Democracy

Imprisoned Saudi Activist and Other Rights Defenders Seek Justice in 2021

Two events generated significant interest and global solidarity in the final days of December 2020. A court in Saudi Arabia handed down a five years and eight months sentence to activist Loujain Al-Hathloul for publicly supporting women’s right to drive. Nicholas Opiyo, Ugandan human rights lawyer and defender of persecuted members of the LGBTQI community and political opponents of the president was arbitrarily detained on trumped up charges of ‘money laundering.’ Nicholas Opiyo was granted bail on 30 December following an outpouring of global support for his activism for justice. In handing out the verdict to Loujain Al-Hathloul, the court partly suspended her sentence raising hope that she might be released from prison in a couple of months due to time already served.

Capitol Hill ‘Insurrection’

According to the mainstream narrative, President Trump’s incitement of his supporters during the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory led to the ‘insurrection’ at the US Capitol on January 6, resulting in the banning of Trump’s social media accounts and his second impeachment by Congress.

UPDATE** Conspicuous Silence as Ugandan President Wins Sixth Term against Bobi Wine

Thirty-five years ago when President Yoweri Museveni talked, a majority of citizens listened. But now, as he approaches almost four decades in power, his message is not resonating well — particularly with the country’s youth who constitute about 70 percent of the voting population in Uganda.

Twitter, Donald Trump, and Incitement to Violence

Over the last four years, United States President Donald Trump has had in Twitter his main political communication tool. On this technological platform, he spread messages that were not entirely true, insulted and disqualified people, fired, or mocked his collaborators. Twitter was a stage for his sort of presidential reality show.

America’s Descent into Depths of Disastrous Trumpism

Democracy is fragile. It is more fragile that the window panes of the Congress that were smashed by the mob unleashed by President Donald Trump. It is the ultimate symbol of the desecration of American democracy.

Flipping Arizona: Hispanic Movements Flex Political Muscles

The Valley of the Sun is a vast, flat stretch of Sonoran Desert, etched by arroyos and studded with small, jagged peaks. It spans about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west to east and 40 miles (64 kilometers) north to south in south-central Arizona (the state that borders southern California to the east). After cruising through southward on one of the tangle of freeways that vein the expanse, we can leadfoot it another 100 miles (161 kilometers) southeast to Tucson across much the same hardscape, only gradually gaining elevation. The saguaro cacti grow more thickly, but the higher cordilleras maintain a discreet distance most of the way.

Against Trump We Lived Better

When the “year in which we lived dangerously” has ended, let’s ask about a “new era”, once the defeat of Donald Trump has been confirmed.

Italy and the Dubious Honor of Chairing the G20

For 2021, Italy has been given chairmanship of the Group of 20, which brings together the world’s 20 most important countries. On paper, they represent 60% of the world’s population and 80% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). While the shaky Italian government will somehow perform this task (in the general indifference of the political system), the fact remains that this apparently prestigious position is in fact very deceiving: the G20 is now a very weak institution that brings no kudos to the rotating chairman. Besides, it is actually the institution which bears the greatest part of responsibility for the decline of the UN as the body responsible for global governance, a task that the G20 has very seldom been able to face up to.

Was It a Coup? No, But Siege on US Capitol Was the Election Violence of a Fragile Democracy

Supporters of President Donald Trump, following his encouragement, stormed the US Capitol building on Jan. 6, disrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. Waving Trump banners, hundreds of people broke through barricades and smashed windows to enter the building where Congress convenes. One rioter died and several police officers were hospitalized in the clash. Congress went on lockdown.

A Decade after the Arab Spring, Tunisia Fails to Keep up with the Process of Democratisation

Ten years ago a young street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi set himself afire in the central Tunisian provincial town of Sidi Bouzid to protest against police harassment. Bouazizi’s sacrificial act served as a catalyst and inspired the Tunisian people to take over the streets that led to the Jasmine Revolution in the country. On January 4, 2011 Mohamed Bouazizi died, and ten days later the country's authoritarian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s rule ended when he fled to Saudi Arabia.

US Presidential Election Part 4: The Legacy of Slavery and Racism

In a powerful address at the Hungry Club Forum on 10 May 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about US’s so-called “three original sins”, the evils of slavery, poverty and war or, more generally, racism, materialism and militarism.

What Indonesia’s Local Elections Mean for National Politics

In just over a day, on 9 December, Indonesia holds 270 simultaneous local elections for executive office. This involves nine of the republic’s 34 governors, 224 of 416 bupati (district chiefs) and 37 of 98 mayors. The polling was initially scheduled for 23 September but the independent KPU (General Elections Commission) put the date back to 9 December due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

US Presidential Election Part 3: President Trump’s Legacy of Mismanagement of the Pandemic

Covid-19 is on track to be the deadliest and one of the most catastrophic epidemics since the 1918-1919 flu pandemic, which infected about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population at the time. The number of deaths was estimated somewhere between 17 and 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million worldwide.

Not all 74 million Trump Voters Can be Racists

Donald Trump will have to leave the White House in January. Although there will be a few skirmishes in the US courts in the coming weeks to sort out whether some votes were legitimate or not, the outcome won’t change.

US Presidential Election Part II: A Campaign of Insults and Lies

The 2020 election has revealed a deeply divided nation, perhaps at its most divided since the Civil War. Many Americans are still uncertain about how the transition to the new administration will be achieved with a minimum of disruption and perhaps even violence. However, the split between pro and anti-Trump voters is not based on two sets of facts, but on facts and “alternative facts” or falsehoods.

From Political Prisoner to Champion of Human Rights – The Wai Wai Nu Story

Instead of being cowed by her seven-year imprisonment, Wai Wai Nu, emerged stronger and more determined to fight for the rights of all people, including the Rohingya in her native Myanmar.

The Unprecedented US Presidential Election and its Consequences

American democracy has survived a dangerous virus, and it has even come off the ventilator, but whether it will be restored to full health or will suffer for a long time (like a long Covid) from the negative effects of the virus of personality cult, chauvinism, populism, racism, militarism and, yes let’s say it, fascism, remains to be seen.

On the Back of the Pandemic, the Militarisation of Latin America is Gathering Momentum, Analysts Warn

During the Covid-19 pandemic, armed forces in Latin America have been taking on essential tasks: manufacturing protective equipment, delivering food and treating civilians in hospitals. In at least a dozen countries, soldiers have been deployed to enforce containment measures, often using brute force, on populations made up of largely poor informal workers.

The Silence of the International Community on Western Sahara

For my entire life, I have been forgotten. I am a Sahrawi refugee, born and raised in the Algerian desert, where my people have remained displaced for 45 years, awaiting the moment when we can finally return to our homeland, Western Sahara.

Trump Is Gone, But Trumpism Remains

Now it is clear that Joe Biden is the new president of the United States. It is unlikely that Donald Trump’s legal manoeuvring will change the election results, as when a conservative Supreme Court in 2000 decided in favour of George Bush over Al Gore, who lost by 535 votes.

Q & A: Escalating Tensions in Ethiopia adds to Tenuous Refugee Setting

Already reeling from conflict, extreme weather events and growing displacement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, escalating tensions in Ethiopia’s Tigray region have placed the country on the brink of civil war and many are looking to Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to avert a potential humanitarian disaster.

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