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January 30 – February 05 on openDemocracy

What does a mother say when her son's just been convicted of 15 racist murders? (This is not a comfortable read.)
13 February 2012

And what do you say to Cuban students, "disoriented progressives", who think that Ahmadinejad is an anti-imperialist hero, if you yourself are a dissident Iranian journalist who hates imperialism, but knows the true nature of the Iranian regime? Here is Soheil Asefi's remarkable response.

Not that attacking Iran is likely to help destabilise the regime - don't forget how much the Iran/Iraq war strengthened the Islamic revolution, warns Annie Tracy Samuel.

And not that peacebuilding has been so successful as a European export industry either, argues Dan Smith. Maybe we should turn it within, he thinks in this essay that opens oD's new peacebuilding addition to our Security coverage.

We've even managed to militarise international sports events, as Christopher McMichael shows us happened under FIFA's watch in South Africa and is now happening under the IOC's in London and Rio.

There's a parable of how one might respond to all these big guns in an engaging account of the Brazilian slave-culture-derived dance-cum-martial-art, Capoeira - "deceit, ambush, surprise and treason".

Mindless murder of the sort we started with is the kind of thing one of Michel Houellebecq's characters might engage in if he could ever find the motivation to do it. But is there a glimmer of optimism in the last book of this famously misanthropic author one should have read? Spare yourself the trouble, and read the review essay by James Warner.

And what side is Hacktivism on in all this: the optimism of new possibilities, as James Mackay argues? Or the forces of destruction, as Tony Curzon Price argues in an interview with Albert Wenger about SOPA and the black-out.

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