Fair Observer: Best of the Month


July 31, 2013 19:48 EDT

Fair Observer's five best articles of July.

July is the month of turmoil and revolutions. July 4, 1776, and July 14, 1789, could appropriately be termed as the start of the modern democratic era when American guerrillas and French sans culottes overthrew the old monarchical order. Democracy did not materialize miraculously thereafter. Only after many decades if not centuries of turmoil and setbacks, were modern democracies established in Europe.

After barely two and a half years, the Economist is posing the question, "Has the Arab Spring Failed?" First, it is too early to pose such a question. Second, the "Arab Spring" is a condescending term. The esteemed 1843 publication fails to recognize that establishing democracy has invariably been protracted and messy.

In Egypt, Muhammad Morsi has been deposed as president by a military coup. In historical terms, this will just prove to be a blip in the march of democracy but in the near term this action will have disastrous consequences. Morsi was incompetent and lacked judgment, but his opponents ought to have focused on voting him out instead of allying themselves with Mubarak's cronies to establish "Mubarakism" again. 

Elsewhere, on his way back to Rome from Brazil, Pope Francis has declared "who am I to judge" gay people? This might be another historic development in the immediate aftermath of the US Supreme Court judgment. Detroit has become bankrupt, threatening a series of such phenomena not only in the US but also in Europe and even other parts of the world. In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has led the dominant Liberal Democratic Party to power in both houses of the Diet. It remains to be seen if he can pull Japan out of its longstanding economic slump. Meanwhile, emerging economies including that of China's are slowing down. This is worrying for a world economy which has never quite fully recovered from the global financial crisis.

Meanwhile, the Edward Snowden saga rolls on. Holed up in Moscow as an incongruous guest of Putin, he is putting in stark focus the US fixation with surveillance and security. The issue of liberty is finally center stage and Congress is at least debating whether the actions of security agencies are appropriate.

After the Zimmerman verdict, US President Barack Obama gave a speech saying "Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago" and touched upon the racism that blights the experience of African Americans. It was a typically thoughtful speech and might be a starting point for a thoughtful discussion on race relations in the US.

Murdoch's Fox News, however, will probably not be a part of the conversation. Bill O'Reilly did make some valid points on the issue but he did it with an anger and outrage that leads many to suspect him of being a white supremacist. Another Fox News commentator cannot be termed racist but would definitely pass off as a bigot.

Issues like race and religion have to be a part of a global conversation that is civil, open and engaging. We invite you to join such conversations on Fair Observer.

1: The Pornification of Popular Culture — by Yahia Lababidi

Is the fast-food culture of disposable entertainment in need of saving?

2: Mubarakism Without Mubarak: The Struggle for Egypt — by Joseph Massad

Call it a coup or not, but Egypt now has Mubarakism without Mubarak.

3: Ishrat Jahan: The Politics of a "Fake Encounter" — by Mayank Singh

The ongoing Ishrat Jahan fake encounter saga epitomizes India’s incoherence in tackling terrorism.

4: Happy Birthday America — Atul Singh

Only an honest conversation about inequality, education, and liberty will restore the American Dream.

5: VIDEO: Pakistan in the Media – Telling the Story — Pakistan Calling

British media reflects a relatively negative view of Pakistan.

Image: Copyright © Shutterstock. All Rights Reserved


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