This month marks 10 years of international intervention in Afghanistan. Liberating its women was one of the justifications given for the US led NATO intervention in the country and toppling the Taliban – a regime that made female education illegal and forbade women to hold jobs or even to leave the house without a male family member.
Professor Jolyon Mitchell focused on the biblical and practical theme of 'swords into ploughshares' for his inaugural lecture in taking up a new personal chair at the University of Edinburgh on 15 September 2011.
Over the past ten years we have witnessed the birth of the neologism '9/11' and the horrid and inaccurate phrase 'global war on terror'. Some of what happened in those ten intervening years is now history, says Harry Hagopian. But much of it continues to resonate across the globe, calling us to a change of outlook and action. Revolutions and popular revolts across the Middle East and North Africa region vindicate the standpoint that real changes should come from within and do not necessarily get imposed militarily upon a whole people anymore.
The visit to Britain of Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, from the Cordoba Initiative in New York, resonates not just with our reflections on the impending tenth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, but with the continuing quest for interreligious understanding in a conflictual world, says Professor Hugh Goddard.
Whatever happens in Libya in the coming weeks, the dichotomy in western policy between armed intervention in one situation and lack of an adequate response elsewhere will continue, casting a shadow over humanitarian claims and undermining other proclaimed purposes, says Professor Paul Rogers. The damage and the lost opportunities produced will be measured for years to come. The west's military-political strategy prolongs the war in Libya and gives space to authoritarian regimes elsewhere in the region.