openDemocracy https://www.opendemocracy.net/ en Call for participants: Syria, Middle East Forum https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/opendemocracy/call-for-participants-syria-middle-east-forum <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="direction-rtl" style="text-align: right;">يبحث موقع openDemocracy عن مشاركين لمنتدى الشرق الأوسط&nbsp; لسوريا.</p><p>openDemocracy is looking for participants for the Middle East Forum for Syria.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">The <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/middle-east-forum">Middle East Forum</a> is a project that encourages emerging young voices to express themselves, exchange views and be heard. The project provides participants with a series of workshops to develop writing skills, media presence, and digital security as well as a free discussion space where they have the capacity to debate constructively. Participants in the forum host speakers, acquire skills, share knowledge, and give feedback to one another. </p><p dir="ltr">We are currently looking for 7 participants in or from Syria to join the project. If you are interested in participating in this project and developing your journalistic skills read the information below and send in your application. </p><h2 dir="ltr">Participants:</h2><p dir="ltr">We expect that each participant will have the opportunity to achieve the following benefits:</p><ul><li>- Career-related experience</li><li>- Practical and increased practice-based knowledge of journalistic writing, debate, social media </li><li>- Training which enhances digital security and the handling of human rights issues</li><li>- Increased knowledge and experience on how to create an online journalistic presence</li></ul><h2 dir="ltr">Participants will be expected to:</h2><ul><li>- Adhere to policies, procedures, and rules governing professional behavior;</li><li>- maintain a punctual and reliable working relationship, abiding by the scheduled sessions and number of articles agreed to;</li><li>- communicate regularly with the facilitator, particularly in situations where the participant may need to adjust the terms of the working relationship (e.g., to reschedule a meeting/session);</li><li>- respect the opinions expressed and confidentiality of the group;</li><li>- take the initiative to volunteer for tasks or projects that the participant finds interesting.</li></ul><h2 dir="ltr">Requirements</h2><p dir="ltr">In addition to these general expectations, the participant will also be required to meet the following requirements during the program:</p><ul><li>- Meet a minimum commitment of 12 sessions; </li><li>- develop a working relationship with the facilitator, such that he or she can adequately serve as a mentor;</li><li>- actively engage in debate, with a focus on the topics and how the discussions unfold;</li><li>- actively take notes during each session, to be shared amongst the group;</li><li>- actively engage and participate in developing an online space for debate;</li><li>- actively produce a minimum of one article per month, based on the discussions that take place;</li><li>- understand how to and actively promote your work;</li><li>- evaluate and monitor your own success in terms of reach;</li><li>- upon completion of the program, reflect upon and write about your experience during the program.</li></ul><h2 dir="ltr">Who can apply?</h2><p dir="ltr">You can apply for the position if you fall under any of the following:</p><ul><li>Between the age of 21 - 30;</li><li>Are an aspiring journalist or blogger;</li><li>Possess knowledge in the specific region of the program;</li><li>Have an excellent command of Arabic and/or English.</li></ul><h2 dir="ltr">How to apply?</h2><ul><li>- Send in a sample piece of 1000-1500 words in Arabic or English of something that interests you - a conversation that took place that struck a chord, an observation from your surroundings, a cultural event, an interesting initiative, your point of view on the politics of the region or why you would like to take part in this program.</li><li>- Your resume.</li></ul><p>Deadline for applicaiton: April 20th. </p><p class="direction-rtl"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/middle-east-forum">منتدى الشرق الأوسط</a> هو مشروع يشجّع الأجيال الصاعدة الشابّة على التعبير عن نفسها وتبادل الآراء وإيصال صوتها. يقدّم المشروع للمشاركين سلسلة من ورش العمل لتطوير مهاراتهم في الكتابة والحضور الإعلامي والأمن الرقمي كما يوفّر المشروع فضاء للمناقشات يمنح المشاركين فرصة التحاور بطريقة بنّاءة. يستضيف المشاركون في المنتدى متحدثين ويكتسبون مهارات ويتشاركون المعلومات ويعبّرون عن رأيهم بعمل زملائهم.</p> <p class="direction-rtl">نبحث عن 7 مشتركين من سوريا للانضمام إلى المشروع. إذا كنت مهتماً بالمشاركة في المشروع وبتطوير مهاراتك الصحفية، تابع القراءة وأرسل طلبك. </p> <h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong><span>المشتركون:</span></strong></h2> <h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>سيحظى كلّ مشترك بفرصة اكتساب الأمور التالية:</strong><strong>&nbsp;</strong></h2> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; خبرة مهنية</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; معرفة عملية بالكتابة الصحفية والمناظرات ووسائل التواصل الاجتماعي</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تدريب يعزّز الإلمام بالأمن الرقمي والتطرّق إلى قضايا حقوق الإنسان</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; إلمام إضافي وخبرة في كيفية تعزيز الحضور الصحفي على الإنترنت</p> <h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>يُتوّقع من المشتركين</strong>:</h2> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; احترام السياسات والإجراءات والقواعد الملائمة للسلوك المحترف</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; المحافظة على علاقة عمل دقيقة وموثوقة والالتزام بالجلسات المعيّنة وبعدد المقالات المتفق عليه</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; التواصل بانتظام مع الميسّر، وتحديداً في المواقف التي يحتاج فيها المشترك إلى تعديل شروط علاقة العمل (مثلاً، تغيير موعد الحصة/الاجتماع)</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; احترام السرية والآراء المعبّر عنها ضمن المجموعة </p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; أخذ المبادرة للتطوّع لمهمات أو مشاريع يجدها المشترك مثيرة للاهتمام</p> <h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>المتطلّبات:</strong></h2> <p class="direction-rtl">بالإضافة إلى المتطلبات العامة، يجب أن يلتزم المشترك بالتالي خلال البرنامج:</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; الالتزام بحدّ أدنى من الحصص يساوي 12حصة</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تطوير علاقة عمل مع الميسّر للعب دور المرشد بشكل صحيح</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; المشاركة بالمناظرات بنشاط والتركيز على المواضيع وكيفية تبلور النقاش</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تدوين الملاحظات فعلياً خلال كلّ حصة وتشاركها مع المجموعة</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; الانخراط في تطوير فضاء إلكتروني للمناظرات والمشاركة فيه</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; كتابة مقال واحد على الأقلّ في الشهر، استناداً إلى المناقشات التي حصلت</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; فهم كيفية تحسين عملك وتطبيق ذلك</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تقييم ومراقبة نجاحك استناداً إلى اتساع نطاق تأثيرك</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; التفكير في تجربتك والكتابة عنها لدى إتمام البرنامج</p> <h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>مَن المرشّحون لهذا التدريب؟</strong></h2> <p class="direction-rtl">يمكنك التقدّم بطلب إذا:</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; كنت بين سنّ 21 و30؛</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; كنت تطمح لتصبح صحفياً أو مدوّناً؛</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; لديك إطّلاع واسع على المنطقة المحددة للبرنامج؛</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تتكلّم وتكتب العربية و/أو الإنكليزية بطلاقة. </p> <p class="direction-rtl"><strong>كيف يمكن التقدّم للتدريب؟</strong></p> <p class="direction-rtl">أرسِل نصّاً من&nbsp; 1000 – 1500 كلمة باللغة الإنكليزية أو العربية عن موضوع يهمّك، مثلاً حوار أثّر فيك أو مراقبتك لمحيطك أو حدث ثقافي أو مبادرة مثيرة للاهتمام أو وجهة نظرك حول سياسات المنطقة أو سبب اهتمامك بالمشاركة في البرنامج بالاضافة الى سيرتك. </p> <p class="direction-rtl">الرجاء إرسال جميع الطلبات والمستندات المرتبطة بها إلى موقع <a href="mailto:arabawakeningteam@opendemocracy.net"><strong>arabawakeningteam@opendemocracy.net</strong></a> والموعد النهائي للتقديم هو 20 أبريل.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Arab Awakening Middle East Forum Arab Awakening Syria Opportunities at openDemocracy middle east openDemocracy Thu, 16 Mar 2017 10:46:47 +0000 openDemocracy 109474 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Call for participants: Egypt, Middle East Forum https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/opendemocracy/call-for-participants-egypt-middle-east-forum <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="direction-rtl" style="text-align: right;">يبحث موقع openDemocracy عن مشاركين لمنتدى الشرق الأوسط&nbsp; في مصر.</p><p>openDemocracy is looking for participants for the Middle East Forum for Egypt.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">The <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/middle-east-forum">Middle East Forum</a> is a project that encourages emerging young voices to express themselves, exchange views and be heard. The project provides participants with a series of workshops to develop writing skills, media presence, and digital security as well as a free discussion space where they have the capacity to debate constructively. Participants in the forum host speakers, acquire skills, share knowledge, and give feedback to one another. </p><p dir="ltr">We are currently looking for 7 participants in Egypt to join the project. If you are interested in participating in this project and developing your journalistic skills read the information below and send in your application. </p><h2 dir="ltr">Participants:</h2><p dir="ltr">We expect that each participant will have the opportunity to achieve the following benefits:</p><ul><li>- Career-related experience</li><li>- Practical and increased practice-based knowledge of journalistic writing, debate, social media </li><li>- Training which enhances digital security and the handling of human rights issues</li><li>- Increased knowledge and experience on how to create an online journalistic presence</li></ul><h2 dir="ltr">Participants will be expected to:</h2><ul><li>- Adhere to policies, procedures, and rules governing professional behavior;</li><li>- maintain a punctual and reliable working relationship, abiding by the scheduled sessions and number of articles agreed to;</li><li>- communicate regularly with the facilitator, particularly in situations where the participant may need to adjust the terms of the working relationship (e.g., to reschedule a meeting/session);</li><li>- respect the opinions expressed and confidentiality of the group;</li><li>- take the initiative to volunteer for tasks or projects that the participant finds interesting.</li></ul><h2 dir="ltr">Requirements</h2><p dir="ltr">In addition to these general expectations, the participant will also be required to meet the following requirements during the program:</p><ul><li>- Meet a minimum commitment of 12 sessions; </li><li>- develop a working relationship with the facilitator, such that he or she can adequately serve as a mentor;</li><li>- actively engage in debate, with a focus on the topics and how the discussions unfold;</li><li>- actively take notes during each session, to be shared amongst the group;</li><li>- actively engage and participate in developing an online space for debate;</li><li>- actively produce a minimum of one article per month, based on the discussions that take place;</li><li>- understand how to and actively promote your work;</li><li>- evaluate and monitor your own success in terms of reach;</li><li>- upon completion of the program, reflect upon and write about your experience during the program.</li></ul><h2 dir="ltr">Who can apply?</h2><p dir="ltr">You can apply for the position if you fall under any of the following:</p><ul><li>Between the age of 21 - 30;</li><li>Are an aspiring journalist or blogger;</li><li>Possess knowledge in the specific region of the program;</li><li>Have an excellent command of Arabic and/or English.</li></ul><h2 dir="ltr">How to apply?</h2><ul><li>- Send in a sample piece of 1000-1500 words in Arabic or English of something that interests you - a conversation that took place that struck a chord, an observation from your surroundings, a cultural event, an interesting initiative, your point of view on the politics of the region or why you would like to take part in this program.