The Week in 1 Minute: Maiden, money and the military – February 18 – 24 on openDemocracy

A week when the great and the good turned out to be not so great, and not much good. Writing about Ukraine, Andrew Wilson says that, “This is potentially a great European moment,” but he adds that in the geopolitical stand-off between the west and Russia, the “EU took a baguette to a knife fight.”

24 February 2014

Another divided country, Scotland, has to make its mind up about staying with the old empire, or going it alone. Paul Salveson – “a reasonably obedient citizen” – tells his daughter and son-in-law, “we’re a lot bigger than you and size matters.” The patrician Sir Nicholas Macpherson said much the same thing, more elegantly.

The patrician Rodric Braithwaite, former British Ambassador to Moscow, is more objective in discussing how the west seems to have always been Leaving Afghanistan; and always leaving it in a worse mess; have we really not learned that history repeats itself?

More troubles for Europe as it is almost completely ignored in Poland’s not-so-European elections, and tales emerge of corruption in its judicial process. But is the apathy about the elections that surprising, asked Karen Melchior, running as an MEP, if the voting system is anything but pan-European?

Yet more European unrest as thousands of citizens across Bosnia take to the streets to demand the resignation of their political leaders. Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights in the Council of Europe, reminds us that, “The rule of law is an important antidote to 'rebellion against tyranny and oppression.'”  Are you listening, Turkey, Russian Federation, Czech Republic, Albania? But where do Ukraine and Bosnia fit in?

In Egypt, the military is trying to tame Tahrir; in India, the LGBTI community has only “so-called rights;” and in Brazil, funding for human rights is scarce. But Tunisia now has quite a constitution. Israel is not very kind to its asylum seekers, while ignoring the tens of thousands of Russians who overstay their visas. In Australia, “asylum seekers” are now described as “boat people.” But Syrian refugees are better off in Turkey than in the EU.

Money is the root of all goodness, for the Buffetts who are transforming the lives of tomato pickers in California. A Dutch video artist, however, thinks that people who play with Monopoly money (did she mean people like Mr Buffett) are “Parasites.” Perhaps money is both beauty and the beast.

Spanish women got on their “Liberty train” to Madrid, to protest about the changes to the abortion law; while in California, an order of Little Sisters showed no mercy when it came to contraception. The ‘anti-women gag law’ in Afghanistan is disturbing, but should western media jump to such hasty conclusions?

Perhaps we – the developed democracies – forget that democracy is worth fighting for. But, were they democrats, those men who laid down their lives this week in Maidan?

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