Issues of the Week with William Morris of the Next Century Foundation

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Freedom of Speech matters. But does the new Twitter ban on Trump and a whole raft of others that Twitter has added to the list amount to a gross infringement of our democratic rights?Support the show (
The Kashmir Valley for decades has thrived of the scores of tourists that travel there every year. However, the past one year due to Coronavirus has severely impact travel to the valley, largely due to travel restrictions and lockdowns but also because of the turmoil in Indian administered Kashmir since Kashmir special status was revoked by the Indian government. Kashmir’s economy is nearing collapse, and it has never been worse. In previous years despite the extra military presence or lockdowns for security measures, tourists still continued travelling to the valley for vacations and contributed to the economy through their spending in local shops and accommodations. However, this year that little saving grace has also vanished through travel bans and the lack of tourism and the consequent revenue for locals. To make matters worse, the past few weeks have seen very heavy snowfall in the region. This had to led to closure of many roads and highways as well as air traffic, leading to about 4,500 trucks mainly carrying essential items for the items stuck along the closed highways. Authorities in some parts of Kashmir are already rationing items such as LPG and Petrol, essentials for daily life, and adding to the pressures on Kashmiris coupled with the lockdowns, lack of steady income and security concerns. Finally, Jammu and Kashmir held its first elections this past December wherein voters from all over stood in lines to vote despite the harsh winter and the COVID-19 pandemic. This election has been the first since the Indian government revoked Kashmir’s special status under article 370 of the Indian constitution giving its autonomous status and prohibiting citizens from other Indian states from buying property in Kashmir. Many voters were hopeful that this election will the beginning of better systems in Kashmir such as access to better roads, water, elecricity and general development but did not support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party, the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP). The two main contenders of this election were the BJP and the Gupkar Alliance, which is a grouping of regional parties that all held the aim of re-instating article 370. The problem however is, that even is the Gupkar group wins a majority of seats in parliament, they as elected representatives hold no legislative authority, only the task of promoting local development and improve daily life for those in Jammu and Kashmir. The elections as per the Indian Prime Minister “have further strengthened the roots of democracy” as people both young and old in Jammu and Kashmir waited for hours to cast their vote. Of a total of 280 seats across Jammu(a hindu majority) and Kashmir(a muslim majority), the BJP won over 70 seats mainly in Jammu and 3 seats(for the first time ever) in Kashmir. Whereas the Gupkar alliance, won more than 110 seats, 70 of those being in Kashmir. However although the BJP claimed this voting process was a victory for democracy, there were opponents who claimed that the BJP had illegally detained them and barred them from canvassing- charged the BJP denied. An additional fear of militants and violence has often also kept voters at home. This year, the overall turn out was 51%, and in Kashmir alone, 34% of those eligible to vote did so, which is double the amount seen last year in the parliamentary elections.  Unfortunately, despite the hopes of many Kashmiris, the chances of the Indian government re-instating article 370 are slim. However what they can hope for from these elections is that their elected representatives will work hard to bring development and progress to Jammu and Kashmir. Support the show (
Next Century Foundation Secretary General, William Morris, gives his thoughts on the need for a new political ideology in the wake of the Covid plague and all its consequences - and backs Kwame Anthony Appiah's cosmopolitanismSupport the show (
With Christmas wishes, a message recorded for release after Christmas from William Morris, Secretary General of the Next Century Foundation. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the NCF Board.Support the show (
