Questionable benefits of international attention: March 12 - 18 on openDemocracy

Will the Greek bailout really move Europe forward? Vassilis Fouskas says the only possible progress lies not in bond-swaps but in an exit from the euro-zone in a leftward direction under a radical left movement. Markha Valenta is more nuanced, but agrees the fiscal technocrats do not help, offering All stick and no carrot.

26 March 2012

In Bahrain, Stephen Nash reports from Pearl Roundabout, where ‘Freedom Square’ is being kept in a lock-down but resistance continues. There is better news from Burundi, where a campaign is freeing many women from a climate of fear and silence. However, in England, while poverty may be ‘more comfortable’ now than it was when George Orwell published The Road to Wigan Pier in 1937, we ask is this the best that could have been done? Anthony Lock claims that a ‘cyborg-Orwell’ would be looking very hard in 2012 for that democratic socialism he sought 75 years ago.


Britain’s prison service still maltreats the mentally ill, as a shocking exposé reveals and the fate of another type of prisoner, Abu Qatada, is still to be decided as Robert Lambert says  lessons must be learned about detention without trial. 


Nicu Popescu argues that the EU and the US positively hamper opposition movements in Russia by offering their vocal support. They should strengthen civil society instead by backing the media and a visa-free regime. A stronger grassroots base would help in India, too, says Siddarthya Swapan Roy, where the privileged, urbanised ‘Twitterati’ have not done enough. And in one of this week’s most important debates, we consider the campaign to bring down Joseph Kony of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Here, too, an international media event is bringing questionable benefits, while local communities often bear the brunt of the resulting violence.


Also not to be missed this week -

Explosive theatre: plays about the bomb

Feminism is funny: humour and The Female Artist

Corruption at the fair: censorship on the Indian fine art scene



Three articles we wouldn’t want you to miss from elsewhere on the web:

Don’t Elevate Joseph Kony

A President for Moldova

Breaking Down the Species Barrier



openDemocracy’s week in 400 words is emailed to Members and Friends to help pay for our great content. Please forward this to any contact you think might be interested and want to join; they should see here or email[email protected].

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.

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email


We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData