This week's editor

Alex Sakalis, Editor

Alex Sakalis is associate editor of openDemocracy and co-edits the Can Europe Make It? page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Making local ceasefires work in Syria

Any approach to Syria should be judged by its ability to stop the daily abuses against civilians. Advocates of local ceasefires must strive for a balance between immediate relief from the daily suffering and commitment to basic rights and the aspirations of Syrians.

Latin Americans pay price for corporate environmental destruction

As the COP20 conference comes to a close in Lima, can the corporations whose ‘externalities’ foster climate change ever be brought to book?

Leaderless no more

The rise of new left leaders such as Alexis Tsipras in Greece and Pablo Iglesias in Spain reflects a new desire for leadership and political representation at odds with the neoanarchist culture that has for long dominated the radical left and influenced the movements of 2011.

An inversion of democracy: the case of Alabama and Israel

Democracy does not end at the ballot box. All humans are equally deserving of respect. The legislators of Alabama and Israel have undermined the trust placed in them by the public and so we must question their commitment to their duty to serve.

Human rights essential for holding states to account

Time and time again, regardless of political persuasion, when people are asked if they support, say, the prohibition against torture or the right to life, the answer is a resounding yes.

Extremism and 'Prevent': the need to trust in education

‘Prevent’ is the part of the UK government’s counter-terrorism strategy designed to respond to the ideological challenges of terrorism and extremism. Are its priorities self-defeating? There are promising alternatives.

The European Kurds rallying to fight IS

With Kurds in Iraq and Syria under attack from the Islamic State, many young Kurds in Europe have been joining resistance forces—a trend occluded by the media focus on European-born jihadists.

Who wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ?

Many of the assumptions about who wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are wrong. The less known story of the men and women who wrote this foundational, emancipatory and anti-colonial document must be told in today's world.

Of canaries and coal mines

Are women the canaries in the coal mine, their ill treatment signalling larger problems within a society?  Or is there something deeper going on?  Might male-female relations actually be the coal mine itself?

Tracing the impact of the Ferguson uprising in Turkey

It seems that the time has come for Erdogan to return the favour and make a similar phone call to Obama. He has an excuse to do so now, which can only spell more heartache.

Israel in the Arab consciousness: friend or foe?

Maged Mandour

The events of the Arab Revolt have dramatically shifted the position of Israel in the region. Arab regimes have moved from rejecting the existence of Israel to accommodation, to implicit cooperation, in some cases, open cooperation.

Nuclear survivors' testimony: from hell to hope

Participants at the HINW Conference were screened for nuclear contamination yesterday, before listening to testimony from survivors mobilising for the abolition of nuclear weapons in what Pope Francis called "our common home."

Russians resisting war and repression

There are segments of the Russian population that, even in a politically inclement environment, bravely voice their open opposition to Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine.

Gathering speed to ban nuclear weapons

The Third International Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons (HINW) opens in Vienna today, with arguments for humanitarian disarmament growing in strength. This time the UK and the US will attend. What will be the likely outcome?

Gay in Gambia: not a joke

Gambia rushed through its new criminal code in relative secrecy. With political opposition and activist groups thwarted, the international community has a responsibility to speak out. 

Beyond the square: changing dynamics at the World Social Forum

If the recent Occupy-type social explosions are to seek transformative action beyond occupied squares, they should look at the history of the World Social Forum, with its valuable paths to transnational connectivity.

The stories we tell about ISIS and women

Political and popular discussions about strategies to confront ISIS are doing women in Iraq and Syria a disservice, and playing into the hands of ISIS.

The tale of the useful bulldozer

A single incident in the air war against the Islamic State offers a lesson in its character.

Do we all live in Bhopal now?

A Greenpeace study finds 473 US chemical facilities each endangering 100,000 or more people with a Bhopal magnitude disaster on its 30th anniversary.

Turkey: seeing Kurdish politics through a narrow prism

With its stance on Kobane, Ankara is in danger of undoing advances in the Kurdish peace process. It must act boldly now to set things back on course.

British perfidy in Greece: a story worth remembering

It was the day, seventy years ago this Tuesday, when the British Army at war with Germany switched their allegiance, opening fire upon – and arming Greek collaborators with the Nazis to fire upon – a civilian crowd in Syntagma Square.

The fog of war

Tweets are emerging as a novel form of incriminating evidence in a rapidly changing terrain of modern warfare. What ought to be their evidentiary value and legal status under international law of armed conflict?

The Cold War was a success compared to this

As long as the radical left held to the democratic rule of law, they were given the space to articulate their views. They didn’t flee to communist walhallas, but remained in the sights of the intelligence services.

Belgian jihadists in Syria: alienation, consumption, power

Politicians are flexing their muscles and alienated youngsters are defiantly posting their Syrian ‘adventures’ online, but in the meantime the rule of law is being eroded without much notice.  

Hijacking Europe and denying Eurasia

It makes moral and political sense to integrate Ukraine into the west as soon as possible. But for clueless western leaders, the only way to do so is to reaffirm the non-European character of Russia.

IS – a threat to the structure of international law?

The theological and ideological basis for IS’s struggle visualizes this as a fight against the spiritual power centre of European public international law: Rome.

Afghanistan-Iraq: back to the future

Washington hoped for a clean getaway from the two countries it invaded in the early 2000s. The Taliban, like the Islamic State, has other ideas.

Is India preparing to hang an innocent ‘untouchable’?

Should the court rule against Koli and were he to be hanged, it would be the second consecutive execution in India of a most likely, or almost entirely, innocent person.

Songs of ignorance

Public discourse surrounding the Ebola outbreak is infected by older narratives that seek to stereotype Africa and Africans. The Band Aid initiatives are typical of this: Africa as a country, a place where there is no space for Christmas joy, and a place that needs the west.

For history’s sake, the Arab peoples have revolted

Not only did the Arab peoples revolt, but the power of their revolts was so significant and threatening to the regional geopolitical order that the regional powers had to diffuse the collective consciousness at any cost.

Twenty-five years since first election of a black US governor, L Douglas Wilder

Progress has been slow. Other than Wilder, only one other African American – Deval Patrick of Massachusetts – has been elected governor of any state. 

Khomeini to IS: paths of revolution

The Middle East's political map survived decades of tumult. Its long-term unravelling began with Iran's uprising in 1979.

Endgame: the United States and Iran

What stands in the way of Iran and the US cooperating openly to meet twin threats of Sunni extremism and state failure is any failure to resolve the nuclear deadlock. 

The geostrategic consequences of the Arab Spring

The Arab awakening is creating a new socio-political and economic reality in the region, transforming the balance of power, not because states have become stronger, but rather because states have become weak and fragile.

Qatar: diplomats return but differences remain

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have ambassadors returning to Qatar after a nearly year-long absence, a boost for a Gulf state that could do with positive media coverage.

Syndicate content