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Independence and the politics of therapy – The Week in 1 Minute: April 7 – 13 on openDemocracy

An unofficial referendum on Veneto breaking away from Italy gains widespread support, while Spain struggles to appease Catalonia. The European elections will influence the Scottish referendum, as will the promise of a new direction in foreign policy. Meanwhile OurKingdom has launched an appeal to fund itsdebate on Scotland’s future.

13 May 2014

In Algeria, a week before elections, the Barakat citizens’ movement refuses to be silenced. We assess Ukraine’s presidential election candidates and ask whether India’s PM hopeful Modi has really moved beyond his Hindu Far Right beginnings. While we should celebrate the repudiation of nationalist Geert Wilders in Holland, it's wise to be wary. In Turkey, Erdogan continues to enjoy unwavering support, while the real loser is the rule of law. Meanwhile, Myanmar’s long walk to democracy gets longer.

The human rights tradition is undeniably global, but are India and South Africa betraying this proud history? In Britain, asylum seekers' rights are violated by shocking conditions in detention centres and America's secret no-fly-list undermines its claims to liberty. It's 20 years since the Rwanda genocide, and international justice has failed to deliver for the victims and survivors. And are we respecting the rights of sex workers, when we silence them in debates on abolitionist policy?

A new book by Srilatha Batliwala urges us to reclaim feminist visions of empowerment. The first woman chief mediator signs a peace agreement in the Philippines. But within the grassrootsof the Syrian revolution, women remain silenced, as activist Razan Ghazzawi explores.

We dissect the idea of the ‘smart city’ and confront the brutal ‘rejuvenation’ in Glasgow ahead of the Commonwealth Games. As Sochi ends, Russia’s portrayal of the nation contrasts sharply with the ethnic diversity put on show by the Soviet Union. Does the west still fail to understand Russia and its actions in Crimea? Undoubtedly, a new Russian power bloc is forming. What about Bulgaria? An interview with Dimitar Bechev offers a window into a country at a crossroads.

Transformation gives us an account of the importance of strangers to healing, and an exploration of politics as therapy. Plus three pieces on environment: one calls on us to demand green products and services; the other argues green growth isnot transformative enough, while the third presents a positive vision of energy descent.

Also: the World Bank-advised PFI hospital that is eating more than half a nation’s health budget, and the British university training Qatari cops.

And finally, openDemocracy is honoured to be nominated for the European Democratic Citizenship Awards in the category Citizen Media, along with other great outlets. You can cast your vote here.  

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