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This week’s editors


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Sexual violence and war: inevitable?

A key reason for the seeming ubiquity of sexual violence in war is not its inevitability, but the impunity associated with it, says Maria Neophytou

My right, my responsibility

Nairobi Women's Hospital treated more than 300 women who had been gang raped in the aftermath of the contested Presidential election. Speaking from personal experience, Wangu Kanja reports on the challenges these women now face

The Arms Trade Treaty: why women?

It would not be possible to rape women in front of their communities and families, on such a large scale in much of the world’s conflicts, if the availability of small arms and light weapons was controlled, says Sarah Masters

Accountability and justice in Sri Lanka: a new chapter at last?

The recommendations in the Report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka provide a good starting point for what should be done to free the country from its cycle of violence.

Is al-Qaeda establishing a small Shari’a emirates in Yemen?

Al Qaeda are trying to make up for the Arab spring in several areas, including Yemen.

What happened to Britain’s wartime know-how?

Senior military figures have called on the British Prime Minster to scrap proposals to increase Britain's overseas aid spending and enshrine it in law. But Britain should keep its promise and go further, restoring the wartime UN to the proper place in its political culture.

Redefining security: human rights and economic justice

Security is impossible without people’s freedom to organize and defend their rights, a cornerstone of the exercise of citizenship. History gives us ample evidence of this, say Lydia Alpizar and Masum Momaya

Women: redefining peace, democracy and security

From May 23-25, women activists and scholars from around the world will gather in Quebec at the invitation of the Nobel Women’s Initiative to discuss 'Women Forging a New Security: Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict'. Jenny Morgan and Jessica Horn will be reporting for openDemocracy 50.50

Ocampo targets Gaddafi: will International Criminal Court help end abuse of civilians in Libya?

Libya falls in a category where criminal justice should be sequenced so it does not hamper the possibility of a negotiated end to the conflict. Issuing arrest warrants on Gaddafi and his comrades is an undesirable move.

Africa Centre politics: microcosm of failed democracy

The Africa Centre in London has been a refuge and cultural beacon for four decades. After a secret deal to sell the building was leaked, a campaign was launched to save the Centre reaching across Africa and the diaspora. Yet the people are not being heard, reflecting the failures of democracy in the continent itself

Why Hamas has no need for Saatchi and Saatchi.

There is little evidence that suggests that sanitizing or transforming the Palestinian brand produces much of a return, at least not for Palestinians.

Greece’s other imminent crisis

Could politics in Greece prove even more dangerous than its economics?

Our European incapacity

If we are to articulate a ‘politics of hope’ in contemporary Europe, then we must revisit such problematic concepts as ‘populism’, ‘democracy’ and ‘Europe’, formulating a new language that can register the fact that the coexistence of an antidemocratic Europe, and an anti-European exploitation of fears and frustrations, are two sides of the same coin.

A story of moral abandon

Nonviolent power is quickly forgotten when the tried, tested and endlessly catastrophic option of violence re-presents itself to Western powers. Nonviolence is what we applaud. Violence is what we do

Bin laden ‘revenge’ suicide bombing kills 80 in Pakistan

Eighty people die in the first Bin Laden revenge killing by the Pakistani Taliban as coalition leaders consider expedited troop draw down. Libyan rebel leaders are in Washington to seek US recognition and financial support. Colombian rebels are implicated in assassination attempts against political rivals of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. All this and more, in today’s security update…

Skinback Fusiliers, Episode Eight

We present the eighth of ten weekly episodes from a brutal novel by an acclaimed British author

How Republican are Alassane Ouattara’s "Republican Forces"?

The Côte d’Ivoire now needs to enter a period of demilitarisation. This faces challenges in the long and the short term arising from the sort of resistance that developed under Bédié and Gbagbo. But there is hope that genuine republicanism might emerge from Ouattara’s violent victory

The future of Islamophobia: the liberal, the Jew, the animal

The ritual slaughter of animals has become the last of many areas of contention that are changing the shape of our public domains. The way in which Islamophobia is becoming a part of our public ‘common sense’ has complex knock-on effects, not least for our Jewish minorities.

