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Fragile initiatives: May 11 – 17 on openDemocracy

Fragility was one of the themes of this week’s openDemocracy – from how President Milos Zeman’s ‘tired and emotional’ state may influence Czech-Russian relations, to the vulnerability of neglected wooden churches in Russia. The tentative positive movements towards gender equality, and the fragility of this progress is highlighted by Leonardo Goi’s analysis of abuse of women in the public sphere in Italy and the problem of reducing this to a simple freedom of expression issue.

16 May 2013

Fragility was one of the themes of this week’s openDemocracy – from how President Milos Zeman’s ‘tired and emotional’ state may influence Czech-Russian relations, to thevulnerability of neglected wooden churches in Russia. The tentative positive movements towards gender equality, and the fragility of this progress is highlighted by Leonardo Goi’s analysis of abuse of women in the public sphere in Italy and the problem of reducing this to a simple freedom of expression issue.

Kathleen B Jones contests Susan Faludi’s pessimistic interpretation of feminist revolutionary Shulamith Firestone’s legacy, and Zimbabwean politician Jessie Fungayi Majome makes the case for quotas as a means of contesting entrenched patriarchy in Zimbabwean politics.  

The fragility of Europe’s future as a space where exploitation and discrimination are more easily combated is outlined in Sandro Mezzadra’s reply to Etienne Balibar’s earlier analysis. On Wednesday, Georg Vobruba presents his argument that, now there is no going back in the Eurozone crisisthe tumult of this period may become a step towards a truly European society.  

Elsewhere Gerry Hassan places Scotland’s referendum on independence and Britain’s referendum on the EU together to delineate the fraught power-plays of identity that interlock the key players in these spheres. Ross Domoney and Antonis Vradis’ film ‘Metronome’ considers public space in Athens.

The fragility of the possibility of peace in Syria as the conflict lumbers on is addressed by a variety of openDemocracy voices. Ahmed Souaiaia makes the case that, whatever the outcome when the fighting dissipates, the future of Syria will ripple beyond the Middle East region and across the globe. Roger Owen talks with Giuseppe Acconcia about Syrian rebels’ narratives and current US strategies. As the Syrian crisis continues to spill over across the region, Sarah El-Richani weighs up the increasing likelihood of a clash between Hezbollah and Israel.

As an outlet for divergent voices, we publish experiences of the UK immigration courts from the perspective of the public gallery, while the stifling of voices in Portugal is discussed in terms of their desperate attempt to please foreign observers. In his regular column, Paul Rogers looks at the American shift not just towards drones but also special forces, while Kerry Brown explains why what we think we know about China is wrong. While the present continues in its tumultuous contradictions, Costas Carras takes on the issue of the past and how best to preserve an often contested European archaeological record.


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