Cuerpos de víctimas palestinas del ataque de Israel sobre Rafah, el lunes.Jehad Alshrafi (AP)

Si esta columna se hubiera podido escribir con llanto lo habría hecho así. O con polvo de uñas rotas, o con ceniza de chabola calcinada habría compuesto una mancha viscosa e ilegible, babeante de dolor, para significar la matanza que hemos contemplado en videos virales de refugiados palestinos en un campo de Rafah. El lenguaje, aunque también construye realidades, presenta limitaciones ostensibles que tienen que ver con la memoria y el uso, los paradigmas sociales que transmite y, asimismo, lo que oculta. El caso de la masacre perpetrada por Israel en una zona considerada segura, a una hora en que la mayoría de estos desplazados, incluyendo gran cantidad de niños, se encontraban dormidos, martillea toda conciencia forjada por décadas de socialización en los derechos humanos, y no solo viola la legalidad internacional, sino que retuerce los pulsos y hace que la respiración del voyeur que somos frente a las pantallas salga por los conductos como lava de un volcán, si es que acaso nos queda moral.…  Seguir leyendo »

Reconocer el Estado palestino, una cuestión de justicia

La decisión de España, Irlanda y Noruega de reconocer oficialmente el Estado palestino este martes no solo honra a estos tres países desde la mirada de la justicia y la dignidad humana, sino que también los convierte en miembros europeos precursores de un derecho internacional capaz de hacer realidad, de una vez, la paz entre el pueblo palestino y el israelí. Salvando las distancias, esta valiente iniciativa es también una denuncia rotunda de los bombardeos que matan indiscriminadamente en Gaza y es tan relevante como el gran paso adelante que dieron en esta dirección Isaac Rabin y Yasir Arafat, en 1994, con los Acuerdos de Oslo.…  Seguir leyendo »

An anti-Israel billboard in Tehran, October 2023. Majid Asgaripour / WANA / Reuters

In early April, the cold war between Iran and Israel suddenly turned hot. A dramatic Israeli air attack in Damascus that killed seven senior commanders in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps put Iranian leaders in a bind. If they launched a commensurate military response, they risked an escalation that could destabilize the very foundations of their regime. If they did not, they faced a credibility crisis among their own hard-liners and allies in Iran’s axis of resistance, a network that includes Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, and various Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria, several of which were already chafing at Iran’s restraint in responding to the war in Gaza.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Story of South Africa No Longer Makes Sense

The ceremony went virtually unnoticed. On an overcast April day in South Africa’s administrative capital, Pretoria, President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a lackluster speech commemorating the end of white-minority rule in South Africa. When Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the country’s first Black president, the skies were sunny with hope. Thirty years later, Mr. Ramaphosa’s enervated display against a gloomy backdrop was symbolic of decline. The African National Congress, Mr. Ramaphosa’s party, has been politically dominant since the country’s first democratic vote in 1994. In the general elections on Wednesday, it may lose its parliamentary majority for the first time.

This is uncharted territory.…  Seguir leyendo »

Watch List 2024 – Spring Update. Working with Others to Halt Sudan’s Collapse

The catastrophic war in Sudan has entered its second year, with no end in sight. The conflict erupted in April 2023 amid a struggle between the country’s two most powerful security forces, the Sudanese army, under General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti. After a year of fighting, much of the capital Khartoum lies in ruins, with major combat still raging there and in several other cities and parts of the countryside. The state has largely collapsed. The war has killed tens of thousands, displaced nine million and threatens millions more with starvation.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man pulling a cart in a wholesale market, Delhi, January 2024. Adnan Abidi / Reuters

On June 4, after counting roughly 650 million votes, the Election Commission of India is scheduled to announce the winner of the 2024 parliamentary elections. Polls suggest it will be the Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. If the BJP is voted back to power after a ten-year tenure, it would be a remarkable feat, driven largely by the prime minister’s personal popularity. According to an April poll by Morning Consult, 76 percent of Indians approve of him.

There are multiple theories for why Modi is so popular. Some attribute it to the fact that he has advanced the “Hindutva” agenda, which views India from a Hindu-first lens.…  Seguir leyendo »

An African National Congress rally, Johannesburg, South Africa, May 2024. Alaister Russell / Reuters.

On May 29, South Africa is scheduled to hold its most consequential election in decades. Since the end of white rule in 1994, the African National Congress—the liberation movement that toppled apartheid—has dominated South African politics, holding a majority in the parliament and the presidency. Thirty years later, the ANC is at risk of losing its parliamentary majority. In South Africa’s last general election, in 2019, the ANC won 58 percent of the votes for parliament; in April, however, only 40 percent of registered voters that Ipsos polled backed the party—a dramatic decline. Other polls conducted over the past several months have shown the ANC winning the support of no more than 45 percent of voters.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Almost every creator and consumer of TikTok I have spoken to does not care about potential data collection by China.’ Photograph: Dado Ruvić/Reuters

I’m a TikTok creator. I’ve used TikTok to build a multimillion dollar business, focused on sharing interesting things I’ve learned in life and throughout my years in college. TikTok allowed me to create a community and help further my goal of educating the public. I always feared that one day, it would be threatened. And now, it’s happening.

