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TOPIC: freedom

Dottoré!

Freedom Or Insanity? In The Eye Of The Beholder

Two patients walk with our Naples-based psychiatrist on that fine line between freedom and insanity.

"Dottoré, you are free, you know no limits!"

That is what two patients told me, as we were having breakfast together at a café.

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Why The Fate Of Iran (Like Ukraine!) Is About Something Much Bigger

Just as Ukrainians are defending the sovereignty of Europe's borders and the right to democracy, the Iranians risking their lives to protest are fighting a bigger battle for peace across the Middle East.

-OpEd-

Tumult has been a constant in human societies, alternating between periods of war and peace. Iran, my country, has had more than its fair share of turmoil.

It is universal to be hopeful that the peaceful periods would be prolonged by increased freedom in society brought about by scientific, economic and legal progress.

And it has, but mostly in the West and in countries in south-east Asia. There, they have used the force of economic development to assure their citizens a measure of peace and security, with or without democracy. This certainly is not the case in the Middle East, in many African countries and even in Latin American states run by the "anti-imperialist" Left.

Many of these places have, among other troubles affecting them, become the den of that violent and vicious ideology, Islamism.

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Nazis. Terrorists! Satanists!? Putin's Rollout Of Big Lies Is Losing Its Punch

The Russian president has resorted to a string of changing lies to justify his war on Ukraine. He has shown contempt along the way for the Christian values he claims to defend. But like arms and ammunition, a regime can also run out of lies.

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ — In time, lies are bound to implode. They'll crash faster than a troubled currency in a financial storm. When a deceitful government can no longer pull the wool over people's eyes, it is forced to seek more lies. That is what Russia's Vladimir Putin and his spokesmen have been doing: looking for new methods of bluster to justify his invasion of Ukraine.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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When launched last February, the official explanation was the shameless lie of wanting to liberate the Ukrainians from a Nazi-style regime. Simultaneously, Putin claimed Ukraine was no country but a mistaken gift of the Soviet Union, which had provisionally granted independence to its 40 million inhabitants and 600,000 square kilometers!

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The 'Perfect Storm' Of Iran's Protests May Be Unstoppable

The latest round of anti-regime protests in Iran is different than other in the 40 years of the Islamic Republic: for its universality and boldness, the level of public fury and grief, and the role of women and social media. The target is not some policy or the economy, but the regime itself.

-Analysis-

The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Tehran on Sept. 16, after a possible beating at a police station, has sparked outrage and mass protests in Iran and abroad. There have been demonstrations and a violent attempt to suppress them in more than 100 districts in every province of Iran.

These protests may look like others since 2017, and back even to 1999 — yet we may be facing an unprecedented turning point in Iranians' opposition to the Islamic Republic. Indeed newly installed conservative President Ibrahim Raisi could not have expected such momentum when he set off for a quick trip to New York and back for a meeting of the UN General Assembly.

For one of the mistakes of a regime that takes pride in dismissing the national traditions of Iran is to have overlooked the power of grief among our people.

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Economy
Loraine Morales Pino

What's Driving The New Migrant Exodus From Cuba

Since Cuba reopened its borders last December after COVID closures, the number of people leaving the island has gone up significantly. Migration has been a constant in Cuban life since the 1950s. But this article in Cuba's independent news outlet El Toque shows just how important migration is to understand the ordeals of everyday life on the island.

HAVANA — Some 157,339 Cubans crossed the border into the United States between Oct. 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022, according to the U.S. Border Patrol — a figure significantly higher than the one recorded during the 1980 Mariel exodus, when a record 125,000 Cubans arrived in the U.S. over a period of seven months.

Migrating has once again become the only way out of the ordeal that life on the island represents.

Cubans of all ages who make the journey set off towards a promise. They prefer the unknown to the grim certainty that the Cuban regime offers them.

Migration from Cuba has been a constant since the 1950s.

In 1956, the largest number of departures was recorded in the colonial and republican periods, with the arrival of 14,953 Cubans in the United States, the historical destination of migratory flows. Since the January 1959 revolution, that indicator has been exceeded 30 times.

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India
Faisal Devji*

As India Turns 75, A Look Back At Gandhi's Thoughts On Freedom

It was typical of Gandhi to bring opposites together, by noting that the very experience of hatred had made love possible by allowing Indians to take responsibility for their own actions and so the future.

As the day of India’s independence approached, Gandhi was frequently asked how it should be marked. His response was invariably to criticize the new government’s costly plans of celebrating it with spectacle and entertainment to recommend fasting, spinning and prayer instead.

This was not simply because of the violence then sweeping much of the country, or even to give the poverty of India’s millions its due, but so as to reflect upon the grave responsibilities that were the true gift of freedom. He spent Independence Day in riot-stricken Calcutta, trying to identify India’s freedom in the very midst of partition’s violence.

