The new story in the Middle East and North Africa region is only one year young and it will take a long time before we can pass any definitive judgments about its successes and failures, says regional commentator Dr Harry Hagopian. Here he reviews the recent House of Lords debate initiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, adding further commentary and elucidation for observers, journalists and policy-makers.
To the extent that the Palestinians avoid military confrontation with Israel, it will be difficult for Israel to find a pretext to deport masses of people. Moral restraint, anticipation of rage of 1.5 million Muslims, and world opinion will not allow unprovoked ethnic cleansing, says Ghassan Michel Rubeiz. Force should not be used to draw borders, displace people and forge national identity.
Church leaders in Guatemala have played a significant role in the struggle to thwart controversial plans by a European energy giant, defending the widely ignored rights of the indigenous community, writes Tobias Roberts, on assignment with Mennonite Central Committee from North America. ENEL is the largest utility in Italy and the second largest in Europe, with revenues of more than US$100 billion in 2010.
Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashal met in Cairo recently to try to resolve their differences. The outcome is not totally clear yet, says commentator Ghassan Michel Rubeiz. But what is certain is that it will take more than handshaking and an embrace for Palestinians to settle their deep divisions.
The spread of totalising, ostensibly rational strategic power through 'human resources management' and 'the performative aboslute', together with the imposition of complete transparency and the denial of trust, is a huge threat to humanity, says Professor Richard H. Roberts, looking back to, and beyond, Donna Haraway's feminist cyborg utopianism twenty years ago.
Unity for the Palestinians will be achieved only when the people collectively build a common vision on how to tackle the occupation, says Ghassan Rubeiz, noting the encouraging moves towards nonviolence at the grassroots and among some key protagonists.
The UNESCO motto proclaims proudly that it stands for “Building peace in the minds of men and women”. In a world where ethics are sorely wanting and need reconstruction, and where local issues are interlocked with regional ones, Dr Harry Hagopian hopes that Palestine will be seen as contributing toward this lofty ideal and not digressing from it, let alone being coerced to detract from it.
Victories for personal freedom over the last 200 years have been one of humanity’s greatest achievements, but we must recognise and resist the confusion of positive liberality and destructive libertarianism, says Jon Kurt, commenting on the proliferation of 'martial affairs' sites. Should the narrative of ‘rights’ and ‘choice’ really eclipse the important relational conversation about trust, mutuality and faithfulness?
The protest at St Paul's was seen by an unexpectedly large number of people as the expression of a widespread and deep exasperation with the financial establishment that shows no sign at all of diminishing, says Archbishop Rowan Williams, as he goes on to back practical, morally based measures to address the economic crisis - including the Robin Hood Tax on financial transactions.
A great obstacle to a just peace today is the high level of unemployment among young people all over the world, says Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches. It feels as though we are gambling with the welfare and happiness of a whole generation. Yet we need the vision and the courage of young people to help make vital changes, not least when we see how they are leading processes of democratization and peace in many countries today.