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Celebrations, forgotten pasts and dire warnings: July 2nd - 8th on openDemocracy

Some celebrate while others crumble – some do both simultaneously. openDemocracy’s writers reflect and eulogize; analyse, warn and deconstruct.

8 July 2012

A war on Iran is not imminent, but neither is it far-fetched. Looking at hardware and timing, Paul Rogers shows that the US is planning more seriously for the scenario than is widely realized. He then looks to Africa, where radical Islamism in Mali raises the possibility of another foreign intervention.

Staying on the continent from which we all hail, Moez Ali looks at the developing resistance in Sudan, and finds little reason to cling to the current regime. Stephen Zunes notes that the long nonviolent, pro-democracy tradition could help topple it. In honour of fifty years since Burundi gained its independence, openDemocracy turned part bilingual, running Lyduine Ruronona’s sobering reflection on the country at 50 in French as well as English.

As another nation’s celebration fades with the 4th of July fireworks, Ruth Rosen explores the construction of American narratives that make ‘Obamacare’ hated by so many.  Novelist James Warner finds unexpected similarities in polar opposites in the books of Gilad Atzmon and David Mamet.

Matilda Moreton eulogizes beautiful Russian villages, the past of a great nation crumbling while the present shrugs. In Tbilisi, Georgia, “restoration” means the disappearance of iconic buildings. Both stories are illustrated with photographs of the unique beauty being lost to time and indifference.

In Britain, the BBC got its new Director General (at a price), and Peter Oborne asks if the choice is fuelling an unhealthy parochialism. Another appointment, to the UK’s Supreme Court, shows that the justice system refuses to take diversity seriously, writes Geoffrey Bindmann.

There’s something for followers of bank dramas too. Tony Curzon Price picks apart Bob Diamond's “bent for the job” defence; if banks need lies to survive, we should find an honest replacement. Meanwhile, EU hopeful Montenegro has its own problems with banks and lies. Balancing the theories as well as the books, Gerald Holtham explains how a National Unit of Account would allow both the euro and devaluation, while Linsey McGoey marvels at how the easily the economists have weathered the storm of their own failures.

Susan Schuppli traces an ominous line between the wartime death camps of Prijedor in Bosnia and London’s upcoming Olympics; we learn of the novel methods being used to tackle domestic violence in India, and what the death of the dream of home ownership in the UK means for the future of communities.

More celebrations, and more crises, are surely in the works.

Elsewhere on the web

The European Parliament surprisingly proved to be where controversial ACTA went to die last week. Internet activist Richard Falkvinge explains, celebrates and warns.

Numbers speak clearly in the New York Times: the War on Drugs is an utter failure 

Wikileaks have procured a large cache of emails from the Syrian political elite 

Mother Jones explains what is going on with the Mexican elections

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To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

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