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This week's editor

VM

Our guest editor, Valsamis Mitsilegas, director of the Criminal Justice Centre at Queen Mary University of London, introduces this week’s theme: Privacy and Surveillance in 2016.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Debates and articles from across the openDemocracy website that discuss or are relevant to the Middle East

A fascist history of the Egyptian revolution II: laughter and the future

The revolutionary calls were necessary; they united otherwise mutually hostile groups, politicised the apolitical and neutralised the anti-political. But it was not exactly a rupture nor a total break with the past.

On illusions and inflated condoms

Maged Mandour

The Muslim Brotherhood, secular activists and even regime supporters have decided to shield themselves from reality, focusing on a discourse that provides them with a protective layer from the grim conditions engulfing them.

Window on the Middle East – February 7, 2016

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East.

'Commons sense’: you either see it or you don’t

Some of the debates regarding agency, change and commoning that flowed through openDemocracy in 2015.

Can Hariri coexist with a strong Christian president in Lebanon?

Hizbullah Chief Nasrallah is unwavering in his support for Aoun. Now, following Geagea’s endorsement of Aoun, can Hariri accept the Lebanese Christians’ preferred candidate?

Something is rotten in the state of Tunisia

Tunisia’s foreign friends would do well to remember that in 2011 there was a revolution in, not of the system. The current state of stasis is not a good omen for the future.

The hidden triumph of the Egyptian revolution

A message to the revolutionaries of Egypt: you can no longer recognise your pre-2011 self.

عون راجع" إلى بعبدا: جعجع يفوز بهذه الجولة"

السياسة حسابات. وكل شيء نسبي. ويبقى السؤال الأهم: في زمن التسويات النووية الدولية وإنعكاساتها على لبنان، هل من مكان لشؤون الناس، بدءًا من النفايات المتراكمة في شوارعنا؟

Rebuilding Kobanê

A report from the war-torn city of Kobanê about the people trying to rebuild what Daesh and US bombs have destroyed.

Between Trump and Baghdadi

Maged Mandour

Backwards looking politics is a malaise affecting both the west and east. It breeds violence as global elites clamber to maintain their grip on power.

 

The reckless power behind the throne

King Salman's son Mohammad seems to be piloting Saudi Arabia into a series of ever more risky adventures.

Saudi executions: beyond the numbers

The inability to recognise an affront to the rule of law, regardless of the identity of the perpetrator, reveals the region’s dire state of affairs, politically, morally, and intellectually. Arabic

Abu-Sakha’s Christmas

Six hundred Palestinians are currently being held in administrative detention by Israel. One of them is Abu-Sakha, a teacher at the Palestinian Circus School.

Islamic Reformation?

We keep hearing calls for an ‘Islamic Reformation’, but the Protestant Reformation was not a liberal enterprise: it was the original ‘fundamentalism’, whence the label now applied to Islam.

Outside the box: a Sunni endgame in Syria, Iraq?

A series of related events point to a possible endgame scenario in Syria and Iraq.

Poisoned apple: the curse of social media in the Gulf

The increased social media use in the Gulf might signify some progress for its citizens, but the extent to which it empowers them is greatly outweighed by state surveillance through the same vehicle.

Israel Firsters

For the past few months Israelis and Palestinians have experienced a wave of terrorist attacks mainly on civilian targets. Peace education may have an answer.

UGTT and the culture of dialogue in Tunisia

On the fifth anniversary of the uprising, national dialogue is what brought Tunisia to where it is today.

After the Paris attacks, what role for reforming education in the Middle East?

Recent terrorist attacks are an opportunity to push for crucial curriculum and educational reforms in Egypt and the Muslim world. 

Exceptional Israel: the case for BDS

case for BDS by other means.

Minorities within minorities: how Le Pen attracts some Muslim votes

It is not a “choice” in the proper sense, it is rather an instinct to reach the surface in order to breathe. It offers them a home in which the restlessness of “to be” can be resolved.

Conflicting interests in crowded skies prolong Syria’s agony

Turkey-Russia spat is a symptom of different, often incompatible agendas.

The photojournalist who ‘damaged Egyptian national unity’

Shawkan, an Egyptian photojournalist, has had his detention extended yet again. His camera has been as cold as the regime currently ruling Egypt - locking up anyone and everyone on no grounds at all.

Trump and Islamophobia: discrimination fuels terror

For Trump’s supporters, what they believe to be the ‘truth’ is a matter of no small significance. Now, and as a matter of urgency, an effective way in which to counter prevalent xenophobic public opinion must be found.

The paradox of the Syrian conflict and its politics

While the French president has won public approval and international backing for the fight against IS, differences persist about the necessity of coordinating with Russia.

Misplaced concern: the sectarian scapegoat in Bahrain

To truly counter violent extremism in Bahrain and maintain the country’s stability, the US must use its leverage to urge the government to fully implement human rights reform and political reconciliation.

Why it would be sheer folly to redraw Middle East borders along ethnic lines

However groundless the Sykes-Picot Agreement, is a Balkanisation of Syria and Iraq really the way forward?

How ISIS provincialised Europe

A politics of blame, of ‘us’ versus ‘them’, serves only to endorse ISIS’s Manichean worldview. Only an ethos of intercultural dialogue can help produce the "strange multiplicity" that an irreversibly multiethnic Europe so urgently needs.

No peace and quiet for Israel until the occupation ends

Palestinian activists are faced with knowing that their unarmed resistance, whilst it has attracted international civil society support, has failed to exercise any leverage over Israel.

The movement of refugees to Europe will continue, regardless of how dangerous EU states make it

Until the war ends and concerted international efforts to rebuild Syria and Iraq are implemented, the root causes of mass displacement will remain.

UK activists’ report on the struggle for autonomy in Silvan

When the city of Farqîn or Silvan declared autonomy, the Turkish state responded with violence and curfews: a firsthand account of residents' experiences.

The thinking behind a mental health workers pledge for Palestine

Concerned professionals may need to move beyond their accustomed professional roles to support a genuine transformation in Israel and occupied Palestine that respects the human needs and rights of all who live there.

Libya, the Fezzan, egoism and the danger of self-interest

The survival of Libya depends very much on the fate of the Fezzan region and on Libyans’ willingness to dialogue and cooperate among themselves.

La pobreza mundial: los errores del Nobel de Economía

La pobreza no es un problema individual de falta de recursos que puede resolverse a través de la educación, como defienden Angus Deaton y el Banco Mundial. El problema es la forma en que se distribuyen los recursos. English.

من بيروت إلى باريس، الحزن الانتقائي: "كلّنا يعني كلّنا" مذنبون

في كشفنا الحزن الانتقائي للآخرين، يبرز حزننا الانتقائي. علينا أن نعترف بعدم كفاءتنا في التعامل مع مصائب وعذابات الناس وأن نظهر التضامن بالفعل وبالقول مع جميع ضحايا الإرهاب والقمع English

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