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GLOBAL PRESS JOURNAL
Shilu Manandhar

Tibetan Refugees In Nepal: A Different Kind Of Identity Crisis

Shunned by the Nepal government, young Tibetans struggle to find work, travel overseas, and open bank accounts. One asks, “Who are we?”

KATHMANDU, NEPAL — Tenzin’s grandparents fled Tibet for Nepal long before he was born. His father died when he was 1, leaving his mother to support six children. Because she wasn’t a citizen, no one would hire her. Still, she built a small souvenir business because she had a government-issued refugee card.

Tenzin, 32, doesn’t have a refugee card. In fact, he has no identity document.

Unlike their parents and grandparents, young Tibetan refugees and Tibetans born in Nepal are not recognized by the government, leaving them in a limbo that has profound implications both personally and professionally.

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LGBTQ Plus
Frédéric Schwilden

A Trans Soldier Fighting Abroad For Freedom Is Denied Her Own Back Home

A German soldier was reprimanded because of an online dating profile. She was punished for her sexual freedom — the same freedoms that the armed forces claim to be fighting for abroad.

-OpEd-

BERLIN — Anastasia Biefang completed two foreign missions in Afghanistan. For two years, she was the first trans woman commander of a battalion of the Bundeswehr, Germany's national armed forces. Her rank: lieutenant colonel. She defended and fought for Western values such as democracy, tolerance, respect for human rights and freedom of the individual.

And this freedom, for which she endangered her own life, is now being denied to her – by her employer, the Bundeswehhr, after all, and the Federal Administrative Court of Germany. “Commanders must consider the impact on their professional reputation when making private internet appearances,” reads a recent press release from the Federal Administrative Court.

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Coronavirus
Lili Bai

In Shanghai, A Brewing Expat Exodus As COVID Crackdown Shows "Real" China

Not only strict rules of freedom of movement as part of Zero-COVID policy but also an increase in censorship has raised many questions for the expat population in the megacity of 26 million that had long enjoyed a kind of special status in China as a place of freedom and openness. A recent survey of foreigners in the Chinese megacity found that 48% of respondents said they would leave Shanghai within the next year.

SHANGHAI — On the seventh day of the lockdown, Félix, a French expat who has worked in Shanghai for four years, texted his boss: I want to "run,' mais je sais pas quand (but I don’t know when). A minute later, he received a reply: moi aussi (me too).

Félix had recently learned the new Mandarin word 润 (run) from social network postings of his local friends. Because its pinyin “rùn” is the same as the English word “run,” Chinese youth had begun to use it to express their wish to escape reality, either to “be freed from mundane life”, or to “run toward your future.”

For foreigners like Félix, by associating the expression “run” with the feeling of the current lockdown in Shanghai, “everything makes sense.” Félix recalled how at the end of March, the government denied rumors of an impending lockdown: “My Chinese colleagues all said, Shanghai is China’s top city, there would be no lockdown no matter what.”

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Geopolitics
Allison M. Prasch

State Of The Union, State Of The World: Biden's Hard Line On Putin

Less than a week after Russia's invasion of Ukraine triggered a new cleavage in international affairs, U.S. President Joe Biden outlined a vision for confronting Moscow as necessary for the pursuit of America's ambitions at home and abroad.

-Analysis-

It was a familiar scene.

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Geopolitics
Dominique Moïsi

Like In A Greek Tragedy, Putin Is Feeding What He Fears Most


It's not the presence of Western weapons that scares Moscow, it is the idea of freedom. And yet by threatening Ukrainians with invasion, his neighbors and rivals in the West rally around that same idea. Has the would-be strategic mastermind in the Kremlin finally painted himself into a corner? Unfortunately, that's a dangerous place.

-Analysis-

In the midst of the Cold War, French philosopher Raymond Aron posed a hypothetical question: If NATO had never existed, would the Soviet Union have invaded the countries of Western Europe? "We'll never know,” he replied, adding mischievously: “But we can't say the opposite either.”

Now let us leave the Cold War of yesterday for a hypothetical of the nearly hot war of today.

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Coronavirus
Dominik Kalus

Why Iceland Is Fighting A COVID Surge Without Vaccine Mandates

Iceland has been one of Europe’s COVID-19 hot spots the past few months, but citizens' vaccination status doesn’t affect their access to public spaces. It is a conscious choice in a small nation to try to avoid conflict in society, and it seems to be working. But death rates are being kept down for one main reason: so many people were already vaccinated anyway.

REYKJAVIK — Iceland is one of the countries in Europe where, up until recently, everything seemed to be almost back to normal. The island nation celebrated its “Freedom Day” last autumn, and even before that was the envy of many other European countries, successfully navigating its way through various waves with relatively few restrictions and a low death rate.

Its isolated position in the North Atlantic wasn’t the only factor. Experts say the country’s effective contact-tracing system and testing strategy were key. Until Omicron arrived on the scene. The new variant sparked the country’s biggest wave since the start of the pandemic.

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