“Good fences make good neighbors”?

Writing about her visits to the West Bank, the author shares with us her impressions of the separation wall.

By Margaret McKenzie, 5th July, 2014.

It will have been a decade on July 9 since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) passed its advisory opinion saying Israel must cease construction of the Wall and dismantle sections, compensate for damage caused; and, return Palestinian property or provide compensation if restitution is not possible. The Wall has always been contentious with radically polarizing opinions, exemplified by the many different terms for the Wall depending on who you speak to – “Separation Fence”or “gader hafradeh” in Hebrew, “Apartheid Wall” or “al jidar al azil” in Arabic, are just a few terms used to describe the Wall separating the West Bank from Israel. The Wall depicted in the photos below around the West Bank is illegal under international law.

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Where is Bosnia and Herzegovina going?

In this article, the author explores the nature of protests taking place in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

By Alejandro Marx, 26th November, 2013

The year 2013 has seen major protests around the world, including in Turkey, Brazil Romania and the ongoing ones in Bulgaria. The common thread that these protests have had was that they questioned the role of their elected representatives. Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has also seen protests, although they haven’t been adequately covered by the international media.

BiH experienced from June 6 2013 a succession of protests in Sarajevo, which later spread to other cities of BiH. The protests were a result of the frustration with the complex working of the State of BiH, created after the 1992-1995 Civil War. BiH is divided into two major entities, Republika Srpska (the Serb entity) and the Bosnian Federation (the Croat and Bosniak entity), plus the Brcko District with is under the control of the both mayor entities. Both entities have their own parliaments. On the national level, the Parliamentary Assembly, with its two chambers (the House of Representatives and the House of Peoples), represents the ethnic groups. Decisions are taken on the basis of an agreement between each of the 3 ethnicities. An ethnic group which considers that a law is against its vital interests can veto it.

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Colourful Challenges: Street Art from the Middle East

The author looks at Street Art in the Middle East (Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran and Palestine). He draws attention to how in some parts it became an apparent means for protest, while in others it is more widely used to endorse the current regime.

By Dallin Van Leuven, 13th October, 2013

The Arab Spring brought far more than a change of leadership to nations in the Middle East and North Africa.  Its political upheaval introduced a marked increase in the freedom of speech, as well as a challenge to the definition of public space.  At the intersection of these two currents lies street art.  Street art – rather than graffiti – is an appropriate term, with vibrant, poignant expressions of free speech capturing the attention of both residents and passers-by. Continue reading

The Unhappiness Factory of Kashmir

In an April 2012 issue of Open Magazine, the editor Manu Joseph wrote a provocatively titled essay, “Sorry, Kashmir is Happy”. Unsurprisingly, this article became the subject of heated discussion. In this InPEC article, the author – Sualeh Keen, a Kashmiri writer, poet and cultural critic – brings some perspective to this issue.  

By Sualeh Keen, 7th May 2012

Trauma in Kashmir is like a heritage building—the elite fight to preserve it. ‘Don’t forget,’ is their predominant message, ‘Don’t forget to be traumatised.’ They want the wound of Kashmir to endure because the wound is what indicts India for the many atrocities of its military. This might be a long period of calm, but if the wound vanishes, where is the justice? India simply gets away with all those rapes, murders and disappearances? So nothing disgusts them more than these words: ‘Normalcy returns to Kashmir’; ‘Peace returns to the Valley’; ‘Kashmiris want to move on’.

When Manu Joseph wrote these words in the Open Magazine article ‘Sorry, Kashmir Is Happy’, it was but expected that ‘they’ would get disgusted and outraged. ‘They’ are the intellectual writers and online activists that constitute the second generation of Kashmiri Muslim separatists, the first generation being the Pakistan-trained mujahideen who fought with AK-47s, grenades, rockets, and bombs against ‘Hindu India’ in search of Azadi (literally, ‘freedom’). While originally Azadi meant the valley’s accession to Pakistan, after the Pakistan-sponsored armed uprising in the early 90’s failed and with the onset of internal turmoil in Pakistan, the meaning of Azadi has shifted from accession to Pakistan to independence from both India and Pakistan. This demand is largely confined to the Kashmiri Muslim community of the Kashmir valley, while finding little or no support in the Jammu and Ladakh regions of the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) State. Even in the valley, opinions are divided in favour of independence, accession to Pakistan, greater autonomy or self-rule within the Indian union, and political status quo.

