only search openDemocracy.net

This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Could democracy be the ultimate antidote to terrorism? In the face of violence, how should democratic values be put into action? openDemocracy writers present their views - join the conversation in the forum to add yours.

This debate is an extension of arguments presented by openDemocracy in the run up to the International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security, held in Madrid in March this year. To access the online forum discussion from this earlier period of debate, which is hosted on the Summit site, please click here.

Ripping back the veil: an interview with Arun Kundnani

Trump promises politics in its naked form: the seizure of power for his clan, and be damned with all the rest. As the centre ground collapses, we must not cling to it. 

How states can constrain resort to political violence

Recognising there are political elements to any campaign of militant violence makes it less ‘terrifying’ for society and is crucial in developing measures to constrain it. 

After the torture report—rebalancing the scales of justice

In the voluminous responses to the long-awaited US Senate committee report on torture by the CIA, the essence of what must follow—prosecutions, not pardons—has been buried.

Obama, Saudi Arabia and “anti-terrorism”

Last week the US president, Barack Obama, visited Saudi Arabia. Fighting extremism, the crisis in Syria, and Iran's nuclear programme would all have been live concerns. Human rights, however, was not.

Britain, Turkey and trading human rights for 'counter-terrorism'

openSecurity was inspired by a 2005 conference in Madrid on the anniversary of the Atocha station bombings, marked by consensus that 'counter-terrorism' measures had to be consistent with human rights and the rule of law. The UK was hardly represented at the event—and its performance since resembles a state whose human-rights record is ill-starred: Turkey.

Something rotten in the kingdom of Norway

At the end of his trial, the terrorist Anders Behring Breivik was deemed sufficiently sane to be imprisoned. But the process and outcome, says Thomas Hylland Eriksen, open another question: will Norway now use the opportunity to deal with its inner demons, namely the sources of Breivik's hatred of a culturally diverse new country?

The politics of mourning

Last April more than 35,000 people marched in Cuernavaca, Mexico, following the murder of a teenager. Four years into president Felipe Calderón’s diastrous ‘drug war’, the line between remembrance and protest has started to blur. Should the thousands of dead be stigmatised or martyred? Silenced or given meaning?

The London bombs, five years on: a digest

The coordinated bomb-attacks on London’s transport network on 7 July 2005 (“7/7”) left dozens dead and hundreds wounded, and marked the lives of millions in the city and beyond. The political, intellectual and security issues raised by the event were extensively discussed on openDemocracy in the ensuing months. A retrospect of unforgettable days, by David Hayes.

(This article was first published on 7 July 2010)

Victims of the bulldogs under that carpet

In Maxim Kantor’s opinion, the 39 deaths in the Moscow metro bombings on 29 March are victims of that fight between bulldogs under the carpet, as Churchill described Russian politics. The victims are always the poor, never the bulldogs. And guess who gains by the tragedy?

Spain's politics of memory

The Madrid train-bombings on 11 March 2004 provoked a dignified outpouring of collective grief. But the moment was soon reclaimed by Spain’s enduring political warfare over the national past, says Guy Hedgecoe.

I've turned 25, uh-huh. Wish me luck…

A year ago Anastasia Baburova and the human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov were gunned down by a neo-Nazi contract killer in a Moscow street. On the anniversary Moscow human rights groups are planning a demo to say no to race-motivated crime and the permissive attitude of the authorities towards right-wing radical activities. At openDemocracy Russia we share their concern and are bringing back Anastasia Baburova's blog, which we originally published immediately after her death.

Abductions and disappearances in the Philippines

In the Philippines, the Burgos case remindsd us that 900 activists have become victims, while the West looks away.

Who'll stop the rain?

Trapped in her Chennai home by torrential downpours and floods, Swetha Regunathan had no option but to immerse herself in the spectacle of the Mumbai attacks

Can Pakistan learn from Obama's "age of responsibility"?

