Stolpersteine ("'Stumbling stones") in Berlin remembering victims of the Holocaust
While commemoration of the Holocaust is an omnipresent aspect of Western culture, commemorating the Armenian genocide is much less common. | Photo: Kadir Celep on Unsplash | Free use

At the Age of the Pandemic: The Global Memory of the Holocaust and Armenian Genocide at a Crossroads

Over the last forty years, the Holocaust has become a distinct aspect of Western culture and a universal lesson for protection of minorities and human rights. By contrast, the Armenian genocide is still being denied by Turkey and a culture of commemoration which is lagging far behind. Beyond the reason for differences between memory practices, I argue that a stronger culture of commemoration of the Armenian genocide would have twofold benefits.

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Growing closeness in times of social distancing? European leaders and Xi Jinping during the videoconference that sealed the EU-China investment agreement. | Photo: © European Union, 2020 / EC - Audiovisual Service / Photographer: Lukasz Kobus | Free use.

The EU-China Investment Agreement: a sign of political naïveté or strategic autonomy?

The recently-concluded EU-China Investment Agreement has attracted severe criticism, with many commenters focusing specifically on the supposed naïveté of concluding a separate agreement with China instead of pursuing a joint approach together with the incoming Biden administration. However, this approach is in line with the EU’s stated desire to achieve a greater strategic autonomy, and in fact a sensible reaction to the uncertainty that has marked international politics since the Trump era.

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On January 10 2021, the Kyrgyz people will be called upon to elect a new President. | Photo: flickr, Ronan Shenhav | CC BY-NC 2.0

Kyrgyzstan Before the Presidential Elections

Kyrgyz citizens will vote for a new president on 10 January 2021. Protests have caused the annulation of the parliamentary elections of 04th October 2020 which resulted in a series of high-ranked officials’ resignations and the third ouster of a president in the country’s recent history. Since then, the political landscape is changing quickly. Recent developments, including an initiated constitutional reform process, cast doubts on the future democratic path of Kyrgyzstan.

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"La Marcha Más Grande de Chile" took place during the 2019 protest movement in Chile. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Natalia Reyes Escobar | CC BY-SA 4.0

One Year Later: The Legacy of Latin America’s 2019 Mass Protests

Between October and December 2019, mass protests swept Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador. A year later, the legacies of these episodes of contention look very different. While in Chile protests enforced the initiation of a constitutional reform process that continues on track, recent elections in Bolivia reversed last year’s political about-face. In Ecuador and Colombia, the 2019 mass protests did not initiate comparable policy changes to begin with – but this doesn’t mean they had no lasting effects.

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The future is bright – A way forward for the Tigray conflict? | Photo: flickr, John Iglar | CC BY-SA 2.0

“The Future is Bright” – A Way Forward for the Tigray Conflict

Since a few weeks, we observe violent clashes between government forces and local authorities in Tigray, a region in Northern Ethiopia. The Central Government under the rule of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has sent military troops into the region in order to implement law enforcement measures. To understand the conflict and to discuss ways forward, Samantha Ruppel talked with Dr. Yonas Adaye Adeto, Director and Assistant Professor of Peacebuilding and Security Governance in Africa at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) at Addis Ababa University. In the interview, Dr. Adeto argues that ethnic politics is the root cause of the conflict and describes the most important aspects of a successful conflict resolution.

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Near an occupied military post at rebel-held Ras Lanuf, Libya's largest oil refinery, fighters have left large stockpiles of weaponry such as tank shells and assault rifle and anti-aircraft ammunition. | Photo: flickr, Al Jazeera English | CC BY-SA 2.0

From Legal to Illegal Transfers: Regional Implications of Weapon Flows to Libya

The recent denial of access to a Turkish freighter for German soldiers of the European Union Naval Force Mediterranean Operation IRINI is the latest example of the difficulties arising from the UN-imposed arms embargo in Libya. Since 2011, countries such as Turkey, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt, Russia and France have continued to transfer large quantities of heavy military equipment to the North African State. In particular, Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) remain a major problem. Changes in the intensity of the Libyan conflict could lead to a growing spread of arms in the whole region and further complicate the overall security situation at the expense of domestic populations.

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The term "Islamism" is often inevitably associated with terrorism. | Photo: Unsplash/Marija Zaric | Free use

Who are these “Islamists” everyone talks about?! Why academic struggles over words matter

Politicians, the media, and social media users alike have framed recent attacks in Europe as instances of “Islamist” violence. The current debate often remains superficial and uses the umbrella term of “Islamism” to describe a diverse spectrum of actors, ideologies, and activities. Notably, conflating Salafi jihadism with other manifestations of Islamism risks consolidating a unified enemy image of “the Islamists” – or, even worse, Islam. This blogpost aims at disentangling these labels, in particular pointing out two discursive pitfalls: the securitisation of Islam and Muslim communities, and the equation of Islamism with terrorism.

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Outgoing secretary of state Mike Pompeo has emerged as one of China’s harshest critics and may seek to build a future presidential campaign around this profile. | Photo: flickr, Gage Skidmore | CC BY-SA 2.0

From China Threat to Red Scare: a Post-Trump Republican Perspective on US-China Relations

In its last months in office, the Trump administration published a new, comprehensive framework on China policy. Despite the upcoming change in government, this report is notable for introducing a very ideology-centered perspective and rhetoric reminiscent of the Cold War. It could therefore provide a glimpse on how Republicans will approach China policy in opposition and exert pressure on the new government to stick with the confrontative course taken by Trump.

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"They kill us on and on" - more than 8000 indigenous people from the Cauca region protest against the escalating violence in Bogotá on 19.10.2020 | Photo: Picture Alliance/AA
Bogotá, October 19, 2020: More than 8,000 indigenous people protest in the capital. “They keep killing us“ is the slogan on the poster held by two indigenous Colombians from the Cauca region 600 kilometers away. In Cauca, especially representatives of the indigenous population are victims of the escalating violence. | Photo: Picture Alliance/AA

The Political Logic of Violence. The Assassination of Social Leaders in the Context of Authoritarian Local Orders in Colombia

Ever since the conclusion of the peace deal between the Colombian government and FARC guerrilla in late 2016, the number of social leaders murdered has risen sharply – something that even the latest developments surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic have had little bearing on. These acts of violence are frequently attributed to the presence of armed non-state actors and their fight for control over illegal economies. And yet, the situation has an unmistakably political side to it, reflecting the very modus operandi of local authoritarian orders in Colombia. For counterstrategies to be developed, it is crucial to acknowledge the political logic behind the violence.

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Ouiry Sanou on the behavior of the competing parties in context of the current election campaign: “[…] they act like a mother amusing her children with little puppets, it is just a game.” | Photo: flickr, Carsten ten Brink | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“There is Really No Hope or Expectations of the Youth for these Elections.”

In the second interview of the PRIF blog series on the elections in Burkina Faso, Simone Schnabel and Antonia Witt talked to Ouiry Sanou. Ouiry Sanou is a long-time activist and the secretary general of the Burkinabe youth organization “Organisation Démocratique de la Jeunesse du Burkina Faso” (ODJ), which is dedicated to respecting and protecting the democratic and social rights of young people in Burkina Faso. It also supports residents in mining regions in their struggle for land and social rights.

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