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Heyns, the Final Straw for AFSPA in India?

In this article, the author discusses the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958 of India, which has been used in the North Eastern states of India, and Jammu and Kashmir where counter-insurgency operations were carried out in the past several decades. This Act has come under heavy criticism from human rights advocates.

By Rithika Nair, May 1, 2012

Christof Heyns, the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings described India as “a living document … [of] human rights jurisprudence respected worldwide.” This extolling statement preceded his review of the country after brief visits to New Delhi, Gujarat, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and West Bengal. His detailed report on the issue will be submitted before the United Nations Human Rights Council only in 2013.

In a press release after his visit, he expressed concern regarding unlawful killings by State actors and non-State actors, delay in prosecution and lawful impunity. He touched upon the disproportional and unnecessary use of force by the police, encounter killings, custodial deaths, the death penalty, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, communal violence, insurgencies and counter-insurgencies, violence against women, and most significantly measures of impunity and rewards instead of prosecution.

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What is Happening in Nigeria? Blood and Oil (Subsidies)

In this article the author looks at the current wave of political and economic turmoil sweeping Nigeria.  With a potential oil shutdown sending waves of panic across Brent Crude prices and terrorism forcing the closure of the borders the state is facing its largest crisis since its return to civilian rule in 1999.


by Jack Hamilton, 14 Jan, 2012

In 2010 the BBC released the controversial docudrama: ‘Blood and Oil’. It depicted a Nigeria crippled by corruption, protests and terrorism and was slammed for the tropes of endemic sleaze and violence. Executions, inhumane oil politics and the collusion of leading politicians in these atrocities were seen to reflect the Nigeria of the past. This is now the Nigeria of the present and it could be about to get a lot worse.

Occupy Nigeria

Naija Rising

This week the country closed its borders following counter-terrorism advice from the UN and a popular strike threatens to entirely shut down oil and gas production (accounting for over 90% of the export market) on Tuesday if demands are not met. There have been two crucial ultimatums:

1. Boko Haram has threatened to kill all Southerners (read: Christians) in the north if their demands of religious reform are not met. The attacks have already begun.

2. Occupy Nigeria has threatened to grind Nigeria’s export economy to a halt if their demands to maintain the fuel subsidy are not met. The deadline has been extended until Tuesday.

Facing a potential civil war and economic collapse, the Federal Government of Nigeria must act decisively.  There is no quick-fix.

There Might Be Blood – Subsidy Strikes

Who is Drinking Nigeria's Milkshake?

Nigerian oil and gas workers have threatened to shut down the Nigerian oil market, deepening the strikes against the withdrawal of petrol subsidies.  The government and unions are locked in talks which have been extended by two days as of today.  This leaves the government until Tuesday to find a solution or face economic meltdown.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (Pengassan) have put all production platforms on red alert in anticipation of a shutdown. This demonstrates the lack of optimism in resolution being reached in time.

The crisis in Africa’s largest oil exporter has already had an international impact. Oil prices have already risen in anticipation of the shutdown and Nigeria’s export reserves would only last for six weeks.

Brent Crude prices have risen by $1 per barrel in a single day and in a global crude market already shaken by conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, a shutdown in Nigeria could have expansive ramifications. In an election year the last thing a US incumbent would like to see is a pinch at the pumps.

While the true international impact of the crisis is yet to be fully realised, it has already had a devastating impact domestically. The price of fuel has already more than doubled and the prices of other goods, including food, are skyrocketing. People are struggling to get to work, to put food on the table and to run their electricity generators. If the strike turns violent it is these people who will suffer.

Subsidies are seen to be the only benefit most Nigerians receive from the vast oil riches of the country. The argument for their removal is that they cost the state $8 billion per year in funds that could be better used on infrastructure and development. In a country in which government corruption is rife and the trust in the state is dangerously low it is clear that the people would like to see the money conferred through subsidies rather than pilfered by the ‘1%’.

The subsidy involved a huge amount of corruption but its removal does not equate to the removal of the corruption. It is merely a relocation.

Spreading Terror

The north of Nigeria is ‘sliding towards a full-blown guerrilla war’ according to The Economist. Boko Haram bombing campaigns have intensified since the Christmas Day attacks and acts of retribution have been carried out in the Christian south. The burning of a mosque in Benin City, southern Nigeria, demonstrates the dangerous roadmap the northern insurgency could instigate.