</li><li>- Your resume.</li></ul><p>Deadline for applicaiton: April 20th. </p><p class="direction-rtl"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/middle-east-forum">منتدى الشرق الأوسط</a> هو مشروع يشجّع الأجيال الصاعدة الشابّة على التعبير عن نفسها وتبادل الآراء وإيصال صوتها. يقدّم المشروع للمشاركين سلسلة من ورش العمل لتطوير مهاراتهم في الكتابة والحضور الإعلامي والأمن الرقمي كما يوفّر المشروع فضاء للمناقشات يمنح المشاركين فرصة التحاور بطريقة بنّاءة. يستضيف المشاركون في المنتدى متحدثين ويكتسبون مهارات ويتشاركون المعلومات ويعبّرون عن رأيهم بعمل زملائهم.</p> <p class="direction-rtl">نبحث عن 7 مشتركين في مصر للانضمام إلى المشروع. إذا كنت مهتماً بالمشاركة في المشروع وبتطوير مهاراتك الصحفية، تابع القراءة وأرسل طلبك. </p> <h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong><span>المشتركون:</span></strong></h2> <h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>سيحظى كلّ مشترك بفرصة اكتساب الأمور التالية:</strong><strong>&nbsp;</strong></h2> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; خبرة مهنية</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; معرفة عملية بالكتابة الصحفية والمناظرات ووسائل التواصل الاجتماعي</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تدريب يعزّز الإلمام بالأمن الرقمي والتطرّق إلى قضايا حقوق الإنسان</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; إلمام إضافي وخبرة في كيفية تعزيز الحضور الصحفي على الإنترنت</p> <h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>يُتوّقع من المشتركين</strong>:</h2> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; احترام السياسات والإجراءات والقواعد الملائمة للسلوك المحترف</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; المحافظة على علاقة عمل دقيقة وموثوقة والالتزام بالجلسات المعيّنة وبعدد المقالات المتفق عليه</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; التواصل بانتظام مع الميسّر، وتحديداً في المواقف التي يحتاج فيها المشترك إلى تعديل شروط علاقة العمل (مثلاً، تغيير موعد الحصة/الاجتماع)</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; احترام السرية والآراء المعبّر عنها ضمن المجموعة </p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; أخذ المبادرة للتطوّع لمهمات أو مشاريع يجدها المشترك مثيرة للاهتمام</p> <h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>المتطلّبات:</strong></h2> <p class="direction-rtl">بالإضافة إلى المتطلبات العامة، يجب أن يلتزم المشترك بالتالي خلال البرنامج:</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; الالتزام بحدّ أدنى من الحصص يساوي 12حصة</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تطوير علاقة عمل مع الميسّر للعب دور المرشد بشكل صحيح</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; المشاركة بالمناظرات بنشاط والتركيز على المواضيع وكيفية تبلور النقاش</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تدوين الملاحظات فعلياً خلال كلّ حصة وتشاركها مع المجموعة</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; الانخراط في تطوير فضاء إلكتروني للمناظرات والمشاركة فيه</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; كتابة مقال واحد على الأقلّ في الشهر، استناداً إلى المناقشات التي حصلت</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; فهم كيفية تحسين عملك وتطبيق ذلك</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تقييم ومراقبة نجاحك استناداً إلى اتساع نطاق تأثيرك</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; التفكير في تجربتك والكتابة عنها لدى إتمام البرنامج</p> <h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>مَن المرشّحون لهذا التدريب؟</strong></h2> <p class="direction-rtl">يمكنك التقدّم بطلب إذا:</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; كنت بين سنّ 21 و30؛</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; كنت تطمح لتصبح صحفياً أو مدوّناً؛</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; لديك إطّلاع واسع على المنطقة المحددة للبرنامج؛</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تتكلّم وتكتب العربية و/أو الإنكليزية بطلاقة. </p> <p class="direction-rtl"><strong>كيف يمكن التقدّم للتدريب؟</strong></p> <p class="direction-rtl">أرسِل نصّاً من&nbsp; 1000 – 1500 كلمة باللغة الإنكليزية أو العربية عن موضوع يهمّك، مثلاً حوار أثّر فيك أو مراقبتك لمحيطك أو حدث ثقافي أو مبادرة مثيرة للاهتمام أو وجهة نظرك حول سياسات المنطقة أو سبب اهتمامك بالمشاركة في البرنامج بالاضافة الى سيرتك.</p> <p class="direction-rtl">الرجاء إرسال جميع الطلبات والمستندات المرتبطة بها إلى موقع <a href="mailto:arabawakeningteam@opendemocracy.net"><strong>arabawakeningteam@opendemocracy.net</strong></a> والموعد النهائي للتقديم هو&nbsp; 20 أبريل.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Egypt </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Arab Awakening Middle East Forum Arab Awakening Egypt Opportunities at openDemocracy middle east openDemocracy Sun, 12 Mar 2017 10:19:45 +0000 openDemocracy 109386 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Call for applications: Middle East Forum Program Expansion Consultant https://www.opendemocracy.net/opendemocracy/call-for-applications-for-program-expansion-consultant-at-opendemocracy <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="ltr">openDemocracy is looking for a Program Expansion Consultant to advise and support the expansion of the Middle East Forum project. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">The&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/middle-east-forum">Middle East Forum</a>&nbsp;is a project that encourages emerging young voices to express themselves, exchange views and be heard. The project provides participants with a series of workshops to develop writing skills, media presence, and digital security as well as a free discussion space where they have the capacity to debate constructively. Participants in the forum host speakers, acquire skills, share knowledge, and give feedback to one another.</p><p dir="ltr">The Program Expansion Consultant will be tasked with providing guidance and advice on how to expand the project, both in terms of seeking funding to cover more countries in the future, but also in playing an oversight role of the project to ensure its success. This would involve helping openDemocracy with outreach to new partners, offering feedback on the programme and content, and providing ideas and contacts to help make it a success in each of the countries it is implemented in.</p><p dir="ltr">This is a freelance position initially for a 10-day contract, with the possibility of more work for the wider&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening">Arab Awakening</a>&nbsp;project.</p><p dir="ltr">The ideal candidate would be someone who has:</p><p dir="ltr">* Experience in working as a journalist and/or editor in the region
</p><p dir="ltr">* Experience in cross-regional projects in the Middle East and North Africa
</p><p dir="ltr">* A wide network of contacts within civil society, media and funders in the region
</p><p dir="ltr">* Experience in running large projects and ability to advise on expansion of the MEF project
</p><p dir="ltr">* Fundraising experience
</p><p dir="ltr">If you are interested in applying please send your CV and a brief letter of motivation to arabawakeningteam@opendemocracy.net by the 15th of April 2017.</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Arab Awakening Opportunities at openDemocracy openDemocracy Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:45:54 +0000 openDemocracy 108931 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The EU cannot survive if it sticks to business as usual https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/yanis-varoufakis/eu-cannot-survive-if-it-sticks-to-business-as-usual <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Allowing EU member states to move in different directions and at different speeds is precisely the wrong way to address the differing concerns of Europeans living in different countries - and it seems an odd way to unite them behind a single way forward for the continent.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="zn-body__paragraph"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/17342581_1817634258558218_490304075569047850_n_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/17342581_1817634258558218_490304075569047850_n_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>March for an Different Europe in Rome, March 25, 2017. From DiEm25 facebook page.</span></span></span></p><p class="zn-body__paragraph"><a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/29/europe/brexit-article-50-to-do-list/index.html" target="_blank">As British Prime Minister Theresa May triggers Article 50</a>, rendering Brexit inescapable, Europe is gripped by two paradoxes, both of which pose clear and present threats to the European Union and to Britain.</p><p>David Cameron - May's predecessor who lost the Brexit referendum -- has reason to be puzzled by the upshot of his defeat.Britain is now leaving the EU because of his&nbsp;<a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2016/02/02/europe/uk-european-union-renegotiation/" target="_blank">request for a "variable geometry"</a>&nbsp;- allowing Britain to opt out of basic EU tenets - which was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21700384-our-final-brexit-brief-argues-multispeed-europe-suits-britainand-others-charms" target="_blank">unceremoniously turned down</a>&nbsp;by Berlin and, less consequentially, by Paris.</p><p>Yet, as a direct result of Brexit, Berlin and Paris are now adopting the idea of variable geometry as the way forward for the EU. This first paradox is easier to understand when seen through the lens of the conventional European practice of making a virtue out of failure.</p><p><a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/29/europe/brexit-article-50-to-do-list/index.html"></a>Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, had for years opposed the idea of a Europe that proceeds at different speeds -- allowing some countries to be less integrated than others, due to their domestic political situation. But now - after the colossal economic mismanagement of the euro crisis has weakened the EU's legitimacy, given Eurosceptics a major impetus, and caused the EU to shift to an advanced stage of disintegration - Mrs Merkel and her fellow EU leaders seem to think that a multi-speed Europe is essential to keeping the bloc together.</p><p>At the weekend, as EU leaders gathered to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, leaders of the remaining 27 member states signed the Rome Declaration, which says that they will<a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-17-767_en.htm" target="_blank">&nbsp;"act together,&nbsp;</a>at different paces and intensity where necessary, while moving in the same direction, as we have done in the past." </p><p>The failure to keep the EU together along a single path toward common values, a common market and a common currency will come to be embraced and rebranded as a new start, leading to a Europe in which a coalition of the willing will proceed with the original ambition while the rest form outer circles, connected to the inner core by unspecified bonds.</p><p>In principle, such a manifold EU will allow for the East's self-proclaimed illiberal democracies to remain in the single market, refusing to relocate a single refugee or to adhere to standards of press freedom and judicial independence that other European countries consider essential. </p><p>Countries like Austria will be able to put up electrified fences around their borders. It could even leave the door open for the UK to return as part of one of Europe's outer circles. Whether one approves of this vision or not, the fact is that its chances depend on a major prerequisite: a consolidated, stable eurozone.&nbsp;</p><p>One only needs to state this to recognize the second paradox of our post-Brexit reality: In its current state, the eurozone cannot provide the stability that the EU - and Europe more broadly - needs to survive.</p><p>The refusal to deal rationally with the bankruptcy of the Greek state is a useful<a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/27/world/europe/european-debt-crisis-fast-facts/">&nbsp;litmus test for the European establishment's</a>&nbsp;capacity to stabilize the eurozone. As it stands, the prospects for a stabilized eurozone do not look good.</p><p> Business as usual - the establishment's favored option - could soon produce a major Italian crisis that the eurozone cannot survive. The only alternative under discussion is a eurozone federation-light, with a tiny common budget that Berlin will agree to in exchange for direct control of French, Italian and Spanish national budgets. Even if this were to happen, which is doubtful given the political climate, it will be too little, too late to stabilize the eurozone.