Rubric The Eastern Gate

The Eastern Gate
by Dario Salvi

The flag affair dominates the pre-match phase after the US Soccer Federation posts an Iranian flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic. Iran’s revolutionary guards tell the Iranian team to “behave”. The protests that followed the death of Mahsa Amini are overshadowing the sporting event. The two teams met once before, in France 1998, ending in an Iranian victory. Qatar is using the event to boost its regional role as a mediator.

| 29/11/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

The pontiff's trip to Bahrain and two inter-religious forums have re-energised discussion between different faiths and within Islam. Peace and reconciliation between the two souls of the Muslim world are necessary for stability. Even the Imam of al-Azhar makes a rare appeal for internal dialogue. Analysis and future prospects in an interview with professor and expert Saad Salloum. 

| 22/11/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

The PKK denies any role in the attack on Istanbul's shopping strip. After initially blaming the Kurds, the authorities will not disregard jihadis as possible culprits. The Catholic Church in Turkey offers its prayers for the victims. For the apostolic vicar, “the attack was like a bolt from the blue”, threatening the revival of tourism and pilgrimages. As the country gets ready for a presidential election next year, it faces both domestic and foreign enemies.

| 15/11/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

A business worth 10 billion euro a year that feeds government and opposition coffers, creating 'unthinkable' alliances. A universal substance consumed by students and professionals, considered less 'forbidden' than alcohol or other drugs. Saudi Arabia the main market destination. 

| 08/11/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

The shah's prison is at the heart of the Islamic Republic's worst atrocities. Common criminals, activists, and dissidents have been executed inside the infamous facility. Scores of reports have highlighted serious human rights abuses and violations. In mid-October, a mysterious fire engulfed the prison for hours. Thousands of people arrested for protesting against the death of Mahsa Amini are set to go on trial together.

 

| 01/11/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

On the eve of the elections scheduled for 1 November, Gadi Baltiansky, director general of the Geneva Initiative, applauds Lapid's speech at the UN that revived the central issue of the Palestinian question. The status quo is "negative", the ruling class seems to be "waking up slowly" to the issues raised by the outgoing premier. Doubts about the participation of the Arab electorate. New violence in the West Bank, more victims and injuries.

| 25/10/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

The Mahsa Amini affair raises the issue of the role and freedoms of women in the region and in the Muslim - Shiite and Sunni - world.Tehran's recent entry into the UN body for the protection of women, thanks to favorable vote of Western governments, has been passed over in silence. In the Saudi kingdom "success" stories conceal daily tales of violations and humiliation. 

| 18/10/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

The UN mission has launched an appeal for 'dialogue without preconditions' to break the political and institutional deadlock. Since the elections of 10 October 2021, no agreement has yet been reached on the appointment of a premier and a new government. The current executive only has the current affairs at its disposal. Economic problems and wasted wealth. The unresolved knot of (Christian) refugees. 

| 11/10/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

From 20 November to 18 December, the emirate hosts the top football competition.Female referees for teh first time in an Islamic nation. Controversy over the exploitation, and deaths, of migrant workers in the construction of facilities. Civil rights and environmental issues in focus. Bishop Hinder: a country that has developed in "competition" with others in the region. 

| 04/10/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

The story of a family in Ghouta, from the suffering of the conflict to hunger-induced despair. People are caught in a 'collective depression' and  resort to increasing use (and abuse) of drugs. According to some estimates, 70% of the drugs sold last year were psychotropic. A demand that fuels the black market. 

| 27/09/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

The decision by some Arab parties to run alone might give the former prime minister an edge in Israel’s upcoming election. Turnout among Israeli Arabs might prove crucial one way or the other. However, Israeli Arabs are dissatisfied and surveys indicate that only 40 per cent plan to vote.

| 20/09/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Fady Noun

The mediation work of US envoy Amos Hochstein continues to resolve disputed lines and strategic interests of the two countries. Washington wants to retain control of hydrocarbons in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean to the exclusion of China and Russia. The internal struggle ahead of the elections in Israel and the role of Hezbollah. 

| 13/09/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

Saad Salloum says the political system "does not work" because diverse factions pursue "their own interest" with the support of "militias, banks, televisions". A 'mafia' paralyses the country and fuels the spiral of violence that follows every election. The Sadrist bloc is also boycotting the second round of talks promoted by the premier to overcome the institutional stalemate. 

 

| 06/09/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

 

After two years of closures and virtual learning, a new chapter opens for the Christian institutes in the Strip. Most of their students are Muslim, with respect for 'values and identity'. Palestinians cling to education as the path to redemption. The lockdown has resulted in increased agressivity and violence among young people, which can only be countered by rebuilding socialisation. 

