This week's editor

Mary Fitzgerald

Mary Fitzgerald is Editor-in-Chief of openDemocracy.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Film review: the architecture of violence

The Architecture of Violence, part of AJE's Rebel Architecture series, explores the use of architecture as a central component of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, focusing on the work of Eyal Weizman.

'Hasbara': an exercise in the impossible

Israel has constructed a systematic policy of propaganda, 'hasbara', that depends on its citizens - the extension and 'mouthpiece' of the state - to act as its voice. But this rationalisation of Israeli policy rests on shaky foundations.

Israel's security after Gaza

Israel's military forces have embraced new tactics, weaponry and a network-centric strategy. But the latest conflict in Gaza leaves the country's security problems as intractable as ever.

Will Turkey’s centre-left dare to reform itself?

The problem is that the Republican People's Party (Turkey's centre-left main political party) remains torn between the supporters of a European-style social democracy and those of a die-hard Kemalism. 

Turkish-Kurdish peace: has the hour come?

Could Kurdish voices become part of the political mainstream in Turkey; and could the PKK have its status as “terrorist” removed? 

Iraqi refugees from Mosul seek a home away from home

Nikita Malik

Christian families who have the means have managed to escape the Islamic State in Mosul for Jordan, which has provided a transit point, but where to next for Iraqi Christians?

“Expressing concern”: India’s balancing act on Gaza

India has moderated its position on the Israel-Palestine conflict over time, exchanging statements of condemnation for those “expressing concern”. But behind India’s strategic balancing act there also lies a precise domestic calculus.

Quakers urge recognition of Palestine

A statement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict made by Quakers in Britain at their Yearly Meeting in Bath, 8 August 2014.

Time to celebrate?

While many, the international community included, will breath a sigh of relief that the hostilities that have plagued Gaza for the last 50 days have finally ended another battle has just begun.

In praise of family existentialism

Two enraged, thrilling epics of the everyday make the reader the equivalent of the algorithm, seeking patterns amidst the mess, but accepting that there's no causal grand theory. A review.

A new kind of freedom born in terror

The revolution which has been taking place across Rojava (literally, ‘Western Kurdistan’), where three cantons were set up in January this year, has a grassroots democratic model.

Authoritarianism on the rise: the War on Drugs and Mexican democracy

With no end in sight for the War on Drugs, the Mexican government will only further restrict civil liberties and endow the military with unchecked powers. The collapse of liberal democratic values heralds yet another age of authoritarianism.

Challenging the refugee 'burden'

Refugees are often labeled a 'burden' by their host countries. This label is inaccurate and misleading. We must bring to light the benefits of refugees to their host communities.

Collective memory, collective trauma, collective hatred

Trauma runs through the narratives of both Israelis and Palestinians in the form of the Holocaust and the Nakba. But in order to rationalize their moral superiority, both sides actively deny the other’s suffering.

The Governorate of Homs: the Islamic State’s new fiefdom?

The Islamic State (IS), has been able to assert its dominance over wide areas of Iraq and Syria. The Province of Homs is particularly interesting, because the IS is expanding there, but has been unable to establish its authority over all rebel forces. 

The World Bank in the OPT

The World Bank’s relationship to occupied Palestine is an unusual one, and one that has not been particularly effective in terms of its stated goals. This is partly due to limitations of its mandate and of the ‘development for peace’ paradigm.

Dishonourable tv fiction: ‘The Honourable Woman’, BBC 2

The risible notion of balance, a smokescreen for privileging the Zionist narrative, has been taken to extremes in the BBC’s treatment.

Iraqis and Kurds: a question of responsibility

Iraq's escalating crisis highlights the contrasting attitudes to the United States of politicians in Baghdad and the Kurdish region.

Can an insurgency be stamped out solely by military means?

The vast majority of ‘success stories’ in counterinsurgency operations have relied not only on military means but on political and economic reforms to accommodate the grievances that caused the insurgency in the first place.

America and Islamic State: mission creeping?

The United States is increasing support of its Iraqi and Kurdish allies and escalating attacks on its jihadist enemies. Islamic State's long-term plan, though, remains on track.  

President Erdogan and the gender repercussions of political Islam

Can a new victorious president, ready to transform Turkey, sustain a Muslim modernity while bypassing the individual rights and liberties of women and gay citizens? 

Naming the political game in Turkey: populism

Turkey elected its first president through direct suffrage; so what can we expect now? It is populism that is increasingly in charge of Turkey's politics -  not any one person.

After Gaza, what’s next for Israel?

Israelis believe that the status quo represents the best short-term ‘solution’ to the Palestinian problem, since separation is almost impossible, but integration undesirable. The weakening of the PA, and inability of Hamas and Israel to reach a stable agreement in Gaza, however, demonstrate how unsustainable the status quo has become.

Philip Gourevitch’s ‘honest voice’: problems with liberal Zionism

With the disappointment of metropolitan intellectuals who feel let down by the ungrateful natives, liberal Zionists fail to see why it is those natives are angry.

Anti-representative democracy and oligarchic capture

The super-rich have captured the electoral-representative institutions of contemporary democratic regimes. The ideal of anti-representative democracy can help us understand and counter this phenomenon.

Israel, Hamas and the making of the New Arab World

Maged Mandour

The Arab Revolt, which gave so much hope to the Palestinians, has turned out to be a misfortune for the people of Gaza. The Israeli narrative has now found wide acceptance, not only in governments, but also on Arab streets.                  

Re-writing Egypt's unforgettable history

Mina Fayek

The old tactics of governance are back with a vengeance in Egypt, however, the youth have changed and through their embrace of modern day technologies will not sit back and watch this process of historical revisionism and whitewashing.

Forget about taming or disarming Hamas: cut it a deal it can’t refuse

Reactions to the 2014 Gaza war in Europe and the US are more polarised than hitherto. A radical solution that places Hamas at the centre of negotiations is worth consideration, if only to escape further time wasting on already defunct or moribund formulations. 

Revise Iraq to save it

The new PM, known hardliner against Sunnis and Kurds, has been a staunch supporter of Maliki policies. Iraq’s jigsaw puzzle, forced together by the power of empires and ruthless dictators, cannot be governed from a central location without widening its rifts irreversibly.

Keeping Hamas at bay

While the Israeli motivation has been reduced to nothing more than an aggressive hunger for more Palestinian land or a desire to kill Palestinians, what both the Hamas and the Israeli leaderships are saying and actually doing, is being ignored.

Catalonia vs Spain, a clash of two nationalisms

By targeting the Mas government, widely portrayed as extremist and irresponsible, and by refusing to negotiate on key constitutional, economic, social, cultural issues, Mr. Rajoy has – willingly or not – been playing into the hands of radicals.

Attacks on Jews and the authoritarian tide in Europe

As the war on Gaza continues, we should analyze the attacks on Jews and their property in Europe differently from how we view the masses of people taking to the streets in protest against that war.

Islamic State, Iraq, America: a new front

A military escalation in Iraq depends on Washington's assessment of the Islamic State's power and intentions. But the jihadis are also thinking hard about their next target. 

Turkey's new Caliph: understanding Erdoğan's hegemony

Erdoğan’s authoritarian and arrogant response to protests confirms his opponents’ fears that he is seeking to make himself a strongman ruler in the mould of Vladimir Putin, who also swapped being Prime Minister for President.

No 'normal' for Gaza

International attention is focused on Gaza thanks to the brutal Israeli offensive, but the real problem has always been daily life under occupation.

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