NCF Member and member of the Syrian opposition, Mohamed Al Ghabra forwards this message from his friends infuriated by the fourth round of Constitutional discussions in Geneva this week:- The fourth round failed because it missed a new opportunity granted by the United Nations, which naturally means prolonging the suffering of the Syrian people, and a terrible deterioration for the worse.- 45 Syrians met in Geneva (the small-constitutional committee), and they were unable to help their people and their homeland to stop the inhumane degradation and fall into the abyss, while some of them thought that they grasp the embers of national principles and values. And accuse others of being paid in dollars, riyals and dirhams.- Others think they are defending freedom, and democracy, accusing the first team of war crimes, crimes against humanity, barrel bombs and chemical attack, while the third party adheres to the issues of accountability, punishment, prisons, detention centers and the forcibly disappeared.- Most of these 45 do not belong to the overwhelming majority of the Syrian society, and they enjoy comfortable living conditions that enable them to have food, drink, treatment and warmth on winter nights. So, time means nothing for them.-90 percent of the time was wasted delving into topics, discussions and accusations that had nothing to do with the mission for which the negotiating delegation met.- The formulation of the supreme law starts from the basic rules for the form of the state, the system of government, and the form of government, and it organizes public authorities in terms of composition, jurisdiction, relations between authorities, the limits of each of them, duties and basic rights of individuals and groups, and establishes guarantees for them vis-à-vis authority.- What is the reason for returning to the atmosphere of accusations and counter accusations, and the relentless pursuit of what divides and does not combine, and what widens the gap and does not try to bridge it?- The civil society delegation should play the primary role in mediating between the government and opposition delegations, inspiring the spirit of national reconciliation, and assisting the UN mission in reaching a consensus between the two delegations.- There are one or more parties who are delusional think that they can solve the problems apart from Security Council Resolution 2254.- The Russian position is clear and principled and is based on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2254, which clearly states the importance of preserving the Syrian state and its territorial integrity.- There is no validity to the media skepticism and misinformation campaigns by multiple parties that have reached the point of spreading what they called a Russian desire to exploit the difficult Syrian situation to play the role of mediator in favor of Israel, to force Damascus to sign a normalization agreement with it.- The process of shuffling the cards is taking place - with great regret - in full swing, with the participation of forces in Damascus and opposition parties, which are concerned only with preserving their interests, and have nothing to do with the supreme national interest or the interests of the great majority of the Syrian people.- It seems that the coming days indicate that differences will be exacerbated in the ranks of the Syrian opposition, which will bear its consequences for sure of the status of the Constitutional Committee and the tasks entrusted to it.- The leadership in Damascus, who is the main responsible for everything related to Syria and its people, should take the initiative to assume its responsibilities before its people, and strive to end the tragedy they are experiencing.Support the show (
Iraq and Saudi Arabia have opened the Arar border crossing for trade for the first time in 30 years. Officials from both countries- including the Saudi ambassador to Iraq and the Iraqi interior minister, travelled to Baghdad to open the border. Both goods and people will be able to pass through Arar which had remained closed since Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. Relations between the two countries started to take a positive turn in 2017 when representatives from each country had made a visit to one another, consequently leading to the initiation of commercial flights between the two neighbours. The current prime minister of Iraq, Mustafa al-Kadhimi is said to be on good terms with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. One group known as the Ashab al-Kahf published a statement however expressing a rejection of “the Saudi project in Iraq”. The Iraqi prime minister welcomes the development, in hope that it may provide employment opportunities to 1/3 of the youth who are unemployed.Approximately 4,000 prisoners are meant to be on death row, after being charged with terrorism offences in unfair trials, claims United Nation human rights experts. The UN has asked the Iraqi government to halt plans of executions, after 21 men were executed last Friday. Six Iraqi demonstrators have been killed from bullet wounds in the capital of Nasiriya after clashes have erupted between anti-government protestors and thousands of Muqtada al-Sadr supporters in Tahir Square. The Sadrist movement called for protests to back the reform of what he views a corrupt state. By Saturday morning, at least 60 people were wounded. Sadr on Wednesday called for relations between Shiite factions and parties to be repaired and to sign a political honour code from internal and external challenges facing the country. The leader of Al-Fatah Alliance, MP Karim Aliwi welcomed this proposal, stating that it will have popular support because it’s in the interests of the country and its citizens.  