democracy

President Obama has signaled in recent days that he will be confronting China much more on its global policies. But China is on the rise as the premier economic global power, even as America is on the decline, and it remains to be seen what kind of confrontation could be effective. Will China’s rise actually be good news for the world? This will depend on how China rises, and it will be wise to challenge China on its humanitarian impact every bit as much as on its economic impact globally. Let’s look at one example.

Burma has one of the worst governments in the world, a place where citizens live in terror. The military junta seized power when Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won 392 of the 492 seats in Parliament. It does not fully control the Hill Country on the west and east sides of the country, inhabited by …

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The hardest part of building peace for the future is freeing oneself from the wounds of war, the mutual recriminations of the present, the painful memories of a lost past, and the unreasonable fantasies of a world where one’s enemies magically disappear. Sometimes the way forward is to free the mind to build a different world, a world of practical possibilities should peace be achieved.

Let’s imagine the following: a full peace treaty between Israel and Palestine, official creation of a state of Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as its capital, a shared civil regime for the quarter mile of the Holy Basin in the Old City of Jerusalem that is overseen by Israeli and Palestinian Jews, Muslims and Christians, and a way for every Palestinian refugee camp’s residents to be awarded citizenship and compensation in a variety of countries including Palestine itself.

The first …

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Why the US Needs Global Citizens

by mgopin on September 3, 2010 · 4 comments

By Cheryl Duckworth

Perhaps one of the barriers to global citizenship education has been a fear that one must necessarily choose between two identities—being either a citizen of one’ s country or a citizen of the world.  In light of the increasingly nationalist and xenophobic dynamic observable in many countries over the past decade, challenging this false choice is urgent. Peace educators and global citizenship educators must make the argument that one can be both a citizen of one’s country and a citizen of the world.
I would even go further to argue that in today’s increasingly interconnected and increasingly armed world, the U.S. needs global citizens more than ever.  What is a global citizen and why does her country need her?
A global citizen has a secure and multifaceted identity.  What this means is that no one particular aspect of his identity (race, class, religion, gender) dominates the others.  …

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This will be a long, hard fought battle that will leave Muslims quite weary, but it has been engaged before and successfully won. Just ask Catholics a hundred years ago, or Jews two hundred years ago. This will require persistence, coalition building, compromise, honesty, an evolution in communication skills, and patience above all. But I believe that history demonstrates that Americans of common sense generally win in the long run. I believe we are just witnessing the second wave of organized hatred that comes from political opportunists (who often wear religious garb). It will exhaust itself in embarrassment as it reaches absurd limits. Critics of Islam with legitimate gripes, such as Wafa Sultan, will begin to distance themselves from hatreds they did not intend to unleash, as everyone learns, in every generation unfortunately, that nothing good comes of hate, and the mob is not controllable.

While a high-profile battle rages

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Former Knesset speaker announces that new party ‘Shai’ will push for equality in Israeli society. Former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg announced this week that he plans to form a new joint Jewish-Arab party ahead of the next election, that would push for equality in Israeli society.The new leftist party will be called Shai, which means “gift” in Hebrew and is an acronym for “equality in Israel” shivyon yisrael. Burg said he would only announce the party’s candidates and platform ahead of the election, which is set for October 22, 2013, but could be held much earlier.“The most important issue in Israel now is the distortion in the values of our democracy,” Burg told The Jerusalem Post. “The divides among rich and poor, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, Jew and Arab, occupier and occupied all have in common inequality. Israel is becoming a nationalist, fundamentalist, theocratic state, which is the unholy triangle.”Asked whether

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STOP CHEERING AND START HELPING

by mgopin on August 3, 2010 · 2 comments

You have to watch this short five minute film to believe it. Watch a village steadily stolen illegally by the Jewish National Fund, finally destroyed by the IDF and the State with hundreds of police, and then rebuilt and reclaimed by Jews and Arabs, citizens of Israel, together.

You don’t have to believe that this is exactly what the JNF has been doing for over a hundred years, you don’t have to read the long and complicated history through the eyes of Israel’s leading analysts like Tom Segev in One Palestine Complete, just look at five minutes of video to see the destruction of olive trees and the theft of land through planting ‘Jewish’ trees, donated by clueless American Jews, no doubt, as Arabs watch helplessly their entire village demolished. But then watch Jews and Arabs together rebuilding in a single day. Feel the power and the determination.

When …

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Respect partyThe current European headlines are dominated by France and Belgium’s impending face-veil legislation, but there is another, more important, story that isn’t getting as much attention—that of a quiet revolution throughout Europe of Muslim women emerging onto the political scene.

One of the most prominent examples is that of Salma Yaqoob in the UK. Yaqoob, a prospective parliament candidate, is the most prominent Muslim woman in British public life today. She herself wears a headscarf, a powerful symbol of a faith she has accommodated with her passionate leftwing politics. She represents UK’s Respect party and has a pretty good chance of making history as one of the first British Muslim women MPs. There are other Muslim women running for seats in Birmingham, Bethnal Green, Bolton South and other cities.

Sadly, however, by virtue of being both Muslim and women, Yaqoob and others face opposition from all sides who don’t believe …

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Of Bankers and Social Change in America

by mgopin on September 30, 2009 · 8 comments

In front of the Uptown theater in Washington, DC, I played one of three bankers that Michael Moore drags in to see his new film, Capitalism: A Love Story. He dragged us down to the front row and put us in front of the huge adoring crowd. It was great fun! Thanks to the ever creative David Vyorst, my film maker and partner for arranging this!

Michael spoke after this devastating and entertaining film. His heart is genuine. His assault on capitalism is more systematic than I believe in. I truly believe the evils of this civilization are due as much to a betrayal of Adam Smith as to the evils of private enterprise. And Michael often points in the film to the far greater fairness in Germany and other countries that, in my mind, combine the values that Adam Smith advocated, and are hardly socialist countries in …

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It is  very important that we blog about the Iranian elections and expose to the world the Iranian choices. Read here on Karroubi’s platform to open up the universities. There are conflicting polls on who is ahead, with state polls putting Ahmedinijad ahead, obviously. Ahmadinijad controls all the public television stations, which is what the vast majority of the country has access to. But the youth are with the reform candidates so they are trying to utilize every social media possible to reach the voters anyway. Therefore, Ahmadinijad is blocking Facebook as much as he can. Karroubi, like Obama, is focused on the internet, the youth, the disenfranchised. This is an unfair fight for the future of the people of Iran, and I believe it is the deciding factor for the future of peace and war in the Middle East. Candidate Moussavi is saying more what Westerners want to hear

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Excellent article by Joseph Nye, godfather of ‘soft power’,  on a re-assessment of democracy promotion with a gentle critique of the Obama Administration.  Well argued, and what most people in non-democracies would like to hear.…

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