Sunday, February 07 2016

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Does the media fuel conflict in the Middle East?

Thembisa FakudeThe growth of locally-based television channels is beginning to counter the narrative that has dominated the media coverage of the Middle East. Some television programmes depicting a normal life are gradually breaking the staple coverage of war and carnage. However, the ongoing conflict has prevented new entrants to journalism with different perspectives from working in the region. Consequently, more experienced journalists who have been stationed in the region are being recalled to work at the new channels. Unfortunately, most of these older hands insist on working according to their brief from their previous stints covering the region. Furthermore, the younger and newer journalists who do make it to the Middle East are not able to travel freely for research and newsgathering purposes. Understandably, the region is full of cynics who are suspicious of strangers due to the brutality of the mukhabarat (intelligence officers) from several countries who operate in the region.

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Civilisational politics threatens everyone’s freedoms, not just Muslims’

Anshuman MondalThe anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo murders offers an opportunity to reflect on what has been a turbulent year, especially in France but elsewhere too. Personally speaking, such reflections are tinged by surrealism because on the morning of 7 January 2015 I was suffering from flu and had a temperature of 41 degrees. The launch of my book on Islam and freedom of speech controversies was scheduled for the following Monday, and that synchronicity seemed at the time to be too outrageous to be true. Drifting in and out of feverish sleep, I could not tell whether what I was hearing on my bedside radio was real or merely in my imagination.

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Lessons unlearned in Syria

Nafeez Ahmed

"What the world needs to know is that we live under Daesh control on the ground, and constant air strikes from the sky. We are trapped."- Syrian citizen in Raqqa

Britain is going to war. Which is not entirely new, because Britain has continuously been at war since 9/11, in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya – and that’s just where UK forces have been active directly, excluding where Britain has dispatched support to allied regimes through arms and aid, as part of the ‘war on terror.’

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'Delenda Carthago': ISIS, threat and recovery

David AlpherMost of the discussion involving ISIS, the self-declared Islamic State, revolves around one thing. As the Romans said of their powerful enemy, delenda Carthago: Carthage must be destroyed. On the surface, this seems a blindingly obvious answer; the only answer. ISIS is committing mass atrocities on a wide scale. It is aggressively expansionist. Its interpretation of Islam is grotesquely skewed and virulently toxic. The group plans violent attacks against a laundry list of actors both local and global, and quite obviously has the means to carry them out.

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South Africa’s pro-Palestine movement - struggling to repay the anti-Apartheid solidarity debt

Martin JansenBy the early 1990s it seemed that significant progress had been made to reach agreements in what were considered to be the world’s three main political hotspots – Northern Ireland, Palestine and South Africa. Several decades of liberation struggles were suddenly catapulted towards real possibilities for attaining the end-goal. This was largely due to a changed international political climate arising from the collapse of the USSR and its satellite states in Eastern Europe, effectively putting an end to the Cold War. Negotiated agreements between enemies was the order of the day resulting in South Africa having its first democratic elections in April 1994 and coinciding with the signing of the Oslo Accords between the PLO and Israel. The Oslo Accords ensured Israel’s recognition of the PLO as the official representative of the Palestinian people accompanied by the establishment of a Palestinian Authority (PA), effectively institutionalising Israel’s colonial occupation over the Palestinian people and land with the PLO’s collaboration and a surrogate state, the PA.

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