n. 23 February 2009
Though east is a bimonthly, two themes demand our full attention: the ongoing strife between Palestinians and Israelis and the global economic downturn, whose woeful effects began resonating in the wake of the American sub-prime mortgage crisis. On the delicate subject of the Middle East, we host an editorial by Venice mayor and philosopher Massimo Cacciari as well as an interview with Avraham Burg, the Israeli intellectual who along with Abraham Yehoshua and Amos Oz created Hatnua Hahadasha, or New Movement. The interview is by Marina Gersony.
Regarding the economic crises, we examine it from an Asian perspective. How are the newly-invigorated Chinese and Indian economies coping? What about growth? Will development models change? Our detailed reports come from Maria Weber, Giovanni Andornino, Alessandro Arduino, Claudia Astarita, Stefano Chiarlone and Marco Masciaga. Our cover story tackles the always relevant theme of religious freedom. We host reports from Francesca Lancini and Alessandra Garusi. Aldo Ferrari also contributes his views on the state of the Eastern Church. For readers who follow environmental issues, Antonio Barbangelo talks to Stefano Landi, whose northern Italian company is among the leaders in global LPG gas production.
Elsewhere, Emanuele Confortin reports from Bhopal, India where the effects of the Union Carbine chemical spill are still felt 25 years later. Emiliano Bos captures the travails of Sri Lanka in its struggle with Tamil separatism. Finally, Massimiliano Di Pasquale heads for the Russian city of Yekaterinburg. This issue marks a time of change for east. We have a new publisher, which is also responsible for Italian weekly "Internazionale." We thank Baldini Castoldi Dalai for his thoughtful hard work over the years and extend a warm welcome to the new managment, pledging full cooperation in this phase of the magazine's development.
Facing the Gaza inferno, pain directed at the suffering must be trumped by a sense of shame for our general impotence in solving the problem. Europe and to the West as a whole and can't step out of the shadows of history and historical alliances. This makes for a shared unwillingness to intervene with the tools of meaningful military way. We need to look history squarely in the face without dissembling or falling back on meaningless platitudes and pronoucements. But that also means facing a contradictory vision.
Maybe the latest Israeli offensive isn't just a byproduct of the George Bush-Barak Obama interregnum but is also the result of a geopolitical situation that has effectively turned the entire Arab-Israeli struggle into a "local war" between Israel and a state called "Gaza" were Hamas rules supreme. If that were the case, both sides would have free reign to fight until reaching a military solution. Yet military hostilities will never solve anything just because this conflict was never reparable at a local level. Never mind the fact that in the coming years the West will be distracted by economic woes and massive changes in the global equilibrium posed byt the growth of China, and India, as well as the rise of newly "imperial" Russia.
The truth is that this war can't be limited or circumscribed geographically - any more than our complicity in it can be ignored.