No matter which way the winds blow in the weeks ahead, it is clear that the majority of Syrians desperately seek reform but they also fear sectarianism and foreign intervention, says Harry Hagopian. Much will depend upon how parties both inside and outside the country, including the power-brokers, choose to respond. An approach which feeds hope at the base rather than replicating top-down diplomacy is needed.
Osama Bin Laden may be dead, but if Americans and Europeans now think that they can begin to relax over the prospect of ‘international terror’, they are very mistaken, says Michael Marten. US policy in particular is catastrophically misaligned in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia. The 'clash of civilisations' thesis is also gravely misleading, and religion (not least Islam) is not implicated in all this in the way simplistic analyses presume.
Civilian protection requires simple, straightforward dialogue and negotiation with the people who can control whether other people are safe or not. It also works, say Tim Wallis of Nonviolent Peaceforce. As soon as we bring guns, tanks and air support into the picture, we are talking about something which more often than not does not work, and often makes things worse.
The Catholic Bishop of Brentwood, in his address for the Mass for Migrants on 2 May 2011 highlights the Christian contribution to campaigns for migration justice and a Living Wage, urging all people of good will to stand in solidarity with them.
In a culture seemingly dominated by royalist propaganda, particularly around the wedding of William and Kate, here are plenty of reasons to be republican, says Phil Wood; not all of them honourable. Some may be in danger of reinforcing what they oppose. But for Christians, the case for disestablishing the kingdom and the church derives from a higher level of subversion, and a vision of equity before monarchy which people from many backgrounds are seeking.
How should one respond to decades of subjugation, oppression, marginalisation, imprisonment, brutalisation, torture, rendition, murder and unenlightenment? Harry Hagopian examines the case of Syria, and finds complexity and long-term struggle, as well as immediate rebellion and repression, in the picture.
People in the Middle East and North Africa are struggling to change the lexicon of their erstwhile realities with a series of trial and error policies, says Harry Hagopian. But whether the uprisings go the bumpy way of the 1848 European revolutions, emulate the South African path of truth and reconciliation, follow the East European fast lane of 1989, or entrench the violence we have been witnessing lately, surely freedom cannot be snuffed out forever?
With Easter Sunday this year coinciding for the first time with the memorial day for the 1915 Armenian Genocide, Harry Hagopian explores a painful history and asks how, in the present and future, those who inherit the mantle of the victims can move forward to discover new life.
A new song was playing on Iraqi Kurdistan radio just before Easter, which included the lines, "Don't kill this generation" and "don't kill the future." Michele Naar-Obed from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) recounts part of the untold story of nonviolent action and brutal state violence in Suleimaniya and Kawler, the state capital.
If you're not convinced that Anzac Day in New Zealand bears the hallmarks of fundamentalist religious belief, try questioning anything about the state's most holy day and feel the vitriolic reaction, says Sande Ramage, exploring the myths around Easter and Anzac, which coincide in 2011.
Today (13 March 2015) 26 senior figures from various faith groups published a letter in The Times newspaper calling on the UK government to join with others “to develop a robust plan of action that will lead us to a world free of nuclear weapons”. Steve Hucklesby, Policy Adviser for the Joint Public Issues Team of the Free Churches, provides the background to this initiative.
The managing editor of Foreign Affairs magazine recently went to Damascus, where he interviewed President Bashar al-Assad. Ekklesia associate and regional expert Dr Harry Hagopian assesses where the president stands in the tragic and bloody mess that exists in Syria at the moment, where ordinary people are caught between competing barbarisms.