</p><p>So here is the reality that Europe faces today: a proper federation of 27 member states is impossible, given the centrifugal forces tearing Europe apart. Meanwhile, a variable geometry confederacy - of the type David Cameron had requested and which the UK might want to join after 2019 - requires a consolidated eurozone. But this also seems impossible, given the current climate.</p><p> Allowing EU member states to move in different directions and at different speeds is precisely the wrong way to address the differing concerns of Europeans living in different countries - and it seems an odd way to unite them behind a single way forward for the continent. </p><p>In fact, Europeans are already united by two existential threats: involuntary under-employment - the bitter fruit of austerity-driven under-investment - and involuntary migration - the result of the overconcentration of investment in specific regions.</p><p>To make the European Union work again, each and every European country must be stabilized and helped to prosper. Europe cannot survive as a free-for-all, everyone for themselves, or as an Austerity Union built on de-politicised economic decision-making with a fig leaf of federalism in which some countries are condemned to permanent depression and debtors are denied democratic rights.</p><p>Europe, in short, needs a New Deal - perhaps similar to the New Deal that my organization&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/diem25/diem25-s-european-new-deal-summary">DiEM25</a>&nbsp;unveiled in Rome at the weekend while the European elites were toasting their variable geometry - that runs across the continent, embracing all countries independently of whether they are in the eurozone, in the European Union or in neither.</p><p><em>This article was <a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/29/opinions/eu-cant-survive-with-business-as-usual-yanis-opinion/index.html">originally published</a> at CNN.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/anthony-barnett/brexit-is-old-people-s-home">Brexit is an old people’s home</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/mary-kaldor/article-50-EU-reform-brexit">We&#039;ve triggered Article 50. Is this such a tragedy for Europe?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Yanis Varoufakis DiEM25 Wed, 29 Mar 2017 14:39:10 +0000 Yanis Varoufakis 109762 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Russia’s latest protests are no child’s play https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/ivan-davydov/russia-s-latest-protests-are-no-child-s-play <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Davydov_Ivan_opED_0.jpg" alt="" width="80" />They’ve been dismissed as a “teenage rebellion”, but the protests that shook Russia recently reveal how the country’s youth is slipping through the state’s fingers. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/od-russia/ivan-davydov/novye-deti" target="_blank"><em><strong>Русский</strong></em></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/553429/Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 11.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/553429/Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 11.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="298" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>During a protest in Tomsk on 26 March, the fifth-grader Gleb Tokmakov publicly proposed reforms to Russia’s political system. Image still via YouTube. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>The anti-corruption demonstrations on 26 March, which took place in over 80 towns across Russia, have already been described as a “teenage protest”. This was the polite option, by the way: some referred to it as the “zit revolution”. Russian officialdom is still maintaining its stunned silence, pretending as if nothing happened last Sunday — or at least, nothing more than the Break in Spring festival, an initiative of the Moscow Mayor’s Office. Meanwhile, the most sophisticated of Russia’s state propagandists have already (and happily) taken up this simplistic image of events.&nbsp;</p><p>For the propagandists, the focus on teenagers is an exceptionally convenient interpretation. It allows them to develop a wealth of possible “correct” interpretations for what happened on Sunday. The image of a crowd of unintelligent, gullible children can solve many problems. From discrediting <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/od-russia/anna-arutunyan/who-ll-make-russia-great-again" target="_blank">protest leader Alexei Navalny</a> (a popular Russian tabloid has already <a href="http://www.kp.ru/daily/26657/3678849/" target="_blank">compared him to Father Gapon</a>, a leader of the ill-fated Russian revolution of 1905; and he’s been called a paedophile live on state radio station) to distorting the essence of the protests themselves.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Russia’s public officials have reason to be concerned about another “lost generation”. Russia’s schoolchildren really are slipping through the state’s fingers<span>&nbsp;</span></p><p>“They’re just kids!” so it goes. Just kids who are fed up with the dull monotony of life, and who have no business being interested neither in politics nor corruption. It’s just that no one’s “working” with them — this is why they head out onto the streets and squares, yielding to the call of “provocateurs”. It’s almost a latter-day Pied Piper.</p><p>Concerns about “not working properly with children” or the “absence of a proper youth policy” have al been raised anew. This is understandable, there’s an opportunity to carve out budgets for “proper youth policy”. And there’s a wide spectrum of participants in the race for a slice of that hypothetical pie — from pro-Kremlin political scientist Sergey Markov to Kristina Potupchik, former press secretary of the Nashi patriotic youth movement and member of Russia’s Civic Chamber. Indeed, Potupchik <a href="https://www.facebook.com/krispotupchik/posts/1253576008045116?pnref=story" target="_blank">exhibits a desperate liberalism</a>, lashing out at radical conservatives like Vitaly Milonov, Yelena Mizulina and online crusaders against “<a href="http://www.rferl.org/a/russia-teen-suicide-blue-whale-internet-social-media-game/28322884.html" target="_blank">teenage suicide groups</a>”, whom she blames for the fact that young people and teenagers attended protests. All the while, she recalls the good old days of the mid-2000s, when Nashi was at its prime.</p><p>“Whether it’s members of Nashi, or those teenagers who walked down [Moscow’s] Tverskaya Street, all these young people stood up for their futures and a comfortable life, lived by clear, understandable rules. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s Navalny or [pro-Kremlin youth leader] Yakemenko who calls them out on the street. Because nobody else is, right? There’s no point criticising them. We need to listen to them and work with them, and not simply sweep the problem under the carpet,” <a href="https://thequestion.ru/questions/242067/uznayut-li-chleny-dvizheniya-nashi-sebya-v-sovremennykh-detyakh-poshedshikh-na-mitingi" target="_blank">writes</a> Potupchik on <em>The Question</em>. Potupchik thus suggests (simply and without trying to force her opinion) that there was no difference between members of a <a href="http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/the-nashi-movement-russian-youth-and-the-putin-cult-a-514891.html" target="_blank">youth organisation founded by the Kremlin</a> to oppose the “unnatural alliance of liberals and fascists, united by their personal hatred of Vladimir Putin” and whose protests were sponsored by the Russian state budget, and people who took a deliberate risk in publicly protesting <a href="https://fbk.info/english/english/post/304/" target="_blank">corruption at the highest echelons of Russia’s government</a>.</p><h2>Growing up, rising up</h2><p>But let’s try to deal with the intricacies of the protests. First, the “teenage rebellion” is a myth. Yes, Sunday’s protesters were on average much younger — that’s especially clear if you compare the events of 26 March to last month’s march in honour of assassinated opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, the last major opposition protest in Moscow. Schoolchildren were also present at the Nemtsov march, but they were by no means in the majority. Of the 1,500 people detained then by the police in Moscow on Sunday, there were only a little over 40 protesters under the age of 18 — approximately four percent of the total. Based on my personal recollections of last weekend’s events, I’d risk guessing that the proportion was roughly the same. The majority of the protesters in Moscow were young people of student age, hardly schoolchildren. Those who witnessed the demonstrations in St Petersburg, Tomsk and other large cities say much the same.</p><p><span class="mag-quote-center">You can’t get away with calling the people who came out on Sunday “easily led”. They understood perfectly well what they were opposing&nbsp;</span></p><p>This point is important, because it destroys the entire chain of reasoning which has already begun to form around the “new protest generation”. You can’t get away with calling the people who came out on Sunday “easily led”. The slogans they chanted show that the attendees understood perfectly well what they were opposing, and who they’d come up against. “Today Dimon [Medvedev], tomorrow Vova [Putin]!” What more evidence do you need?&nbsp;</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/553429/Protest_Russia_Party.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/553429/Protest_Russia_Party.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="274" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>“It doesn’t matter what party you’re for – you’re certainly against thieves!” reads this placard at a protest in Moscow, 26 March. Image still via Radio Svoboda / YouTube. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Nevertheless, Russia’s public officials have reason to be concerned about another “lost generation”. Russia’s schoolchildren really are slipping through the state’s fingers. The state is trying to monopolise everything. It’s desperate to control people’s thoughts. It imprisons citizens for <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/od-russia/natalia-yudina/got-tagged-get-fined-russia-s-battle-against-digital-extremism" target="_blank">reposts on social networks</a>, and beats them over the head with television propaganda with no less zeal than a police baton charge. It comes out with absurd bans on activity on the internet. It comes into schools with “<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/od-russia/elena-platonova/in-russia-propaganda-starts-in-preschool" target="_blank">lessons on patriotism</a>”, the Ministry of Defence’s Youth Army movement and plans to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/22/russian-replica-to-give-children-chance-to-storm-the-reichstag" target="_blank">storm an exact copy of the Reichstag</a>. The last one isn’t a joke. This idea belongs to Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s Minister of Defence. An exact replica of the Reichstag is already under construction.</p><p>The state is trying to instill <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mark-galeotti/education-in-putin-s-russia-isn-t-about-history-but-scripture" target="_blank">a perfumed image of Russia’s past</a>, to enforce a ban on criticising any figures of authority and it only wants to <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/od-russia/elena-platonova/in-russia-propaganda-starts-in-preschool" target="_blank">penetrate childrens’ minds even further</a>. Olga Vasilyeva, the new Minister of Education, has already given several interviews about how the state needs to expand its range of instruments for educating children about patriotism and morality.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">This generation has their own celebrities — video-bloggers with a million subscribers, whom even our intellectuals can’t figure out&nbsp;</p><p>But all these measures will miss their target. The television, with its endless propaganda shows, just sails straight past children — they simply don’t watch it. Propaganda works, it’s effective, the president is, in fact, popular, and foreign policy adventures are met with unexplainable adoration, but all of this is for adults only. In the world of, let’s be honest, Soviet people, practices of information consumption have remained at the level of the early 1990s, if not the late 1970s. But the attempt to inculcate Soviet methods of education into Russian everyday life is, all the same, destined to fail. All this officious, jingoistic patriotism, forced on people by the state, together with militarisation of public consciousness can only (and seemingly does) provoke hatred and disgust.