This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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.

Race, caste and gender in France

Criminalizing Islam in the name of feminism is fundamentally paradoxical: Anti-racism and anti-sexism must work together. 

France’s Intelligence Bill: legalising mass surveillance

The French government claims its new Intelligence Bill is defined in opposition to the American and British models – but this just doesn't hold once the text is examined. Quite the contrary.

Lampedusa: Never again

The terrible migrant deaths off the Italian island have evoked horror across the continent. In a small camp in France, Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi talks to fellow countrymen and women who have survived: their hopes, dreams, and learning to feel unwelcome in Europe. (First published in October 2013)

The new Sangatte: rights pushed out of sight

In the context of escalating police violence and local racism, the new day centre for migrants in Calais, France is an example of increased, anti-migrant state control posing as humanitarian assistance. 

Our otherness: imagining Balkan and mid-Eastern identities

Rayna Stamboliyska

The original quote by Orwell is “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past”. In just two sentences, he has embraced our fate.

Digital citizenship: from liberal privilege to democratic emancipation

On the anniversary of the Magna Carta, a call for a new debate on the conception of citizenship. Let’s seize the opportunity to transform our utopian dreams into everyday life.

Prisons and radicalization in France

To make prisons less of a locus for radicalization, what is needed is more Muslim ministers, less overcrowding, more wardens and more respect for the legitimate claims of Muslims.

Korrika: the world's biggest language festival?

On March 19, hundreds of thousands of Basque citizens will participate in an initiative that passes a baton from hand to hand without interruption; the same baton that has become a symbol of the Basque language itself.

Global terrorism as anti-movement

In an anti-movement can be found, in perverted fashion, those demands which a movement could have pursued – the call for justice, equality, dignity, respect and ultimately a brighter future.

How European Union switchboard "demoicracy" works

The complexity of the changing nation-state under the duress of globalization is currently snagged on a simplistic drive to fast-forward the past, driven by the desire to stay local.

Home–grown terrorism: a republican failure

The issue of home–grown terrorism, among other factors, is caused by a failure of governments to implement the republican idea of protecting citizens not only from vertical, but also horizontal power imbalances.

What freedom of speech? Of foxes, chickens, and #JeSuisCharlie

Most Europeans, at both elite and mass level, have a grossly inflated idea of the extent of freedom of speech in Europe, a direct consequence of the uncritical and self-congratulatory discourse on the topic.

France's identity crisis: seeds of change

The traumatic attacks in Paris provoked agonised public debate. But to be productive this needs to range more deeply through France's colonial history and modern society. 

No, we are NOT all Charlie: your view

Cas Mudde's article on the Charlie Hebdo attacks went viral. Here's what some of you had to say in the comments.

Charlie Hebdo numero 1178: all is forgiven?

Mutual recognition between people and cultures moves in mysterious ways, the cartoon its Rorschach test. 

Charlie Hebdo: We no longer dream of the Republic. France needs a renewal of faith

Were the demonstrations of January 11 the signs of a Republican renewal? No. Less than a third of the Republic's work is done.

Free speech in the French Republic

Since the touchstone of a free speech regime is in how well it protects speech that most find revolting, its defenders have to be willing to speak also for those whose opinions they don’t find respectable.

Redefining laïcité: French integration and the radical right

Perhaps it is not the Muslim communities of France that must change, so much as the notion of laïcité.

Charlie Hebdo: stop pointing fingers and drop the reductive approach

It is time everyone stopped intentionally misinforming audiences with uninformed rudimentary analyses.

Charlie Hebdo and the right to offend

The right to offend, which the French secular republic with its long tradition of anti-clericalist satire holds particularly dear, is in everyday conflict with the values of the republic’s second largest religion.

Je Suis Hypocrite?



Surely #JeSuisCharlie was more than just a convenient slogan for the day?


Charlie Hebdo – one week later

It has been exhausting having to confront the visceral divisions among us about the nature of what happened, the roles of religion, geopolitics, and racism. And the possibility that the west, thinking it ‘is Charlie’, has been spitting on their graves.

Letter from Paris

My friends and I, either in the past or more recently, all had some kind of personal and/or activist link with people among the victims…

Charlie Hebdo and western denial

The recent attacks in Paris were the latest round in a conflict of violence, not of “values”. The primary perpetrators of this violence are western states, with Islamist terrorism representing an inevitable blowback.  

Charlie Hebdo: justice for all

I am for leaving believers in peace. Believers are individuals like any other, neither superior, nor inferior to atheists or agnostics. 

A silent cry in the crowded streets of Bilbao

Once again, thousands have marched in the city of Bilbao to protest the "policy of dispersal" against Basque prisoners and call for their repatriation.

#QuiSommesNous? A Socratic dialogue on “L’Affaire Charlie Hebdo”

Freedoms are not unlimited but who, when and how can we limit them? Two colleagues agree to disagreeContent warning: graphic and potentially offensive imagery, including torture.

I am not Charlie

The Danish cartoons were assembled to humiliate a vulnerable minority. In subsequent debates, the idea of freedom of speech has been subverted to undermine the right of Muslims to speak up on their own behalf.

The Paris demo: I was there

Some say they have understood this call: only the future will tell. But the future is now. 

Charlie Hebdo: the Prophet does not want to be avenged

Those who hold Muslims accountable for these acts, or demand that they apologize for them, are delusional. Beyond Europe, Al-Qaeda has declared open war against most Arab and Muslim-majority countries, especially those allied to the west. 

Charlie Hebdo, refuse the logic of war

European governments and civil society can respond to terrorism by affirming and building democratic institutions and thereby refusing the logic of war. Initially, this seemed to be the French civic reaction.

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