Home

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

Who's getting rich from COVID-19?

Boris Johnson's government stands accused of 'COVID cronyism', after handing out staggering sums of money to controversial private firms to fight COVID-19. Often the terms of these deals are kept secret, with no value-for-money checks or penalties for repeated failures which cost lives. And many major contracts have gone directly to key Tory donors and allies – without competition.

As COVID rates across the country surge, how can we hold our leaders accountable? Meet the lawyers, journalists and politicians leading the charge in our free live discussion on Thursday 1 October at 5pm UK time.

Hear from:

Dawn Butler Labour MP for Brent Central and member of the House of Commons Committee on Science and Technology

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

Jolyon Maugham Barrister and founder of the Good Law Project.

Peter Smith Procurement expert and author of 'Bad Buying: How Organisations Waste Billions through Failures, Frauds and F*ck-ups'

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief of openDemocracy

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

Comments

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