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From the gender perspective to Scotland's referendum: January 23 - 29

One year on from the January 25 protests in Tahrir Square, the experiences of Egyptian women are strained and contradictory. Zainab Magdy tells of the experience of ‘performing’ in a world of virginity tests, attacks on women and the furore over Aliaa ElMahdy’s naked photograph. Hania Sholkamy highlighs the irony that Egypt’s ‘Parliament of the Revolution’ - elsewhere dubbed SCAF’s parliament - has one of the lowest rates of female representation in the world.
7 February 2012

Our 50.50 section underscores the gender perspective: Aleksandra Nedzi writes that victims of wartime rape in Bosnia and Herzegovina still face social ostracism and a lack of a coherent strategy to address their needs, while Christel Querton of Asylum Aid reveals the disappointing fact that UK officials are asking female asylum seekers to disclose information about sex work and abuse within earshot of strangers and their children.

 Reflecting on the last tumultuous year, Aaron Peters charts thetransformative ways of mobilising that connect the 99% in the US to the Indignados in southern Europe; Kerry-anne Mendoza examines how the Occupy movement has revolutionised our sense of self; and John Wilson argues that it has demonstrated theobsolescence of the mainstream media.

 As the countdown commences to Davos 2012, the preditctions ofthe Financial Times’ Martin Wolf for the coming economic year have generated a lively debate on openDemocracy.  John Mathews highlights one blind-spot in Wolf’s analysis – capitalism’s destruction of the planet; while Simon Zadek points out another –the fact that radical change rarely comes from the mainstream.

 Elsewhere, Christopher Sisserian explores how the French genocide law has generated a ‘conflicted moment’ for Armenian consciousness; Paul Rogers returns to the prognosis of a ‘thirty year war’ in Iraq; and both the EU’s role in arms exports andRussia’s role in the surveillance industry come under scrutiny.

 The week ends as Scotland’s first minister sets out the pragmatic question he intends to ask voters in the independence referendum.  While Anthony Barnett glimpses an end to the fusion of Englishness and Britishness, Roifield Brown hails a new era for ‘black English’ identity. Not surprisingly, Gerry Hassan hugely enjoys Burns Night 2012 and Tom Nairn assesses what Scotland might do for hyper-democracy. Meanwhile a tailor in Abkhazia undertakes to make a flag for every nation prepared to recognise Abkhazia - even though sewing Tuvalu’s flag is tricky work.

 

Three links you will not want to miss:

 

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


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.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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