A Primer

by Amanda Ufheil-Somers
published in MER261

More than 52,000 would-be migrants have landed on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa in 2011. Roughly half of the arrivals are young Tunisian men looking for job opportunities in Europe. Most of the others are Sahelians, sub-Saharan Africans or South Asians fleeing the violence in Libya. In many cases, they were forced onto boats by Libyan soldiers, as part of the “invasion” Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi promised should his rule come under NATO attack. [1] The staggering number of arrivals does not include the estimated 1,500 who starved, suffocated or drowned in the central Mediterranean trying to reach Europe’s nearest shore.

Discriminate Intervention

Defining NATO for the Nineties

by Mariano Aguirre
published in MER177

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Constructing Europe's New Wall

From Berlin to the Strait

by Juan Goytisolo
published in MER178

The fall of the Berlin Wall was joyfully welcomed not only by the German people but by the other peoples of the continent: With the abrupt end to the joke about Real Socialism, Europe seemed to be moving forward toward a period of freedom, directed by principles of greater tolerance, compassion and justice.

Two and a half years later, we know this was an illusion generated by the euphoria of the moment. Exclusivist nationalisms, ethnic conflicts and old religious disputes are unleashing civil wars, blind terrorism, persecution of minorities, militant racism and xenophobia. A new protective wall -- without barbed wire, minefields, watchtowers and trenches, but equally effective and much more lethal -- is arising around the fortress of the Twelve.

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"By Compass and Sword!"

The Meanings of 1492

by Resat Kasaba
published in MER178

The Europe of Columbus and Bayazid

by Charles Tilly
published in MER178

From the perspective of Sultan Bayazid II, the Ottoman ruler in Istanbul, Columbus’ expeditions may have been a distant diversion. In fact, they belonged to a set of profound changes in relations between Islamic and Christian territories on a world scale. For the 500 years before 1492, the fortunes of Europe depended heavily on Muslims -- Arabs, Turks and others -- who in various guises linked Europeans to the rest of the Eurasian system of trade and empire.

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"Images from Elsewhere"

An Interview with Serge Adda

by Miriam Rosen
published in MER180

“You chase colonialism out the door, it comes back through the sky,” observed the Algerian Press Service several years ago, alluding to the phenomenon of satellite broadcasting that has literally brought European television into the living rooms of North Africa. [1] More than 95 percent of urban households in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco have televisions, and more than 30 percent have video decks. Parabolic antennas are sprouting like inverted mushrooms on rooftops around the southern Mediterranean (estimates for Algeria alone range between 1.3 and 2.2 million households, or 8 to 17 million viewers). [2]

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Regionalism and Geopolitics in the Maghrib

by Robert Mortimer
published in MER184

In February 1993, the Arab Maghrib Union (AMU) marked its fourth anniversary. Despite the great hopes that were vested in this regional economic organization, it has not thrived. [1] There have been five summit meetings since the Treaty of Marrakesh was signed to great fanfare, but the heads of state have been sorely distracted by issues other than building an economic union in North Africa: the unresolved matter of Western Sahara, the Islamist movement in Algeria, the international sanctions against Libya, the pressure for democratization in Mauritania and Tunisia, even the Persian Gulf war.

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Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

Urban Violence in France

by Paul Silverstein , Chantal Tetreault | published November 2005

Dorénavant la rue ne pardonne plus                                              From now on the street will not forgive
Nous n’avons rien à perdre car nous n’avons jamais rien eu            We have nothing to lose for we have nothing