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Week in 400 words, 16-23 June

There are many women writers on openDemocracy this week, and two new debates which have us pinching ourselves: is this the twenty-first century? The first, on AIDS 2012 sees the US banning people with HIV from attending a conference plus the ongoing Sisyphean task of giving women informed choices. The second launches ‘Stories you weren’t meant to hear: women, tradition and power in Russia’s North Caucusus’, an astonishing unfolding of tragic lives from ChechnyaDagestanIngushetia, and a man’s world few Russians have heard of, in Kabardino-Balkaria.

23 June 2012

OurKingdom’s continuing campaign on G4S focuses people’s minds on what is really going wrong. It coincides with a heartfelt appeal for a public moral debate on immigrationVron Ware’s insights into a broader strategy to integrate military into civilian life in the UK; how the UK inspired South Africa’s militarisation of border defence with similar dress rehearsals around sports activities, Sir Richard Jolly on the lack of vision regarding demilitarisation in today’s world, and a huge question mark over the probity of UK arms sales to the Middle East.

This week’s window on that region wonders how much can we hope for? Were the elections the easy part in Libya? Have Palestinians expected too much from the new Egypt? And in whose interests is the big push on the securitisation of Yemen that is under way? Rita writes from Damascus, not so long ago considered the safest place in Syria.

As the world’s newest state struggles to surviveMichael Gardiner warns against a BBC that serves the state rather than the nation; the Balkans suffer from a mixed message; Lammert de Jong wants to see an end to ‘state sovereignty’ in Europe, while Lorenzo Fioramonti calls for a new bottom-up, regional solution.

As we reach the anniversary of Breivik’s Norway massacre, we are torn over a notion of evil which religion, morality and psychiatry fail to explain. Is this a lone act, or a collective, political reproach? Take the way banks have been risk amplifiers since Lehman’s went bust; at how to banks, money is real, but it is we who do not exist; how corporate power distorts aid and development in India and the UK. Isn’t it odd that one of the most important responses we might make is to resist the narcissistic vision of homo oeconomicus assumed by modern economists? 

Meanwhile, Paul Rogers reminds us that in the twenty-first century world war can break out by accident.

Don’t miss:

The Plague of Thugs: dictators using hoodlums in the Middle East
Conspiracy theories at home and abroad as Clinton is jeered in Egypt
Adam Curtis’ history of the US love affair with counter-insurgency

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Violence, corruption and cynicism threaten America's flagging democracy. Joe Biden has promised to revive it – but can his new administration stem the flow of online disinformation and shady political financing that has eroded the trust of many US voters?

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Hear from:

Emily Bell Leonard Tow Professor of Journalism and director, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia Journalism School

Anoa Changa Journalist focusing on electoral justice, social movements and culture

Peter Geoghegan openDemocracy investigations editor and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Josh Rudolph Fellow for Malign Finance at the Alliance for Securing Democracy

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