The nationalist opposition in Belarus has been marginalized, argues Coordinating Council member Olga Shparaga. National heroes and vertical power structures no longer have popular appeal. The focus is instead on peaceful cooperation, social inclusion and the soft power of women.
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Where can we turn if our social networks, structures and governance can’t be trusted? Cancel culture, disinformation and the lack of boundaries define our perception. Geert Lovink, Eliot Higgins and Matilda Amundsen Bergström provide some welcome thoughts on solidarity overcoming abuses of power.
Glänta’s recent issue
Providing new and updated conceptual tools to understand contemporary social structures is crucial, writes editor Göran Dahlberg. Whether to construct, reconstruct or deconstruct from within or outside the system, ‘old tools can find new uses and new tools can awaken old and forgotten knowledge’. Eurozine presents a selection of articles from Glänta’s recent issue.
Virtue overcoming boundaries
Matilda Amundsen Bergström revisits temperance – the sixth century ethical cornerstone, dismissed as naïve, if not downright silly in postmodern times – as a means to redefine limits in a seemingly boundless world.
An interview with Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins
In this episode of the Eurozine podcast ‘Gagarin’, we talk to Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins about the ongoing MH17 trial and the recent OPCW report on the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons in Syria. Higgins describes how disinformation works in both cases, who is behind it and what motivates them, and how Bellingcat remains objective in a hyper-partisan media field.
Being an idiot might be exactly the subversive tool we need in our communication-obsessed world, suggests Miriam Rasch. In times of heightened surveillance capitalism, non-communication can become active interference. It might not quite be time to throw away your phone, but inefficiency and deceleration could be useful tools.
Karl Palmås’ pairings of historical moments and audio excerpts explore suspensions of time during recent cultural, economic and political crises: 1989 chords play under tension; self-referential recordings reflect 2008; and musical dissonance reaches a total collapse of tonal harmony by 2020.
Events in Belarus have departed radically from the script. Putin may have been gambling on a destabilized Lukashenka, but not on a full-blown national uprising, speculates writer and artist Artur Klinaŭ. Everything now depends on the strength of the Belarusian people.
The removal in April of the monument to Red Army general Ivan Konev in Prague and the rehabilitation of the collaborationist Russian Liberation Army is typical of the revisionist tendency in central eastern European history politics since 1989. Narratives of heroism and victimhood, where the villains were always Nazis or communists, are easily exploited by nationalist extremists.
The conversion of the Hagia Sophia was intended as a demonstration of strength to Erdoğan’s conservative Muslim constituency and the wider Islamic world. But calculations of political advantage have also caused the weak response of the West. World cultural heritage has been dealt a huge blow, writes a leading Russian Byzantinist.
After 26 years of rule, the autocrat Alyaksandr Lukashenka has lost the support of the Belarusian people. Even if the regime is able to stay in control, it will pay an incalculable price for its brutal enforcement of the status quo. Belarus expert Astrid Sahm talks to ‘Osteuropa’ about the events and what comes next.
Popping down to the shops in Annelinn
Urban housing is about more than private habitation. It is linked to a need for public spaces, amenities and services. Bustling streets are social condensers that draw people together, promote dynamic exchange and form part of the glue that binds communities. How should city planners foster these crucial interactions?
The pandemic and the volatility of international politics have given an upper hand to Russian intelligence services interested in spreading disinformation. Georgia has become a test field for new cyber warfare since the 2008 war and offers invaluable lessons on what to expect.
Physical fear and the dread of disappointment have been the dominant emotions whenever elections have come around in Belarus in the past two-and-a-half decades. This time is no different. And yet something has changed.
Comment on cancel culture
Social media users can be forgiven for feeling dissatisfied. ‘Old media’ news, based on the perpetual celebrity comeback, has hit a conceptual impasse with new cancel culture. Geert Lovink calls for the renewal of social networking tools giving users a constructive voice.
Or three short essays on solidarity
In the absence of civic traditions and positive social capital, society often organises itself along mafia-style norms. Post-communist Ukrainian society is a prime example. Yet grass-roots civic networks also operate as an alternative. Mykola Riabchuk investigates the sociology clash between these two state-nation building projects.