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Political ferment in Hong Kong

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When the British government returned Hong Kong to China in July 1997—the “handover,” as it was then called—what was transferred was not just a piece of land, but the political administration of the people living there. Land is inert, but people are not. They have memory, identity, aspirations—and, hopefully, the will to act on the basis of these. It is important to keep this in mind in any attempt to understand what is happening in Hong Kong today.

Posted: October 2nd, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The Kurds and the Isis

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As graduate students in England in the late 1960s, my wife and I struck a close friendship with a classmate from Iraq and his Lebanese girlfriend. He was a Muslim Kurd, and she was a Maronite Catholic. Although he carried an Iraqi passport and was sent to England on a scholarship by the Iraqi government, he insisted on being called a Kurd. He did not seem as emphatic about his religious identity as he was with his ethnicity. Later, I realized that apart from Muslims, there were Kurdish Christians, Kurdish Jews, Zoroastrians, and Yazidis.

Posted: September 28th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Debating the DAP

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Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad’s acceptance of an invitation to lecture on the budget at the University of the Philippines School of Economics the other week would have been the perfect occasion to grill him about his brainchild, the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program. Academic culture encourages people to discuss and debate issues in a manner and in a setting far removed from the din of the streets. In the university, it is often said, the only force that is respected is the force of the better argument.

Posted: September 25th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The two faces of authoritarianism

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As we look back to that fateful day in September 1972 42 years ago, when Ferdinand Marcos proclaimed martial law, we need to understand how and why many Filipinos accepted one-man rule in the first instance. The threat of authoritarian rule will remain so long as we do not recognize that our inherited institutions of governance, as modern as they are, cannot function properly under conditions of mass poverty and sharp inequality.

Posted: September 21st, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The quagmire in Iraq and Syria

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It must feel terrible for US President Barack Obama to enter the final years of his presidency ordering air attacks against Islamist rebel forces in Iraq and Syria.

Posted: September 18th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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  • Editorial cartoon, October 2, 2014
  • We stand in Central
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  • Political ferment in Hong Kong
  • Recto in a time of disenchantment
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