In Depth

Instant Opinion: Hong Kong society ‘unequal, unaffordable and uncaring’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Tuesday 17 September


The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Janet Pau in the South China Morning Post

on Hong Kong protesters seizing a historic political opportunity

No wonder Hongkongers are frustrated when the system is so unequal, unaffordable and uncaring

“People don’t want to be forced into a hierarchy of identities. Younger, more educated and digitally connected Hongkongers have more in common with their global peers than with older-generation Hongkongers. Many do not feel nostalgic about what Hong Kong used to be. They prefer Hong Kong to be culturally comparable to other global cities. They are therefore sceptical about rhetoric from the government and other elites calling for restoring, rebuilding or returning to anything. All this talk implies going back to the old ways. A more constructive approach would be to strive for innovation, inclusion and individual initiative. As elements of populism take hold, the rejection of elite proposals to resolve the crisis should come as no surprise.”

2. Raja Shehadeh in The Guardian

on the disillusionment of Palestine

For Palestinians, Israel’s elections promise nothing but defeat

“After a month away, I found my garden had lost much of its greenery except for the plumbago – which I found in full bloom. I will revive what can be saved, and in the future concentrate on planting only drought-resistant shrubs. And I must try to remember what I have learned during more than 50 years of occupation, about how to live here on my own terms without losing myself to hatred or anger. For whoever gets elected in Israel this week, it will make no difference to our future in this land.”

3. Ed Power in The Telegraph

on the death of a British technological institution

Farewell, BBC Red Button – now we can finally let Ceefax rest in peace

“Many of us may experience a pang at the announcement that the Red Button is to be shuttered. It’s as if we’re suffering catch-up remorse over the death of Ceefax, with its thin yet not-insignificant claim on our childhood memories. Come next year we will no longer live in a world where squidgy-fingered channel-flickers run a reasonable risk of accidentally accessing the lottery results or updates from Wimbledon. Life will become just that tiny bit more predictable and tepid. This year marks the 45th anniversary of Ceefax. That technology, with its Isle of Man-sized pixels and eye-ball scorching colour scheme (cyan and yellow?) provided the nation with its first glimpse of the online world.”

4. Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland, in CNN

on the push to keep the #MeToo movement alive

Gender inequality is one of the most persistent evils of our times

“We have reviewed laws and processes, sped up our prevention work against sexual and gender-based violence and abuse, and undertaken a thorough review of the government's role as an employer. Yet, we need to do more. What #MeToo requires is a radical, cultural change. Revised structures will certainly help, but no single policy or toolbox offers a silver bullet. As we examined the scope and impact of harassment and abuse in our government offices, the conclusion was that institutionally, they were prepared to respond to individual incidents until they happened. Processes were in place as well as important structures. But as is so often the case, not least in small societies, it all became "more complicated" when the victim and the perpetrator had a name and a face.”

5. Richard Spencer in The Times

on war on the horizon in the Middle East

Where does Saudi Arabia go from here?

“It turns out it is easier to persuade men to let their daughters drive than to send their sons to war. The Saudi intervention in Yemen’s civil conflict in particular has turned into the proverbial quagmire. It may not be Saudi Arabia’s Vietnam, as many predicted: we have not seen body bags returning to Riyadh’s King Salman airbase. That may be because the photographers have been kept away — but it may be because the prince was unable to muster much of an army to fight, relying mainly on a hodge-podge of local militias. The kingdom’s inability to beat a determined but very rough and ready militia band on its borders bodes ill for any square-off against the battle-hardened Revolutionary Guard.”


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