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The Arab World Has Never Recovered From the Loss of 1967
Hisham Melhem | Foreign Policy
“Fifty years after the defeat, the brittle world the Arabs built is unraveling in civil wars fought with abandon by cruel men supported by equally cruel foreign and regional marauders. Ancient cities that survived many an invader now lay in ruins in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen. Schools and hospitals, places of worship, bakeries and pharmacies—all were repeatedly violated by governments and rebels. Millions of bereft souls wandered over large swaths of scorched earth before fleeing their countries, by choice or by force, forming rivers of refugees and spilling over into neighboring lands and then scattering across Europe. A tragic modern version of the ‘Middle Passage’ has taken place in the Mediterranean, whose deceptively calm waves became the watery graves of many a refugee braving the sea on rickety, overflowing boats operated by greedy seamen, the slave traders of yesteryear. In the second half of the second decade of the 21st century, Arabs—who barely constitute 5 percent of the world’s population—burdened the world with more than 50 percent of its refugees.”
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Can a New Generation in the Banlieues Change French Politics?
Elisabeth Zerofsky | The New York Times Magazine
“The campaign season in France this spring revolved around the meaning of ‘Frenchness,’ a perennial question given new urgency by a refugee crisis, terrorist attacks that resulted in the highest number of deaths on French soil since the 1940s, the year-and-a-half-long state of emergency that followed and a generalized economic anxiety. Every week seemed to bring a new polemic about ‘mass immigration’ (in reality, France granted refugee status to only 26,000 people who applied in 2016, and the total immigrant population has increased only slightly in the last 10 years) or the role of France’s Muslims (estimated at less than 6 percent of the population, half of whom are largely secular) in formulating an Islam compatible with the French Republic or the importance of affirming French culture,’ whatever that might be. In one way or another, politicians were often talking about the banlieues, which served as a kind of boogeyman, a stand-in for the social currents unsettling France. Bouteghmès, himself a product of these forces and a consummate proponent of French Republicanism, was, like many of the people he represents, an object of much of this discussion if seldom an equal partner in it.”
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Blaming the Internet for Terrorism Misses the Point
Emily Dreyfuss | WIRED
“Though the internet helps terrorists communicate (and celebrate their actions), experts agree it does not cause terrorism, or even do much to radicalize. ‘The internet is often oversold in terms of radicalization,’ says Colin Clarke, a counterterrorism expert at RAND. Despite what you've heard, he says, most conversations among extremists occur face to face.