</p><h2>The kids are alright &nbsp;</h2><p>The new generation — the generation that’s grown up under Putin — has their own world. They’ve never lived without the internet. They’re reprimanded for never having experienced or seen real problems — the end of perestroika and the early 1990s. This generation’s peers in their 40s rebuke them for this, without even noticing that this is the discourse of the old women who sit outside apartment blocks, ready to see a “prostitute” in every girl who walks past in a short skirt. Sure, this generation didn’t experience the 1990s. But they shouldn’t have to take a terrible past as their landmark, they want a normal future.</p><p>This generation has their own celebrities — video-bloggers with a million subscribers, whom even our intellectuals can’t figure out. They have their own groups on VKontakte, the Russian social networking site. They have their own humour, their own language. I don’t want to appear as if I understand this strange world (I’m more at home on Facebook for the semi-retired), I’m just stating a fact. Sometimes adults, who are concerned with patriotic education and saving kids who “stray off track”, try to enter this world, and they do so with all the grace of a bull in a china shop. Recent <a href="https://advox.globalvoices.org/2017/02/20/whale-themed-suicide-groups-present-opportunity-for-internet-crackdown-in-central-asia/" target="_blank">hysteria over online “suicide groups”</a> is evidence enough of this. But at the same time, by entering this teenage world, adults just make the gap between these respective universes even greater. Clearly, Russia’s adults have gone astray in trying to remake their children’s mysterious world according to their ideas of how it should be.&nbsp;</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/553429/Medvedev_Playground.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/553429/Medvedev_Playground.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="309" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A school playground named after Dmitry Medvedev in Vladivostok. Alexey Navalny’s investigation into the wealth amassed by Russia’s prime minister was a major catalyst for the recent protests. Photo CC-by-2.0: cea+ / Flickr. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Of course, those people who assert that the state has scared the younger generation off with radical conservative initiatives from MPs such as Vitaly Milonov and Elena Mizulina are right. The problem is, however, that <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/couple-protest-against-vitaly-milonov-the-architect-of-russias-anti-gay-laws-with-lesbian-kiss-10019893.html" target="_blank">Milonov</a> and <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/egor-mostovshikov/yelena-mizulina-creation-of-conservative" target="_blank">Mizulina</a> are not from Mars, and nor are they agents of the US State Department, but the very essence of the Russian state — the state itself. And this is a state that, in consciously choosing to step back into the past, has nothing to offer its youth apart from a patriotism limited to loyal applause and militarised youth groups busy preparing “invalids and veterans of future overseas wars”. That said, they don’t have to serve overseas.&nbsp;</p><p>This is a consciously chosen ideology, and one that all state institutions are diligently working on. The all-too prominent Mizulina and Milonov are just slightly more radical in their public statements than the rest, that’s it. The state’s ideological field is bare but for a <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/od-russia/kirill-kobrin/eternally-wonderful-present-or-russia-s-need-for-new-culture" target="_blank">picture of Soviet man that’s been painted in the red, white and blue of the Russian tricolour</a>. And this ideology is doubly false, because it’s not the idealists asking people to love this country and, if needs be, die for it, but corrupt officials and thieves with their yachts, collections of trainers, palaces and villas. To force children to consume all of this is tricky, no matter how much money you assign to “proper youth policy”.</p><p><span class="mag-quote-center">This is a state that has nothing to offer its youth apart from a patriotism limited to loyal applause and militarised youth groups&nbsp;</span></p><p>The biggest surprise, though, is that children aren’t meeting the propagandists’ hopes. It seems they aren’t idiots to be manipulated. Take the <a href="https://meduza.io/feature/2017/03/18/to-est-patriotov-v-vashem-klasse-net" target="_blank">now infamous conversation in a rural school in Bryansk between pupils and the principal</a>, the <a href="https://tjournal.ru/42198-gde-preiskurant-gde-kvitanciya-ucheniki-iz-samarskoi-oblasti-otkazalis-platit-za-uborku-klassa" target="_blank">rebellion of 10th graders in Samara region</a> after they refused to give their teachers money for school repairs without a receipt (this is how the fight against corruption really looks), and, of course, those teenagers who came out into the streets on Sunday — they came out against lies and against injustice. Sure, they’re not yet the majority of the protesters. But they’ll come out on the streets again.</p><p>One practical thought to finish: Russian intellectuals love to hold surprisingly long debates on matters that aren’t worth debating. One of their time-honoured classics (which can start discussions that last for up to two weeks) is whether it’s right to beat your children. Just so it’s clear, it’s not. And the Russian state, which sent riot police to deal with Moscow teenagers on Sunday without a second thought, will have another opportunity to confirm this principle for itself. Grudges are felt more keenly at that age, and it’s hard to forget them. And they won’t, you’ll see.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/od-russia/elena-platonova/in-russia-propaganda-starts-in-preschool">In Russia, propaganda starts in preschool</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/od-russia/nikolai-klimeniouk/crimea-international-law-opposition">Death by Crimea</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/od-russia/polina-aronson/you-re-better-than-you-think">You’re better than you think</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/od-russia/andrey-zavadsky/we-re-all-strangers-here">We’re all strangers here</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/od-russia/anna-arutunyan/who-ll-make-russia-great-again">Who will make Russia “great again”? </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> oD Russia oD Russia Ivan Davydov Uncivil society Russia Wed, 29 Mar 2017 13:59:53 +0000 Ivan Davydov 109760 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Seeing the myth in human rights https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/jenna-reinbold/seeing-myth-in-human-rights <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/ReinboldMarch.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p> <p>To call human rights a “myth” would appear to discredit them, but myth was central in drafting the Universal Declaration. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/jenna-reinbold/ver-el-mito-en-los-derechos-humanos" target="_blank">Español</a>.&nbsp;</strong></em></p><p><em><strong><br /></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Is it possible that human rights are a myth?</p><p dir="ltr">To ask this question is likely to be perceived as advocating for a dismissal or even a rejection of human rights. Indeed, when the term “myth” is used in conjunction with human rights, it is almost always done with the intention of discrediting either the idea or the substance of human rights. &nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">This tendency to associate “myth” with error or duplicity actually prevents us from recognizing some important insights.</p><p dir="ltr">As a scholar of religion, however, I have argued that it is misleading to think of myth in this way. In fact, this tendency to associate “myth” with error or duplicity actually prevents us from recognizing some important insights that the category of myth sheds upon the history and the logic of human rights.</p><p dir="ltr">The foundational document of contemporary human rights, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, sits uncomfortably within today’s broad corpus of international law. This document was advertised by its creators as emphatically secular even as these creators regularly used religious discourses of sacredness and veneration to describe it.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/ReinboldMarch.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/UN Photo/Photo # 329493 (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> The framers of the Declaration aspired to generate a document capable of rectifying the horrors of World War II by establishing, in the words of Commission chairwomen Eleanor Roosevelt, “why we have rights to begin with.”</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">The Declaration proposes no mechanisms for the enforcement of its provisions, yet there is much evidence to indicate that it has come to command a significant “moral” authority. Indeed, the first UN Commission on Human Rights actively aspired to imbue it with such an authority. Ultimately, in fact, there is much in the historical record of the creation of this document to indicate that many Commission members were deeply convinced of the Declaration’s capacity to transform the ethical and even the metaphysical landscape of international law.</p><p dir="ltr">The phenomenon of myth provides a valuable lens through which to make sense of these various conflicting elements in the Declaration. Far from understanding myth as a mode of erroneous or deceptive discourse, scholars in the field of religious studies understand myth as a form of human labor that serves the function of generating meaning, solidarity, and order within all manner of human communities. Far from being characterized by their inaccuracy or duplicity, myths are characterized within the study of religion by the particular authority they wield and the particular strategies their creators use to imbue them with this authority. In short, instead of offering arguments or strictures, myths are narratives that assert their descriptions of the world, and the moral imperatives stemming from these descriptions, in a way that makes them appear beyond dispute.</p><p dir="ltr">Mythmakers accomplish this authoritative assertion of information in a variety of ways—for example, by describing the prescriptions of supernatural beings, by narrating the feats of exemplary figures from earlier times, or by drawing connections between the present and a paradigmatic moment in the past. In all of their variety, such narratives are united in their effort to set language to the task of, in words of <a href="http://us.macmillan.com/mythologies/rolandbarthes/9780809071944/">Roland Barthes</a><a href="http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/100664/myth-and-meaning-by-claude-levi-strauss/9780805210385/" target="_blank">,</a> “lending an historical intention a natural justification, and making the contingent appear eternal.”</p><p dir="ltr">The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, an emphatically secular document, obviously makes no appeal to supernatural realms or superhuman beings. It does, however, narrate its basic tenets in the unequivocal manner characteristic of myth. The framers of the Declaration aspired to generate a document capable of rectifying the horrors of World War II, and they aimed to do so not merely by enumerating certain rights but also by establishing, in the words of Commission chairwomen Eleanor Roosevelt, “why we have rights to begin with.”</p><p dir="ltr">To accomplish this, the Commission worked to imbue the Declaration with a logic that would place its basic tenets beyond question. They worked, in other words, to create a secular narrative capable of wielding the authority of a religious one—a narrative that would appear to everyday people, in the words of Soviet delegate Vladimir Kortesky, “as simple and as clear as the Decalogue.”