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This week’s editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Indios agitados

As gay marriage, the economy and Iraq vie for space in US political discourse, dramatic events play out in the Latin American 'backyard', illustrating the complex effects of globalisation.

Shirin Ebadi and Iran's women: in the vanguard of change

The award of the Nobel peace prize to Shirin Ebadi on 10 October 2003 sparked intense political and emotional reactions in Iran. Nazila Fathi measures the significance of the independent human-rights lawyer's achievement

<i>No-man's Land</i>

A seascape of language, memory, and distance by Imtiaz Dharker

Domesticating East German communism through celluloid and bricks

The daily life as well as the politics of East Germany can be read in the way it organised and practiced space. What remains amidst the ‘archeological ruins’ and growing frictions of a unified Germany is the cult of Ostalgia. Ines Geisler sees this as a new space where the tensions between past and present, the truth of experience and its cultural processing, are revealed.

How Denmark faces immigration

In Denmark, the radical shift in recent political debate about migration and asylum is registered in language as much as in public policy. Ulf Hedetoft charts the way that a new discourse is changing the way Danes talk to each other about the strangers in their midst.

American Collective

Focus on the US: Bush’s briefs, Rummy’s run-ins, Boykin’s bluster

10 Fascinating Facts

You’ve read Moses, Mohammed and the Dalai Lama. But these ten tablets of wisdom from the supreme master will leave you gasping.

Affluence and anger: a song of praise

The inequitable sharing of wealth makes the poor miserable and the rich guilty. How do Christians cope with a world of unfairness? Can celebration of a society of decent affluence be combined with anger against its injustices?

Iraq: whose strategy is working?

The escalating wave of armed attacks in Iraq is targeting humanitarian agencies, locally-recruited personnel and United States forces alike. The impact of occupation on the region brings further dangers. America has only one card left to play.

The postponed drama of return

The filmmaker Elia Suleiman and the scholar Edward Said – both Palestinians – each had what the other sought: words that cut to the truth of their experience. Across divides of age, class and aesthetics, the street kid pays tribute to the gentleman.

A Different Ocean (concluded)

Sienna knew that the ocean might not release her until it had drunk her breath and added her life to its own. But the encounter with Jonko and Sookramer was different. The concluding part of Jacob Ross’s memorable story.

Who is afraid of Disneyfication? A response to Sonja Hegasy

In spring 2003, Sonja Hegasy argued in openDemocracy that Arab intellectuals’ evasion of the challenge of globalisation was central to the Arab world’s culture of victimhood. Here, Mona Abaza – writing before the death of Edward Said, a key reference-point in the argument – responds that the seizure of Enlightenment values by an American-led imperial project undermines the search for an equal relationship between east and west.

America's Iraqi dilemma

The drastic security problems facing United States forces in post-war Iraq confound the optimistic forecasts of six months ago. Strategic planners are rethinking, but in circumstances beyond their control.

Y.K.L: abused in Ivory Coast, rejected in London

Y.K.L survived terrible torments in her West African homeland only to be denied asylum in Britain. On London’s streets, she joins the forgotten, global army of the displaced.

Managing Britain's People Flow

The People Flow discussion on openDemocracy has charted the question of how Europe should address the mass movement of migrants over the next fifty years. This issue has multiple national dimensions too. Here, leading participants in Britain’s migration policy debate how one nation-state is coping with the challenge of finding definition and cohesion in a world of flux.

Smoking Guns

Iranian uranium, Transatlantic spats, French fags

Peaced Off: My Nobel Hell

Yassir Arafat, Henry Kissinger, and Menachem Begin have all been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. So where did it all go wrong for Dominic Hilton?

A Different Ocean

“Nobody in de world kin dive like we”. Sienna Miller’s life on the edge of The Silent, the lagoon far below her island village, starts to shift with the arrival of two white strangers. The first part of Jacob Ross’s haunting story of belonging and self-discovery.

Wanted in Iraq: a roadmap to free elections

The post-war turmoil in Iraq is exacerbated by a vacuum of political authority. Neither the Coalition Provisional Authority nor its appointed Governing Council offer Iraqis what they really need.

Noble lies and perpetual war: Leo Strauss, the neocons, and Iraq

Are the ideas of the conservative political philosopher Leo Strauss a shaping influence on the Bush administration’s world outlook? Danny Postel interviews Shadia Drury – a leading scholarly critic of Strauss – and asks her about the connection between Plato’s dialogues, secrets and lies, and the United States-led war in Iraq.

What was initially an anti-war argument is now a matter of public record. It is widely recognised that the Bush administration was not honest about the reasons it gave for invading Iraq.

Part 5: Networks of power and freedom

Part 5 of The new information ecosystem: networks of power and freedom

The real curse of oil

Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria…oil is curse not blessing for developing nations. Its real impact is to intensify corruption, civil conflict, and political patronage. A solution requires practical cures not conspiracy theories. Iraq is the place to start.

Democracy, Democracy, Democracy

Saudi elections, Cuban freedom, Chinese trade

Asylum-seekers and state racism in Europe

People fleeing to Europe to seek protection against human rights abuses are trapped in a further cycle of degradation. With a panoply of controls, states ignore or circumvent existing conventions across the continent. How then can the rights of asylum-seekers be defended?

Afghanistan and Iraq: in search of stability

The first two targets of the ‘war on terror’ are far from pacified. Germany and Turkey are responding to United States requests to help, but the scale of the international support needed far exceeds current prospects.

The nasty truth about the noble lie

The long walk to freedom takes place across language. What happens when words are abused by power, cheapened by war, or corrupted by media? This philosopher-TV executive surveys openDemocracy’s debate on journalism and war, and asks whether George Orwell’s dystopian vision of thought-killing ‘Newspeak’ has been realised in contemporary American journalism.

The real deal in California

Both the people and their movie-star governor may pay a heavy price, but California’s flawed recall election is still democracy in action.

Cancúnblog: from Mexico to the world

The unexpected outcome of the World Trade Organisation summit in Cancún, Mexico in September 2003 led to vigorous debate in openDemocracy. Caspar Henderson, our globalisation editor, explains how an innovative experiment – a hybrid of blog and discussion forum – was born.

The perils of simplification: a reply to Lutz Kleveman

Lutz Kleveman’s portrait of the political dynamics at work in Central Asia is inaccurate and simplified, argues Rosemary Righter. Western influence there is not oil-driven, imperial, nor indeed only American. The reality is more complex - and hopeful.

The Galileo project: science, journalism, and Jupiter

In September 2003, the spacecraft Galileo disintegrated in Jupiter’s dense atmosphere, after fourteen years of measuring the planet’s satellites. A success? Yes, but also a cautionary tale of how the media misrepresents scientific work and achievement.