NI 500 - The exceptionally brave - 500th issue - March, 2017

NI 500 - March, 2017

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The exceptionally brave - 500th issue

A note from the editor

Vanessa Baird

Our 500th issue – time for courage and change

It won’t last, the young founders of New Internationalist were told 500 issues ago.

‘The main problem was that no-one really believed that a magazine on international development was viable,’ recalls Peter Adamson, one of those young founders. ‘We worked on a leap of faith that there was a large enough potential readership for a magazine like the NI.’

Well, 44 years on, New Internationalist is still here and tackling the themes of global justice that are as relevant today as they were in 1973.

It hasn’t been a smooth ride. There were many periods when it looked as if New Internationalist wasn’t going to make it. At one such point two staff members re-mortgaged their home to keep the presses rolling. But then, at another, worldwide circulation hit more than 80,000.

Apart from an unusually strong focus on marketing and financial planning, what kept the magazine alive was its mission – to report on ‘the people, the ideas, the action for global justice’. Plus, the fundamental belief that change is possible.

If there is one quality that sparks change, it’s courage. It seems fitting, therefore, that for this 500th issue we are focusing on ‘the brave’: courageous individuals who are risking life and limb to make a difference. You may not have heard of them – we have purposely sought people who are not all over the mainstream.

New Internationalist is not a mainstream organization. Its news values are not those of the herd-driven corporate media. We often tackle topics ignored by others. We are not owned by any proprietor, pulling the strings behind the scenes. We only accept advertising that passes certain ethical criteria. Our books are informed by the same editorial principles as the magazine. And our mailorder operation – the Ethical Shop – sources products that are ecological and fairly traded.

Above all we owe our continued existence to you – our readers, supporters and contributors. Which is why we are reaching out to you now at this critical time.

It’s no secret that many magazines and newspapers are in a state of crisis. The internet has transformed the media landscape. On the good side, we are read by many more people now, with our website getting around two million visits a year.

But a business model based on readers buying printed magazines delivers little in an era of free content. In the past few months we have stabilized subscription numbers and seen a slight increase. But it’s not enough for survival.

Which is why we are going public – but in a special way. We are launching a Community Share Offer that will enable people like you to invest in New Internationalist, to own it. It’s a new way of funding independent media which has been successfully trialled by some small publications and is catching on.

The media is too important to be in the hands of a few press barons, which is the current state of play. A democracy needs media plurality and to make this possible it needs diverse ownership models too.

You can now be part of the change, part of the media you want to see. Together we can stand up to the Rupert Murdochs of this world. With Donald Trump in the White House and rightwing nationalism spreading across the globe, we need ‘new internationalism’ now more than ever.

Together we can be part of the chorus that says: Yes, a better world and a better media are possible. We’ll buy into that.

New Internationalist’s share offer is now live! To invest, or find out more, go to Or call us on +44(0)1865 413304 in the UK, or (613)826 1319 in North America/Canada.

Vanessa Baird for the New Internationalist co-operative.

The big story

Sometimes the unarmed, but brave, have the greater power. This protester is confronting Louisiana police after the killing by police of yet another African-American youth.Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

Sometimes the unarmed, but brave, have the greater power. This protester is confronting Louisiana police after the killing by police of yet another African-American youth.

Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

The brave

What makes people brave? Vanessa Baird takes a look at an under-examined quality that can change the world.

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Who doesn’t love a tale of courage?

They pop up in all cultures, traditions and eras. From shepherd-boy David facing giant Goliath, to Gilgamesh defeating the monster Humbaba, to Harry Potter and friends confronting deadly Lord Voldemort.

There’s something exhilarating about individuals, pitted against the odds, rising above fear and narrow concerns about self-preservation.

And when real life provides examples of valour, our faith in human nature, in the possibility of virtue,...


New Internationalist – The Facts

We turn the focus inwards to mark our 500th edition.

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‘Women have the power,’ says Alicia Cawiya, threatened for defending Yasuní.Photo: Elle Enander/ This photo was submitted to Your Shot, National Geographic’s online photo community

One woman against Big Oil and patriarchy

Alicia Cawiya, an indigenous activist prepared to defy the powerful to save Ecuador’s Yasuní, talks to Linda Etchart

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In defence of nature and local people, Mugilan has taken on plundering and polluting corporations.Photo: Sibi Arasu

Taking on the sand mafia

Hired thugs won't stop S Mugilan. The South Indian activist talks to Sibi Arasu.

