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This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Founder, Director and Editor of democraciaAbierta

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Yarmouk: a late obituary for the capital of the Palestinian diaspora

The story of the Palestinian refugee camp besieged, destroyed, and emptied it of its people before being looted by Syrian regime soldiers.

Russia’s cautious role in Syria

How far would Russia risk its international relations to protect the regime of Bashar Al Assad?

I am from Salamiya but none of this applies to me

In Syria, one could notice some of the significant remarks denigrating others based on their religion, sect, race or color. العربية

أنا من السلَمية... لكني لست ممن في هذا المقال

"عبادة الفرج" كتهمة تتخذ بعدين اثنين. فهي من جهة تنكر عليهم "عبادة الله" كمسلمين، وهي من جهة ثانية تحقّر المعتقد الإسماعيلي إلى مستوى "عبادة الفرج"، بحيث يكون الكفر أو الإلحاد أو الشرك بالله "تهمة" لطيفة جداً. English

Our Sectarianism – not just the regime’s creation

Talking about sectarianism in Syria is like standing on the line of fire. How can we talk about sectarianism without perpetuating it? العربية

طائفيتنا التي لم ينتجها النظام

يبدو الحديث عن الطائفية في سوريا أشبه بالوقوف على خط النار، إذ كيف يمكن الحديث عن الطائفية دون تأبيدها؟ English

The “other” and oral sectarian culture in Syria

Before the Syrian uprising, relationships between Syrian sects were, like those betwen the regime and the population, governed by taqiyya [dissimulation] or even hypocrisy. العربية

صورة الآخر في الثقافة الشفوية السورية

قبل الإنتفاضة السورية كانت العلاقة بين مختلف الطوائف السورية تحكمها التقية أو قل النفاق، كما هي العلاقة تماما بين النظام السياسي والشعب. English

“Why would Assad do it?” Debunking the abstract theories surrounding Syria’s chemical attacks

The April chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma provoked widely-circulated theories questioning why the Assad regime would use chemical weaponry. But do they really hold?

A Syrian game of thrones: infotainment and New York Times’ spectacular coverage

The ‘catchiest’ New York Times’ articles about Syria since 2011, reveal an obsession with the spectacle, a failure in understanding the conflict itself but success in understanding the spectators of the conflict.

"من "هذه البصلة سنية" إلى "السنة طيبين متلنا

في فضاء القرية التي ترعرعت بها، كان شتم عمر بن الخطاب وأبي بكر وعثمان أمرا شائعا جدا، إلى درجة أن أطفال القرية يتعلمون تلك المسبات دون أن يدركوا أو يعرفوا معناها تماما. English

From “this onion is Sunni” to “nice Sunnis like us”

In the village where I grew up, insulting Omar Ibn Khattab, Abu Bakr and Othman was common to the extent that children learned the insults without knowing their exact meaning. العربية

When the name Yazid is neither good nor bad

Syrians lack a common history and will continue to do so as long as the oral history of each group remains different from the one presented in slogans of national dissimulation. العربية

عندما لا يكون يزيد شريراً أو خيّراً

الحقّ أنه ليس للسوريين، بخلاف ما يُحكى كشعار، تاريخ مشترك ما دام التاريخ الشفوي لكل جماعة مختلفاً عن شعارات التقية الوطنية؛ هذا التاريخ الجامع لتناقضاتهم لم يُعترف به ليُدفن كما يليق به. English

Oral culture and identity in Syria - Dossier

What are the origins of sectarian consciousness in Syria? Did it appear from nothing or was it always dormant and waiting to erupt? العربية

Iraq and Syria: of memory and maps

The interests of outsiders, not those of the battered, bloodied and belittled peoples of Iraq and Syria, drive this brutal political theatre.

الثقافة الشفوية والهوية في سورية - ملف

ما هي خلفيات الوعي الطائفي، فهل ولد بين ليلة وضحاها أم أنه كان راقدا بيننا ينتظر اللحظة المناسبة للانفجار في وجهنا؟  English

Reporting Syria: this is a story about people - an interview with Rania Abouzeid

A conversation with reporter Rania Abouzeid about practicing journalism, the role of media in the conflict, and the future of Syria.

The crisis of the state in the Arab region and the rise of the Islamic State

Islamic radical groups, such as the Islamic State, seem to have become the substitute for a failed regional order and failing domestic conditions.

How Assad tortures and kills Syria’s pacifist young leftists

Why is it that the brightest peaceful activists who preach freedom against violence are the first to be killed by the Assad regime?

Syria: on academic freedom and responsibility

The duty of intellectuals should be to ensure accountability, not to engage in frivolous revisionism. 

The ‘Doctrine of Humanitarian Intervention’: and how it exposes the absence of any serious intention to help Syrians

Diplomacy should focus on the humanitarian situation and the need for civilian protection rather than or as well as finding a political solution.

Who is the winner in post-ISIS Syria?

ISIS may have been defeated, but the battle for Syria's political soul is far from over.

Gassing and selective applications of a ‘Red Line’: lest we forget

The gassing of people is considered exceptionally inhumane, officially a categorical “red line” dividing good from evil. This belief now threatens to trigger an escalation with unpredictable consequences.

Syria: stop asking questions!

Who gets to decide who is involved in pseudoscience and misdirection? Who asks the questions and who gets bamboozled? What role should the media play?

US withdrawal: what next?

With the war on the "Islamic state" in both Syria and Iraq almost over, the eye is now turned to the two superpowers; the United States of America and Russia. العربية

انسحاب أمريكا: ما التالي؟

أَمَا وإنّ الحرب على تنظيم "الدولة الإسلاميّة"في كلّ من سوريا والعراق قد انتهت، أو تكاد، تتجه الأنظار الآن إلى الهدف التالي لكلّ من القوتين العظميين، الولايات المتحدة الأمريكيّة، وروسيا. English 

Re-thinking EU-Turkey co-operation over migration

Turkey’s military offensive in Afrin is also an example of how refugees are instrumentalized to gain domestic support for foreign policy ambitions.

Limited justice for Syria on the horizon

As the long and tumultuous Syrian civil war grinds on, the cascade of death, displacement and physical destruction shows no signs of ending. 

Let’s talk about the civilians dying in Syria

While recent violence in Eastern Ghouta has made international headlines throughout the first months of 2018, it has not been the only display of force by the Syrian regime.

The horror of Syria - the curse on our houses

Aid workers speak out against the suffering of Syria, the failures of politicians and the cynicism of political campaigns to discredit foreign aid.

The Syrian Kurds at a crossroad

The sharp regional and international alignments that have currently gripped the Middle East in general, and Syria in particular, have put the Syrian Kurds at a crossroads. العربية

How will a Syrian child delete the image of his poverty from search engines?

Media professionals should contribute to respecting the privacy of individuals or groups who are subjects of their news articles, especially when it concerns children and their privacy. عربي

Israel complains about violation of its sovereignty while being a serial violator

In the 4-month period from 1 July to 30 October 2017, Israel violated Lebanon’s airspace 758 times for a total of 3,188 hours.

Long way to Afrin: Turkey’s strategic refugee policy aimed at electoral hegemony and regional political ambitions

Syrian ‘guests’ in Turkey have been used not only as political tools for foreign ambitions, but also for reinforcing the conservative and Islamist ideology promoted by Erdogan’s AKP.

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