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This week's editor


Guest editor Ronan Harrington introduces this week's theme: Spirituality and Visionary Politics.

Ronan is a freelance political strategist and co-creator of Alter Ego, a gathering exploring the future of progressive politics.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Karabakh: 'frozen' conflict nears melting point

Amid signs that Armenia and Azerbaijan may once more be edging towards armed conflict over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, Wayne Merry argues that the West needs to act fast, rather than allow an old and fruitless mediation process to meander on.

Nation-building in Sri Lanka: the potential and the promise

This week is the third anniversary of the end the Sri Lankan civil war. Yet there is hope: it lies within Sri Lanka's reach to move from 'post-war' to 'post-conflict', as Sri Lankans work towards a new era of equitable governance.

See the debate: Is reconciliation possible in Sri Lanka?

The Mexico you didn’t see (this Adventure World Travel Summit)

Despite what the Mexican Federal government would have us believe, especially since taking presidency of the G20 summit, racism and repression against the indigenous people of Mexico remains strong, in fact it could be called a way of life.

Military intervention and Syria

From the Cold War onwards there is a long trail of misery stemming from military solutions to intricate situations that were clear, simple and wrong. 

Also in this oS Analysis debate:
Mariano Aguirre, on why force would intensify the conflict. Steven Heydemann and Reinoud Leenders disagree, urging the need for a credible threat. Mariano Aguirre responds to their criticisms.

Professor Charles Tripp on Art and the Arab Uprisings (Event Recording)

In the third and final event in Arab Awakening's 'Tahrir Square Meme' series, Charles Tripp, professor of middle east politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, provided a feast for the mind and the eye in his exploration of the power of art in the Arab Spring.


A spring full moon in South Louisiana causes tension, prompting our author to share some completely scientific background on this moon business

They Took His Life and Threw it on a Skip

The author and journalist Francis Wheen witnessed the shed in which he worked being burnt to the ground with all his correspondence, his computers and his latest novel. 

Zimbabwe: the prospects for democratic transition

The death of an autocratic leader does not necessarily entail the fulfilment of the long-cherished democratic transition. In the event of Mugabe’s demise, will the Government of National Unity be able to achieve transition to a separation of powers and more pluralist democracy? 

Gulf union or merger? Assessing calls for a Saudi and Bahrain-led Gulf Union

The push for a Gulf Union is not the first step in a regional alliance, but the beginning of a merger between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to fend off the chance that Shi’a political mobilisation will destroy vital Saudi interests.

The Exile Nation Project - "Forgiving her son's killer"

In this special preview clip from her upcoming interview, Dorothy Johnson-Speight speaks bravely and poignantly about the need to have compassion and forgiveness for her son's killer as a necessary requirement for spiritual growth and healing.

Mob justice in Lithuania: who can stand up to the madding crowd?

Next year Lithuania assumes the European presidency. Host to international conferences and a role model for other ex-communist countries, the country is currently gripped by a titillating case of alleged child abuse. It is being played out against a background of mob rule, support from politicians and complicity on the part of the police. How can this be? asks Violeta Davoliūtė

Energy, land and food

As the EU and the UN work to expand access to sustainable energy for all, the land and food rights of millions of people in the developing world must not be jeopardised, argues Aaron Akinyemi.

The EU's Roma role

Roma communities are facing a hostile environment in numerous European states. The European Commission needs to strike a fine balance between promoting change and allowing states to tackle this situation themselves.

Disarmament is more practical than we are conditioned to think

As attention shifts to the NATO summit in Chicago, a statement by sixteen non nuclear weapons states, including Switzerland and Norway - an ally of the nuclear weapons states, says that nuclear weapons and programmes have catastrophic humanitarian consequences and should be abolished.

A beautifying lie? Olympic culture and kitsch @London2012

The directorial questions facing Danny Boyle in his upcoming dramatisation of the Tempest for the London 2012 opening ceremony feedback into the very heart of these Games and the conceptions of Britishness on which they depend. Phil Cohen examines the self-regarding kitch on which the Olympic project depends.

How corruption, political monoculture and doublespeak keep the Scottish public away from the polls

The estimated turnout at Scotland's recent local elections is close to an historic low. But to what extent can this be attributed to the 'apathy' of the electorate? Christian Eriksson argues a lack of participation is symptomatic of a growing mistrust of the nation's corrupt, single-minded and double-talking political elite.  

Italian politics and the No TAV movement: the resiliency or failure of citizen activism?

The twenty year old No TAV movement in Italy that opposes the construction of a new high-speed railway connecting Turin and Lyon highlights the complexities of democratic citizen activism in the context of Italy's changing and warped politics.

French elections: what does normal stand for?

The vote for Hollande is not so much a radical desire for change as a possibly illusory desire to go back to the pre-crisis period. The socialists have meanwhile opened up a new approach to the economy. But 'racism from above' has led the way in this historic fight over what is normal 

Mali’s struggle: not simply of their own making

Mali serves as yet another reminder of both the power of strategic nonviolent action and the consequences of foreign powers seeking to impose military solutions on complex political problems.

Egypt’s uncertain road to prosperity: economic challenges to long‐term stability

The livelihoods of the Egyptian people are a political priority. In the 1990s, at the behest of the IMF and the US, neoliberalism exacerbated the gap between the haves and the have-nots by ensuring that the primary benefactors of growth have been wealthy Egyptians.