Douglas Herbert meets Syrian philosopher and writer Sadiq Jalal al-Azm to discuss the explosive mix of religion and politics in the Arab world. His guest has first-hand knowledge of how touchy the subject is. He himself was briefly jailed in 1970 after writing a groundbreaking book on the Six-Day War. He argued back then that the Arab defeat was due, in part, to their leaders' failure to rethink the role of religion in society.
Armen Georgian meets renowned Czech economist Tomas Sedlacek, best-selling author of "Economics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street". Sedlacek argues that GDP growth is a modern secular version of the old religious idea of paradise, and that Western societies cling to this promised paradise at their peril. He offers us his alternatives.
Over the past two years, thousands of Syrian civilians have been killed and many more have been forced to flee their homes. Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Programme, has joined forces with other UN agencies to respond to this major humanitarian crisis. But, as the death toll in Syria increases, funds for aid operations are soon going to run out. She now pleads for a political solution to end the civil war.
Since the spring of 2011 and the wave of Arab revolutions, Islamic and Arab world scholar Gilles Kepel has made several trips to the fast-changing Middle East. He witnessed disappointment among young people and met members of civil society and Islamists. His travel diary has just been published in France. Leela Jacinto meets him to discuss the current challenges facing Arab countries.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was elected as chairman of the African Union in January. Since then, he has to deal with the war in Mali. After months of fighting, the country still needs the international community’s military support and faces a food crisis. Moreover, Mali has been in political limbo for more than a year.