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Ten theses on security in the 21st century

openSecurity has closed as a section of oD—temporarily, it is to be hoped—because its funding has expired. Here, some of the themes emerging from these three fertile years of publishing are distilled. Below are some emblematic pieces—with signals to the series of which they were part.

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Protecting the state over against the citizen doesn't make anyone feel safer.

Aziz’s notebook: transmitting the memory of violence

A granddaughter discovers her grandfather's notebook years after the political massacres that stole her mother and aunt. Beginning as a testimony of loss, it becomes an obsession to leave a trace against silence and denial. From States of Impunity.

‘Parrhesia’: the radical destruction of impunity

What does it actually mean to speak truth to power? In his final two lectures, Michel Foucault discussed the risk involved and the courage required, far from the conventional bureaucratic techniques used today to fight impunity. From States of Impunity.

The wounds of Baghdad's Frankenstein

Ahmed al-Sa'dawi's novel, rather than reconciling the complexities of violence in Iraq, seeks to exorcise the demons that haunt the lives of ordinary people left with wounds from decades of imperial brutality. From States of Impunity.

Morocco, UN myopia and the Libyan crisis

It may be understandable that the UN should clutch at any straws to address the miasma in Libya. But Morocco shouldn’t be one of them.

UK nuclear weapons: a source of insecurity?

The UK doggedly maintains an ‘independent nuclear deterrent’ but a naval officer has blown the whistle on the system’s inherent insecurity—with its potentially incalculable implications.

The Iraqi crisis: rethinking the narrative

An approach to Iraq focused on military intervention, with some humanitarian assistance, has defied the complexity of the domestic and regional kaleidoscope. No wonder it is failing.

When does a refugee camp become a permanent home?

Encamped refugees are often portrayed on our TV screens as objects of pity with deadpan expressions. Time to ask what they think and feel.

Russian civil society deemed ‘undesirable’

A new Russian bill on ‘undesirable organisations’ has been endorsed today which will allow the government to ban foreign NGOs. But are they the real targets?

 

Challenging the Syrian state: using information systems to document human-rights violations

How modes of resistance to document state-sanctioned violence changed after the uprising. From States of Impunity.

Documenting the perpetrators amongst the people

A databank documenting human-rights violations in Iran by naming and shaming the perpetrators offers the opportunity to break through state-wide impunity. From States of Impunity.

Speak Out on Poverty: impunity, inaudibility and structural violence

This set of little-known hearings after South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission took a wider appreciation of apartheid violence and the incredible tensions released in the new terrain of political transition. From States of Impunity.

Justice, morality and exclusion from the law: the case of the Roma in Finland

‘Culture’ appears to be both an easy way in and out of understanding the complexity of the ‘moral’ and the ‘just’ among minority or excluded groups. From States of Impunity.

Theatre as justice: the fight for accountability in the streets of Mexico

Neither inside nor outside the law, street trials and popular justice have emerged as sites of social resistance to make visible the utter absence of an independent judiciary. From States of Impunity.

El Salvador’s gang truce: a lost opportunity?

The truce declared in 2012 may have been imperfect and controversial but positive lessons must be learned amid the country’s current crisis of violence.

The dilemmas of migration and the alternatives

Force and denial are not going to solve the migrant crisis—instead we must turn to long-term economic, political, and cultural solutions.

Burundi teeters on the brink of civil war following coup attempt

Burundi looks like it is entering a vortex of renewed violence. It's in a troubled region, we have been here before—and the president's determination to pursue an unconstitutional third term is blocking any democratic alternative.

Yemen at war

With a humanitarian crisis mounting in Yemen, Saudi Arabia has eased its military pressure—for the moment.

The deep roots of Macedonia's current turmoil – and the way forward

The country must avoid just replacing the driver in the seat of a captured state machinery - by increasing inclusion and pluralism in governance. This will be impossible without EU and NATO assistance.

Central African Republic: the long and winding road

The good news is that the violent factions in the Central African Republic have agreed to ban child soldiering. The bad news is that a viable CAR state remains a long way off.

Gagged in the name of security

The responses by the Spanish government to the escalation of public protest have taken increasingly threatening forms. Gag laws put the very essence of democracy at risk.