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This week's editor


Mairi Mackay is openDemocracy’s senior editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Bitterlemons, the next stage

An innovative Israeli-Palestinian collaboration offering regular analysis of middle-east affairs is ending regular publication after eleven years. Its co-editors, Yossi Alpher and Ghassan Khatib, explain why.

How God came to vote for Putin: the background to Pussy Riot

The gradual intrusion of the Orthodox Church into Russian secular life and the state is something that went largely unnoticed by the Russian public. The Pussy Riot trial is beginning to change all that, writes Sergei Lukashevsky.

Syria, Lebanon and the roots of sectarianisation

The civil war in Syria and unrest in Lebanon may have deeper roots than meets the eye. In fact, they may very well be the tragic result of centuries of colonisation and secularisation, as recently emphasised by Walid Jumblatt.

A rich man's toy: train toffs and the politics of the UK rail fare

As train fares across Britain look set to rise 6.2% by January, the government faces the growing wrath of the thousands of commuters increasingly being priced out of public transport. But what might an alternative look like? And how might this bequeathing of the rails to ‘train toffs’ bite back in the next election? 

Voter suppression: the "Schurick Doctrine" and the unravelling of American democracy

Republicans across the United States have passed a spate of voter suppression laws aimed at those most likely to vote for Obama. They are specifically targeting African American women who, in the past, created a gender gap that decisively elected Democratic presidents. America needs immediate international monitoring of its presidential election, says Ruth Rosen

This week's window on the Middle East - August 27, 2012

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: Traffic, trash and training: building Libya’s future

Traffic, trash and training: building Libya’s future

In Libya learning is by rote and independent thinking, problem solving and analytical approaches are nonexistent.

My Own Personal Pussy Riot

After what should have been a trip to the vet turns into a trip to the doctor, Jim Gabour ponders a strange concatenation of human and feline ailments, and describes the succession of stray cats who have called his home their own.

Syria: the myth of partition

After being rather selective in its narratives of modern Syrian history, western coverage is now spreading plots about sectarian divisions in a future Syria that has freed itself from the grip of authoritarianism 

Strasbourg: Supreme Court of the North Caucasus

For the population of Russia’s North Caucausus, crippled by war, violence and lawlessness, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) enjoys an almost mythical reputation. But even those who are successful in Strasbourg face an impossible struggle for full implementation of the rulings, says Grigor Avetisyan. 

Harry's Romp

What the third in line to Britain's throne gets up to may reveal the culture of those even closer to it. After all, where did this behaviour come from, in a family which above all believes in inheritance? Add the toxic speciousness of Rupert Murdoch to the mix and the rest of the UK's media can claim to be 'holier than thou'. Why they should think this reflects well on them, however, is hard to comprehend.

Breivik court verdict: security lessons?

Now that the legal question of Anders Breivik’s sanity has been resolved it should be possible to focus more closely on his political motivation and the security lessons that arise from this case. This should help inform a debate about how best to tackle the growing problem of far right violence in Europe and the US

Regenerating Britain's local media: can public service broadcasting come to the rescue?

With local news services of all kinds in steady decline, and democracy under threat as a result, can the BBC step in to the breach?

How women are paying for the recession in the UK

It was predictable and in fact predicted. The British Government’s austerity programme has turned back the clock on women’s rights and hard-won economic gains.

Palliative care in Russia: it's time to stop the suffering

In whatever country they manifest, life-limiting conditions are heartbreaking for children and their families. In Russia, a lack of resources and even more damaging disregard of children’s rights makes coping with the situation unneccesarily distressing, says Anna Sonkin

Media freedom in the Russian regions? You must be joking…

As the Kremlin tightens its grip even further on the Russian media, lawyer and legal rights activist Galina Arapova looks at the tough options faced by journalists, especially in the regions.

False syllogisms, troublesome combinations and Primo Levi’s political positioning on Israel and Palestine

Twenty-five years after his death, Primo Levi's legacy has been the object of many debates and reinterpretations. Distinguishing his true words from those forcibly put into his mouth is a crucial step towards understanding the thought of a major witness of the horrors of the twentieth century.

Syria: war and diplomacy

The destructive potential of Syria's conflict is creating alarm in Washington and a bare margin of hope for diplomatic progress.

The right to death as the right to one's own life

A British man recently lost his appeal asking for his impossible life to be ended with the help of doctors, instructed by the only means he had left for communication: blinking his eyes. He then refused all food and yesterday died. The Courts had ruled that Parliament must decide on the issue, but how can this be a matter for politicians, when they are no longer true representatives of the people?

The pornography of equality

The silence of our politicians on women’s security in public spaces is in striking contrast to their tremendous responsiveness to the sight of brown men insulting white women. The real problem is that in western society women’s equality and women’s pornographization have gone hand-in-hand.