One of the brightest, loudest, flashing neon-style sign that humanity can indeed get along is the upcoming Middle East Now festival in Florence, Italy. Yes, Florence, where that original coming out of the Middle Ages happened hundreds of years ago, is the city I believe could also be at the epicenter of a new cross-cultural Renaissance.
This week, Singapore's founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, died at 91. Though the last remaining of the great figures of post-WWII decolonization, Lee was also the first global statesman. As he himself put it, "when we were pushed out of Malaysia we had no hinterland. So we had to do or die, and the globalization of the world helped us. So we made the world our hinterland." By thinking global, but acting local, Lee was able to vault his small city-state from the Third World to the First World. The WorldPost remembers Lee through his own words from interviews I have done with him over the years. Writing from Singapore, Pranay Gupte focuses on Lee's unique accomplishment of "clean governance." Writing from Beijing, philosopher Daniel A. Bell emphasizes Singapore's meritocratic government as the core of its success with lessons for China. (continued)
Accountability cannot be achieved without honest, critical, constructive discussion about what is really happening. We must tell the whole, complex, discomforting truth, even if it leads us to conclude that "aid" isn't as helpful as we want to believe it is.
Whether in Russia, Venezuela or Israel, the ugly politics of polarization may work in winning elections -- but it always ends badly. Netanyahu's scaremongering against Arab voters and dashing of a two-state solution (his bad faith post-election backtrack notwithstanding) dispels two long-held illusions at once: that Israeli democracy would be inclusive or that Palestinians would have their own state. If there is no room for Palestinians anywhere, then what? In an exclusive interview with the Huffington Post, (full interview to be released Saturday), U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the Israeli election, Iran and other issues. Writing from Amman, prominent Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab draws the logical conclusion from Israel's election results that Palestinians must now pursue their own unilateral path and that the world community should no longer feel bound to defend Israel in international institutions. (continued)
AFP Photo/Jack Gue "Dear friends, against all odds we have achieved a great victory for Likud, for the national camp which is headed by Likud, for o...
At a time when the Middle East is a minefield of socio-religious tensions, such interactions between disparate communities seem especially rare. But when they happen, they can be transformative.
The development of Gaza Marine would undoubtedly be a positive step. However, the exploration of Palestinian gas reserves must not be permitted solely in return for Israel securing gas purchase agreements with neighboring countries. Such hijacking of the Palestinian gas reserves merely reinforces Israel's control of Palestinian resources.
Twelve years ago today, 23-year-old U.S. human rights defender Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer while peacefully protecting Palestinian homes in Gaza from demolition. For these past 12 years Rachel's family has sought accountability for her killing, while also shining a spotlight on Israel's ongoing violations in the occupied Palestinian territory.
TOKYO -- Looking out onto Tokyo's towering neon cityscape, it is difficult to imagine the utter devastation of Japan's capital 70 years ago this week in one of the world's greatest overlooked atrocities -- the unsparing American firebombing that incinerated more people than either of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima or Nagasaki. In this respect, Japan is a long way from its past. But a visit to Tokyo this week by German Chancellor Angela Merkel -- during which she noted how her country had accepted culpability for its WWII fascist aggression in a way that Japan has not -- also highlights how the past still shadows the present -- and the future -- in Asia. (In Europe also the past has returned from another angle as Greece is demanding reparations from Germany). (continued)
This week, The WorldPost conference on "The Future of Work" took place at Lancaster House in London. Discussion around the theme "prepare to be disrupted" ranged from how the emergent sharing economy, along with 3D desktop manufacturing, would take work back into the home to worries that automation could eliminate as much as 47 percent of current jobs in the United States.
First it was Clint Eastwood and American Sniper. For the sake of educating myself on all things mainstream, I endured two hours of this peculiar Western devotion to fiction, violence and American exceptionalism.
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.
What all the sound and fury misses is that for the Palestinians there is no meaningful Obama-Netanyahu rift. Indeed US-Israeli relations have never been stronger, nor more damaging to the prospects for peace and justice and for the very survival of the Palestinian people.
In the early 1990s, Israeli and Palestinian leaders began sparring over rumored natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Gaza. In the ensuing decades it has grown, and has already inflicted mind-boggling misery.
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)
Over the past few months an international team of humanitarians have been organizing a project which would bring solar power to Gaza. Gaza engineer, N...