October 24 - 30 on openDemocracy

The Tunisians started the Arab Awakening. Now, after a human nine months we can all celebrate the birth of free elections in their country - and it is indeed their achievement writes Ayman Ayoub. But will a consensus between Islamist and secular parties be enough to ensure Tunisian women share fully in the success, Kristine Goulding sets out a three-part answer.
10 November 2011

As democracy arrives in the Maghreb the Russian artist Maxim Kantor is biting about the way it has permitted the rise of a global “lumpen elite” enjoying a parallel life and pointless art - and you can scroll through his own graphic etchings.

Other Russians share his pessimism: an increasingly illegitimate leadership has begun high-risk brinkmanship over the nation’s economy; its secret services are investing huge sums into developing savvy tools for monitoring its online and engaged public; while oil giants and the authorities are colluding in cover-ups of the most outrageous nature. But what did you expect, asks Andrei Konchalovsky? Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose: a country can only ever be a mirror of its nation, and in Russia that nation remains totally disengaged. Surprising that so many thought democratic evolution was a possibility, concurs Daniil Kotsyubinsky.

But the Occupy Wall Street protests offer hope of a world free from crony governments and media. Shilpa Kameswaran is unconvinced: what chance does Zuccotti Park have if the protestors come from near identical white backgrounds? She claims they will have nothing like the success of Hazare’s massive anti-corruption movement in Delhi and is rebuked for shallowness, as our #Occupy debate grows.

openDemocracy loves connecting the dots, and from his Scottish vantage point Gerry Hassan sees the connections between nationalism and Euroscepticism while from London’s ippr Nick Pearce tracks how those who default on orthodoxy like Argentina and Iceland… do best.

Many in Eastern Europe carry on failing to connect with their war-time past. Perhaps the west does too. But we explore what really happened as we continue our partnership with the conference on a century of bombing. Dick Gregory exposes The American way. And there is good news! You almost certainly have not read about it elsewhere. Hiding behind an abstract headline is a fascinating report by Paul Rogers on the dismantling of the last of the most powerful thermonuclear bombs in the United States arsenal, the US B53.

PS: Can anyone spare a ticket to the Bolshoi? It opened its doors again after six years of restoration charging £240 entrance.


Three links you won’t want to miss:

Should ecocide become a crime against humanity? (Video)

Canon of St Paul’s ‘unable to reconcile conscience with evicting protest camp’

Libya: where are the women’s voices?

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.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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