Why does the US government want to ban TikTok? The reasons given include TikTok’s foreign ownership and its “addictive” nature, but I suspect that part of the reason is that the app primarily appeals to younger generations who often hold political and moral views that differ significantly from those of older generations, including many of today’s politicians.…  Seguir leyendo »

Watch List 2024 – Spring Update. Philippines: Calming Tensions in the South China Sea

Rising maritime tensions between China and the Philippines have highlighted the risk of armed conflict in the South China Sea and the dangers it would pose to global trade. Several countries are implicated in the set of complex sovereignty disputes in the sea, which stem from rival claims to various features and the maritime entitlements they generate, but recent incidents involving Beijing and Manila have triggered the greatest concern.

The Philippines controls nine outposts in the Spratlys, a contested group of land and maritime features at the heart of the South China Sea. A submerged reef known as Second Thomas Shoal has become a dangerous flashpoint, with Chinese boats continually trying to block Manila’s efforts to resupply the BRP Sierra Madre, a rusting ship housing a handful of soldiers that a former Philippine government purposely grounded in 1999 in a bid to assert sovereignty over the atoll.…  Seguir leyendo »

En México, el misterio comienza el día después de las elecciones

No hay misterio sobre la identidad de la mujer que va a ocupar la silla presidencial en México los siguientes seis años. Claudia Sheinbaum, candidata del partido oficial, contempla los comicios del próximo 2 de junio desde la cómoda ventaja, que le otorgan las encuestas, de más de 20 puntos de distancia respecto a su principal rival, Xóchitl Gálvez, abanderada de los partidos tradicionales, PAN, PRI y PRD, hoy en la oposición. Los modelos de predicción le atribuyen a Sheinbaum un margen que va de un 86% a un 94% de probabilidades de triunfo.

El verdadero suspenso reside en otro lado.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cuando finalizaba la visita de Vladímir Putin a Xi Jinping el pasado 16 de mayo, el mandatario chino, por propia iniciativa, abrazó al líder ruso como despedida. En diplomacia, los gestos son esenciales. Entre potencias, como China y Rusia, no se dejan al azar. Ese abrazo no fue una simple despedida cordial, sino la bendición explícita de una alianza “indestructible” y “por mucho tiempo”. Un abrazo, como el del francés Charles de Gaulle al alemán Konrad Adenauer, en 1963, con el que se selló la reconciliación franco-alemana y se superaron diferencias históricas de países tradicionalmente enfrentados. En plena guerra de Ucrania tras la invasión de Rusia en 2022, y un Occidente vigilante ante la “ambigüedad china”, esa imagen cobra aún más trascendencia.…  Seguir leyendo »

El Gobierno de Pedro Sánchez está a favor de la paz en Gaza, pero ¿quién no está a favor de la paz? Entre los combatientes enfrentados, el único que sabemos que quiere una guerra interminable es Hamás. Recordemos que este movimiento no es de liberación de Palestina, sino una yihad islamista cuya ambición es volver a la época del Califato y a los tiempos del profeta Mahoma. Hamás no acepta la existencia de Israel y aboga por la eliminación de todos los judíos. Por tanto, el Gobierno español es, de hecho, más allá de su angelismo y pacifismo declarados, el aliado objetivo del movimiento islamista.…  Seguir leyendo »

Demonstrating in support of democracy in Mexico City, May 2024. Gustavo Graf / Reuters

On June 2, Mexican voters will head to the polls to elect a new president, congress, nine governors, and tens of thousands of local officials. Competing for the top job are Claudia Sheinbaum—the chosen candidate of Morena, the ruling party, and former Mexico City mayor, who commands a significant lead in the polls—and Xóchitl Gálvez, a successful businesswoman and former senator supported by a coalition of opposition parties. Six months later, north of the border, the United States will follow suit, with U.S. President Joe Biden and Donald Trump each seeking a second presidential term.

Over the past six years, the tenor of U.S.-Mexican…  Seguir leyendo »

Watch List 2024 – Spring Update. Preventing Escalation between Hizbollah and Israel

Since the Gaza war began in October 2023, hostilities between Hizbollah and Israel have slowly grown in scope, in terms of both the territory under fire and the weaponry used. The sides have managed to avoid all-out war thus far, but that could change at any time: the conflict’s gradual expansion in itself increases the risk of inadvertent escalation. The U.S. and France have attempted mediation, but Hizbollah has said it will continue fighting unless and until Israel stops its Gaza campaign. For now, Hizbollah and Israel are locked in a war of attrition, with more than 100,000 Lebanese and similar numbers of Israelis evacuated or forced to flee their homes.…  Seguir leyendo »

I’m an Indian Muslim, and I’m Scared to Say So

I used to answer the phone with “Salam”. Not anymore. I don’t want people to know I’m a Muslim.

