Though nothing is finally settled, Europe this week breathed a sigh of relief. Greece's Syriza-led government backed down in its confrontation with its EU partners over austerity policies and, after bloody skirmishes in the early days of a new cease-fire agreement, the combatants in Ukraine backed off. Not everyone was happy in Greece, though. Manolis Glezos, a 92-year-old WWII Greek resistance hero and prominent member of Syriza, writes that "I apologize to the Greek people for collaborating in this illusion" that the new government would break free of the crushing bailout constraints. Greek journalist Thanos Dimadis argues that standing up to Germany on Greek terms was itself a victory despite compromises. Writing from Kyiv, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko hopes that "Minsk 2.0" will bring peace, but worries that there is no enforcement mechanism.
Near the end of the Cold War 30 years ago, Régis Debray, the French philosopher and pal of Che Guevara, predicted that the Third World was "bidding its farewell to arms" as the geopolitical conflicts associated with the famous Russian-made Kalashnikov rifle were fading into history. He thought the quest for God, particularly in relation to Islam, would fill the ideological void, and computers would provide a way out of underdevelopment. Debray was both more right and wrong than he knew. As he did not foresee, YouTube and Twitter would become effective propaganda tools for crusading Islamist jihadis and Kalashnikovs would come back in a big way not only as a weapon of choice for theCharlie Hebdo murderers in Paris and the Islamic State in Syria -- but for the separatists in Ukraine as well. History reminds us often enough that what we bid farewell to can return with a vengeance. In a moving tribute to the Christian men beheaded by ISIS in Libya this week, WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones shines a light on their lives through a visit with the families of their Coptic community in Al Aour, Egypt. See her interviews on CNNand MSNBC. (continued)
The 46-year-old editor was arrested on charges of deliberately outraging religious sentiment under section 295A of India's penal code, after police in Mumbai received multiple complaints about her paper, according to news reports. After being released on bail after her court appearance, Dalvi fled her home and shut down her office.
After the murderous attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, one might wonder whether a newspaper that published the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in the United States would be protected by the First Amendment. The government might make two primary arguments in support of a law prohibiting the publication of the cartoons.
If religion is not the only or not the primary motivation, then we need to understand what the primary motivation is and work together--Muslim, Christian and atheist alike--to relieve the deep and distressing injustices that incite these young men to violence. Or we can continue simply blaming them and mocking their religion.
The whole idea of European integration was to anchor Germany in Europe to avoid another world war and to spread prosperity across the continent with a single market and common currency. Russia agreed to German unification after the Cold War in exchange for the West not absorbing Europe's eastern frontier into its sphere of influence. Now democratically elected governments in Athens and Kiev -- and the responses in Berlin and Moscow -- are challenging both post-Cold War arrangements. Angela Merkel, as chancellor of Europe's unrivaled power, has become, for better and worse, the crisis manager in the middle. (continued)