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This week’s editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

April to November: an Iraqi journey

In April 2003, Ayub Nuri embraced the change in Iraq with cautious hope. In July, he took the measure of a complex transition. Now, he reports on a time of bitterness and disillusion with the American occupiers.

Apathitis C

Serbian agony, Korean concessions, Iranian uranium, Senegalese congestion.

Not normal, but bleeding: a reply to Yahia Said

From Baghdad, Mazin Ezzat, a wounded former officer of the deposed Iraqi regime, responds to Yahia Said’s optimism with a bleaker view of his country’s prospects.

'Another Europe': the second European Social Forum

The energy and scale, the international and human presence of the second European Social Forum in Paris reveal its already strong foundations. But its real tests are still to come.

UN Forgiven

What future for civil society/UN relations? But first, the word from the FTAA in Miami.

Brazil and the United States: from dependency to equality

Brazil under President Lula is seeking an ambitious new role for itself on the regional and global stage. How will it negotiate this change with the United States, its fellow-giant to the north? To mark the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) summit in Miami, a respected Brazilian scholar examines the past, present and possible future of this special relationship

From Mexico to California, and back

Imelda and her family are economic migrants, in two directions: hunger led them to cross from Mexico to California, poverty made them return.

The Ba'ath restoration project

The current insurgency in Iraq casts fresh light on the United States’s swift advance in the war of March-April 2003. Does the war’s story include a long-term Ba’ath strategy to regain power?

Migration and international trade policy: parallel worlds?

The global governance of people flow faces the world community with urgent challenges. Can agreements on international trade offer a usable model for Europe’s future policy, one that combines freedom, regulation, and rights?

Looking backward: a response to Daniel Mittler

The German social model needs a dynamic economy. Daniel Mittler’s skewed analysis of German realities blocks understanding of this, says the chief editor of “Die Zeit”.

Africa in the mirror of cinema

Cinema is part of a process where Africans are taking responsibility for their own lives. Ousmane Sembène, the founding director of post-colonial African cinema, presents a manifesto for a new age of cultural pride and democratic access.

Leo Strauss, the Straussians and American foreign policy

Shadia Drury ascribes to the philosopher Leo Strauss a conspiratorial vision of perpetual war waged by a shadowy elite. This, responds Mark Blitz, is to traduce him. Strauss’s work was motivated by a regard for the nobility of politics. Those who share its guiding principles oppose tyranny and uphold liberal democracy.

Africa dreams Abrahamland: shanty-town voices on Israel-Palestine

For one informal gathering of the urban poor in Cameroon, long hours and empty stomachs are filled with animated discussion of violence in the Holy Land. Victor Youmbi, passing by, listens in.

Iraq - the democratic option

Amid terrorist carnage, military blunders and CIA panic, Mary Kaldor finds hope for a democratic future in the creative social energies of ordinary Iraqis. Will its possibilities be crushed by America’s vaulting strategic ambition and Britain’s disdainful pragmatism? The US presidential election in 2004 may help decide.

Dawn in the 'Devil's City'

Helon Habila’s debut novel, “Waiting for an Angel”, is set in Lagos during Nigeria’s brutal years of military repression. Its author reflects on the complex relationship between violence and freedom in the ‘Devil’s City’.

JFK & Me

Camelot. Marilyn. The Thousand Days. Dallas. One who was there, the insider’s insider, blinks back the tears and remembers forty years.

Al-Qaida and Iraq: America's troubled autumn

The sudden recall to Washington of Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, reinforces the message of recent events in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan: the United States’s militant enemies are regrouping.

Is modern Germany lying to itself?

Many Germans continue to believe that their country is the vanguard of environmental and social progress in Europe. The latest European Social Forum is an opportunity to puncture this illusion.

The Democratic Game

Dubya goes Dutch on the Middle East; plus – elections in Japan, Guatemala, Georgia and Mauritania. Send forth the news, Democracy is coming!

The future of e-democracy: lessons from Canada

E-democracy, fuelled by new techniques like automated text summaries, is more than a tool of efficiency, customer service or good public relations – it could help create a refreshed public space and a more accountable democracy. An innovative project in Canada’s New Brunswick province highlights the benefits of continuing to experiment.

Archaic left challenges the World Social Forum

The forthcoming World Social Forum in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India may be the largest civil society meeting on the planet. But is it at risk from far left elements that would undermine its purposes? Peter Waterman anatomises the thinking of the ‘entryists’.

Russia, globalisation and democracy

What are the uses of art in a world of power?

The Vision Thing: a response to Cancúnblog

The lesson of openDemocracy’s debate on the fallout from the Cancún summit is that campaigners for global change who want to move from protest to power need to extend their sights beyond the short term and single issue.

Ayodhya: India's endless curse

The decade-long Hindu nationalist campaign to build a temple on the site of a destroyed mosque in Uttar Pradesh state is motivated less by religious zealotry than by the cynical political calculation of India’s ruling party.

Modern India’s joyous embrace of globalisation – with its attendant bounty of branded white goods, ever-expanding choice of cars, shopping malls and flyways – cannot conceal its ruling class’s obsession with a mythical medieval temple in the town of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.

Migration needs global regulation

People Flow proposes a regulatory system that is nationalist and discriminatory. Instead we need a global system of regulation based on the principles of free movement and universal justice.

The travails of occupation

The Iraq war is breaking lives and confounding expectations. Will the Coalition’s latest economic and security initiatives help resolve the problems of occupation, or reinforce them?

The Mother of all Misjudgements

Israel & Europe, Saddam the Believer, Plus ‘laughter, love, peace for all human beings’

Eight days in Iraq

Yahia Said, returning to Iraq after a twenty-five year absence, finds a people yearning for freedom, normality – and an end to violence.

The political psychology of Hindu nationalism

Why does Hindu nationalism take an aggressive, exclusive form? This is a question of psychology as well as politics. Rajeev Bhargava, in New Delhi, examines the worldview of activists who use "Indianness" as a weapon against their Muslim, Christian, and secular fellow-citizens.

A fair amount of sunshine

At the English seaside the girls Harriet and Hindy walk the shoreline between the Caribbean and Britain - between grey tea, grey donkeys and the grey, grey sky and the vibrant, lost colours of home. An exclusive extract from Donna Daley-Clarke’s novel-in-progress, “A Lazy Eye”.