Analysis

Syrians yes, Iraqis no: the startling disparity in Britain’s asylum decisions

Collateral, a new TV mini-series on the BBC written by David Hare, revolves around the murder of a young man working as a pizza delivery driver in London. Jason Hart The Conversation One of the main themes running through the drama series is the situation of asylum seekers in the UK. We soon learn that the murder is linked to events that occurred while the victim and his two sisters were crossing by boat from Turkey to Greece. Initially pretending ... Read More »

Servant or partner? The role of expertise and knowledge in democracy

Should expert knowledge be limited to providing a servant role in democracies, or elevated to that of a partner? Darrin Durant The Conversation Most of us respond with ambivalence to this question. We desire expert input into democratic deliberation and decision-making, but not so much as to dominate the discussion. As a result, most of us are tempted by the quest for a Goldilocks principle that establishes “just enough” expertise. But it can be unclear whether the servant or the ... Read More »

The Congressional Battle Over Ending the War In Yemen

A conflict long overshadowed by Syria, bipartisan buzz is building on the Hill and in the press to end U.S. involvement with the Saudi-led campaign on Yemen. Curt Mills The National Interest A new effort is underway on the Hill to end U.S. involvement in Yemen. There’s a verve and kick to this campaign, and a robust rolodex of Congressional sponsors and media backers. When I asked, congressional aides who huddled with reporters in Sen. Mike Lee’s office last week ... Read More »

Why it’s so important for kids to see diverse TV and movie characters

The hype surrounding “Black Panther” has been as hyperbolic as any feat its characters might perform, with the film being praised for its layered story and what’s been described as its “Afrofuturist” cast. Authors The Conversation And “Black Panther” will be joined by “A Wrinkle in Time,” another film with blockbuster potential and an interracial cast. But no matter how much money or how many awards films like “Black Panther” and “A Wrinkle in Time” amass, our research strongly suggests ... Read More »

Essays On Air: Joan of Arc, our one true superhero

One need not be a parent of a young child, as I am, to be conscious of the full-blown resurgence of the superhero in contemporary popular culture. Ali Alizadeh The Conversation But there is more to a hero than courage and strength. On today’s episode of Essays On Air, the audio version of The Conversation’s Friday essay series, I’m reading my essay on Joan of Arc, our one true superhero. She’s been depicted as a national heroine and a nationalist symbol ... Read More »

Use of the word ‘radicalisation’ is ballooning – and it’s hiding the real causes of violence

“Radicalisation” recently started appearing as an explanation for US high school shootings in my newsfeeds. Rob Faure Walker The Conversation In an article titled “Call the Florida shooting what it is: terrorism”, Teen Vogue explores the murderer’s connections to white supremacy and claims that “the source of their radicalisation” is the “main question currently plaguing our society”. This was the first time that I had noticed that the US media were using “radicalisation” as an explanation for this horrendous phenomenon. ... Read More »

Sensory aspects of speech linked to language issues in autism

Children with autism pay just as much attention to speech that doesn’t match lip movements as to speech in which sight and sound are coordinated, according to a new study1. Hannah Furfaro Spectrum Typical children prefer speech in which the sensory cues are in sync. Some people with autism have trouble learning to speak and understand words. Some people with the condition have minimal verbal skills or don’t speak at all. The new work suggests that these problems may be partially rooted ... Read More »

Russia Should Go Beyond Humanitarian Corridors in Syria

Russia’s proposal for humanitarian corridors for Eastern Ghouta and Rukban camp have little chance of mitigating suffering there. Sam Heller ICG Instead, Moscow should push for a negotiated resolution of Eastern Ghouta through UN Security Council Resolution 2401 and secure normal aid agency access to Rukban, thereby enhancing its credibility as a mediator. Syria’s civilians have suffered tremendously through the country’s seven years of conflict. Now, as the Syrian government and its allies prepare to retake Damascus’s Eastern Ghouta suburbs, ... Read More »

Kim’s initiative: The breakthrough the world has been waiting for?