Fears abound over the potential links between Boko Haram, a small cult whose primary objective is the removal of secular education, and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.  Assertions of a broader terrorist network were originally purported by sources in the American military (AFRICOM) and the Algerian Government but on Tuesday this fear was also echoed by the United Nations.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has stated that ‘concerns will increase’ as the popularity of Boko Haram grows. The alleged sophistication of the attacks, especially the bombing of the UN in Abuja, has provided some substance for these assertions but the most recent activities reflect burgeoning brutality, not capability.

Goodluck Jonathan has responded to the fears of a vast terrorist network by closing the borders of the country. Nigeria’s international borders are now operating on high alert as the latest measures demonstrate the degree of force the Federal Government is willing to use to achieve peace and stability across the country.

Elevated force does not necessarily provide a solution for the state.  They are fighting a guerrilla organisation, galvanised by support from those who fear the encroachment of an over-zealous central government.  Memories of egregious state violence mean that heavy state mobilisation is likely to increase rather than diminish the allure of the Boko Haram message to those who feel alienated from the state.

Will Things Fall Apart?

The Occupy Nigeria protests and Boko Haram attacks are entirely separate movements with the common theme of opposing the Federal Government of the country. With opposition to government threatening the security and the economy of the nation questions abound over the future of Nigeria.

Jonathan has announced palliative measures the mass production of buses to ease the transport issues in the country as well as reducing government salaries by a quarter (although they remain obscenely high in such an impoverished nation).

The most recent response to Boko Haram has been a change in language. Jonathan has acknowledged that the support base may be more than purely criminal. In his speech on Monday he admitted that there may even be members of his government that identify with the organisation.

Talks with Occupy Nigeria have been extended by two days but there is a general lack of optimism for a rapid resolution. Boko Haram are intensifying their attacks and flickers of retribution have begun in the south. At present neither crisis shows signs of abating and the Federal Government is floundering.

Nigeria is being plunged into a future which looks ominously similar to its past. In this scenario ‘Blood and Oil’ appears rosy.


For more on the recent crises in Nigeria and terrorism across West Africa see these articles on InPEC:

The State of Terrorism in Nigeria: The Rising Threat of Boko Haram

Photo Essay: 6 Reasons Terrorism is Gaining Momentum in Northern Nigeria

Securing Emptiness: The Sahara Desert and the Global War on Terror

The Revolution is Being Televised

In this article, the author explores the role of the media in reporting the protests seen around the world in the past few months.

By Mikael Santelli-Bensouda, 31 Oct, 2011

We live in exceptional times. The seemingly endless reach of the media brings popular movements and struggles of all persuasions into the public domain. From protests against educations cuts and austerity measures to pro-democracy revolutions, in one way or another, they are all accessible. But in what capacity are they being presented to us? There are huge inconsistencies in the manner in which societies’ information distribution mechanisms reflect upon the mobilisation of the masses.

As Derrida sensibly wrote, “nothing exits outside a context”. As such, any specific event is ascribed meaning through its contextualisation. Much like blinkers, context frames a given reality within a discourse that permits understanding. These blinkers are (consciously or not) constructed through an amalgamation of cultural norms and values, national history and worldviews. It is thus pertinent to understand that, from sender to receiver, information will have been contextualised in accordance to the sender’s worldview that is formulated by the media. In essence, the exchange of information between official outlets – whether the media, police or politicians – and the general public is pre-framed to influence the receiver.

The Fires of London

The disturbances that took place in August in London seemed to appear out of nowhere and spiraled out of control to a level on par with the social unrest in the 1980’s. Those events were widely condemned by the national media, political leadership and the majority of the British public alike. Whilst not wishing to dispute the validity of specific incidents, the virtually unanimous description of the incidents as riots and looting established a deep seeded negative connotation. In fact, the lexicon used to report the events seemed to oscillate around terms including thugs, opportunism and youth culture. The consequence of this is the establishment of a generalised and disconnected group, in this instance young people of a certain political class and ethnicity, and their separation from the main public body. By doing so, there emerges the establishment of a them, the maladapted and disruptive elements of the society, which, by extension reinforces an us. It is through this process that we can explain why blame derived from almost every angle (unruly attitudes, the decadence of education, computer games, rap music and even according to one (un)credible commentator, Patois) except the very societal factors that may have contributed to such disconnectedness.

