Archetypal Enemies Exist in All Religions

Some religious leaders use language which others use to justify terror. These leaders should instead take responsibility for teaching people how to critically interpret religious texts.

Photo: Stephen Radford / Unsplash

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until you fight the Jews. The Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will shout: ‘O Muslims, Allah’s servants, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’”

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was quoting a hadith, a saying from early Muslim traditions. The Grand Mufti was speaking at a Fatah conference in 2012. His words provoked strong reactions, both from Israeli political and religious leaders and from international politicians, including the Norwegian foreign minister. All these leaders considered the Grand Mufti’s words to be encouraging terrorism.
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This Week in South Sudan – Week 25

Tuesday 20 June David Shearer, UN Special Representative for South Sudan and Head of UNMISS says fragmentation of the conflict makes sustainable peace more elusive. Meanwhile the UN calls on South Sudan’s leaders to take greater responsibility for their people. The former SPLA chief of general staff, General Paul Malong Awan said he would not… Read more »

Why Don’t All Migrants Return in Times of Crisis?

In the early 2000s, numerous migrants arrived in Spain, attracted by the prospects of finding a job in the country’s booming economy. They quickly grew to represent 11% of the total population in 2008, from 2% in 2000.

But when the financial crisis hit and Spain topped Europe’s unemployment rates, immigrants became disproportionately affected – 35% were jobless, compared to 22% among people with Spanish or double nationality.

Posters advertising the services of the Concerted Immigration Company, from Canada. They offer the opportunity to continue one’s studies in “France, Europe and Canada”. They claim to be the “leader in the industry of permanent and student migration.” It was taken on the campus of the University Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar. Photo: María Hernández Carretero

Years earlier their labour had been needed and welcome, but as discontent set in some Spaniards started calling for unemployed (especially if also paperless) migrants to “go back” to their countries of origin, now that no jobs were to be found. Some did leave Spain, whether to return to their country of origin or seek better luck elsewhere. Yet many others stayed.

Faced with an economically bleak and politically hostile landscape in Spain, why did so many immigrants choose to stay all the same?

This question was part of the starting point for my chapter in Hope and Uncertainty in Contemporary African Migration where, focusing on the case of Senegalese migration to Spain, I look into why for some, deciding to emigrate can be easier than returning home.
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A PhD by Publication Allows You to Write for Real and Varied Audiences, Inviting Intellectual Exchanges that Benefit your Research

A PhD by publication requires doctoral candidates to submit a set of papers for peer-reviewed journals plus an integrating chapter, rather than the more traditional doctoral dissertation. This remains a less common, sometimes frowned-upon model, but Jørgen Carling outlines eight reasons why a PhD by publication might be a good option. It allows you to write for real, varied audiences, with differing levels of ambition, and can help you build a name for yourself in academia, which is important not only for your career but also as it affords you opportunities for vital intellectual exchanges that may benefit your research.

As a doctoral candidate you may have a choice between submitting a traditional doctoral dissertation and submitting a set of papers for peer-reviewed journals plus an integrating chapter. The latter option, known as a “PhD by publication” or an “article dissertation”, has become the norm in some contexts and is resented in others. I can’t decide for you, but I can give you eight reasons why I think the PhD by publication is often a good model.

Image credit: journals by Barry Silver. This work is licensed under a CC BY 2.0 license.

First, writing journal articles constitutes professional training. It is what academics primarily do, and by writing your dissertation in the form of articles, you learn the craft. (If you abandon academia after completing a PhD it is even more important to know that your work is out there, potentially benefiting others, and not just stored in a dusty library.)

Second, writing journal articles ensures valuable feedback. Regardless of the quality of the supervision you get, the review process in a journal can be a valuable supplement. Having your article accepted in a journal also provides a tangible source of independent recognition, different from your supervisor’s assurances that your work is fine. The peer review process can be filled with disappointments and frustration too but living through that is, for better or worse, part of being an academic. Just make sure that you are not handling it all alone.

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This Week in South Sudan – Week 24

Monday 12 June Following the extra-ordinary summit in Addis Ababa, IGAD reiterated that the full implementation of ARCASS is the only way forward, and announced it will convene a High-level Revitalization Forum. President Salva Kiir’s absence has been criticised by some commentators as problematic, while the Enough Project urged for a radical rethink of the… Read more »

The Myth of ICT’s Protective Effect in Mass Atrocity Response

Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) are now being employed as a standard part of mass atrocity response, evidence collection, and research by non-governmental organizations, governments, and the private sector. Deployment of these tools and techniques occur for a variety of stated reasons, most notably the ostensible goal of “protecting” vulnerable populations.

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James L. Harper Jr.

In a new article published with Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal, we  argue that there is little evidence of the existence of what can be referred to as a causal “Protective or Preventative Effect” (PPE) from the use of ICTs in mass atrocity producing environments.

Historically, the international community’s response, or lack thereof, to mass atrocities, has been shaped by the absence of timely and accurate information. Over the past two decades, the use of ICTs has metamorphosed from a series of prototype use cases of these tools and techniques to a now commonplace component of the human rights and humanitarian sector’s response to mass atrocity and human security crisis scenarios. Accompanying this mainstreaming is a set of generalized and, to date, largely unvalidated claims that ICT changes the nature and effectiveness of mass atrocity response.

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This Week in South Sudan – Week 23

Tuesday 6 June A U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) official is providing forensic assistance in connection with the ongoing trial related to the Terrain Hotel attack in July 2016. The trial has been adjourned until 20 June. Wednesday 7 June Al Jazeera video-report on Ana Taban artists “Young artists hope art can relieve suffering… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 22

Monday 29 May General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi from Uganda arrived in South Sudan to assume his position as the new UNMISS Force Commander. Alleged clashes between government soldiers and SPLA (IO) in Nasser town, Upper Nile State. Tuesday 30 May The military court prosecution against 13-20 SPLA soldiers commenced in Juba, in what is considered… Read more »

The Kurdish Peace Process in Turkey and Ontological Insecurity

From 2009 to 2015, Turkey’s Kurdish issue has been marked by successive initiatives aiming to end violence. However, following the June 2015 elections in Turkey, the peace process abruptly came to a halt, with the conflict escalating almost on a daily basis with armed confrontations between the PKK and the Turkish military and police forces…. Read more »

An overview: South Sudan’s civil war

Note to the reader: This blog post is intended for readers who desire a short introduction to current affairs in South Sudan. The text is an adaptation of a brief originally written in Norwegian and titled “Sør-Sudan: fra fest til katastrofe”. That brief is intended for a secondary school audience and was published in May… Read more »