Millions of people across north Africa and the Middle East have are demonstrating the power of active nonviolence. But British politicians and pundits seem to have learnt no lessons, falling in line behind the bombing of Libya as soon as Cameron announced it. In the face of all the evidence, they are accepting the old assumption that violence works.
Without seeking to draw explicit conclusions about the current conflict in and over Libya, Harry Hagopian offers some observations and questions about what is going on, and proposes a cautious hopefulness about the 'Arab spring', even in the midst of winter.
When does an anti-Government uprising become a civil war? Can the rebels wage a proper united campaign? How will the West proceed in its dealings with Libya and the wider North Africa Middle East (MENA) region?
Religion changes and mutates. Some of these religious mutations can be positively harmful in a changing Middle East. But other religious innovations can help religion accommodate itself to modernity, says Ahmad Sadri. It doesn’t matter whether a society has or does not have religion per se. What is important is what kind of religion or irreligion pervades in that society.
An Armenian saying avers that one can snuff out a candle but there are always other matches to light a new candle. This came to mind when I learnt that Shahbaz Bhatti, the Federal Minister for Minority Affairs in Pakistan, had been killed in Islamabad when his car was ambushed by four religious extremists.