The overwhelming drive to establish this group as a deviant societal sub-category suffocates deeper analysis especially one that attempts to understand their rationale, even if it is found that, by and large, there was none. Such condemnation transcended all levels of society, from the Prime Minister to the local cabby, and was especially prevalent within the media. The latter subtly reinforced the dividing lines between the deviant hooligans and the bastions of authority the police, who were interestingly described as the force in a bid to restore their legitimacy in the epically over-hyped battle to reclaim the streets. So, we ignored what may have been a nation-wide cry of dissatisfaction with society, swept it under the rug, and occupied our time by demanding a return to social order and punishment for troublemakers. Perhaps most worryingly is the unintended consequence of this affair. Whilst creating an other may foster a sense of unity amongst us, it risks sewing the seeds of a self-fulfilling prophecy wherein this disconnected group begins to believe what society thinks of them by accepting its deviant status and even embraces it.

Qualms with Capitalism

The recent protests aimed at the corrupt and immoral financial system that has severely affected virtually ninety nine per cent of us. It is epitomised by the ‘Occupy campaigns’ that have sprouted across the west from its original formation in New York to sympathetic permutations in London, the Republic of Korea and Jamaica to name but a few. These parallel movements showcase their frustration against the corrupt and unjust banking and financial systems that have been able to get away with the biggest economic injustice since colonialism. It is not a sentiment that is held by a mere minority. Anger and disbelief are global phenomena.

Intriguingly, a substantial amount of the reporting on these protests empathise little with the causes. There is little or no media support for the protests whatsoever; little or no glorification, no accounts of brave people who dare to speak on behalf of a disgruntled society. Instead, they are confronted with headlines like The Siege of St Paul’s, and their cause is belittled by generalization and the callous infusion of negatively connoted terminology including: anarchists, anti-capitalism, communism, disgruntled students and even Marxist revolutionaries.

The information that is espoused intends to devalue the efforts that are being showcased as they are portrayed as disturbing the order. By doing so, there emerges the establishment of a socially constructed and generalised group that is detached from society through a process of association and differentiation. Once a group has been identified as deviant it generally perturbs the general public and deters affiliation. Much like the consequences of the London riots, rather than engaging in debate about the true nature of discontentedness; which in this instance is the demand for greater accountability, transparency and judicial equality (after all these ideals are the foundation of our society), there is a manipulation of the movement to reduce its impact. Its very essence is intentionally distorted to evoke a separation between those who want to overthrow the capitalist system and every one else; who will remain pacified.

Another Day, Another Struggle

Moving beyond manipulation of social unrest within the west, we are confronted with seemingly endless stories of struggles in distant lands. It seems that there is an increasing sense of inevitability of events that originate in the global south and its redistribution. Education protests in Chile, religious solidarity in Nepal and democratic revolutions in Syria are, more often than one would like to think, contextualised through a veil of western superiority. As those people strive to attain a societal standard on par with what we have in the west, we hold the power to confer legitimacy upon such incidents (or not). Yet, needless to say, unless action in a foreign place threatens our interests, it remains out of our sphere of interest.

It is interesting to note that different geographical examples of social mobilisation, despite similar intentional goals, often receive a distinctly varied reception dependent on its location and its relation to the reporting press. For example; education protests in the UK were troublesome but in Chile they are conceived as a sign of progress in society. Similarly, protests against oppressive rule in Palestine are constructed within a negative frame and often ignored while those occurring in Iran are encouraged. Although it may be unfashionable to refer to orientalism in this day and age, it is hard to overlook the fact that the western media conveys a post-colonial hierarchy among states by granting selective support to its government’s clients.

Double Standards

The Arab Spring exemplified a media and political phenomenon across the world. Looking back to the initial outbreak of mass popular protest across North Africa it is interesting to notice that the media and politicians seemed to adopt no real stance. Perhaps for the first time in modern Arab history (excluding events in Palestine) the west abstained from publicly passing judgment, if only temporarily. A waiting game ensued.

In fact, a delicate balancing of interests was underway. Whilst initially not wishing to alienate authoritarian allies, whom for so long they had propped up and abused as geopolitical tools, the West could not jump on its archetypal bandwagon of backing democratic demands. However, it could not condemn such popular power in the event that the movement was successful. It is for that reason that, only once the dice of history had been firmly cast on the side of the people, did the west find its position. The discourse machine then went into overdrive; pro-democracy revolutionaries, heroes of the Arab world and lovers of freedom invaded the headlines and framed perceptions.

