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Reflections

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REFLECTIONS

Avvenire - Italy | 03/07/2015

Fulvio Scaglione on the fear of the Islamist Hydra

In the aftermath of the series of attacks on the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt has toughened its anti-terrorism laws to counter the IS. The fight against this terrorist group must begin in Syria and Iraq, writes journalist Fulvio Scaglione in the Catholic daily Avvenire: "The Sinai Peninsula shares borders with Israel, Jordan and, on the Gulf of Aqaba, with Saudi Arabia. That is reason enough to fear an earthquake. Egypt, which has yet to solve its own problem with Islamism, can hardly accept the IS setting up a base on Egyptian territory. Israel for the first time feels really threatened by the jihadists. Jordan, which threatens to collapse under the burden of refugees from Syria, fears an attack from behind. … And Saudi Arabia, which is already caught up in a war in Yemen, is eyeing the deeds of the evil genie it itself helped out of the bottle with distrust. All these states face one and the same problem: to stop the Islamist Hydra they must cut off its head - that means they must fight it in Syria and Iraq. But there are hardly any countries willing to do so. They are less numerous and also less resolute than those who fear Iran and the Shiites more than the IS." (03/07/2015)

El País - Spain | 28/06/2015

For Moisés Naím the Islamist terror is not a clash of civilisations

Those who felt reminded of Samuel Huntington's thesis of a clash of Western and Muslim civilisations after the terrorist attacks in Tunisia and France on Friday are forgetting the facts, Moisés Naím, editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy magazine, comments in the centre-left daily El País: "The images on the news, the official rhetoric and strident debates on the radio and Internet lead one to believe that the most bloody conflict of the 21st century is between radical Muslims and infidels. But this is not the case. The statistics show that this is a false interpretation and that the Islamist terrorists have killed more followers of their own religion than anyone else. The fight between the Shiites and the Sunnis continues to claim victims, most of them Muslims. On the other hand it is also untrue that most of the attacks in the US are carried out by radical Muslims. It is US racists - many of them members of the White Supremacy movement - who are responsible for most of the victims of terrorist attacks in the US." (28/06/2015)

La Repubblica - Italy | 25/06/2015

Tahar Ben Jelloun on the West capitulating to IS barbarism

The West is facing its demise in the fight against the IS terrorists, the Moroccan author Tahar Ben Jelloun warns in the centre-left daily La Repubblica: "The world is paying the price for Obama's and Europe's overcautious policy. They should have intervened in Syria on the first day when Bashar al-Assad's soldiers shot at peaceful demonstrators. … But they let him stay. Rather a dictator like Assad than an Islamic regime, they declared again and again. Assad is still in office. But we are sinking into chaos, with or without Assad. ... Yet we should not forget that Assad and his friend and secret advisor Putin promoted the phenomenon of the IS extremists. The criminal jihadists are advancing inexorably and mocking the civilised world. Why don't we just officially declare that there are no great powers any more, no more laws or justice; that barbarism has won and we must submit to its reign of terror?" (25/06/2015)

Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany | 23/06/2015

Jürgen Habermas on EU citizens' lack of political participation

In the context of the Greek crisis philosopher Jürgen Habermas complains in the centre-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung that the monetary union is still incomplete: "The lacking fiscal sovereignty is just one of many vulnerable aspects. The monetary union will remain unstable as long as it is not complemented by a banking, fiscal and economic union. But unless we want to come right out and call democracy nothing but decoration, that will involve developing the monetary union into a political union. ... What we are really lacking is a focus for joint political decision-making on the part of the people regarding key political issues in core Europe. But the veil over this institutional deficit has still not been fully lifted. The Greek election has blown sand in the mechanism of Europe, because the people themselves decided over a political alternative that they are keen to discuss. ... The political elites in Europe may no longer hide from their voters and themselves avoid the alternatives with which a politically incomplete monetary union faces us. It is the people, not the banks, who must have the last say on the vital questions facing Europe." (23/06/2015)

Corriere della Sera - Italy | 24/06/2015

Maurizio Ferrara urges Europe's intellectuals to do their bit

Europe's intellectuals are being naive if they believe that politicians alone will find a solution to the political crisis in the EU, philosopher and political scientist Maurizio Ferrera writes in the liberal-conservative daily Corriere della Sera: "The debate has been dominated by two extremes in recent months: technicism and moralism. … What has been lacking is a debate between these two opposite poles, a debate that, although based on facts, is inspired by higher principles and aims above all to take a far-sighted perspective. The accusations about another 'betrayal by the intellectuals' - reviving [philosopher] Julien Benda's formula - are not entirely unfounded, but they are exaggerated. … Certain important voices in European culture express their views on a regular basis, as Jürgen Habermas did just yesterday. … However if it's true that we need new visions, it is a little naïve to hope that the current political class in Europe will provide them. If we are really dealing here with a confrontation between the nations, politics can't limit its role to mediating: it must reconcile the different peoples. A difficult process to which above all the intellectuals have a duty to contribute." (24/06/2015)