</p><p dir="ltr">How does one create a “Decalogue” (i.e., the Ten Commandments) that is sufficiently secularized to command global legitimacy? This problem of how to articulate a set of evocative principles in the absence of shared metaphysical foundations reaches to the heart of the twentieth-century human rights project. Members of the Commission recognized early in their negotiations that a human rights vision geared toward a global audience could not ground its claims within any culturally-specific worldview, lest it appear to be imposing rather than merely reiterating fundamental values. In the face of this conundrum, the Commission simply proclaimed, in the very first words of the Declaration, the inherence of “human dignity”—a proclamation made, as is often the case in myth, without rational argumentation of any sort.</p><p dir="ltr">“Inherent human dignity” functions within the Declaration as an axiom located beyond dispute or question. It is a characteristic that, as human right scholar <a href="http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/4269.html" target="_blank">Johannes Morsink</a> puts it, “no person and no political or social body or organ gave us” and that, therefore no person or political/social body is empowered to violate. Such dignity functions in the Declaration not merely as an elementary human characteristic but, in the words of Lebanese delegate Karim Azkoul, as “an absolute and general principle.”</p><p dir="ltr">Much more than a basic human trait, inherent dignity serves within the Declaration as a sacred center—an item unequivocally set apart for veneration as both an emblem of human rights and a guarantor of the faithful observance of the Declaration’s prescriptions.</p><p dir="ltr">At a seminal moment in the history of international law, universal human rights were created to push deliberately against two longstanding human tendencies: the tendency to tie human rights to one’s membership within a particular political community, and the tendency to hearken to the realm of the divine when building a foundation for political ideals and practices. This twofold endeavor gave rise to a document the likes of which has never been seen: a declaration that predicates its tenets upon a universal, secular human reality that it brings into existence through no other means than by professing to recognize it.</p><p dir="ltr">Yet, for all the novelty of this maneuver, the first Commission on Human Rights undertook its work in a way that smacks of the time-honored logic of mythmaking—a logic wherein language is set to the task of unequivocally presenting a vision of the world as well as a set of mandates appropriate to the maintenance of that world. The Declaration’s unique narrative complicates conventional distinctions between “religion” and “secularism”, and, in so doing, sheds new light not only on these often-take-for-granted categories, but on the nature of human rights themselves.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href=" https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-openpage"><img width="140" src=" https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/openPagesidebox.png &#10;" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/paige-berges/republicans-move-to-break-with-united-nations">Republicans move to break with the United Nations</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/eva-nanopoulos/will-human-rights-law-actually-protect-us-from-fascism">Will human rights law actually protect us from fascism?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/valerie-percival/un-undermined-both-public-health-and-human-rights-in-haiti">The UN undermined both public health and human rights in Haiti</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/hans-fridlund/butterfly-effect-steps-to-improve-upr-implementation">A butterfly effect—steps to improve UPR implementation</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/m-b/satire-as-tool-of-resistance-in-egypt">Satire as a tool of resistance in Egypt</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/christian-medina-ramirez-luis-mack/un-shakes-up-guatemala-with-commission-against-i">The UN shakes up Guatemala with the Commission Against Impunity </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/araddhya-mehtta/are-we-being-innovative-in-protecting-civic-space">Are we being innovative in protecting civic space?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights openGlobalRights-openpage Jenna Reinbold Global Wed, 29 Mar 2017 13:30:00 +0000 Jenna Reinbold 109713 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Respecting human rights: the key to elephant conservation https://www.opendemocracy.net/mike-hurran/respecting-human-rights-key-to-elephant-conservation <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>It’s time for a new model of conservation: one that&nbsp;holds human rights at its core.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562710/PA-29757797 (1)_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562710/PA-29757797 (1)_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Baby Sumatran Elephant. Xinhua/SIPA USA/PA Images. Press Association Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Few people on earth have as close a relationship to the forest elephant as Baka “Pygmies”. They classify them into more than fifteen types, depending on age, appearance, sex, temperament and magical status. Many Baka believe that when they die, their spirits travel deep into the forest and walk side by side with elephants, like shepherds tending their flocks. On their hunting and gathering trips, which sometimes take them over 150 kilometres through the forest, the Baka make frequent use of the&nbsp;<em>mokongo</em>&nbsp;(the paths cleared by elephants as they migrate).&nbsp;</p> <p>These forests are often considered wilderness by conservationists, but they’re not: the Baka have depended on and managed them for centuries. By creating seasonal camps, they sustain&nbsp;<a href="http://jambo.africa.kyoto-u.ac.jp/kiroku/asm_suppl/abstracts/pdf/ASM_s43/1.Ichikawa.pdf">a mosaic of different types of vegetation</a>&nbsp;and have spread&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3672516/">pockets of wild yams throughout the rainforest</a>&nbsp;– one of the elephant’s favourite foods.</p> <p>Because of the distances they travel and the time they spend there, they are undoubtedly the eyes and ears of their lands in the Congo Basin. “We know when and where the poachers are in the forest, but no one will listen to us,” one Baka man told me.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The stakes couldn’t be higher. The number of forest elephants has dropped drastically over the last 15 years.</p> <p>The stakes couldn’t be higher.&nbsp;<a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0059469">The number of forest elephants has dropped drastically over the last 15 years.</a> Even if poaching stopped today,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/31/african-forest-elephants-extinction-study">forest elephant populations would take decades to recover</a>. Yet rather than listening to the environment’s best allies, namely the people who have lived in the forest for generations, conservation organisations like the&nbsp;World Wildlife Fund (<a href="http://wwf.panda.org/">WWF</a>) are in fact aiding in their destruction.</p> <p>One morning in 2011, during the wild mango season, a Baka man called Abouti was getting ready to bury his son. Three motorbikes pulled up unannounced, as well as two white cars with the WWF logo on their doors. What happened next would leave two more dead.</p> <p>Fifteen wildlife rangers emerged, and immediately set to work. Abouti and his family told me that virtually everyone in their village in the northern Republic of Congo was beaten in the raid, including children and the elderly. “They took an old motorbike handlebar, placed it on my spine and pumped up and down, up and down,” Abouti told me. “I should’ve died.” His sister-in-law, who was pregnant at the time, explained: “I was crawling on all fours. They beat me with their guns, pieces of wood, their belts.”</p> <p>As night fell, the community managed to escape into the forest. They fled across the border and took refuge with relatives in Cameroon. Abouti’s niece, Mayi, died there a few nights later – she was less ten years old. An elderly man, Menamina, died the following morning. Both had been beaten by the rangers.&nbsp;</p> <p>In the war against poaching, the Baka are all too often caught in the crossfire. So too are Bayaka “Pygmies” and dozens of other rainforest peoples. They are accused of “poaching” when they hunt to feed their families, or even when they merely set foot inside the conservation zones created on their ancestral lands. They face&nbsp;<a href="http://www.survivalinternational.org/about/southeast-cameroon">harassment, beatings, torture and even death</a>&nbsp;at the hands of rangers funded and equipped by WWF and the Wildlife Conservation Society (<a href="https://www.wcs.org/">WCS</a>). The two organisations have been aware of this abuse for well over a decade now and still have failed to stamp it out.&nbsp;</p> <p>Scores of people in Cameroon, the Central African Republic and the Congo have described the abuse they’ve suffered to&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/submission/survivalinternational.org">Survival&nbsp;International</a>, the organisation I work with. Earlier this year, rangers tortured another Baka girl who was around Mayi’s age. They forced her to crouch down and beat her spine and bottom with machetes.&nbsp;When I interviewed her father, he told me he didn’t know whether she would survive. Another man recounted how he was beaten by rangers and then watched as one of them overturned his bed, throwing his sleeping baby violently to the floor. The baby died shortly afterwards, before his parents even had the chance to choose his name.</p> <p>Around Christmas in 2015, one man was beaten so severely that he started to vomit and defecate blood. By chance, a passing logging truck was able to take him to hospital where he spent over two weeks in a coma. Another victim wasn’t so fortunate; his friend who was caring for him found him dead in his bed, his sheets soaked in blood.</p> <p>Three years ago,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/03/wwf-accused-of-facilitating-human-rights-abuses-of-tribal-people-in-cameroon">a former WWF consultant witnessed one of these brutal raids for herself in Cameroon</a>. When asked what would happen if they found a “poacher,” one of the rangers told her: “His skin will come off.” At the local government offices, a senior official admitted: “We torture them when they don’t want to tell the truth.”</p><p class="mag-quote-center">“We torture them when they don’t want to tell the truth.”</p> <p>Physical violence is just one part of the abuse. Rangers on patrol routinely burn hunting and gathering camps to the ground, which is particularly devastating since the Baka believe that their life force (<em>bindongobomo</em>) shrinks when these camps are destroyed. Many women also told me how rangers would steal their possessions, including their pots, machetes, hunting nets and even the food they had gathered.</p> <p>This is how the Baka and Bayaka are being illegally evicted from their ancestral forests. Many report that their health is plummeting due to poor nutrition, new diseases and the loss of forest medicines as a result of being forced from their lands.&nbsp;<a href="https://culanth.org/fieldsights/542-from-abundance-to-acute-marginality-farms-arms-and-forests-in-the-central-african-republic-1988-2014">A recent medical study</a>&nbsp;in one area found health conditions so grave that they would be considered a “<a href="http://phys.org/news/2016-07-older-women-central-african-republic.html">public health crisis</a>” by international health agencies. Many have turned to drugs and alcohol to forget their troubles.&nbsp;</p> <p>WWF and WCS are fully aware that these evictions are illegal. According to international law, any major project taking place on the land of an indigenous people requires that people’s free, prior and informed consent. Conservationists argue that it is their government partners, not they, who legislate for “protected areas” and hunting restrictions, and who employ rangers. When they are brought substantiated evidence of abuse, the conservation organisations supposedly raise their “concerns.”</p> <p>If this is the case, then these conservation organisations are doing almost nothing to address the horrific human rights violations that fall under their remit. As Survival explained in a&nbsp;<a href="http://assets.survivalinternational.org/documents/1527/survival-internation-v-wwf-oecd-specific-instance.pdf">formal complaint</a>&nbsp;earlier last year, they simply cannot be let off the hook so easily – governments rely on the financial and logistical support that they provide, after all. Even mining companies have acknowledged their duty to avoid contributing – even indirectly – to human rights abuse, so why won’t WWF and WCS?