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This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Why the west cannot defeat ISIS

Maged Mandour

ISIS has emerged from the wounds of the Arab world—for which the west is to a large extent responsibleand current airstrikes are pouring salt into these wounds.

The answer to Paris may be Paris

Paris is about to host the COP21 - a mammoth UN conference on climate change. It is exactly this event that might be a unique opportunity to send a decisive strike to ISIS and its economics.

Why did ISIS target France?

ISIS has clearly expanded its theatre of operations beyond the Middle East but why did it target France?

We don't need another "war on terror", we need a policy change

We need a serious debate about the failure of the "war on terror". Here are a few proposals for an alternative strategy.

Democracy and belonging

In 2006, a conversation before a large audience in Rotterdam on the role that Muslims should play in European societies took place, between Dyab Abou Jahjah, then president of the Arab European League with its Antwerp headquarters, and Tariq Ramadan. openDemocracy’s Editor was there. Archive.

If ISIS uses chemical weapons, the west will be partly responsible

How can the international community respond effectively and promptly to this growing threat, not just to the Middle East region, but to the world?

Which lives do we mourn? And other questions we no longer decide for ourselves

What control does Facebook have over our experience of tragedy?

Blame games

The perpetrators of the attacks on the London Underground in 2005 were also born and raised in Britain. So much for the British-French dichotomy.

Plus c'est la même chose: racist connotations of the “new” terror

This simplistic stereotyping of 1.6 billion people as extremists is not only ridiculous but also has serious political implications.

París: composición de lugar

La massacre del 13/11 revela la escala de la amenaza de ISIS. Es vital una respuesta coherente. English. Português.

Why fear is our enemy

"It is a France made up of diversity, plurality, of people coming together and mixing, that the terror wants to shut down, to silence through fear, to make disappear through horror. And it is this open society that we must defend because it is our most secure and lasting protection against terrorism."

After Paris: live news should challenge narratives, not recreate them

After the Paris attacks there is a desperate desire on the part of major news organizations to create and drive the narrative of terror attacks, when what they should be doing is questioning and interrogating narratives.

In war

In this nomadic, undefined, polymorphous, and unsymmetrical war, the populations on 'both shores' of the Mediterranean are taken hostage. And Europe has a nearly irreplaceable function.

A message to my country: refugees are victims of terrorism, not its source

The new right-wing Polish government is trying to use the Paris attacks as an excuse to scapegoat refugees and stir up nationalist fervour. This is my message to them. Polski.

The Paris attacks

No European country, even Britain, can defend herself any more on her own and each one is now a potential target for ISIS.

IS attacks and not playing their game

For the terrorists, best would be to be left alone to consolidate. Next best would be an epic all-out confrontation with western infidel ground forces. We should not give them what they want.

The demon of Death, a letter from Paris

The real goal of the attacks in France, as well as those in the Shia southern suburb of Beirut a few hours before this, is through fear, to spread division.

Paris has been hit at its heart

The roots of these terror attacks are deep. They lie partly in Syria and Iraq, but also partly in our French and European cities. 

Michel Foucault as an activist intellectual

Foucault's 1982 - 3 lectures presented his thoughts on the subject of parrhesia, or the truth-telling subject. He found himself confronting governments through speech acts in ways that we have yet to understand.

The drowned and the saved: Foucault's texts on migration and solidarity

This is (along with Islamism and neoliberalism) one of a certain number of global issues on which Foucault can be credited with having shown a degree of prescience; and the future he foresees is sombre.

“The refugee problem is a presage of the great migrations of the twenty first century.”

This is an interview with Michel Foucault conducted by H.Uno, translated by R Nakamura for Shûkan posuto and published in August, 1979. In October, this timely if not prophetic text was translated from the French for openDemocracy by Colin Gordon.  

The rights and duties of international citizenship

This statement was read by Foucault at a press conference on June 19, 1981, organized in association with Médecins du monde and Terre des hommes, in the presence of Yves Montand, André Glucksmann and Bernard Kouchner. 

Calais refugees: the good, the bad and the ugly

The population of the refugee camp in Calais known as "the Jungle" shows no sign of decreasing. One human rights activist talks about the situation there.

The EU's nerve-wracking disconnect on surveillance

Each time an EU government is confronted with a threat to security, it nearly always plunges into knee-jerk reactions at the risk of undermining the very freedoms its officials claim to protect.

A tragédia interminável do dia de Colombo

A celebração do Dia de Cristóvão Colombo não e aceitável. A colonização trouxe consigo uma imensa tragédia que há que começar a recordar. English. Español.

"There was a group of capable people, but they killed each other": The Corsican struggle forty years on

Forty years after the events in Aléria that sparked a violent struggle for independence in Corsica, what has become of the clandestine nationalist movement?

Time to move beyond nuclear tribalism

"Question: Is nuclear power good or bad?

 Answer: No. Some nuclear is good, some is bad. For example, the Govt. should support an IFR."


It seems normal to grant priority to victims of wars which are destroying Iraq and Syria, because we all share a large part of the responsibilities in the present conflicts.

The poisoned chalice

Part two of the insider view of negotiations between Greece and the Eurogroup. When is a rescue not a rescue but a seizure of assets? Interview.

Charlie Hebdo and the dawn of French McCarthyism

After a short-lived phase of national unity, critics have stressed that France is now more intolerant. Furthermore, since last January, free speech has regularly been under attack by a peculiar brand of "French McCarthyism".

European values and the Arab world

Maged Mandour

EU politicians can promote 'European' values by stopping their support for autocratic regimes, and by starting to ask tough questions about radicalisation.

The Brussels diktat: and what followed

Alexis Tsipras won the battle on a question of principle - the need for a new Europe - even if he lost the war that ensued. What are the implications for the Greek left and for Europe? (Long: 9,000 words) Français. Deutsch.

The decline and fall of the European Union: is it time to rip it up and start again?

There was no distinction in EU politics between friend and foe. Everything worked so nicely. But this was also the reason why nobody was greatly interested. This has definitely changed now. 

Why European countries can't stop selling warplanes to dictators

The sale of 24 Rafale combat jets to Egypt was portrayed as a great moment for France by most politicians and media. Very few expressed concerns about arming and supporting a regime guilty of serious human rights abuses.

Exiled in Senegal

Damien Froidevaux’s Death of the Serpent God is not about politics, and yet it is a deeply political film. At the Open City Documentary Festival on 18 June 2015.

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