December 05 - 11 on openDemocracy

As Sudan breaks into North and South, is it possible wonders Elfadil Ibrahim for national identities to embrace respectful pluralism? Read on for a summary of publishing highlights in openDemocracy this week...
19 December 2011

As Sudan breaks into North and South, is it possible wonders Elfadil Ibrahim, for national identities to embrace respectful pluralism?

The kind that Dong Nguyen, veteran democratic campaigner for Vietnam and the UN describes in his engrossing recollection of his family divided by ideology - cousins negotiated on different sides - but united by the love of their country. But does that love exist in post-occupation Afghanistan and Iraq?

It certainly does in Gaza, according to Jonathan Chadwick, who describes the work of a theatre group and paints a rich picture of a place that lives outside the usual stories of victimisation.

But does that political community exist in Europe? It must be the basis of any new treaty, pleads Cas Mudde. But Tony Curzon Price doubts that it does or can exist within the current institutions.

Andreas Whittam Smith is dismayed that instrumentalisation is rife within the UK's Parliament and its whole political class, and wonders whether a tactic of bringing a cohort of independents into the next Parliament could be the rebirth of the system? Anthony Barnett likes the idea, and likes that it is even thinkable today.

And if there were democratic reform in the UK, proper accountability for the Security Services would be well overdue. Peter Evans reviews current legislation to bring spies - thoroughly disgraced by their involvement in torture - under control. Nick Fielding describes their harmful bungling of the case of an alleged Russian spy, and Kaye Stearman pokes into Britain's arms dealings with Libya.

Four Links we wouldn't want you to miss:

  • Christopher Hitchens on why he no longer goes along with Nietzsche’s aphorism that “Whatever does not kill me makes me stronger”, together with a hilarious anecdote of a recent radio appearance of his on a Dixie, Christian station in which he gets ungenerously cornered…

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Will COVID break up the UK?

Support for Scottish independence is at record levels. Support for a united Ireland is at record levels. Support for Welsh independence is at record levels.

The British state's management of the COVID crisis has widely been seen as disastrous. Will the pandemic accelerate the break-up of the United Kingdom?

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