Kurdish journalist Sherwan Amin Sherwani has been imprisoned for almost two months by Iraqi Kurdish authorities for political reasons fuelled by his involvement as editor-in-chief of Bashur, a magazine that has been openly critical of the Kurdish political elite. Notably, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the powerful Barzani family who are based in Erbil and Duhok provinces. Whilst Sherwani’s lawyer is adamant that there is no legal basis for his confinement, representatives from the Kurdistan Regional Government have reiterated the reason for his arrest as being his threat to the security of the region. The responsibility of a rocket attack at an oil refinery in Northern Iraq has been claimed by ISIS. The attack occurred on the 29th of November, which yielded no casualties, the oil ministry says. There was another attack executed by them 8 days prior in the Salahuddin province where a bomb hit a civilian car. Members of ISIS then killed six Iraqi security officers that had arrived on the scene along with four civilians. On the 27th of November, a massage parlour was raided in Baghdad, where inside facilitates were destroyed with batons and men and women were violently pushed onto the street. Rab’Allah initially took responsibility for the raid on social media, stating it is their duty to ‘stand against societal corruption’ which has been inspired by ‘ideas of America and Israel’. A day later however, they denied their involvement in the incident. Other attacks followed on Christian and Yazidi-owned liquor stores across the capital. One shop owner said that he had been bribing armed groups to protect his business from being raided.The US is set to reduce its troops in Iraq to 2,500 by January 12th next month.Support the show (
Israel has just assassinated Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. There are those who would like to see this lead to war. Let's hope cooler heads prevailSupport the show (
A few reflections on how the fall of Kabul might be avoidedSupport the show (
China's atrocious treatment of the Uighurs and its behaviour over Hong Kong demands a response. Governments do nothing but we can take action. We could start by boycotting Chinese goods. Not easy. Amazon fails to put countries of origin on the goods it markets. A little campaign to force Amazon to do so would do no harm - and for those environmentally inclined would enable us to buy goods without so many air miles (should Amazon comply). One way to twist Amazon's arm would be to buy our books elsewhere. Here are a few alternative platforms:Alternatives to AmazonBooks U.K. Bookshop – supporting local bookshops Hive – books, eBooks Biblio: rare, special, and used books  Alibris – books, textbooks, movies, music  Big Green Bookshop Eurospan Bookstore  U.S. Bookshop – supporting local bookshops Biblio: rare, special, and used books Alibris – books, textbooks, movies, music Indie Bound – independent bookshops in U.S. Thrift Books – second hand books Book Outlet Audiobooks through local bookstores: Overdrive – audiobooks through your local library Hoopla – borrow movies, eBooks, music with your library card Anglo-American World of Books  European Eurospan Bookstore Fnac – books, CDs, DVDs, films, electronics, homeware French *Fnac – books, CDs, DVDs, films, electronics, homeware Recyclivre – secondhand books Label Emmaus – secondhand books and other items La Librarie – books from local bookshops Place des Libraries – books from local bookshopshttps://www.placedeslibraireSupport the show (
The Killing of dissident Hanan al Barrassi marks a new point of misery for Benghazi - and is perhaps one of the most disgraceful acts yet committed in this unpleasant ongoing warSupport the show (
President elect Joe Biden Jnr is a very different kettle of fish to President Trump. But what will his Foreign Policy be like?Support the show (
How will things be for the State of Palestine now that Biden is US President?Support the show (
The recording - slightly edited - of the Next Century Foundation's "Balck Lives Matter" discussion.Participants include:Mr Paul Gutteridge, National Director, Initiatives of Change United Kingdom and Honorary Fellow, Edward Cadbury Centre, University of Birmingham; and The Reverend Larry Wright, Board Member of the Next Century FoundationMr Kenneth Munson, currently heading Community Care, Wisconsin; formerly director of the Fire and Police Commission, assistant city attorney and assistant district attorney in the city of Milwaukee.Mr Kwame Anthony Appiah, Professor of Philosophy and Law, New York University (NYU), USA.Ms Dhouha Djerbi and she will talk about BLM within the French context, from “l’affaire Adama” (France’s George Floyd) to French police behaviour in economically disadvantaged areas. Support the show (
Lebanon has a new premier - but it is the old premier - what comes around goes around in Lebanon today. Meanwhile France, The United States and Iran are all doing there level best, by default, to reinforce the existing corrupt and politically decadent, clientalist system. Nobody seems to want to endorse any real reform.Support the show (
A discussion with Ayatollah Safavi, the Head of the Safavid Order of Sufi Islam, on the Sufi attitude to Death. A timely issue in this time of world crisis. The recitation thirty minutes in is a repetition of the word "Life", This discussion was informally hosted by the Religious Affairs Advisory CouncilSupport the show (