</p> <p>Not only is this abuse unequivocally illegal, but it also harms elephant conservation.&nbsp;By supporting a system that scapegoats the Baka, conservation organisations divert action away from tackling logging. In fact, WWF and WCS have chosen to partner&nbsp;<em>with</em>&nbsp;logging companies (or “<a href="http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/deforestation/forest_sector_transformation/forest_certification/fsc/">forest operators</a>” in WWF-speak) in a misguided bid to address the environmental destruction. The idea is that by fostering “good” logging – a concept in which the companies are expected to pay for anti-poaching measures as well as&nbsp;monitor their activities closely&nbsp;– more can be done to confront the poaching issue. The belief – or, justification – here is that there would be more poaching if there was no logging at all.</p> <p>Yet this flies in the face of the fact that increased logging boosts the incidence of poaching by carving new ivory trafficking routes deep into the forest: By making areas of the rainforest that were previously difficult to access easier to reach, these news roads grant traffickers wider grounds for their business.&nbsp;New networks are set up and are run with the support of local authorities.&nbsp;The population boom made up of logging company employees and their families, as well as opportunistic people seeking to make money, creates a greater demand for bush meat.&nbsp;WWF and WCS may view these partnerships as "pragmatic" simply because rangers are often then deployed to the logging concessions. But, as watchdogs have pointed out time and again, there are no safeguards in place to make sure that these partnerships aren't just "greenwashing" the destruction of the forest.&nbsp;</p> <p>However,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.globalwitness.org/en/archive/panderingtotheloggers/">this approach is simply not working</a>&nbsp;– corruption infiltrates every level of the strategy. Last August, I met rangers charged with patrolling a logging concession that had obtained its permits illegally, according to Global Witness. WWF decided to partner with it anyway. Within thirty minutes of conversation, one of the rangers was already giving me assurances: “I can help you transport anything: leopard skin, ivory. I put on my uniform and accompany you to the airstrip. It’s me who carries the package.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Corruption lies at the heart of the illegal wildlife trade, involving rangers, police, magistrates, politicians, customs officials and many others. Yet rather than confront the real perpetrators, the systems set up by WWF and WCS actually end up punishing the least blameworthy. Only in very rare cases are the real criminals are brought to justice: earlier this year, one of Cameroon’s most senior rangers – who has a particularly brutal reputation –&nbsp;<a href="http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/11312">was dismissed after he was caught supplying elephant poachers with automatic weapons</a>. However, rangers who are corrupt or guilty of abuse are seldom rooted out.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">This particular model of conservation is actually alienating the best conservationists.</p> <p>This particular model of conservation is actually alienating the best conservationists. The Baka have lived on their ancestral lands for generations, and so by scapegoating them for the crimes of the actual poachers, conservation organisations are excluding the people best placed to effectively safeguard the local environment. Not only this, but rather than seeing it as necessary environmental protection, many Baka have come to associate conservation with hypocrisy, hunger, violence and the idea that animals' lives have a greater value than their own children's.</p> <p>Conservationists must start afresh. They need to honour the commitments they’ve made and respect the land rights of people like the Baka, including their right to refuse projects that are likely to harm them. Otherwise, as I’ve heard it said many times, they are just waging war.</p> <p>When I visited Mayi’s village last September, five years after the raid in 2011, I was told that her parents were still too afraid to come home. Those same rangers are still in their jobs, and their names are well known in many Baka communities.</p> <p>Abouti himself was beaten again earlier this year.&nbsp;His community has written an open letter to all those funding rangers on their land. “We will always live here – we mustn’t flee,” it reads. “We will always bear the suffering of being beaten. But how will our children survive? […] We ask all those who give money to the rangers to come here to establish peace, and ask us what we think. That way we can explain our needs. Otherwise we are lost.”</p> <p>The Baka and Bayaka “Pygmies” aren’t the only peoples to fall victim to horrific abuse in the name of conservation: tribal peoples’ rights are being violated in the same way and for the same reasons all across the world. The irony is that by targeting tribal hunters, the big conservation organisations are diverting action away from tackling the true poachers – criminals conspiring with corrupt officials. By targeting tribal peoples, they are&nbsp;actually hindering rather than advancing conservation efforts.&nbsp;</p> <p>It’s time for a new model of conservation: one that&nbsp;holds human rights at its core, and which will be&nbsp;inherently more successful at preserving the environment as a result.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/transformation/margi-prideaux/wildlife-conservationists-need-to-break-out-of-their-stockholm-syndrom">Wildlife conservationists need to break out of their Stockholm syndrome</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/hayley-richardson/human-rights-essential-for-holding-states-to-account"> Human rights essential for holding states to account</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Mike Hurran Wed, 29 Mar 2017 10:08:17 +0000 Mike Hurran 109753 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The call for ‘safe passage’ https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/aur-lie-ponthieu/call-for-safe-passage <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>European governments aren’t heading calls to establish safe passage for migrants and refugees, and people are dying because of it.</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/PA-30624990.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">A Médecins Sans Frontières vessel carrying individuals found at sea arrives in the port of Catania, on the island of Sicily on 21 March 2017. NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</p> <p>On 11 September 2015, as various ministers of home affairs were about to meet for yet another migration summit, Médecins sans Frontières <a href="https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/sites/usa/files/safe_passage_letter.pdf">sent an open letter</a> to the heads of state of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Serbia, and to the President of the European Commission. This letter, entitled “Your fences kill: provide safe passage”, was sent together with life jackets recovered from ships assisted at sea by MSF teams and on Tunisian beaches. These orange life jackets, sometimes marked with messages of hope and phone numbers to be called in case of death, became a powerful symbol of the call for safe passage in Europe.</p> <p class="mag-quote-right">Opening borders to people in need of protection should not be seen as a political act. It is a humanitarian imperative.</p> <p>At a time when the humanitarian crisis in Greece was escalating, when thousands of people were landing on Greek and Italian shores every day, when too many continued to be lost at sea and in the back of trucks, the call for a safe passage to and across Europe was a cry for change. After months of having rescued people from a certain death at sea, having assisted thousands of women and children every day in their chaotic crossing of European borders, having treated their physical and psychological wounds, MSF called for smugglers to be replaced by safe and legal alternatives. </p> <p>The safe passage we demanded was not limited solely to entry to Europe but also included the transit across European borders. Our call was based on the needs of MSF’s patients in Italy, France, Greece, Serbia and at sea. Instead of sealing borders with fences, we called on states to allow the safe and legal crossing at their sea and land borders. We called for states and the EU to provide access to fair and efficient asylum procedures at entry points and along migratory routes. Instead of squalid and overcrowded camps, we urged these states to offer dignified reception conditions for all. Had all these measures that we call “safe passage” been put in place, the need for sea rescue would have been dramatically reduced, as well as the medical consequences of what MSF calls a “policy-made humanitarian crisis”. </p> <h2>When being humanitarian is a radical act</h2> <p>Yet, in the toxic European political climate, calling on states to allow people to enter was perceived as highly political. Even within MSF, this call was somewhat controversial. Some in the organisation wanted to go further and thought this call too weak. Others believed we were going too far and were calling for a “Europe without borders”. They feared that this went beyond our traditional remit, which may come as a surprise for an organisation that has ‘without borders’ in the name. Thus a few MSF offices in European capitals were at first hesitant to promote the call. Still, the letter was published in 31 major newspapers in 19 countries.</p> <p>The call for safe passage should have caused little controversy. According to the 1951 Refugee Convention, refugees cannot be blamed for entering a country in an irregular manner and, in the context of entering Europe, they had no other option. Getting a visa is an impossible mission for most asylum seekers. The principle of <em>non-refoulement</em> – not sending people back to countries where they face danger – applies to all signatories of the convention, obliges state authorities to assess people’s situation at borders, and comes with the implicit duty to grant asylum seekers access to their territories. </p> <p>This obligation is the very reason why European states are building fences at their borders and are sending military boats to fight and intercept smugglers at sea. If a person never reaches the border, there is no triggering of the <em>non-refoulement</em> principle and the responsibilities that come with it. However, opening borders to people in need of protection should not be seen as a political act. It is a humanitarian imperative. With so many people dying at EU’s borders, border crossing should be facilitated, not made more dangerous.</p> <p>Despite these points of tension, there was however a large recognition in the organisation that the situation in Europe was unacceptable and that MSF had to speak out against the European policy of deterrence and its consequences. The “safe passage” open letter was followed this year by <a href="http://www.msf.org/en/article/europe-dont-turn-your-back-asylum-takepeoplein">another letter</a> condemning the EU-Turkey deal and by MSF’s decision to <a href="http://www.msf.org.uk/article/msf-to-no-longer-take-funds-from-eu-member-states-and-institutions">stop using funds</a> from European governments and institutions. </p> <p>Even if European citizens and civil society have rallied massively to this cause, a year later, the call for “safe passage” has fallen on politicians’ deaf ears. It has only dramatically worsened:</p> <div style="margin-left:25px;"> <p>• The sea crossing between Libya and Italy claimed more lives in 2016 than ever before, despite a bigger presence of rescue ships. </p> <p>• The only safe passage from Turkey to the EU – resettlement – has been conditioned through the EU-Turkey deal on the forced return of Syrian refugees from the Greek Islands to Turkey. </p> <p>• The corridor allowing people to cross legally between Greece and Northern Europe without the help of smugglers has been closed since February 2016. </p> <p>• New fences have been or are being built by France and the UK, Hungary, FYROM, Austria, Norway and Bulgaria. </p> <p>• Border closures along the Western Balkan route have triggered extreme levels of abuse and violence. A third of MSF patients in Serbia report having experienced violent events on European territory. Half of these events reportedly occurred at the hands of state authorities. MSF teams <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/alessandra-sciurba/serbia-waiting-between-trapped-migrants-and-eu-enc">at the Serbia-Hungary border</a> have seen patients, including women and children, showing signs of severe beating, electric shocks and dog bites. </p> <p>• The 60,000 people stranded in Greece still do not benefit from fair and efficient access to asylum procedures or decent reception conditions. </p> <p>• Relocation and family reunification – the only safe and legal channels for some people to reach other European countries – are failing. Once again, smugglers remain the only option for them to access their rights to protection, assistance and a life in dignity. </p> </div> <p>All of this translates into one concrete result: people will continue to risk their lives and health in search of safety. Now, more than ever, they need safe passage. </p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div style="font-size:90%"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/cameron-thibos-stacy-topouzova/global-compacts-detention-centres-and-safe-passage-can-">Global compacts, detention centres, and safe passage: can the world change course on migration?