What was occurring was an attempt to overcome distance and difference by removing the sense of otherness by creating unity; people who share the values of democracy. So, unlike the discourse constructed on protests within the West, the context of the Arab Spring was intended to unify groups and extend legitimacy upon the events. Surely then it is no surprise to see how the events unfolded in Libya. Images of distress and asymmetric warfare resonated deep across peoples, as we had grown attached to these like-minded freedom lovers and, consequently, military intervention to assist the march of democracy against tyranny received widespread and unquestioning acceptance.

As history has proven, the West only conducts military operations when there is just cause, usually established through the construction of a narrative and on the odd occasion has been a matter of ‘self-interest’. The narrative constructed prior to the Libyan intervention emphasised shared values. It surely had nothing to do with oil, not this time. The connection of values/interests established through cross-societal bonding via image bombardment and discourse assimilation ultimately produced general acceptance for the ‘need to act’. Yet what about the uprisings in Syria?  A similar process to create empathy occurred but commitments were only made to economic sanctions. Perhaps, it was assumed that they are capable of fighting for themselves against a regime far more oppressive and evidently trigger happy than Ghaddafi’s. What about the protests in Bahrain? That is a story that should only be whispered. Limited reporting on attempts to overturn the constitutional monarchy stems directly from the fact that it threatens the Saudi Royal Family’s monopoly on authority and has taken painful steps to crush what is framed as a Shia rebellion. Due to the world’s insatiable appetite for oil, the Saudi’s prerogative ensures that the events either follow their own narrative construction or are lost in an informational void. Blinding self-interest is the driving force behind the way the West has viewed, acted upon and has constructed the narrative for the Arab Spring.

Revolutionary Inflections

These differing examples highlight how discourses surrounding certain events emerge from its initial contextualisation prior to dissemination. It helps to explain why certain acts are perceived in differing ways, even if they share the same principles. Such contextualisation derives from the desire to understand the reason for certain events by viewing it through a familiar lens (i.e., a British worldview). Through this process it reinforces cultural norms by creating dividing lines between what is acceptable in society and what is perceived as deviant even if there remains huge inconsistencies in its implementation. Essentially, if a certain movement challenges or questions the societal structure, and the position of a privileged elite, they are likely to be perceived negatively regardless of whether the country observes the universal values of democracy.

Revolutions all over the world are being televised. Over the past few months there have been constant updates on the progress being made by NATO and the NTC in Libya, how Basher Al-Asad continues to brutalise the people of Syria and the spread of the Occupy campaigns throughout the world like wildfire. However, their intended messages are often distorted or manipulated to serve a greater purpose, one that continues to sustain the hierarchical cross-societal structure that has dominated the world for centuries. The revolution is being televised with the intention of preserving the class structure within the UK, the West or the world.

Occupy America – As Occupy Wall Street Spreads We Ask: Who Are the 99%?

Occupy DC

By Jack Hamilton, 12 Oct, 2011

What is the ‘Occupy’ Movement?

The ‘Occupy’ movement started four weeks ago on Wall Street and more than 100 solidarity movements have since sprung up across the country as activists have taken to the streets to oppose what they perceive to be the injustices of the corporate and financial sectors.

Contrary to some media attention the protests are not solely comprised of ‘hippies in hoodies’ and ‘tattooed vandals sporting Guy Fawkes masks’. I met with nurses and military veterans, fire-fighters and lecturers, librarians and libertarians. It is not an explosion of violence as a result of disenfranchisement or a day in the park but an ongoing event which seeks to focus attention on the issues of jobs and financial reform. There are also some crazy people there who I will come back to. For now it is important to focus on the goals of the ‘Occupy’ movement and the tactics through which they seek to achieve them.

Funny Signs Can Stop Bailouts

What Are Their Goals?

1. Urgency

Nouriel Roubini, better known as Dr. Doom for predicting the financial crash of 2007-2008 has rightly asserted “There’s a huge amount of anger”. The protestors remain steadfast in their belief that the current financial system is heading for another meltdown if no reforms are made and the current system continues unabated. Dr. Doom agrees. In an interview with Foreign Policy Roubini described the protests as “a symptom of economic malaise” that is being felt not only in the United States across the world. The first facet of the ‘Occupy’ movement is a rapid response to this impending disaster.

