Across the world countries celebrate annual Remembrance Days to remember the dead of their armed forces in past and ongoing conflicts. Germany does so too on the National Day of Mourning, but with an unusual formula of remembering the victims of violence and war of all nations. The purpose is to remind the living of the preciousness of peace rather than of any great mission of the own nation. This is due to Germany’s responsibility for the war of extermination and the Shoah. While the broad mourning formula is not uncontested, perspectives which run across national collectives are indeed promising ways to build a shared culture of peace.
The beginning of conflict in Eastern Ukraine is nearing its sixth anniversary. The concerted effort of Russian, French, German and Ukrainian leaders to settle this issue diplomatically has yielded few tangible results so far. The recent meeting in Paris of four leaders gives ground for cautious optimism. What have the parties agreed upon? What problems remain and what has changed since the last round of Normandy negotiations?
During the last months, we witnessed massive protests around the globe against authoritarian rule, social injustice and climate change. Looking more closely at the ongoing wave of contention, we find two regional hotbeds for socioeconomic protests, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Latin America. In countries as different as Lebanon and Iraq, Chile and Ecuador, public contention was primarily driven by socioeconomic grievances. In a project concluded earlier this year, we compared socioeconomic protests in both regions and found striking similarities in spite of very different contexts. Studying the evolution of socioeconomic contention in Egypt and Tunisia since the 2011 revolutions against the background of Latin American experiences, we found that there are surprising similarities in the patterns of contentious politics which can be explained when we consider them as an expression of a fundamental crisis of popular-sector incorporation.
The death of fugitive Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, killed in a US raid in northwest Syria on Saturday, sparked little controversy among international leaders and the media. It is understandable that the international community is relieved after the death of al-Baghdadi, one of the most sought after international terrorists. After all, the Islamic State has committed mass atrocities, war crimes and other brutal and inhumane acts under his leadership. However, the operation that led to al-Baghdadi’s death should not be taken lightly. If we don’t address cases of targeting operations with enough scrutiny, they might serve as a blueprint for a further normalization of targeted killing practices in the future.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed received the 100th Noble Peace Price for his efforts to achieve peace with Eritrea. Indeed, he should be recognized for this achievement. This peace deal opens doors to sustain peace in a region which is pinpointed as one of the most conflict-prone regions of the world. He stepped into re-building strained relationships between Eritrea and Djibouti, Eritrea and Somalia, as well as Eritrea and Sudan. Without diminishing these regional achievements, this post aims to highlight his work towards establishing peace in Ethiopia by introducing the “Medemer” concept – at a time when Ethiopia was on the verge of a civil war.
Turkey’s long threatened invasion of Northern Syria has begun. Following a phone call with Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday, October 6th, President Trump ordered US troops in the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) to withdraw from the border area where they had been conducting joint security patrols with the Syrian Defence Forces. After ensuring that the invading forces would not clash with its NATO US military counterparts, Turkish aerial bombardment and land invasion has begun. The international community, especially Turkey’s NATO allies, should do more than just ask for restraint.
In recent violent attacks against African foreigners living in South Africa 12 people were killed. While xenophobic rhetoric has become increasingly normalised in the country’s political discourse, the latest violence has had domestic and international implications. Importantly, this violence must be seen in context of the continuation of South Africa’s colonial and apartheid era structures, which still play a crucial role in most South Africans’ everyday lives. Given that land reform is an unfinished and hotly discussed political project, we argue that intense economic and spatial inequality as remnants of the past are important contributors to recent violence, specifically against foreigners in South Africa.
The Armenian Genocide or, as it is labelled in mainstream Turkish discourse, the “so-called Genocide,” continues to fuel political tensions, both internationally and at home. Use of the G-word by governments worldwide invariably provokes a reaction from Ankara, whose genocide denial continues to shape and colour Turkish foreign policy as well as domestic matters. Strikingly enough, however, the most important institution of the Armenians in Turkey has also participated in the politics of denial in recent years. How do the politics of such genocide recognition and denial play out, and what do they imply?
Almost 25 years after the end of the war and six years since its European Union membership Croatia is still unable to re-integrate its declining Serb population. Serbs face intolerance, economic obstacles and discrimination. Croatian nationalists target them as an inconvenient reminder that their exclusive narrative is just a myth. At the same time, they use the Serbs as the perfect “enemy” in order to preserve the dominant status of ethno-nationalism. Croatia therefore fails to respect the highest internationally recognized minority rights to which it repeatedly committed itself in the early days of its independence and during the EU integrations process.
In the last five years, Latin America has entered a new political era with indigenous peoples at the center of these changes. The new governments in the region are promoting revisionist policies regarding past state violence and implementing new policies of indigenous dispossession. However, the observable trend denying indigenous peoples their basic rights, and their participation on issues affecting them, is not only an issue of minority politics, it also draws broader fundamental civil rights and liberties into question.