Nevertheless, they remain just one example of the many artefacts that make urban spheres active spaces of remembrance. In my imagination and maybe to those of others, these slashed posters manifest my own chaotic memory, as if I were looking into an inverted mirror, where the past collapses into the present. They remind me of a desire to tear down, rip away, and over-poster the past.
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On the flip side of the picture, ironically, the making of Erdoğanist authoritarianism has generated ample opportunities for a radical liberalization of the Turkish political system. Scrapping institutional discipline, liquidating the bureaucratic guardians, disposing of the ‘traditional’ cadre structure and confusing the ideological compass that defined the ‘old’ imperious state apparatus, without effectively replacing them with ‘new’ ones, presents a historic moment for a comprehensive and thorough transformation.
The first, still best, option – repatriation of foreign nationals – is arguably a quickly closing window. Even then, questions would remain about what should happen to Iraqi and Syrian nationals, and what role the West should play in resolving their situation. But European powers must avoid taking the third option they’d been exercising by default – doing nothing, and waiting for circumstances to change.
If the 2015 movement could be deemed as characteristic of a ‘new civil society’, the specificities of the Iraqi context structured by political and sectarian violence make the rejection of identity politics, especially sectarian identity and religion, central. For Iraqi protesters individual freedom, especially the freedom not to belong to a religious and sectarian group is considered as essential as economic equality.
Providing legal work opportunities to refugees is not detrimental to the native job market. The inflow of foreign aid to Jordan to assist with some of the needs of refugees, as well as the conditions of the Jordan Compact, which included aid and trade concessions and employment support for Jordanians, may have played an important role in creating labour demand for Jordanians. So it is vital to ensure sufficient resources and public services are in place to support refugees and the host economy.
It is becoming ever clearer that the movement is transforming itself at a much faster rate than expected, even as the US president seeks to bring the troops back from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. In the short term he may win some political advantage, and it might even help his re-election bid, but the reality is that we are actually in a relative lull in a very long conflict, even if western leaders remain convinced that military power has been the right answer, even after 19 years of failure.
Although Netflix noted that the series, which was directed by Gideon Raff and stars British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, is not a factual retelling of events but a dramatization based on a French book entitled The Spy Who Came From Israel, the series includes several factual errors that some Arab viewers have found insulting.