 

| 30/08/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Louis Raphael Sako *

The bishops meeting with Patriarch Sako is being held in Baghdad from August 21 to 27. The opening address is a new cry of alarm about the future of the community.  Islamic heritage makes Christians 'second-class citizens'. An appeal to the political class for a new executive capable of responding to the country's challenges. A call for an examination of conscience on the exercise of authority even in the Church: "The concept of leadership in the East does not help to spread the culture of asking for forgiveness".

| 23/08/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Fady Noun

Hadi Matar's parents hail from the southern border village of Yaroun, a Hezbollah-controlled area from which they emigrated 30 years ago. Their adherence to extreme Islam occurred (perhaps) during a sojourn in 2018. The U.S. investigation and the implications for the Middle East region. Khamenei recalls that the fatwa against the writer is "solid and irrevocable".

| 16/08/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

Eight years after the Islamic State seized the Nineveh Plain, families are still waiting to get their homes and land back. Opposing interests are keeping the country politically paralysed. The Chaldean primate stresses the importance of citizenship and equal rights, and a “courageous national dialogue”.

| 09/08/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

Fr Abboud talks about a country and a people who feel "lost and astray”. Too much secrecy surrounds the investigation into the disaster, which is still far from the truth. Even among the victims’ families, rifts have emerged, largely fuelled by politics. The state of the healthcare and educational systems is worrying. AsiaNews renews its campaign in support of Catholic schools.

| 02/08/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

The prelate recounts a city struggling to be reborn, where extremist ideology still permeates part of society. The memory of Christian homes branded with the letter "N", today a source of pride and belonging. The pope's visit  planted a seed of hope for rebuilding of society. Through education "we can fight ignorance".

| 26/07/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Chiara Zappa

On Monday 25 July Tunisians will vote in a referendum on the new charter, which would centralise all powers in the hands of President Saïed. Islam is not defined as the national religion, but it is said that the country 'belongs to the Islamic nation (Ummah)' and that the State must work to achieve 'the five goals of pure Islam'. Opposition and civil society protest but the electorate, weakened by the economic crisis, may support the head of state.

| 19/07/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

The changes caused by the pandemic in education will not 'disappear'. Online classes, a necessity in the early stages, are now "part of the educational environment". But families and teachers much prefer in person classes, which allows for better pupil development especially at a young age. Fr. Twal: learning 'from experience' by valuing alternative methods. 

| 12/07/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

Card. Zenari on experiencing in Syria what John Paul II called "the imagination of charity": The Church and Christians are multiplying their solidarity initiatives, but the emigration that risks emptying the community is weighing heavily. Sharing pain and suffering with a wounded nation; children the main victims of the conflict. 

 

 

| 05/07/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

The country is heading for its fifth vote in just over three years. Tomorrow the passage that should sanction the dissolution of the Knesset. From behind the scenes the former premier moves to return to power, in this or the next legislature. Pacifist rabbi: Bennett executive has made no progress on "major issues" such as "employment and peace process." 

| 28/06/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

The president behind the country's international name change. A desire to erase the association with the Christmas bird and "offensive" parodies. But Turkish authorities themselves are victims of confusion and contradictions. The airline is also targeted, but the change could cause billions in losses. And some are launching petitions to mock the sultan.

| 21/06/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

A 'vision' aimed at 'modernising' the country, relaunching the economy and guaranteeing employment (especially for young people). Under consideration are free market reforms and the fight against public debt. Fr. Rifat Bader: huge Saudi investment in the health sector of 400 million. The aim is to leave behind the dark period of the (economic) crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

 

| 14/06/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

In recent days a church has been inaugurated in the capital, recalling the only episode of Christian martyrdom in the Koran. Catholics, a migrant reality with a "strong community spirit". Mascate remains a model of diplomacy and balance between Sunni (Riyadh, Abu Dhabi) and Shiite (Tehran) powers. Tourism - and oil - fuel the recovery.

| 31/05/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

A new wave of street protests is sweeping the country, triggered by a hike in prices. The country’s Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Raisi are among protesters’ targets. Actors, athletes and intellectuals back the movement, urging the authorities to heed protesters’ demands, not crack down on them. Against this backdrop, a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme is still pending.

| 24/05/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Fady Noun

Independents and protest groups take votes (and seats) from traditional parties. Pro-Iranian movements lose ground. For analysts, this is “a political turning point”, but others express a word of caution. The president’s election will be a crucial test. Meanwhile, many fear clashes and tensions in the coming months.

 

| 17/05/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

Sandstorms follow one another with increasing frequency, causing victims and thousands of hospitalizations. Water reserves have collapsed by 50% compared to last year. By 2040 Tigris and Euphrates risk drying up. The emblematic case of Lake Sawa. Archeological sites and historical cities, from Ur to Babylon, in danger. 

| 10/05/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Dario Salvi

Atomic energy attracts the countries of the region to meet energy needs and reduce the level of pollutants from hydrocarbons. Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates have already launched projects and are working on new ones. At the center of the game the Russian giant of the sector Rosatom. Doubts remain about the actual safety of the plants and the fear of accidents.

| 03/05/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
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| 22/11/2022
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| 16/11/2022
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| 11/11/2022
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| 10/11/2022
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“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”