There is little that would identify me as Muslim to begin with, aside from my name. I don’t wear a skullcap, and in public I avoid wearing the loosefitting Pathani kurta and peppering my speech with Urdu words, all of which are identity markers for Indian Muslims. But in the India of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, you can’t take any chances.

For 10 years, Mr. Modi’s Hindu-chauvinist government has vilified the nation’s 200 million Muslims as dangerous undesirables. Recently, he took that rhetoric to a new low during the six weeks of voting in India’s national elections — which are widely expected to win him a third consecutive five-year term — directly referring to Muslims as “infiltrators” in a country that he and his followers seek to turn into a pure Hindu state.…  Seguir leyendo »

Watch List 2024 – Spring Update. Haiti: A New Government Faces Up to the Gangs

Gang violence, which has tightened its grip on Haiti since President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in July 2021, took a drastic turn for the worse at the end of February. Rather than fighting each other for turf, as they have done for years, the most powerful criminal gangs operating in Port-au-Prince and its surroundings made a non-aggression pact in order to forge a united front against the Haitian authorities. The gangs, which had been loosely organised in two rival coalitions known as the G9 and the Gpèp, proceeded to launch coordinated attacks on government buildings and critical infrastructure while the interim prime minister, Ariel Henry, was out of the country.…  Seguir leyendo »

A protester waves a Palestinian flag during a pro-Palestinian “Nakba 76” rally in Washington, D.C., on May 18. Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

This week, as several European governments announced their plans to formally recognize the state of Palestine, the United States continued to press against the current. Earlier this month, the United States stood almost alone in its refusal to grant the Palestinian people an equal seat among the community of nations. The United Nations General Assembly approved its support of Palestinian statehood 143 to 9, with 25 nations abstaining. The thunderous applause that followed the vote marked both a celebration of international support for Palestinians and a protest against Israel and the United States.

Yet that vote was mostly symbolic. Full membership must first be approved by the U.N.…  Seguir leyendo »

Opposition politician Victoire Ingabire speaks to the media outside the High Court in Kigali on March 13. Guillem Sartorio / AFP

This July, Rwanda will conduct its presidential election—an event that should represent a celebration of democratic principles. Instead, it already promises to entrench the persistent suppression of opposition voices by the current government in Rwanda. As a victim of this suppression, I find myself once again barred from participating in an electoral process that I, as a Rwandan, have a right to take part in.

In January 2010, after 16 years in exile, I returned to Rwanda, hopeful and determined to contribute to the country’s political landscape through peaceful and democratic change. My intention was to register my political party and run for president in the elections scheduled for later that year.…  Seguir leyendo »

Iranians mourn late president Ebrahim Raisi at the Imam Reza shrine during the funeral ceremony in the city of Mashhad on May 23, 2024. HOSSEIN MOAMERI/FARS NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty Images

The helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and six others has introduced a new crisis for Iran amid regional turmoil and continued severe U.S. sanctions. This event raises questions about the Islamic Republic’s ability to navigate the transition of its presidency at a time of widespread public discontent and a struggling economy.

The reaction to Raisi’s death within Iran has been deeply polarized, reflecting the country’s divisions across social and political ideologies as well as levels of religiosity. Many Iranians do not mourn his passing, viewing him as a symbol of repression due to his long tenure in the judiciary, his involvement in the mass executions of the Mujahedin-e Khalq and leftist political prisoners in 1988, and his harsh crackdown on the “Women, Life, Freedom” demonstrations in 2022.…  Seguir leyendo »

Demonstrators hold a Georgian flag during a protest against the “foreign agents” bill on May 15, 2024 in Tbilisi, Georgia. (Photo by Nicolo Vincenzo Malvestuto/Getty Images)

Eduard Shevardnadze – Soviet foreign minister and the second president of independent Georgia – is spinning in his grave. Deposed in the country’s Rose Revolution in 2003 for his government’s corruption and bygone-era politicians, he was nonetheless a proud Georgian who would not have mortgaged his country’s destiny, as the current leadership is doing.

Once the poster child for progress towards Euro-Atlantic integration and democracy, Georgia is a reminder that a country’s ‘progress’ is neither linear nor inevitable.

Atrophy and capture are just as possible. It is the South Caucasus state’s appropriation – by a small section of the Georgian elite and effectively by Russia – that is of the most concern today.…  Seguir leyendo »