Two arrests, a suspension, accusations of Islamophobia: Nottingham University must submit to a public enquiry

A professor was suspended earlier this month after publicly criticising the University of Nottingham's actions three years ago, over the arrest of a student and staff member on terrorism charges. Ryan Gallagher states the case for a public enquiry into the arrests of Sabir and Yezza, both released without charge, and the suspension of Dr Thornton

Xenophobia and the Civilizing Mission

Europe’s civilizing mission is humanitarian - its duty to intervene to spread the good word, protecting the oppressed against local tyrants. The conditions by which this protection is granted are always dictated by the protector and never the protégé. Though this is not said, it is a given.

America’s military: failures of success

The afterglow of Osama bin Laden’s killing fuels the United States’s confidence in its shift towards integration of military and security policy. But it is another grand illusion and missed opportunity.

East European Geographobia

There are particularities of fear in a post-communist Europe bewildered by the demands of neoliberalism, which also tap into a legacy of aversion matured during Communism.

Politics of fear: a frightened left

Nobody has raised real debates in national or supranational parliaments to discuss the excesses of the securitarian discourse. Quite the opposite: the left has adopted the security discourse wholesale as its own and entered into a kind of auction with the right.

Old and new demagoguery: the rhetoric of exclusion

Right-wing populist parties tend to be anti-multinational and anti-intellectual: they endorse nationalistic, nativist, and chauvinistic beliefs, embedded - explicitly or coded - in common sense appeals to a presupposed shared knowledge of ‘the people’.

Xenophobia: Europe’s death knell

The Europe that is dying is the one that remains hostage to its past. Another Europe is not only possible but is in fact fast becoming an urgent necessity. This would be a Europe of vitality, open to connections, that has let go of its civilisational conceits

Deparochializing democratic imaginaries

We needn’t disavow the insights of contemporary democratic theory to explore the intuition that they have been deeply shaped by the experience of democracy in one part of the world, and that this might produce inadvertent gaps or weaknesses in the theory.

Europe and its myopic leaders

Europe’s leaders are reversing their historically generous role in assisting countries out of criminality and fascism. What we are seeing now therefore strikes at the heart of the European project not just the euro.

Crisis - what crisis?

Why is widespread social anxiety fuelling xenophobia rather than criticism of neoliberal capitalism? What role has the state played? Have we arrived at the paradoxical situation where the best we can do is to call on the state to do its job?

Xenophobic Europe

Our guest editor introduced his special feature on the ‘Uses of Xenophobia’, on Europe Day. Here, he maps the new relevance of an open and shared commons to a continent that is once again meeting economic, political and cultural insecurity with a resurgence of aggressive political demagoguery

Iraq and the April Spring: Maliki’s last chance

Just as Iraq’s Prime Minister was putting the finishing touches on an authoritarian edifice in the best Arab tradition, the whole model comes crumbling down.

A message from the front line

Does Europe offer a model for a solution to xenophobia, or is it a major part of the problem; or is it just in a much more confused place altogether?

NATO’s collateral tyrannicide

Will the killing of Osama Bin Laden bring justice and peace to the world? There is a growing body of evidence reaching back through the centuries, to suggest that it will not.

Skinback Fusiliers, Episode Seven

We present the seventh of ten weekly episodes from a brutal novel by an acclaimed British author

The Russians in Afghanistan: part II

In the second part of exclusive extracts from "Afgantsy", Rodric Braithwaite focuses on the soldiers who served in Afghanistan: their music, the dead, the wounded and the ambiguous reaction of their compatriots on their return. Most soldiers found adapting to life back home immensely difficult; some would later nostalgically reflect on their Afghan years as the best of their life.

Al-Qaida and the Arab spring: after bin Laden

The death of the al-Qaida leader is a symbolic moment. But far more important is that the future of his movement - and much else besides - is closely tied to the success or failure of the Arab risings.
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