Searching for missing students in Mexico, Burkina Faso points to democracy, banning non-Muslims from saying Allah, China's investment in Afghanistan, and why shopping malls don't constitute economic development

This week's round-up of commentaries covers the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico, why Burkina Faso points to a new democracy in Africa, banning non-Muslims to say Allah, China's investment in Afghanistan's future, and why shopping malls don't constitute economic development. 

Eduardo Verdugo/AP/File
Demonstrators march with posters that show images of Mexico's Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam, left center, and President Enrique Pena Nieto, with a message that reads in Spanish; "It was the State," in a protest against the disappearance of the 43 rural college students, in Mexico City on Nov. 5. For the Pena government, the attorney generals' account, based on the confessions of detained gang members, solved the mystery of the missing students and showed the country that they were dead. But for the parents, it was merely the latest untruth from an administration that wants to quiet the poor and put this mess behind it.

El Universal / Mexico City
Cooperation is the only solution to curbing rising violence

The disappearance of 43 students and the rising violence in Mexico proves “that military or forceful actions, by themselves, do little or nothing to help eradicate the violence from organized crime. This is why an integral approach is needed, beginning with a good intelligence work in order to get useful information so the criminal organizations can be truly hit...,” states an editorial. “[The political] campaign to combat insecurity from a state perspective has failed in the country.... That is why a serious national agreement on the subject [of violence] is urgent.... It is unacceptable that some areas of the country are in the hands of criminals. We are reaching a point of no return and we need Mexico to be safe.”

The Guardian / London
Burkina Faso points to a new democratic future in Africa

“After 27 years as the ruler of Burkina Faso, President Blaise Compaoré had completely run out of political capital. His manipulation of the constitutional court, the electoral system and the national assembly in order to legitimise his continued rule had had the opposite effect. Much of the middle class ... could no longer see in him ... any kind of key to the future...,” states an editorial. “The army coup is an old idea that no longer works, because African populations are wiser than they were, and less starry-eyed about the capacities and virtues of soldiers.... The country is both poor and angry, a dangerous combination. But the chances are still fair for a reasonable outcome that would be good for Burkina Faso itself and could also have an exemplary effect on the numerous other African countries where leaders may be craftily musing on the possibility of manipulating term limits. The strong message from Burkina Faso is: ‘Don’t overstay your welcome.’ ”

The Star / Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Inching toward an Islamic state

“The [Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party’s] plan to implement [a law that would ban non-Muslims from saying ‘Allah’] is going full steam ahead despite opposition from its political partners and critics outside the state [of Kelantan]...,” writes Joceline Tan. “[T]here is no denying that the average Kelantanese has no objection to life under [the ‘God law’].... Whatever people outside of Kelantan may think or say, the fact is that the Kelantanese have been slowly but surely inching towards an Islamic state.”

China Daily / Beijing
China invests in the future of Afghanistan

“While speculation about US-China geopolitical gaming in the war-torn country has little foothold in reality, Chinese interest in a peaceful and stable neighbor is real and unmistakable...,” states an editorial. China has pledged $330 million in aid to Afghanistan over three years. “We must assist Afghanistan not only because we have been on good terms historically, dating back to the Silk Road at least. Or because we have a moral obligation as a regional player. Or for the business opportunities Afghan reconstruction promises. But because we have very real interests in preventing the spillover of terrorist threats from across shared borders.... Helping Afghanistan [to broker peace] is helping ourselves....”

The Namibian / Windhoek, Namibia
Building shopping malls doesn’t constitute economic development

“The excitement about shopping in this country has reached worrying proportions.... This month alone, at least two multi-million dollar shopping malls ... were opened to the public. It is a trend that has been going on for the past decade or so...,” states an editorial. “Our leaders ... [give] the impression that every time a shopping centre is built they rush to announce that ‘development’ has been taken to the people. Any survey will show that the shops in those centres are mainly South African-owned and perhaps managed, with most Namibians providing only scab labour.... Hardly any money that Namibians make gets time to circulate in the country and build the economy.... We all have a challenge to start reinventing what we regard as development.” 

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