only search

This week’s editor

Tom Rowley is editor of oDR, covering the progressive agenda in Eurasia.

Making history: the future of the World Social Forum

The World Social Forum in Mumbai was democracy in action in search of a fairer, people-centred world, says one of its Indian organisers. But to advance its global ambitions, must it look beyond Brazil as the site of future forums?

Cold Mountain up close

In the story of an epic wartime journey whose source lies in the intimacy of a profound love, the novelist Candida Clark finds both humanity and wisdom. Anthony Minghella’s latest cinematic epic is a great love story. As such, it is also a great anti-war story. The film is set during the American Civil War of 1861-65, but apart from early scenes – which vie with Saving Private Ryan for sheer realism – there are no battles, few explosions, no sense of war-plan or stratagem. Nor are there martyrs or heroes.

Back to the Future

Want to know the five top stories of 2004? Take a trip on Professor Ivor Clue’s time machine.

The greater power

President Bush gets fundamental. Senator Kerry storms home in the New Hampshire Primary. In the third of his weekly columns on the US election, Todd Gitlin looks at the key figures and does the math.

From the magic mountain: the World Economic Forum

The annual Davos conference pulsates with brilliant people. Why do so many of their fine ideas dissolve with the winter snow? Simon Zadek, an insider-outsider with attitude, sends a daily diary from the high-altitude conference.

Hutton - the wrong inquiry

A press corroded by cynicism could not see that the death of a British weapons scientist was a private tragedy, not a political scandal.

Hutton and the BBC

The Hutton report is both hopelessly skewed and a devastating critique of the BBC’s failures, says David Elstein. But it provides the corporation with an opportunity to change for the better.

Kodak moments at the World Social Forum

Seeing Nordic hunks and Indian tribals exchange email addresses, this Indian journalist and filmmaker knew that the Mumbai jamboree was a window on a new world.

Changing the script

The failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq will lead the United States and Britain to invoke humanitarian concerns as the war’s primary justification. The evidence of their long entanglement with Saddam’s regime tells a different story.

Libya, Oh Libya!

Gaddafi the “statesman”, Iraq the “market economy”, Dick Cheney the “evil genius” and Neo-con fashion!

The Campbell Code

The Hutton report on the death of a British scientist blames the BBC and clears Tony Blair, but misses the larger truth of the Iraq weapons affair: the British government’s system of command and control

Censor this: Iran's web of lies

Iran’s censors have a new enemy: the internet. But users of new media in the country are inventing ways to speak truth to power.

The silent wounds of Gujarat

A new report highlights a neglected aspect of the massacre of Muslims in India’s western state of Gujarat in 2002: brutal sexual violence against women.

'I was a child soldier'

“I can’t remember anything until I was five years old. Then what I noticed was war. My mother and father and I were running away.” A Liberian teenager recalls a childhood of war.

I am from Liberia in West Africa. My town is Lofacounte, in the north. I have spent all my life fleeing. When I was a child, we had to move from my town and take refuge in neighbouring villages. That went on for years.

The morning the fighting started I was selling kolanut for my father in another part of town. I rushed back home to check on my mother.

The balance of follies

The patriotic duty of Palestinians? To stay in bed. The interest of Israelis? To let them be. Iraqi writer Khalid Kishtainy’s unique perspective on endless violence.

The next betrayal? The Kurds and their 'friends'

Iraqi Kurds have struggled for self-determination for eighty years. Iraq can have no peace – and the United States may lose an ally in the Middle East – if their rights are again denied, argues a Kurd who originally supported the US-led of Iraq invasion in 2003.

Rethinking war

After the cold war, the United States merely revised its military doctrine. Afghanistan and Iraq are forcing it to a full rethink. Will it go deep enough?

Democrats get real

Democratic voters are teaching their party to fight smart. In the second of his weekly columns on the American election, Todd Gitlin reads a lesson in the Iowa snowfall.

Starbucks, Atkins and Plastic Surgery

French discrimination, Swelling markets, Silvio’s surgical strike

Whose American election?

The American presidential election belongs to the global community as well as the United States. openDemocracy intends to facilitate a dialogue between them.

The Ford Foundation and the World Social Forum

The Ford Foundation, a large United States philanthropy, supported the World Social Forum’s first three meetings in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and will participate in the latest gathering in Mumbai, India. Lisa Jordan of Ford – one of’s backers – talks to Caspar Henderson about the foundation’s engagement with global civil society.

The politics of anti-politics

It’s election year in the United States. In the first of his weekly columns, Todd Gitlin watches candidates line up to disown Washington and asks: is this less a presidential election than a race to be outsider-in-chief?

Global civil society: the politics of a new world?

From Porto Alegre to anti-war movements, 2003 was a tumultuous year of political mobilisation. As the 2004 World Social Forum opens in Mumbai, will “global civil society” build an enduring space in support of a more humane form of globalisation?

Military intelligence, political desire

Iraq and al-Qaida, Wealth and Happiness, Euro pacifism

Not tonight, Josephine!

“I decided to test one of my most treasured theses: that France is the America of Europe.” Dominic Hilton conquers Paris.

A war on several fronts

As violence continues in both Afghanistan and Iraq, senior levels of the United States military are becoming increasingly concerned – and vocal – about the strategy guiding the “war on terror”.

A light in the winter dark

The story of a California-based friend reminds Dave Belden that while medical science can keep you alive, ordinary human compassion is the deepest source of progress.

The man who built the WTO: an interview with Peter Sutherland

Does international trade help poor people? The man who created the World Trade Organisation, has no doubt: the answer is yes. In a confident interview, Peter Sutherland champions economic integration, welcomes the entry of China, India, Russia and Brazil into the global economy, and claims that the failure of the latest WTO summit at Cancún needn’t be permanent – provided both north and south are committed to multilateralism.

P2P: revolution or evolution?

The language of anarchy used by Siva Vaidhyanathan to describe peer-to-peer networks cannot capture the nature of the change they represent – no less than the birth of a new epoch of culture.