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This week's editor

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.

The BBC's plans for digital democracy

How future online services will address problems of civic engagement in the UK.

Being counted

No political demonstration in British history has ever been larger than half a million – before 15 February. What brought such numbers together? For Rosemary Bechler, it was an act of ‘mass witness’ that signals a new global politics.

Cherry-picking as the future of the transatlantic alliance

The processes of international action towards Iraq have sundered the United Nations Security Council, the European Union, and now Nato. French and German decisions especially have highlighted a crisis in the transatlantic relationship whose source is Europe’s mixture of arrogance and weakness. It is time for US policy-makers to grasp an awkward truth: Europe should neither fail nor be too successful.

Hairiness sounds like this: an Arts & Cultures exclusive

openDemocracy presents an exclusive advance audio preview of ‘Lycanthropy’, Patrick Wolf’s debut album. Click below to listen.

Time Passing Through My Hair

In the original Chinese, and also translated especially for openDemocracy by Ho Chee Lick, a poem by one of China’s finest women poets, Lew Poo Chan.

Growing my hair

Specially commissioned for openDemocracy’s ‘hair’ theme, the second of two new poems - the first on shaving; now, long hair.

What would Jed Bartlet do?

With brains, principles and guts the fictional US President Jed Bartlet from the TV series “The West Wing” has all the qualities to deal with a major international crisis. While in the real world the UN is split, Nato falters and worldwide peace marches put political pressure on Bush and Blair (whose staff, apparently, are “West Wing” addicts) how would Bartlett deal with Saddam? Paul Hirst speculates.

War by timetable

The popular protests against US war on Iraq are massive and growing. The US faces acute diplomatic problems over weapons inspection, in Nato, and with Turkey. But the White House hawks and the US military are charting the full moon over Baghdad. There will be war in five weeks.

Transatlantic meltdown over Iraq: is France villain or hero?

France’s reluctance to support the US’s military approach towards Iraq has drawn bitter criticism from the US and some of its EU partners. But in defending diplomacy rather than advocating a military solution, France is the truer defender both of the European project and, in the long run, of the transatlantic relationship.

Another world for Gaia and her people

Of the two visions that dominate the World Social Forum, our collective survival depends on the minority view.

Mmmmmm, Oilicious!

Our columnist Dave Belden travelled from the Catskill Mountains to New York City on 15 February, companions and children alongside, for the huge peace rally. They never made the rally; the march was that big. The atmosphere was friendly, the homemade signs witty (and one-sided), the feet frozen, the hearts warm. And the numbers? Just don’t ask CNN.

Honour, not hubris: speaking out for peace

Several hundred thousand people gathered in a freezing New York City on 15 February 2003 to demonstrate against war on Iraq. Julian Bond of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People gave this speech.

The Turk in English Renaissance literature

Europe’s relationship with Turkey – a country whose historical legacy is at once imperial, martial, Islamic, Asiatic, and European - has always been problematic, and frequently refracted through culture as well as politics. A Turkish scholar traces the fascinating evolution of an alien but also intimate and surprising figure in the English literary imagination.

From a young Iraqi: an open letter to the peace movement


The huge campaign against war in Iraq offers no comfort to this young Iraqi woman. She has no illusions about US power. But in the face of a people longing for liberation from Saddam's terrible rule, how can the peace movement turn its back?

Afghanistan still burns

US war with Iraq remains likely in weeks rather than months. But apart from simmering crises over North Korea and Lebanon, US forces are forced to pay especial attention to the way that renewed militancy in Pakistan is fuelling escalating violence in Afghanistan.

A game of shadow boxing: Iraq between past and future

Who will be the vultures, and who the carrion, in a post-Saddam Iraq? The Iraqi opposition plans for transition. The country’s neighbours – especially Turkey, Iran and Syria – covet influence and power after ‘regime change’. America is torn between impulses of order and freedom. The decisive role belongs to Iraq’s people. Will they unite, or fragment?

New safety or old danger? UN 'protection areas' for refugees

The UK proposal to confine refugees to designated areas near the regions they have fled is ill-conceived and unworkable. There is a better way, one that requires a holistic approach to the asylum issue.

In place of war, open up Iraq

Can you be against war on Iraq without giving succour to Saddam? This is a new version of an old dilemma, says one of the leading voices of the 1980s Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly and European Nuclear Disarmament. Activists who opposed the nuclear arms race while supporting democratisation of the Soviet bloc helped carve a space where freedom could grow. Could the same happen in Iraq?

How to Rule the World

A hard look at accountability, ideas for democratising global governance, and how the challenge of HIV/Aids needs solutions sensitive to local needs.

Farewell Agnelli - Figure of Another Age

When Giovanni Agnelli died this year he was still Honorary Chairman of the Fiat group. His extraordinary influence marked the growth of post-war Italy, and is essential to understanding the country now. But is his life achievement a model for future businessmen or a glorious memory of an unviable past?

The Devil in Moscow

Behemoth cats, Thai chests, and stalemate apocalypse