Day in and day out, The WorldPost chronicles two competing futures: a world coming together and a world falling apart. The year gone by has turned out to be decidedly mixed. The times ahead could unfold in either direction. Here are just a few of the many posts we published in 2015 that, taken together, illustrate how we remain poised on the cusp of an epochal tipping point.
This week, a new 21st century debate surfaced: How do we protect the data cloud we have all come to depend on when it is physically composed of cables running across the bottom of the ocean? The issue came to light after it was reported that Russian spy ships were operating near key cable routes. Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis writes that, "Well over 95 percent of everything moving on the global Internet passes through 200 or so highly active cables, some as deep underwater as Mount Everest is tall." Lixian Hantover offers a profile of what the undersea cloud looks like and what its vulnerabilities are. Carl Bildt, former Swedish prime minister and chair of the Global Commission on Internet Governance, calls for a new digital diplomacy to maintain the free flow of information across borders. "The solution to privacy concerns," he writes, "lies not in data localization, but in the development of secure systems and the proper use of encryption. Data storage actually means the continuous transfer of data between users, with no regard for Westphalian borders. Security in the digital world is based on technology, not geography." (continued)
You probably know someone just like Raven-Symoné. The beleaguered co-host of The View just can't keep her foot out of her mouth when it comes to matters of race. The former child star proudly proclaimed she wouldn't hire someone with a "Black" name like "Watermelondrea." It took her fellow panelists to issue a course correction, with Paula Faris calling out the discriminatory attitude. Even Joy Behar offered a friendly reminder that white people love naming their children after fruits, vegetables, and all kinds of weird things (Apple Martin, anyone?). Dare I say it, Raven, but that's so internalized racism.
The WorldPost strives every day to chronicle the ongoing contest between two competing futures. One future is a world coming together through the convergence of new technologies that promise ecological stability, the empowerment of diversity and opportunity for all. The other is a world falling apart through bitter partisanship, religious warfare and the return of geopolitical blocs. This week we begin a new series that takes sides. Futurist Jeremy Rifkin lays out a vision of "the Third Industrial Revolution" that, through digital connectivity, clean energy and smart transportation all tied together through the "Internet of Things," can lead to breakthrough instead of breakdown. In an introduction to the series, Arianna Huffington invites us to join the conversation on climate change, technology and the growing global movement toward solutions that can provide a unifying purpose to all our connectivity. (continued)
The characters in Orhan Pamuk's novels are complex, hybrid identities. They are neither purely Islamic traditionalists nor secular fundamentalists, but, as Turkey's most celebrated writer and Nobel laureate has put it, of "two souls." "To have two souls," Pamuk once told me, "is a good thing. That is the way people really are. We have to understand that, just like a person, a country can have two souls." Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's military-allied, authoritarian and Western-oriented modernization from above bolstered one aspect of that soul in the last century. Over the last 13 years, current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Islamic-based AKP has bolstered the other aspect through democratic modernization from below. In the process, political space has opened up not only to the influence of conservative rural Anatolia but also for other plural constituencies from Kurds to the gay community. By trying to close that plural space now through increasingly autocratic tendencies -- in the midst of the Syrian civil war spilling over its borders -- Erdoğan has polarized the "two souls" of Turkey. For Pamuk, "to have democracy is precisely to have a dialogue between these two souls." "I am worried," he says, "because I know that in the end Erdoğan wants to govern alone at all costs. He does not want to share power." (continued)
The problem is that we all, under the LGBTQ tent, have been told so loudly and for so long that we are worthless that many of us can't hear precious. It has to be sarcastic, right? It has to be, because who in the world could be saying precious, valuable, desirable and when they say those things, mean us?
This week the refugee crisis caused by Syria's horrific civil war moved to the next stage. Though prompted into action to curb the carnage, the U.S. and Russia are at odds over whom to bolster and whom to bomb. With no end to the conflict in sight, the influx of asylum seekers in Europe continues to swell and the prospect of permanent settlement there for the displaced grows. In even the most welcoming countries a political backlash is in the making. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's popularity at home is falling for the first time as compassion reaches its limits. In Sweden, the anti-immigrant right-wing party now tops the polls. (continued)