Archive for March, 2011

Digital ‘End of History’? Hmmm….not yet

March 30, 2011

The Middle East uprisings have triggered an enthusiastic rhetoric regarding a strong correlation between ‘Democratisation’ and the ‘Social Media’. Morozov seems to disagree.

Authoritarian states around the world will now develop new strategies to tame the web

This is the main subject of his recently published book The Net Delusion: How not to Liberate the World.

I agree. Fighting for democracy is not triggered, it is just facilitated by the new media. The twitter becomes more the tool rather than the reason. But I also come to understand Clay Shirky’s position as expressed in the Foreign Affairs last month: the social media synchronise the behaviour of groups and therefore alter the dynamics of the public sphere.

I am sure that more case studies -after Iran, Tynisia, Egypt – will be available for further exploration pretty soon…

Europe, History and (Ir)responsibility

March 29, 2011

Since the very start, Europe has been on the wrong side of the Arab uprisings.

Prospect Magazine raises the following question. Europe: on the wrong side of history?

My points:

  • Is Europe well prepared to restore order in Libya?
  • Is the EU well prepared to stabilise the unstable?
  • Is UK making a serious effort to lead the way proving that it still matters in the international scene?
  • Is France making an effort to prove that EU is not just a Franco-German diktat?
  • Is the British and French collective action in Libya a sign that EU is about rising ‘groups’ within the ‘Group’?
  • Does Europe has a solid history understanding (and memory)? (It is said that when you do not remember history, you tend to repeat the mistakes of the past…..)

Anarchism vs.Vandalism

March 29, 2011

I was in the West End Saturday night. I was scared, I felt insecure, lovely London’s centre was totally chaotic. Police, ambulances, demonstrators, music, noise, smashed windows, empty shops, sad banks…and the helicopter in the sky reminded of an ongoing action….the danger was still somewhere…

I read the news, I read the comments and reports and what attracted my attention was the interchangeable use of the terms ‘Anarchism’ and ‘Vandalism’. I agree, of course, that the quest of Alternatives is not reflected upon all the hostile actions that took place on Saturday but I am wondering: Since when has ‘Anarchism’ become a synonym for ‘Vandalism’?

Galliano-lessons

March 6, 2011

Lessons to be learnt after Galliano’s recent story/sack:

  1. Fashion Industry has become highly political. Behaviour within fashion industry should start be considered as an additional element when teaching/studying International Relations.
  2. Never talk to strangers in a Parisian cafe
  3. Being the chief (designer) does not mean that the Big Brother (who has a camera) is not watching you
  4. Christian Dior does not only save your night (out) and your reputation (re outfit), it also acts in a speedy way to save its own reputation (by firing the Big Name)
  5. When Fashion Weeks and important Catwalks attract less attention due to misbehaviours, racist statements and politically incorrect attitudes …then something is going really wrong…at the end….better to be a passion than a fashion (victim).

R2P but how?

March 1, 2011
According to the Economist (latest issue February 26-March 4 2011) Europe must do more to support the Arab democracy, or, the struggle for Arab democracy. Should Europe, now, just now, express any kind of responsibility to protect and help the Arab struggles for freedom and democracy?
History repeats itself. R2P or the Responsibility to Protect raises so many questions about the How, Who, When to help and  how exactly to restore the order.
I don’t know if Europe can take such a responsibility now, it would be though a good chance for Lady Ashton to make her name more memorable.
But I think I am going to agree with Gideon Rachman in the FT today. The external assistance may help in short term. But in long term stability and peace  in the region should be chosen, determined and protected by ordinary citizens and not by outside powers.

short visit, shorter hope

March 1, 2011

I spent some days in Athens/Greece last week and -believe me- 5 days were enough to realise the disappointment of the people, the anger, the lack of hope, the need to react against a system that put Greece in an economic abyss. Needless to say that the most of the people I talked to, recognised the fact that all of ‘us’, each of us, somehow, contributed to this crisis.

I came to ask myself: ‘Is it more than an economic/political crisis? Is it about a Greek mentality crisis’?

According article in the Financial Times on Monday, 28th February (under the title ‘Greece’s struggles’):

Changing Greece’s mentalities and attitudes to the state is a task that will last an entire generation, beyond the political lifetime of George Papandreou, the prime minister.

So, is there any hope? I am afraid I am going to ask this question again and again in the future. Nevertheless, the FT article expressed a reserved but clear  optimism under one condition: that the Greek prime minister  soldiers on the reforms. (It continues also claiming that on his present record, he would deserve to win any forthcoming elections).

My mind welcomes the acceleration of the reforming process, my heart though -after my short visit- is torn by all the suffering I was able to spot…..