2. Agency

One of the most prominent signs at McPherson Square, DC read in bold letters ‘We need to Unfuck Ourselves’. This message clearly outlines the trope that the Occupiers perceive themselves to be the victims of the system and have taken it upon themselves to become active political agents and drive policy reform. The catchy image of the 99% rallying against the 1% has spread from the initial Wall Street protest across the various national spokes and it resonates strongly.

3. ?

Urgency and agency can best be described as two themes of the protests but when it comes to clear and defined policy goals the unity lapses dramatically. For some Obama is simply Hitler, a narcissist and a puppet of corporatism who must be sacrificed for the more malleable alternative in Joe Biden. For others it is the ongoing imperialism of the British Empire which is subjugating the world economy to the demands of the monarchy (I am not making this up) and they do so under the guise of soft power organisations. One of the bastions of this soft power network is the Wildlife and Wetland Fund (still not making this up) which uses the guise of environmental aid to dictate policy across the world. It is worth saying at this stage that I am not impartial on the subject as my Mother is a member of the WWF and counts birds in Northern Ireland on occasion. I will be sure to ask her if she has been intrinsic to any global domination plots, ornithological or economic, when I speak to her tomorrow.

No Unity

The movement has been compared to the emergence of the Tea Party in 2009, breathing life into the conservative Republicans and influencing the 2010 elections which put in place a House of Representatives intent on blocking the Obama administration at every opportunity. By comparison the ‘Occupy’ protestors have no set of unified policy goals. The Tea Party opposed tax increases, demanded a cut in government spending and most of all rallied in opposition to something tangible: the sitting administration. The ‘Occupy’ protestors are apathetic towards Obama, who many of them voted for, but are also strongly opposed to all other parties. The narrative is clear: corporations have too much power. The policy alternatives and tactics are less so. Without tangible goals it is difficult to see tangible change occurring.

Chances of Success?

Is there any real pressure for the 1% to change their trajectory? The antipathy directed at the financial sector across large swathes of the globe has led to limited reforms and curtailed few bailouts. Protests in London and New York may lack a coherent agenda and action but there is no doubting that they have staying power and the longer they remain the more focus will be placed upon their agendas.

The Future

There are many questions that remain. The first issue is the nature of Roubini’s pending recession. Will it be another collapse along the lines of 2007-08 or will it be something more manageable. This may come down to the fate of the Euro-zone fringes. With Greece teetering on the brink of a disastrous default and Spain and Italy suffering the indignity of having their economies downgraded within the last week the crisis is showing little signs of abating. An article in The Economist posited that the continued uncertainty may actually play into the hands of Germany as it may be able to force the reform of the banking havens such as Ireland and Cyprus despite US objections. Merkel has a point. As soon as the European Central Bank intervened to stabilise Italy’s bond markets over the Summer, Berlusconi retreated from his austerity programme citing pressure from within his coalition. Financial panic is a self-fulfilling prophesy, a prophesy which the protestors should take heed of.

After the catastrophe in Japan earlier this year Germany took the lead in announcing that it would phase out nuclear power, whatever the cost, and turned to the nuclear power stations in France and Switzerland to plug the capacity gaps. When it comes to the sovereign debt crisis the most powerful country in Europe seems far more accepting of the risks of meltdown.

This does not mean that Europe is in a perpetual state of gridlock. Much has been made of the incapacities of European states to interact with each other the subsequent economic consequences. The strong European economies certainly resent having to bail out those who are perceived to have mismanaged their finances but that does not mean that they will cease to do so. One only needs to look at the passing of the Lisbon Treaty to see that the individual wills of European states can be subsumed in the European ideal and that the European institutions are much stronger than the Euro-sceptics are willing to accept. While the Mandelbaums and Thomas Friedmans of the world wax lyrical about the opportunities of a new Marshall Plan it must be remembered that this is not a post-war Europe and would not take kindly to being treated as such.

We the People

It is highly limiting to view 1% of society as being responsible for every problem of the 99%. Where does this leave the highly divisive issue of Medicare or the broader issues of over-consumption and overspending? While these issues are more acute in the ‘1%’ they are certainly wider than the ‘Occupy’ protests imply. If all of the problems descend from a simple high peak of American society then surely the solutions must simply focus on scaling that one summit? The reality is that those advocating financial reform need to look beyond their own mountain and see the full range. If the movement is to achieve its goals it requires a behaviour modification of much more than the top 1%.