North Korea has offered every precondition Seoul and Washington set for talks. But while the spectrum of opportunity has dramatically expanded, so, too, have the risks Andrew Salmon Asia Times The Korean Peninsula is arguably the world’s most dangerous geopolitical flashpoint, but rarely – if ever – in inter-Korean relations has one side offered so much so swiftly. According to South Korean officials who returned from two meetings in Pyongyang on Tuesday and delivered a press briefing in the South, ... Read More »

A Hidden Face of War

The impact of conflict is rarely seen through the prism of reproductive health. Isabelle Arradon ICG Yet women and girls routinely face sexual and gender-based violence during war and its aftermath, maternal mortality is endemic in conflict-affected areas and amplifying women’s voices is critical to removing risks to their well-being. A few years ago, a woman in her sixties outside Banda Aceh in Indonesia told me about the rape and other torture she had endured during the conflict between the ... Read More »

Buddhist Militancy Rises Again in Sri Lanka

An upsurge of attacks against Muslims by Sinhala Buddhist militants in Sri Lanka has raised fears of a new round of communal violence. Alan Keenan ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Sri Lanka Senior Analyst Alan Keenan says the government needs to act urgently to prevent the violence from spinning out of control, by enforcing laws against hate speech and arresting and prosecuting those involved in organising the violence. Sri Lanka has declared a state of emergency for ten days ... Read More »

Cinema and smart phones: the art of increasing audiences for opera, ballet and theatre

Watching an opera, play or ballet has become an increasingly cinematic experience. “Livecasting” performances directly onto screens is now a major part of these kinds of production. Alan Williams The Conversation London’s Royal Opera House has an upcoming “Cinema Season” which includes live relays of Carmen and Swan Lake. In the US, the New York Metropolitan Opera House started livecasting in 2006, while the UK’s National Theatre Live began in 2009. The Royal Opera House and the Royal Ballet joined ... Read More »

The Arctic Heats Up in the Dead of Winter

Every once in a while a climatic event hits that forces people to sit down to catch their breath Along those lines, abnormal Arctic heat waves in the dead of winter may force scientists to revaluate downwards (or maybe upwards, depending) their most pessimistic of forecasts. Robert Hunziker CounterPunch By the end of February 2018, large portions of the Arctic Ocean north of Greenland were open blue water, meaning no ice. But, it’s wintertime, no daylight 24/7, yet no ice ... Read More »

Peacekeeping in Ukraine’s Donbas: Opportunities and Risks

The prospect of a UN peacekeeping force in Ukraine’s Donbas offers a rare opening to discuss how to resolve the conflict. ICG But Moscow’s diplomatic overtures also risk fueling political infighting in Kyiv in the run-up to next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections. The war in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region will soon enter its fifth year. In September 2017, talk of a settlement picked up after Russia circulated a draft UN Security Council resolution proposing the deployment of UN forces ... Read More »

Hazing and sexual violence in Australian universities: we need to address men’s cultures

The esteemed residential colleges of Sydney University have recently gained intense public scrutiny for fostering cultures of sexual harassment, rape and hazing. Ben Wadham The Conversation The Red Zone Report, produced by independent journalists for End Rape on Campus Australia, presented a harrowing account of men’s tribalism, and elitism in Australia’s universities. The report focused on 12 universities including all the Group of Eight universities. Across all 39 Australian universities there are 216 residential colleges or halls. The colleges are… ... Read More »

How to Construct a New Invisible Hand: A Conversation with Peter Barnes

A middle path between laissez faire and centralized planning. By David Sloan Wilson and Peter Barnes Evonomics In a previous essay, I announced a new concept of the invisible hand to replace the old and erroneous idea that the pursuit of self-interest robustly benefits the common good. The new version is based on examples of the invisible hand that exist in nature, such as cells that benefit multi-cellular organisms and social insects that benefit their colonies. These lower-level units don’t have the… How ... Read More »