</a><br />CAMERON THIBOS<br />STACY TOPOUZOVA <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/sarnata-reynolds/interview-making-global-compacts-on-migrants-and-refugees-worthwhile">Interview: making the global compacts on migrants and refugees worthwhile</a><br />SARNATA REYNOLDS <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/cameron-thibos-michele-klein-solomon/interview-is-rights-based-good-migration-governan">Interview: is rights-based ‘good migration governance’ possible?</a><br />MICHELE KLEIN SOLOMON <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/cameron-thibos-ben-lewis/interview-detention-as-new-migration-managem">Interview: detention as the new migration management?</a><br />BEN LEWIS <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/daniela-reale-ignacio-packer/what-we-want-for-children-in-global-compacts-on-refugees-">What we want for children in the global compacts on refugees and migrants</a><br />DANIELA REALE<br />IGNACIO PACKER <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/leeanne-torpey-daniela-reale/time-for-clear-roadmap-for-states-to-end-child-immigratio">Time for a clear roadmap for states to end child immigration detention</a><br />LEEANNE TORPEY<br />DANIELA REALE<hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/cameron-thibos-jenna-holliday/interview-dangerous-invisibility-of-women-migrants">Interview: the dangerous invisibility of women migrants</a><br />JENNA HOLLIDAY<hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/alex-bellamy/safe-passage-integral-component-of-responsibility-to-protect">The responsibility to protect</a><br />ALEX BELLAMY<hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/rebecca-brubaker-nina-hall/gaps-in-global-advocacy-for-protection-of-migrants-rights">Gaps in global advocacy for the protection of migrants’ rights</a><br />REBECCA BRUBAKER<br />NINA HALL<hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/cameron-thibos-catherine-tactaquin/interview-how-can-better-policy-empower-women-on-mo">Interview: how can better policy empower women on the move?</a><br />CATHERINE TACTAQUIN<hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyond-slavery/safepassages/c-cile-riallant-cameron-thibos/interview-why-do-we-think-development-">Interview: why do we think development will stop migration?</a><br />CÉCILE RIALLANT<hr /> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div style="font-size:90%;"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/julia-o%E2%80%99connell-davidson-neil-howard/on-freedom-and-immobility-how-states-create-vulne">On freedom and (im)mobility: how states create vulnerability by controlling human movement</a><br /> JULIA O&#8217;CONNELL DAVIDSON<br />NEIL HOWARD <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/harald-bauder/illegalised-migrants-and-temporary-foreign-workers-new-international-seg">Illegalised migrants and temporary foreign workers: the new international segmentation of labour</a><br /> HARALD BAUDER <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/nicholas-de-genova/border-spectacle-of-migrant-%E2%80%98victimisation%E2%80%99">The border spectacle of migrant ‘victimisation’</a> NICHOLAS DE GENOVA <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/antoine-p%C3%A9coud/thinking-about-open-borders">Thinking about open borders</a><br /> ANTOINE PÉCOUD <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/joseph-h-carens/case-for-open-borders">The case for open borders</a><br /> JOSEPH H. CARENS <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/antoine-p-coud/un-convention-on-migrant-workers-rights-at-25">The UN Convention on Migrant Workers’ Rights at 25</a><br /> ANTOINE PÉCOUD <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/julia-oconnell-davidson/let-us-live-or-make-us-die-migrants-challenge-to-their-outlawr">“Let us live or make us die!” Migrants’ challenge to their outlawry</a><br /> JULIA O&#8217;CONNELL DAVIDSON <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/jane-freedman/who%E2%80%99s-responsible-for-violence-against-migrant-women">Who’s responsible for violence against migrant women?</a><br /> JANE FREEDMAN <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sine-plambech/becky-is-dead">Becky is dead</a><br /> SINE PLAMBECH <hr /> </div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope"><img style="padding-top: 10px;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/MJIH-icon-140%402x.png" alt="" width="100%" /></a> <div style="font-size:90%;"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/ludek-stavinoha-vanessa-marjoribanks/send-us-to-moon">Send us to the moon</a><br /> LUDEK STAVINOHA &amp; VANESSA MARJORIBANKS <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/meltem-ineli-ciger/how-well-protected-are-syrians-in-turkey">How well protected are Syrians in Turkey?</a><br /> MELTEM INELI-CIGER <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/leonie-ansems-de-vries-marta-welander/refugees-displacement-and-europ">Refugees, displacement, and the European ‘politics of exhaustion’</a><br /> LEONIE ANSEMS DE VRIES and MARTA WELANDER <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/cameron-thibos-patrick-taran/myths-of-migration">The myths of migration</a><br /> PATRICK TARAN <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/bue-r-bner-hansen-cameron-thibos/welcoming-refugees-despite-state">Welcoming refugees despite the state</a><br /> BUE RÜBNER HANSEN <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/cameron-thibos-anna-terr-n-cus/toward-more-humane-european-asylum-sys">Toward a more reasonable European asylum system</a><br /> ANNA TERRÓN CUSÍ <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/david-charles/on-walls-of-zollamtsstrasse-refugee-camp">On the walls of Zollamtsstrasse refugee camp</a><br /> DAVID CHARLES <hr /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Safe Passages Aurélie Ponthieu Wed, 29 Mar 2017 07:00:00 +0000 Aurélie Ponthieu 108777 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Brexit as a driver of modern slavery? https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/andrew-crane/brexit-as-driver-of-modern-slavery <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Signing Article 50 today may well give the prime minister her legacy, but it could also derail her other signature policy by increasing ‘modern slavery’ in the UK.</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/PA-30453365.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px;">Philip Toscano/PA Wire/PA Images. All rights reserved.</p> <p>The signing of Article 50 today marks the point of no return for the UK’s exit from the European Union. Although she inherited the Brexit decision, Theresa May’s political legacy as prime minister will stand and fall on how successfully she manages to steer the country through the turmoil.</p> <p>Without a doubt, Article 50 will bring untold changes to the political, economic and cultural landscape of the country. One change that will certainly be high on May’s radar is its effect on ‘modern slavery’ in the UK.</p> <p>Modern slavery has been May’s signature policy since she was home secretary. She introduced the landmark Modern Slavery Act in 2015 prior to becoming PM, and has since continued to champion the cause. In <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/30/we-will-lead-the-way-in-defeating-modern-slavery/">announcing a ramping up</a> of government efforts to improve enforcement last year, she identified modern slavery as “the great human rights issue of our time” and heralded the UK as leading the way in defeating it.</p> <p class="mag-quote-right">Forced labour flourishes where local, low-skilled labour is in short supply.</p> <p>While the act is far from perfect, it has certainly focused increased attention and resources on modern slavery. Prosecution levels also appear to be improving. This was most recently illustrated by the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jan/23/brothers-jailed-trafficking-poland-sports-direct-shirebrook">sentencing of the Markowski brothers</a> to six years in prison for trafficking and then exploiting 18 people from Poland, who they brought to the UK to work in a Sports Direct warehouse.</p> <p>The problem is, despite the advances gradually being made in addressing modern slavery in the UK, the signing of Article 50 is likely to worsen the problem. As May is probably acutely aware (but is so far not saying), Brexit may well undermine the progress she has made to date. It is a case of two&nbsp;steps forward, one step back.</p> <p>According to research I conducted with an international team of colleagues looking at forced labour in the UK (initially funded by the <a href="https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/forced-labour%E2%80%99s-business-models-and-supply-chains">Joseph Rowntree Foundation</a>), four main problems are evident.</p> <h2>1. Brexit&nbsp;will increase the demand for modern slavery</h2> <p>The Brexit vote has already created uncertainty among the legions of poorly paid, but legal migrant workers from Eastern Europe that are employed in the UK’s low wage economy. Signing Article 50 may ultimately help stem the flow of workers into the country as intended. But who is going to replace them?</p> <p>Workers from the domestic labour force will fill some of the gaps, but companies are unlikely to be willing to improve wages and conditions to attract them in sufficient numbers. So there will be greater opportunities for unscrupulous middlemen to traffic in workers from overseas or prey on vulnerable UK citizens to force them into exploitative situations. Forced labour flourishes where local, low-skilled labour is in short supply.</p> <p class="mag-quote-left">By triggering Brexit, May will be left trying to solve a problem that she is helping create.</p> <h2>2. Brexit will facilitate exploitation</h2> <p>Modern slavery often occurs when workers do not fully understand their legal rights and status. Our research uncovered various examples of migrant workers being exploited because those exploiting them misled them into the belief that they were working illegally. Perpetrators would also wait for or deliberately engineer changes in workers’ immigration status in order to exploit them. The point is that Article 50 will create a period of increased uncertainty around legal status that will be a significant boon to exploiters.</p> <h2>3. Brexit will increase the supply of modern slavery</h2> <p>Modern slavery occurs when people are vulnerable, either because of legal status, poverty, mental health, or drug and alcohol problems. In our research, the most common victims were those from countries such as Romania and Bulgaria who, at the time, were able to enter the country but were unable to work legally. This vulnerability was exploited by perpetrators who were able to coerce them into working in highly exploitative situations. The more the UK puts up barriers to people entering the country legally, the higher the risk of traffickers bringing them in illegally and pushing them into debt. Once workers are in debt, perpetrators are adept at escalating their indebtedness and creating situations of debt bondage.</p> <h2>4. Brexit will turn victims into criminals</h2> <p>Our research found that many victims of forced labour in the UK were prosecuted under immigration offences rather than being identified as victims. The Modern Slavery Act has improved this situation but as the UK moves towards Brexit, the chances of this happening will increase because policing around immigration status is likely to intensify far more than around modern slavery.