well as one of its leading independent humanitarian agencies, the International Rescue Committee, will have a crucial role. But can the military work with the United Nations and non-governmental organisations in ways that save lives, secure post-war order, and preserve the latter’s independence?

Liberate Iraq on the world's terms

The slogan ‘No to war: No to Saddam!’ leaves the world polarised and incapable of concerted action. What would it take to reconfigure this crippling divide so that a clear choice helps the world move forward? Could the European Union’s foreign policy coordinator, Javier Solana, lead the way?

A conflict of loyalties: 1999 and 2003

When Nato bombed Yugoslavia in 1999, professional responsibility and a need for inner freedom prevented Dejan Djokic from protesting the assault on his homeland. Four years on, the creative dialogue between head and heart has a different result. 

My American dream

This Sierra Leonean filmmaker was saved from prison and torture in Liberia by Americans. But when he worked in Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan, American good intentions appeared in a different light. Can democracy’s ‘big daddy’ learn from its mistakes?

Decoding broken promises

Five years ago, the company deCODE made the first bid to set up a comprehensive, medical records database, in Iceland. A leading activist explores the ways in which the equation of medical data with economic promise can lead to the erosion of truth, raising the key issue of presumed versus informed consent and other challenges for any democratic society.

Civic hacking: a new agenda for e-democracy

The political potential of the internet lies not in connecting people to politicians, still less in online voting; it lies in the possibility of bringing citizens together to help themselves, argues a veteran of online politics.

Bush: Home Alone - America's futile attempt to woo its insulted allies

The US advance toward war has myriad justifications, but is best understood in the framework of a new world order: perpetual war for perpetual peace, says Michael Naumann. Multilateralism is dying, but what will take its place? At the least, existing nuclear powers like North Korea look set to buttress their defences...

Witch-hunts and War Jitters

Hollywood protest, human shields, and Swiss utopia

FT: Forked Tongue?

The Financial Times’ coverage of the global antiwar protests of 15 February differed markedly between its German and English editions. This unsettling discovery, framed by an imaginary encounter on a Berlin–London flight, brings Michael Rebehn down to earth with a jolt.

With the Iraqi opposition: if, how, and then what?

What comes after regime change in Baghdad? For delegates at the Iraqi opposition conference in northern, Kurdish Iraq, the long wait for the US envoy reveals doubts about American diplomacy and Turkish intentions. Will ‘free Iraqis’ be masters of their own fate, or once again betrayed?

<i>Ring a Ring o' Roses</i>: Malawi's dance of death

What is the main reason for southern Africa’s immense human problems? ‘Famine’ and ‘drought’ are familiar answers from aid agencies and media. Such words are a distraction, says this report from Malawi. The core problem is HIV/Aids, and only changes within African society itself can open the way to solving it.

On the nuclear slope

The US war on Iraq might include the first use of nuclear weapons since 1945. Our international security correspondent sets out the rational, historical context of a terrible possibility.

A big mess in Kurdistan

From Sulaimaniya to Halabja, our Tehran correspondent continues her travels in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. Some Kurds dream of using the impending war to march south to oil-rich Kirkuk. But are they watching their back?

The end of Realpolitik

The coming US war in Iraq will create a graveyard of hope. In its promise of war without end, and blindness towards its catastrophic political consequences, America is ignoring lessons of history that Europe has bitterly learned.

Putin's choice

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is treading a fine line in his relations with the United States and the European Union. Will he side with France or the US at the Security Council? Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform, quizzes Moscow’s political elite.

Shadow Army

A news photographer on the ground in Kuwait watches and waits as the US invasion force gathers, and the media scramble to befriend the US military so that they may be chosen to ‘embed’. Meanwhile with hundreds of journalists gathered in a small, quiet country, news is in short supply.

The World Social Forum 2003: a personal impression

An Indian veteran of 1960s political struggles, invited to speak on war, empire and unilateralism at Porto Alegre, is inspired by the encounter with a newly-hopeful generation. Yet he warns that such exciting events need to be part of a long-term strategy.

The Asian Social Forum: a new public space

The first Asian Social Forum, held in Hyderabad in January 2003, anticipated the World Social Forum at Porto Alegre, Brazil later that month. But it was a pioneering event in its own right.

India in the face of globalisation

There is intense concern in India about the divisive impact of globalisation on the country’s economy, society, culture, and even its democracy itself. Our Delhi columnist reports from a recent conference where discussion centred around the dilemma: should the beast be fought, tamed, or humanised?

Witnessing whose truth?

David Loyn’s assault on ‘peace journalism’ misses the target, argues the editor of a new book on war and the media. The real problem is corporate media’s coverage of conflict. Good, diverse reporting will best be ensured not by a clerisy of crusading truth-tellers, but via the sceptical engagement of millions of citizens.

Pablo Picasso has words for Colin Powell from the other side of death

When the United States secretary of state presented his case against Iraq at the United Nations Security Council on 5 February, the tapestry of Guernica that routinely hangs there was covered up. This symbolic denial of a supreme artistic response to war moved Ariel Dorfman to poetry.

That global emotion

The stories people tell about the world shape its future. With military escalation imminent in the Middle East, Globolog tries to distinguish deception from truth in the narratives of globalisation.

Between camps: the story of D.T.

The childhood of DT, a young man with a richly mixed family history from the Serbia–Macedonia borderland, was made difficult by social tensions. When these exploded on to the political stage, his life became impossible.

Business is the victim

‘Get your facts right’ says Diane Coyle to Friends of the Earth (FoE) – business is far from evil or unduly powerful. The bad behaviour of a few companies will be solved by better corporate governance rules. In the fifth of our introductory texts to the debate Corporations: Power and Responsibility, Diane Coyle argues that FoE’s push for heavy regulation on a sector already subject to rising tax burdens would be a spanner in the engine of global growth and prosperity.

UN-Nato-EU: Do we have a clue?

The imminence of war is forcing decision – and division – across the continent. Writing updates almost daily, our Europe editor, looking out from central Europe to its southern and eastern frontiers, finds a shared panorama of concern: Iraq, the US, the uncertain future. The ground beneath Paul Hilder’s feet seems everywhere to rumble: what is Europe for?

5. Are there alternatives?

The concluding, fifth part of Tom Nairn’s series on America and globalisation addresses an urgently practical question: where lies the potential for a better world order beyond the free market model of globalisation? In two words: democratic nationalism.

The growing power of big business

Business is bigger and ‘badder’ than ever, say two Friends of the Earth (FoE) campaigners, in the opening round of our debate, Corporations: Power and Responsibility. Corporations, FoE argues, evade the flimsy systems of regulation currently in place. The only way to stop them from being destructive is to create a legally binding set of global rules that will force them to care about the consequences of their actions. (Economist Diane Coyle responds next week)

Witnessing the Truth

BBC correspondent David Loyn asks what happened to the objectivity that underpins good old-fashioned reporting. There should be no 'peace journalism' or 'war journalism', he argues. Reporters can only 'witness the truth'.

Marching to hell


The London march against war of 15 February was impressive but confused, and desperately naïve. It filled the roads with good intentions and we all know where they lead.

One image keeps cropping up in my mind. It is perhaps the only happy image I have of Saturday 15 February. At the mass mud-caked rally in Hyde Park a single rather unhappy-looking Brit with his misted glasses askew was holding a sign ‘We’ll keep off the grass, Tony, if you keep off the sand’. It was perhaps the only witty comment of the day.

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