Disillusion in Iraq
When western troops overthrew Saddam Hussein, the argument was that this would turn Iraq from a dictatorship into a democracy. And they have indeed held elections there; the latest vote for a new Iraqi parliament took place last Sunday. Yet when it comes to actually voting, tribal and religious affiliation appear to have trumped any ideological leanings, and with a heavy dose of apathy and disillusionment thrown in, says Lizzie Porter.
As with Iraq, Japan also faces much disillusionment with democratic politics. The last election saw only a little over half the voting population turn out, and it’s not hard to see why: in almost every single contest, the same party has won. Now, the Liberal Democrat Party has chosen a new leader, and he automatically became interim prime minister, pending a general election later this month. It is an election nobody expects him to lose, but was the country’s new leader welcomed with great excitement and fanfare? Hardly, says Rupert Wingfield-Hayes:
According to mythology, Rome was founded by a pair of twins who had been raised by wolves. But Romulus and Remus might have been surprised to know that in the early Twenty First Century, the “eternal city” would have wild wolves spotted near its airport. Meanwhile wild boars and other animals have been stalking the streets, feasting on the rubbish that sits uncollected. It’s all just one sign of the extent to which Rome has not been particularly well run in recent years, maladministration and the mafia making easy bedfellows. Tomorrow, Romans will have the chance to choose a new mayor, hoping they save the city from this plight. Italian politics is, of course, often rather colourful, and the two remaining candidates in this contest are a radio star with links to the far right, and a former Economics Minister, who has attempted to seduce voters by serenading them with a bit of bosa nova guitar. Watching this spectacle is long-term Rome resident, Joanna Robertson.
Someone once said that when it came to British politics, there had only been three issues in recent elections: Brexit, Brexit and Brexit. This was not a subject that other countries necessarily wanted to focus on, most governments having enough challenges of their own to think about. Yet, for the Republic of Ireland, the UK’s rows over Europe were always going to make their mark; the country has so much trade with Britain, as well as an open border with Northern Ireland. Emma Vardy says that the latest developments in the Brexit saga, have left Irish people exasperated, and also rather sad.
It was the writer William Faulkner who famously said “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” That’s something which another writer, Colin Freeman, discovered, when he visited Ukraine this month. He was there to hear about a new memorial and museum for the “Babi Yar” massacre, an atrocity which took place in 1941. German Nazi occupiers shot dead more than thirty thousand Jews there, and later, would use the same site to kill gay people, prisoners of war, and the mentally ill - some of the worst mass shootings in human history. Plans for a new museum about the massacres have been underway for some time, but it’s a development, which Colin Freeman say,s tells us much about present day Ukraine, as well as about the moment in history being commemorated.