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Contributions

The views and perspectives contained in these Blogs are from individual contributors and external sources, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or position of the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva. The links are neither intended as an endorsement of particular publications nor the only source for the updates, but to connect to information in the public domain, for those interested in background or further details.

by Lakhdar Ghettas

Thirty years this November Zine el Abidine Ben Ali assumed power in Tunisia ending thereby the rule of ailing Habib Bourguiba who ruled the country since its independence in 1956. Ben Ali promised political reforms that lured large segments of the Tunisian polity, including the Islamists. Those hopes were soon shattered by the brutal crackdown following the 1989 general elections in which Ennahdha ran on independent lists, and came second after Ben Ali’s RCD party. Leftists were not spared either and by 2010 Ben Ali managed to unite most Tunisians against his authoritarian rule. Tunisians embarked on a political transition that has been underway seven years now.

by Kheira Tarif

In the context of the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva’s Middle East Program, a discussion with Iraqi partners fostered the idea of working with tribal and religious leaders as influential actors of change and reconciliation in the country. Strengthening locally-accessible and legitimate dispute resolution mechanisms can help stem the escalation of local tensions in Iraq, and detract from the rationale of violent alternatives...

Interview by Joël Frei - Institute for Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding (ICP), August 2015

The director of the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva and strong advocate for peace, Abbas Aroua, on the quest for fairness and balance in the Islamic tradition, the need for a secular space in the Arab countries and non-violence as the only effective way towards lasting peace.

You state that Islam is a religion of balance and committed to the search of middle positions. What do you understand by that?

One of the main concepts in the Islamic religion is wasatiya, the middle position between the extremes. This concept is complex because it sums up a set of different ideas. For the Prophet Mohammed, "being wasati" means being just and fair. Wasatiya could be translated into French as "le juste milieu" or "die goldene Mitte" in German. It implies fairness, while the extremes lead to biased positions driven by passions and emotions, not by reason.