La Repubblica - Italy | 22/06/2015

Michela Marzano on the absurd demonisation of gender theory

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated against the government's plans for legal recognition of same-sex unions in Rome on Saturday. The organisers of the Family Day demonstration declared that they were trying to protect their children from the propaganda of gender theory. They are wrong to demonise gender theory, philosopher Michela Marzano argues in the centre-left daily La Repubblica: "Who isn't familiar with the famous remark made by Simone de Beauvoir in 1949 in The Second Sex: 'One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman'. This sentence is famous, but many people probably still don't understand it. What the French intellectual meant by it was not that a woman can chose whether to be a woman or not. Simone De Beauvoir was trying to say that women have the right to redefine their role in society. … Gender theory doesn't aim to make men turn into women or vice versa, as those who campaign against it claim. Nor does it aim to teach heterosexuals to be homosexuals. Gender wants respect for everyone, regardless of their sexual identity or sexual orientation." (22/06/2015)

Magyar Hírlap - Hungary | 21/06/2015

Zsolt Bayer on the refugee drama as a remedy for the West

The refugees' plight could finally bring the West to the realisation that its decadent way of life will be its demise, the right-wing columnist Zsolt Bayer comments in the conservative daily Magyar Hírlap: "The excesses of the Western individual have put us in this situation. His godlessness and lack of perspective, his consumerism and gradual but unstoppable stultification have brought us to this. Like pigs we gobble through our days on Circe's island and wait for Hermes, the messenger of the gods, to bring us the healing herbs of our salvation. Perhaps he has already brought them to us. Perhaps the flood of refugees is our salvation. It will bring us to our senses and turn us from pigs back into humans. Perhaps they will teach us moderation. Perhaps they will teach us to respect the world once more, and our fellow human beings, our civilisation, our god, our past and future, time, culture, the dusty and dark libraries, the idle afternoons, the remaining forests, the water, the silence, the bread, the traditions and the wisdom of our grandparents. Or we will perish." (21/06/2015)

Blog Apostolis Fotiadis - Greece | 19/06/2015

Apostolis Fotiadis calls for a reality shock for Europe

Europe must not be led by ideological and moral constraints but by the reality of the situation, journalist Apostolis Fotiadis urges in his blog: "Whether its Greek insolvency and the eurozone stability, the western Balkans stabilization, the immigration and refugee crisis, EU leaders have chosen to satisfy national audiences and minimize political costs instead of looking for real solutions. … But Europe's raw material has been reality. When in 1951 France, West Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries signed the Treaty of Paris and established the Coal and Steel Community they did so by accepting that ideological and moral constraints could not be the key element in forming policy objectives. Current EU leaders have parted with this kind of realism long ago, they let ideology determine policy more than it should. … The EU is in need of a historical reality shock before it's too late. Hopefully it won't be called Grexit." (19/06/2015)

The Times - United Kingdom | 17/06/2015

Waterloo and the triumph of the nation state

This Thursday marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Its true legacy is the triumph of the nation state against other forms of political organisation - including the supranational EU, the conservative daily The Times writes: "Not that anyone could know it at the time, but that blood-soaked afternoon was the dawn of a century of peace, prosperity and progress in Europe that justly earned the label Pax Britannica. If British dominance in the 19th century was the sum total of Waterloo's legacy, the battle and the duke would deserve their place in history. But that alone does not explain the significance of the 200th anniversary today. Waterloo was a famous military victory but also the triumph of the nation state over autocracy as the natural focus of citizens' allegiance. It is a triumph that has endured ever since, through world wars, 20th-century totalitarianism and the steady erosion of national sovereignty that is integral to the European project." (17/06/2015)

Internationale Politik - Germany | 15/06/2015

Joseph E. Stiglitz on the miscalculations of Athens' creditors

The creditors' unbending stance in the Greek crisis is dangerous for all Europe, the US economist Joseph E. Stiglitz criticises in a guest commentary for the debate portal ipg-journal: "The troika's forecasts have been wrong, and repeatedly so. And not by a little, but by an enormous amount. Greece's voters were right to demand a change in course, and their government is right to refuse to sign on to a deeply flawed program. … Some in Europe, especially in Germany, seem nonchalant about a Greek exit from the eurozone. The market has, they claim, already 'priced in' such a rupture. Some even suggest that it would be good for the monetary union. I believe that such views significantly underestimate both the current and future risks involved. A similar degree of complacency was evident in the United States before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. … The future of Europe and the euro now depends on whether the eurozone's political leaders can combine a modicum of economic understanding with a visionary sense of, and concern for, European solidarity." (15/06/2015)


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