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Photo: Front Line Defenders

Everybody's target

He is repeatedly attacked by both sides in the Syrian conflict, but Abdullah Al Khateeb sees no reason to quit. By Erin Kilbride.

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Remembering LGBTI activists murdered in Honduras –  200 since the 2009 coupPhoto: Front Line Defenders

Justice turns its back on us

Impunity rules in today's Honduras. Trans Activist Jlo Córdoba survives assassination attempts to speak to Dina Meza

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While Bangui was full of armed rebels, Tatiana rescued girls and young women who had nowhere else to go.Photo: Conciliation Resources

The ambassador of joy

Tatiana Vivienne reaches out to women in the violence-torn Central African Republic. She talks to Louisa Waugh.

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‘Can I live with a weight of not doing something? I think that’s far heavier,’ says Luaty.Photo: Mónica Almeida PRESS

Dancing with fear

The story of rapper Luaty Beirão, who dares to talk democracy in Angola. By Marc Herzog.

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A pretence of progress

Jeremy Seabrook considers the past, present and future implications of a growing inequality.

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New Internationalist invites readers to become co-owners in £500k campaign

We are reviewing our ownership model to become a community-owned cooperative, and are launching a £500k share offer today – the largest of its kind by a media organization globally.

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Warning: may contain fake news

The media must bear some responsibility for getting us into this mess, but journalists can also get out of it, writes Steve Parry.

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Photo: Xinhua/SIPA USA/PA Images

Obama's legacy falls short on organizing

Technocratic liberals treat movement groups as another ‘special interest’ rather than a central pillar of their ability to govern, says Mark Engler.

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A long time coming: victory at last for the Bagua protesters.Photo: Roxana Olivera

Protesters acquitted in Peru

An update on the notorious Bagua case.

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Canadian teachers’ union victorious

Canadian teachers’ union victorious

The determination of thousands of teachers in Canada has finally paid off, writes Janet Nicol.

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Women step up in Iraq

Women step up in Iraq

Organization of Women’s Freedom

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Photo: ZUMA Press Inc/Alamy Stock Photo

Introducing Ilhan Omar

34-year-old former Somali refugee elected to the House of Representatives.

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Proud to be a co-op in Kenya.Photo: ILRI/Muthoni Njiru under a CC Licence

Co-ops driving change

Kenya’s co-operative movement now accounts for 45 per cent of the country’s GDP.

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Progress, interrupted

Progress, interrupted

After enduring decades of repression, Burma’s citizens have granted the NLD government an extended honeymoon.

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CNN shamed

CNN shamed

#CNNGetItRight vs the US media corporation

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Thoughts and opinions from our readers.

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Illustration: Sarah John.

Water fights in a time of scarcity: the Bolivian Carnaval

Playing with water is controversial in a place with a history of water struggles like Cochabamba, writes Amy Booth.

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Clockwise from top left: Children play in the street outside the ruined Italian Cathedral in Mogadishu; two young women paddle in the Indian Ocean for only the second time in their lives; new recruits training for the National Army of Somalia in the Ministry of Defence compound; President Hassan talks to the press over a bench loaded with swordfish at the opening of a new fish-processing factory.Photos: Petterik Wiggers

Country Profile: Somalia

Somalia today is more like a political marketplace than a modern nation-state, writes Claire Elder.

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Photo: Agencia Brasil/Alamy Stock Photo

Worldbeaters: Michel Temer

Brazil’s oldest president – and architect of his predecessor’s downfall – is put under the spotlight.

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A word with Kati Hiekkapelto

The Finnish crime writer and punk singer talks to Jo Lateu about the rise of rightwing populism, the importance of identity, and the embrace of the natural world.

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Film, Book & Music Reviews

Mixed media: film reviews

Mixed media: film reviews

Certain Women, directed by Kelly Reichardt; Elle, directed by Paul Verhoeven; Moonlight, directed by Barry Jenkins.

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Mixed Media: Music reviews

Mixed Media: Music reviews

El Callegüeso y su Mala Maña by La Mambanegra; Luyando by Mokoomba.

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Mixed Media: Book reviews

Mixed Media: Book reviews

Under the Almond Tree by Laura McVeigh; Position Doubtful by Kim Mahood; Radicalized by Peter R Neumann; Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg.

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