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Written by johncollins on Jul 14, 2009

23 Sasha TedeschiSasha Tedeschi graduated from St. Lawrence University in 2007 with a double major in History and Global Studies.  He is currently doing research sponsored by the Fulbright Program in Russia.  I recently had the chance to interview him about a range of issues related to the public role of Islam in Russia. 

I remember it being the run-up to the 2008 U.S. Presidential elections. As the campaign saw nominees deal with a plethora of issues of national and global concern, one of the thorniest issues in election arsenal was that of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights. The Human Rights Campaign (a reputed US civil rights organization focusing on LGBT equality) created a ‘report card’ that explicated where both Obama and Clinton stood on a variety of issues that ranged from ‘Federal Recognition of State-Level Same-Sex Unions’ to the ‘Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.” I wondered when a political discussion on these issues would actually reach India. It’s finally here!!



Written by Acorde on Jul 7, 2009

Over the past 10 days I have been debating on what to write regarding the critical situation Honduras is going through (find here a summary of events ). On Sunday, June 28th, Honduras went back about 20 years, when democracy was a puppet manipulated by the military. There was a 48 hour curfew, Hondurans have seen five of their rights interrupted abruptly , various national news channels and radio stations were blacked out , and couple of "misbehaved" people have already died or been dangerously injured in the hands of the military. There is too much that one could write about this very sad crisis,...

Written by johncollins on Jul 6, 2009

Tomorrow, July 7, will mark the first day of one of Spain's most iconic rituals, known here as los San Fermines.  Each year the city of Pamplona hosts a week-long festival whose highlight is the "Running of the Bulls," a series of dramatic, frenetic events in which a group of bulls are released into the city to be chased by thousands of adventure-seekers, Spaniards and non-Spaniards alike.  As any guidebook will tell you, Ernest Hemingway was famously attracted to this ritual, describing it at length in his novel The Sun Also Rises.  Like so many such cultural forms, however, the San Fermines have now become commercialized media spectacles - and objects of...

Written by johncollins on Jul 4, 2009

56 One of the great joys of living in Madrid is the opportunity to attend some of the many book presentations that regularly fill up the calendar.   Last evening I attended the very moving and thought-provoking presentation of a book of poems written by brigadistas: international volunteers who came to Spain during the country's civil war (1936-39) to fight on the side of the Second Spanish Republic against the forces of fascism led by General Francisco Franco.  Hablando de leyendas: Poemas para España, originally published in English and now available in a Spanish edition from Ediciones Baile del Sol, is both a powerful work of social poetry and a timely intervention in an ongoing debate over how Spain should deal with its own traumatic past.  It is also a call to stand up against the denial,...

Written by johncollins on Jun 18, 2009

The following article is reprinted with permission.  I'm posting it here because I think the author, Ali Alizadeh, raises some very important issues regarding the ways in which the ongoing political crisis in Iran is being framed (and misunderstood) in the international media. (See also the excellent analysis at Juan Cole's blog.) You can find Alizadeh's original post here

why are the iranians dreaming again?*

[The following is a guest post from Ali Alizadeh, Researcher at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Middlesex University]


Written by erkinalp on Jun 11, 2009

On May 15th, antimilitarists all around the world have celebrated the World Day of Conscientious Objectors (COs). Believing that the only way to stop wars is to eradicate their human source, conscientious objectors have invited everyone to lay down their arms and reject military service.

Leaving aside the many forms and expressions of civil disobedience used to this date, anti-militarists in Turkey have come up with a new alternative: "militourism." Living in a country where conscientious objection is not recognized, since 2004, anti-militarists of Turkey tried to draw attention to the issue by a day of "touristic" visits to symbols of militarism in major cities in their country. Since then, the events took place in the Eurasian metropolitan of Istanbul in 2004; in 2005 in Izmir, a city of great significance with respect to the Turkish War...

Written by erkinalp on Jun 11, 2009

In the previous entries of this series I introduced to you a new expression of anti-militarism, militourism, gave some background information about what conscientious objection is and how it evolved, presented to you some of the different legislations existing in the world and the major issues concerning COs. In this final entry, drawing on some of the common questions directed to COs, I will note the significance of conscientious objection today.

The Courage of Peace:

The biggest questions that COs have faced to date is whether their ideals could ever become reality, i.e. whether the resistance to bear arms would bring wars to an end.

While describing conscientious objection, Margaret Levi ironically identifies it as "a weapon of protest" - it...