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The Spectre of Jihad by John Thorne

Somewhere inside, a young man with explosives strapped around his midriff sat listening. He could hear the wails of sirens, the jeers of the crowd, the thudding of a police battering ram on the door below. He had heard the gunfire that morning, and the two claps of thunder when his friends left him. Now he had a choice to make. [more]

Morocco – a virtual democratisation by Aboubakr Jamaï

The Moroccan regime of Mohammed VI has fully exploited the Bush administration’s desire to magnify and advertise the faintest sign of liberalisation in the Arab world. [subscribe]


Letter from Ghana by Nana Akua Anyidoho

Ghana celebrated 50 years of independence on March 6th. As a gift to the nation, the state electricity company promised an outage-free anniversary. Immediately after the fireworks, the country was returned to rationed darkness. [subscribe]


Visions of a Liberal Future by Helen Suzman

Although three of the key components of liberalism – a vigilant opposition in parliament, a pro-active civil society and a watchful press – are evident in South Africa, Professor Milton Shain’s concern that “a liberal consitution does not in itself ensure a democratic future”, appears to be justified. [subscribe]


In Praise of Somaliland by Peter Tatchell

This year’s civil war in Somalia has killed thousands of people and created over half a million refugees. Somalia is a failed state that has failed its people. In contrast, the north-west breakaway region of the Republic of Somaliland is an oasis of peace, stability and progress in the Horn of Africa. [more]

The Islamist as Ironist by TF Lane

Islamism does not, at first glance, seem a fertile ground for irony. Its literalist doctrine and joyless demeanour identify it as an creed of severe sincereity. And with Osama bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, effectively churning out bi-weekly broadcasts for our edification, the movement is more than ever defined by his monotone earnestness. [more]

The Paradox of Plenty by Anatole Kaletsky

Why have almost no African countries managed to achieve the sustained economic development which has lifted billions of people out of extreme poverty in east Asia? There are three inter-connected explanations: war, corruption, and the curse of natural resources. [more]


What’s Left to do for Darfur? by Stephen Twigg

The way forward is an oil trust fund. This would distribute oil revenues for the provision of education, health and development projects, and to the Government of South Sudan. [subscribe]


Selective Rememberance by James Walston

This year, the abolition of the slave trade has for the most part been commemorated in what seems to be a rather grudging way. It is naturally right and proper that Liverpool. Bristol and London should recognise their role in the industry, and that children and adults alike should learn more about their city’s involvement; but this anniversary is above all one of the few occasions when 'the good guys’ won. [subscribe]

Salvation in the Sahara by John Thorne

In the year that the American navy broke the back of Barbary slave trade and brought low the potentates of Tunis and Algiers, a shipwreck occurred on the coast of the Sahara desert that would contribute to the end of slavery in America. [subscribe]


Israel at Middle Age by Benny Morris

The problem, of course, is that while Israel as a society may have entered middle age, the situation (Jewish) Israelis live in, and, even more so, most likely face, is antediluvian, revolutionary and possibly apocalyptic. [subscribe]


The Presidential Circus by Simon Radford

Nothing typifies the Iowa primaries more than an ambitious politician discussing the intricacies of the Central American Free Trade Agreement while munhcing on a deep-fried twinky. [more]


Notes on Being a Black Feminist in Englewood, New Jersey by Michele Wallace

I am not friends with all the black people I see. We don't have much in common based upon skin colour. I’ve learned that whatever community I may have once felt with other black people, or even black women, isn't particularly sustainable on anything other than a purely social or cultural level. [subscribe]