</p> <p>May claims that under her leadership, “Britain will once again lead the way in defeating modern slavery”. But the bottom line is that by triggering Brexit, May will be left trying to solve a problem that she is helping create.</p> <p><a href="http://bit.ly/2nrbLAW"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555700/Article_Banner_v2%402x_0.jpg" alt="" /></a></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/cameron-thibos-stacy-topouzova/global-compacts-detention-centres-and-safe-passage-can-">Global compacts, detention centres, and safe passage: can the world change course on migration?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/patricia-carrier-joseph-bardwell/how-uk-modern-slavery-act-can-find-its-bite">How the UK Modern Slavery Act can find its bite</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/frank-field/extension-to-michael-dottridges-how-did-we-get-modern-slavery-act">Extension to Michael Dottridge&#039;s ‘How did we get the Modern Slavery Act’</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/vicky-brotherton/is-uk-world-leader-in-fight-against-modern-slavery">Is the UK a world leader in the fight against modern slavery?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Andrew Crane Wed, 29 Mar 2017 07:00:00 +0000 Andrew Crane 109410 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Don’t mention Jesus! Why excluding beliefs from the public sphere is mistaken https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/christina-easton/don-t-mention-jesus-why-excluding-beliefs-from-public-sphere-is-mist <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Should we hide our deepest values in the public sphere or shout them from the rooftops?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/ChristinaEaston.jpg" alt="" width="460" /></p><p><span class="image-caption">Credit: <a href="http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Church-Religious-Religion-Window-Christian-Glass-1804681">Freegreatpicture.com</a>. Creative Commons Zero - CC0.</span></p><p><span class="image-caption"></span>A bemused reception greeted British Member of Parliament Carol Monaghan when she arrived at work <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39127506">earlier this month</a> in Westminster. Like many practising Christians, she had attended an Ash Wednesday service where her forehead was marked with ash in the shape of a cross. Most of her colleagues reacted with typically British awkwardness, and sometimes with <a href="http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2017/03/03/catholic-mp-with-ashes-on-her-forehead-causes-stir-in-the-commons/">curiosity</a>. But the media reaction was more intense. The BBC asked whether her actions were <a href="http://europeanpost.co/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Screen-Shot-2017-03-07-at-16.52.41.png">“appropriate.”</a> One political opponent implied that she was <a href="http://freethinker.co.uk/2017/03/05/row-erupts-after-mp-appears-at-westminster-with-ash-cross/">“promoting sectarianism.”</a> The old debate about <a href="https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/03/people-faith-driven-public-life/">religion’s presence</a> in political life was re-ignited, this time on <a href="https://twitter.com/CMonaghanMP?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">social media</a>.</p> <p>The fact that a Christian attended church on an important date in the religious calendar hardly sounds like news. Yet open displays of religion are practically unheard of these days in British politics. For <a href="http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/03/christian-mps-silenced-secular-inquisition/">Damian Thompson</a>, the event was further evidence of the “steady secularisation of British political life.” Arguably, this process is near complete: the idea that politicians should keep their religious views to themselves has almost the status of dogma, at least since ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair was silenced by one of his advisors with the reminder that <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1429109/Campbell-interrupted-Blair-as-he-spoke-of-his-faith-We-dont-do-God.html">“We don't do God.”</a></p> <p>But now it seems that this process of secularisation is also being mirrored in political lobbying by religious groups.&nbsp;The researcher <a href="http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/britains-christian-right-seeking-solace-in-a-narrative-of-discrimination/">Steven Kettell</a>&nbsp;recently reported his finding that Britain’s ‘Christian right’ are drawing on secular norms and values to support their political activities. For example, in justifying opposition to gay marriage, <a href="http://www.eauk.org/current-affairs/media/press-releases/statement-on-the-third-reading-of-the-marriage-same-sex-couples-bill.cfm">Dr. Dave Landrum</a> of the <a href="http://www.eauk.org/">Evangelical Alliance</a> refers to the negative “impact on children” that same-sex unions will have. </p> <p>What’s interesting about this development is that from a liberal perspective, this move should be applauded. By opting for secular rather than religious arguments, these conservative organisations are actually drawing closer to the liberal ideal of&nbsp;<em>neutral discussion</em>—the idea that when engaging in political debates we should keep sectarian beliefs out of the picture. So it’s not just politicians who shouldn’t mention Jesus (or Muhammad or Marx for that matter). <em>All of us</em> should keep controversial views to ourselves.</p> <p>The ideal of neutral discussion has long been popular amongst liberal political philosophers. For example, <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/patterns-of-moral-complexity/EFEB1FFC641762BA35394F2E193AF5DB">Charles Larmore</a> famously argued that:</p> <blockquote><p>“when two people disagree … each should prescind from the beliefs that the other rejects … in order to construct an argument on the basis of his other beliefs that will convince the other of the truth of the disputed belief.”</p></blockquote> <p>Applying Larmore’s argument in practice, when we disagree over an issue like gay marriage we should shelve our most controversial values and convictions. Conservative Christians must shelve their belief that St. Paul condemned homosexuality, just as liberals who champion autonomy must shelve their belief that there must be total freedom in personal relationships. Instead, we should seek common ground and give a ‘neutral reason’ for supporting it—like appealing to the well-being of children, which is something all reasonable people care about.</p> <p>Why is it important to give such neutral reasons? One argument is that in doing so, we engage directly with what distinguishes our opponents as people—their rationality. If you care about treating your opponent with respect, you should recognise that it would be wrong to ask them to lend their support to a policy based on a reason they oppose.</p> <p>On a more common-sense level, you might say that presenting neutral reasons is necessary in order for opponents to engage with each other at any meaningful level. Perhaps this is one reason why discussions with Jehovah’s Witnesses arriving on my doorstep never last very long: our arguments rely on such different assumptions that we inevitably talk at cross purposes.</p> <p>Or, someone defending neutral discussion might say that it’s just intuitive to accept that personal views should be left out when making group decisions. They might make a comparison with selecting candidates for a job. Here it would clearly be inappropriate to bring in the consideration that one candidate is a family member, and the same applies to religious beliefs.</p> <p>But is neutral discussion really useful, healthy or even rational when debating public policy? </p> <p>In the case of picking a candidate for a job, it is right to leave out personal views because these are only expressions of personal preference; they aren’t relevant in finding the best person for the role. In contrast, religious beliefs are not merely expressions of preference, they are beliefs about <em>the way things are</em> and <em>what is right</em>. Conservative Christians believe that their sectarian reason—the authority of the Bible—takes them towards&nbsp;<em>the right answer</em> to any policy question under discussion. If it’s true that God exists and condemns homosexuality as a sin, then this has serious implications for policy on same-sex marriage. In that case it seems strange to ask people to leave out considerations that they believe are most salient to the issue at hand.</p> <p>We might also worry that asking people to present neutral reasons rather than those that are most important to them is to encourage citizens to be&nbsp;<em>dishonest</em>. It asks that they wear a cloak over their deepest beliefs and motivations. It makes them pretend to be concerned with reasons that in fact don’t actually motivate them. This is problematic because we want to encourage citizens to be virtuous and honest, not two-faced and deceitful.</p> <p>But it’s also a problem because we want to reach <em>better answers</em> to policy questions. By shelving what people believe to be pertinent considerations, we blunt the tools at our disposal for reaching a resolution that might at least be workable. If the aim is consensus, this consensus will be more meaningful and longer-lasting if it’s based on what people <em>really</em> believe—the values in which they are invested—rather than on reasons that are made up in order to get the other side on board.</p> <p>Lastly, is it true that mutual respect requires neutral discussions? As the scholar <a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Liberal-Purposes-Virtues-Diversity-Cambridge-Studies-Philosophy/0521422507">William Galston</a>&nbsp;has argued, we show respect for someone’s rational nature simply by engaging with them and attempting to reason with them. This suggests that the best way to conduct respectful public discussions is to be truthful about our different reasons and to try to get to the bottom of where, at root, we disagree.</p> <p>All this may be of little relevance to the Conservative Christians interviewed by Kettell. As the quotes from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21567689.2016.1157073?journalCode=ftmp21">his</a>&nbsp;interviews show, the move by this constituency to publically embrace non-religious reasons is motivated by a desire to persuade and gain support, rather than to show respect for the rationality of their opponents. But it is certainly of relevance more generally for thinking about whether we should argue for neutral discussion as a key principle in the public sphere. </p> <p>If the pursuit of neutral reasons encourages dishonest communication and comes at the expense of progress towards a meaningful consensus, then liberals should scrap this idea. It would be far more respectful, and far more helpful for resolving disputes about public policy, to be honest about the reasons behind our beliefs. </p> <p>None of this is to say that we shouldn’t look for things on which we might agree. Finding common ground and a <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/nina-eliasoph/scorn-wars-rural-white-people-and-us">‘shared mission’</a> might be the only way to get hostile constituencies to engage with each other. Perhaps a search for mutual territory is the way to bridge the chasm that has emerged in the politics of many countries over the last twenty years. But once we’ve found a way of starting the conversation we need to be honest about the beliefs we hold dear. How our variously-sectarian arguments then fare in public discussion will be a good indicator of their strength.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/transformation/michael-edwards/will-left-ever-get-religion">Will the left ever get religion?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/transformation/alice-thwaite/escaping-from-echo-chambers-of-politics">Escaping from the echo-chambers of politics</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/transformation/carol-howard-merritt/america-is-not-promised-land">America is not the Promised Land</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Transformation Transformation religion and social transformation Christina Easton Love and Spirituality Culture Wed, 29 Mar 2017 07:00:00 +0000 Christina Easton 109723 at https://www.opendemocracy.net