Quiet Diplomacy – An Adequate Method or a Shot in the Dark

MANIFESTATION IN STOCKHOLM. PHOTO: MARIA NYGREN.

There are currently three Swedish journalists being held captive abroad: Dawit Isaak in Eritra and Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye in Ethiopia. How effective is the present tactic of quiet diplomacy and what does the journalistic community think about this as a way of negotiating for the Swedish journalists’ freedom?

Two weeks in India

CHANDNI CHAWK, NEW DELHI. PHOTO: HARSH AGRAWALIn the last couple of years India has experienced an economic growth unlike many other countries. The country has become a centre of information technology, and its trade is expanding. Shortly, India will become a powerful player in the global economy as well as in world politics, with a middle class that is growing fast. In spite of all this, India still battles with problems such as corruption, and a large part of the population suffers from poverty and income inequalities. The UPF Travel Committee wanted to know more about the home country of Gandhi and Tata, so we decided that the longer trip of 2011 would go to India. Once the decision was made it soon became clear that it would be impossible to try to cover all of India in the relatively short time we had. Instead we decided upon exploring some of the largest cities; New Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai, as well as some of the smaller cities Agra, Patna and Udaipur.

Interview with Tariq Ali

TARIQ ALI. PHOTO: SEASURFACE. FLICKR.

Last year Tariq Ali released “The Obama Syndrome – Surrender at home, War abroad”, where he looks into the changes made since Obama came into office. He argues that not much has happend since George W Bush left the White house. In September Tariq Ali came to visit the Association of Foreign Affairs in Lund to give a talk. Before the lecture Utrikesperspektiv.se’s writer, Ahmet Nuri Mutlu, met him for an interview.

Tariq Ali is one of the editors of New Left Review. He has been writing articles, essays, fiction, plays, films, and been politically active for over 40 years.

What do you claim about the policies of Obama in The Obama Syndrome?

EU Security Policy Post Utøya

JULY 25TH 2011. OUTSIDE OSLO CATHEDERAL. PHOTO: WWW.ROEDT.NOThe 22nd of July 2011, when over 70 people were killed by a single, crazed terrorist, has entered Norwegian history as the worst attack on the nation’s security since World War II. Even though the Norwegian case differs in some aspects from other cases of “traditional” terrorism–thus far it seems as though the attack was made by a single man rather than an organized group–the attacks in the Oslo city centre and on the island of Utøya once again put the topic of terrorism and national security in the news.

What consequences may rise up in the wake of these events? Will the effects of these terrorist attacks be felt throughout Europe? If so, what effects will they have on the EU?

Denmark takes a step to the left

DANISH PARLIAMENT. PHOTO: TROES DEJGAARD HANSEN:FLICKR.JPG

With the election of the first female Prime Minister in Danish history, the government sets off to a new beginning after ten years of liberal dominance. The new Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt was appointed in a close race with the now former Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, and she will take over a state with several topics on its agenda. The economic growth in Denmark has not been able to follow comparable countries, like Sweden, and as a consequence the financial situation of the country became the main topic in the election campaign. The new government hopes to resolve these problems with initiatives that include raising high-income taxes and advancing public spending. 

The Indignant Greeks

The current financial situation in Europe is precarious, to say the least. Austerity measures pursued by different European governments have not been well received by the
young, which Greece is a good example of. Rather, the insecurity caused by high unemployment rates and reduction of wages has created a new wave of public discontent, aimed at government policies.

In Spain, discontented young people formed the Indignados movement, also known as the “Real Democracy Now” movement. The Spanish Indignados have been protesting against the harsh budget cuts implemented by the government and the general public insecurity stemming from the financial and economic crisis, while at the same time demanding a new, more direct and more transparent type of democracy. A democracy based on people assembling. The Indignados movement quickly caught on, with young people camping out in the squares of all the major cities for days, as a peaceful protest. 

Occupation Movement Grows Bigger


OCCUPY WALL STREET CAMP ON OCTOBER 29.PHOTO: DAVID SHANKBONE. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

More than two months have passed since activists started demonstrating against social and economic inequalities in Zucotti Park, Wall Street, New York.

Now the so called Occupy Wall Street movement has grown and become known globally. Critics say that the movement must have a concrete agenda in order to be taken seriously. Yet the occupiers do not show any signs of leaving their tents. 

A Turn to the Right – The Guatemalan Election

GUATEMALA’S NATIONAL PALACE. PHOTO: ROB MERCATANTE. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Every fourth year the western media massively mobilize to cover every single detail of the presidential election of the United States of America.

Meanwhile, other states hold elections that pass by without anyone taking notice. One of these countries is Guatemala, a small country in Central America known for its ancient pyramids (that appear as the rebel base in the Star Wars IV – A New Hope), Mayan culture, and a long and bloody civil war. In 1996, Guatemala came out of a 36 year long civil war in which 200,000 people were killed, of which 83% were indigenous, and has since embarked on a difficult path towards democracy and development.

Women’s Rights in Pakistan – Interview with Hina Jilani

Hina Jilani at the Second Session of Human Rights Council, Geneva in 2006. Photo: United Nations Information Service. flickr

Last week Hina Jilani was invited by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute and the Lund University to give a lecture in the memory of the late Swedish Foreign Minister – Anna Lindh. Ms. Jilani has been fighting for the human rights for over 30 years, not only in her home country, Pakistan but around the world. She has served as the Special Representative to the UN Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders from 2000 to 2008. Her work has been recognized with many international human rights awards. In our interview we paid special attention to the situation of the women rights in Ms. Jilani’s homeland.

Ukraine – Lost in transition

President Van Rompuy and President Barroso welcome President Yanukovych. Photo: President of the European Council. flickr

The trials of Ukrainian opposition leaders, Yuliya Tymoschenko (Former Prime Minister, imprisoned for 7 years) and Yuriy Lutsenko (Former Minister of Internal Affairs, still on trial), have become controversial not only in Ukraine, but around the world. At the same time the current Ukrainian government expresses a strong interest in the European Union, trying to negotiate free trade and accession agreements to be signed on December 19th. These leave many people question the inconsistent behavior of the Ukrainian government.