Collective identity – in times of upheaval

Philosophical reflections from Cairo

These are really rough questions that are burning on our nails at the moment: What does the so-called Arab Spring really mean?? What is the significance of the last year’s Egyptian January Revolution that culminated here in Cairo on the Midan Tahrir?? What is the significance and relevance primarily for Egypt itself?? What for the Arab world? What for the present and future world at large? What is the significance for Europe in particular?? And then also quite concretely: What significance does this revolution, this upheaval, have for ourselves??

"Whoever descends into the same rivers, different water always flows to him" – With this image of the continuously flowing river, the German philosopher, the "Rolf", has expressed many polarities: the polarity of being and becoming, of sameness and difference, and also, as many intellectuals today would perhaps prefer to say instead, the polarity of identity and non-identity in general.

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Wars without humans

President Bush and the US military want to win their wars of the future with combat robots

Before the fighting in Afghanistan, the catastrophe of Vietnam and the long unsuccessful war of the Soviet Union were cited as cautionary examples to evoke the unpredictability of the Allied campaign in the Hindu Kush. In particular, the self-appointed "Military Advisors" in the political editorial offices historical comparisons with armies from all Herren Lander, which had gritted their teeth in Afghanistan, were used. The fight in the mountains was presented as a military horror of the impregnability of this impassable stretch of land. In fact, the war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, including the deployment, has taken only months so far and is apparently nearing its end. The use of better perception systems and more efficient weapons is crucial for the acceleration of not only this war.

The central feature of the new warfare is an ever-increasing degree of technology dependency, accompanied by an ever-decreasing use of human actors. The era of the Levee en masse is long gone; the massing of people and materiel is considered a largely closed chapter of war history.

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