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The Week in 1 Minute: Rising Phoenix-like from the ashes (February 18 – 24 on openDemocracy)

The week opened with our readers catching up with openSecurity’s conference on Syria’s Peace which took place the previous week; with Vron Ware and Ian Sinclair on the tenth anniversary of the biggest anti-war demonstrations ever to have resonated around the world; and with the news that openDemocracy has to raise a substantial sum by March 31 or face closure.

23 May 2013

Fawaz Gerges writes on Obama’s stance with regard to the Middle East and debates with Rosemary Hollis the Syrian conflict as a regional proxy war, and the costs of not negotiating with Assad. They are joined by Kristian Coates Ulrichsen on the Gulf States and Syria; the insights of Firdevs Robinson and Karabekir Akkoyunlu into the wider implications of the state of play between Turkey and Syria; and Paul Rogers on the impact of Syria’s war on Israel as a ‘fortress-state’.  

Martin Rose gives us a glimpse of another anniversary, Libya’s Day of Rage; and Mahin Kahn, Mohammad Nakibur Rahman, Salman Al-Azami and Ansar Ahmed Ullah help us to understand calls for retribution in the Shahbag protests in Bangladesh.

Amro Ali from This week’s window on the Middle East, writes movingly about a potato-seller's death in Tahrir Square. Sami Zubaida lucidly surveys the history and current impact of Islam in the Arab transformations, while Maggie Murphy warns that the UN and universal human rights are currently under threat from ‘traditional values’. Srilatha Batliwala points out that those responsible for the tremendous civilisational shifts achieved by the struggle for women’s rights are not receiving the support they need.

We have our spotlight on Italy, in the run-up to its election: Francesca Montemaggi gives us six characters in search of a country, while not everyone is impressed with Beppe Grillo, and Carlo Ungaro explains the implications of the Pope’s decision.  

On Our Kingdom, the post-Leveson battle over the UK’s press regulation has David Elstein and Brian Cathcart joined in debate, and a new enquiry is launched into UK wealth distribution with the help of Craig Berry and Karen Rowlingson. Jamie Mackay also offers us OK’s Friday essay on the multitude as a new type of political subject.

Meanwhile oD Russia celebrates Marina Gosovskaya documenting modern Russia; follows activists trying to prevent redevelopment in Ukraine; tracks funds that ought to go to Russian war veterans being siphoned off into vanity projects; and applauds the work of Grigory Okhotin’s grassroots monitoring project, called OVD-info.

Tibet is caught between its neighbours, elections in Kenya are imminent, and Somalia’s Prime Minister, perhaps prompted by a piece by Amal Ahmed last week, decides to reassure openDemocracy readers personally about the future of his country.

And during the week, openDemocracy readers and contributors, friends and supporters rise magnificently to our fund-raising challenge. So we end the week hugely grateful, ready and willing to fight with you another day.


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openDemocracy’s week in 1 minute is emailed to Members, Friends and authors who help pay for and create our great content. Please forward this to any contact you think might be interested and want to join or email us ([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.

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