Islamabad cannot afford to lose sight of the country's crippling economic and social failings as it fights intensifying terrorism and radicalisation

Pakistan's failed crackdown

Following the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan promised to go after Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists on its own soil. Yet despite cosmetic successes against the militants, the group's ability to recruit and foment violence remains unruffled

Kashmir: the elusive peace

India bristled at recent suggestions by the British foreign minister David Miliband that a resolution of the Kashmir dispute would help solve the problem of terrorism in south Asia. In the wake of the Mumbai attacks, New Delhi is in no mood for compromise.

The "new violence" of Mumbai

The recent terrorist attack in Mumbai is not a continuation of politics by other means, but part of an exclusivist, modern project that sees human freedom as superfluous.

The neo-Taliban: a year on

The success of a reinvigorated Afghan insurgency – albeit qualified by overstretch and internal tensions – guarantees that 2009 will be another tough year of combat, says Antonio Giustozzi.

India’s urban war: through the smoke

The assimilation of India's urban terror attacks into a global narrative of Islamist violence carries the danger that their domestic social and historical roots will be missed, says Ravinder Kaur.

British Muslims and the Muslim Council of Britain: the next decade

The three years since the London bombs of 7 July 2005 have been a time of great intellectual and organisational ferment among Muslims in Britain. As it continues, the process should include a rethink by the high-profile Muslim Council of Britain, says Yahya Birt.

Guantánamo: the inside story

Clive Stafford Smith is a lawyer who represents many of the more than 500 prisoners in Guantánamo Bay. In an exclusive interview for openDemocracy, he describes the prison camp and the conditions that lawyers work under, tells us that his clients have been tortured and explains how false information extracted by torture is contaminating US intelligence. Listen to Guantánamo, the inside story.

(This was first published on 23 November 2005)

The mufti and the general: lessons from Somalia

When should democrats talk to political and violent extremists, and who should do the talking? Ram Manikkalingam receives guidance from a gathering in Somalia.

A democracy of suspicion

The arrest of a former university colleague for downloading research materials reflects a spreading climate of fear, says Dejan Djokic.

From the shadows: Spain’s election lessons

A cautious left outguns an intransigent right - just. But now José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's government faces an even bigger political test, says Ivan Briscoe

The Other’s new face: Austria, the Habsburg empire and Islam

Two great states and empires confronted each other across boundaries of imagination as well as arms between the 14th and 17th centuries in Europe. As conflict receded so the vision of the enemy changed. How did this happen, and what are the lessons for today, asks Paula Sutter Fichtner. 

What kind of country?

The lesson of the July 2005 terror attacks is that Britain must become either secular or multicultural – and choosing the latter means setting up a Muslim parliament, says David Hayes.

(This article was first published on 28 July 2005)

Europe’s Afghan test

Afghanistan's hope of progress and security is withering. Europe must lead a new coordinated new strategy before it is too late, says Daniel Korski.

The resurgence of the neo-Taliban

A potent mix of ideology, ethnicity, strategy and social discontent fuels intensifying insurgency in Afghanistan, says Antonio Giustozzi.

Pakistan: prospects and perils

What's in store for Pakistan? Anatol Lieven forecasts. Listen now

Europe and terrorism: the wrong path

A strategy to counter terrorism that reinforces the exclusion of and discrimination against young Muslims won't work. An approach based on the establishment of trust and legitimacy is needed, says Mats Engström.

Secularism confronts Islam

The vigorous debate about Muslims in Europe and their relationship to the west's understanding of itself needs to be informed by an understanding of history's duality and the present's fluidity, says Olivier Roy.

Muslim liberals: epistles of moderation

The second letter of a group of Muslim notables to Christian leaders is a case-study in both the state of religious thinking and the democratisation of sovereignty in the global arena, says Faisal Devji.

Al-Qaida: from centre to periphery

The choice between fighting smarter against and negotiating with al-Qaida is rendered false by the movement's own dispersal, say Ram Manikkalingam & Pablo Policzer.

Al-Qaida: end of the beginning

Wars end, terrorism fades, groups die. A fresh perspective can envisage a closure of the cycle that began on 11 September 2001, says Audrey Kurth Cronin.

Towards the real al-Qaida

The 9/11 attacks catapulted the al-Qaida to global attention. What is its condition today, and do Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri still exercise control? Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou assesses a movement in flux.

Syndicate content