Sir Keir Starmer's recent betrayal of Kashmir is, in emotional terms at least, as seminal an event as Donald Trump's betrayal of the Kurds. And yet the British Mirpuri diaspora are so complacent that they don't seem to even care the show (
This is the first episode I have put up in a while. And it is on an edgy subject so skip it if you like. There will be others that may be much better. This is just to get a few issues off my chest following my mother's recent death.Support the show (
The Next Century Foundation suggests that if foreign aid and investment were allowed by the removal of Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, the Sudanese could boost their economy and with their increased revenue be able to pay those large settlements demanded by the United States of America over time if a period of grace were allowed. Until Sudan is free to receive foreign investment, it is unlikely Sudan will be able to repay what they owe.In order for Sudan to continue making progressive reforms, the economy needs to revive. Foreign investment and aid is a necessary vehicle for Sudan’s better future. Consequently, the removal of Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list is vital.  With their removal, foreign investment and funding will spur the economy in Sudan. To ensure the correct use of funding, i.e. not landing in the hands of terrorist groups, the Next Century Foundation suggests a system of monitoring this international financial aid. A review of the progress of implementing democratic values, human rights, and fair elections should be conducted on an annual basis.The Next Century Foundation meanwhile encourages the government of Sudan to offer all assistance of the full establishment and opening of the UN High Commissioner's Offices. These offices will help to effectively monitor the state of human rights on the ground.Should the results of any report be troubling to the international community, foreign investment could be suspended until the Office of High Commissioner of Human Rights decides otherwise.The Next Century Foundation, in making the request that Sudan be removed from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, is solely concerned to alleviate the intensified human suffering of the Sudanese people, and to facilitate a process by which peace and greater economic stability can be encouraged.Support the show (
Patricia Morris a.k.a. Patricia Holton, the world's first female television producer, founder of South Wales Magazine, Wonderland children's magazine, and Azure cultural magazine, author of the cult book on life in the Gulf, "Mother without a Mask", died today, 23 August 2020. This is something of her story.Support the show (
The Taliban say that "with the exception of the Presidency or high ranking positions in the judiciary, there will be no restrictions on a woman's career prospects" in the new Afghanistan. But when asked to differentiate between themselves and ISIS, the Taliban say that the main difference is that they are Afghan and ISIS are not. Can this really be the way to go? To surrender control of Afghanistan to one of the most feared and dangerous groups on the planet? After years of losses in blood and treasure is there no better outcome for much mauled over Afghanistan?Support the show (
The Historic issue is one thing. But what can redress the balance? You pull down a statue and that does it? They are doing that in Oxford University. The University with the WORST record in Britain for the inclusion of black students pulls down a statue and pats its prideful self on its prideful pretentious back. Shame on Oxford and Cambridge. They are a disgrace. Hang your head in shame if you attend those universities. You think pulling down a statue lets you off the hook? Forget it. And America. The whole criminal justice system in America is racist. Three strikes and you are out! Unbelievable.  Support the show (
Will the opposition wish to stand in the 2022 elections in Bahrain? And will the government wish to allow them to stand? As I see it these are key issues. Issues which Bahrain must resolve now. The government has made a gesture with the release of Nabil Rajab. Now it is the opposition's turn to be constructive. Perhaps.Support the show (
There is no easy way to end fear of the other. Racism is invariably based on that fear. Dealing with racism demands that we utilize love as a weaponSupport the show (
Iran has made a decision on who the candidates are likely to be for next year's Presidential election. And there is not an extremist among them - but then nor is there a liberal. They are all pragmatists belonging to what Iran calls the "Principalist" party.Support the show (
We all have something to answer for - from God in his Heaven to you as you sit there in lockdown. What do you care when it comes down to it?Support the show (
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Podcast Details

Created by
Podcast Status
Aug 16th, 2019
Latest Episode
Feb 4th, 2021
Release Period
Avg. Episode Length
13 minutes

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