Humanitarianism under attack

A note from the editor

Hazel Healy

Who cares?

While I was researching this magazine, the offices of the international NGO Save the Children were bombed in Afghanistan. This was bookended by two suicide attacks in Kabul, one using an ambulance. Aid organizations were running out of superlative terms to reject the horror. Harrowing. Unacceptable. Unjustifiable. The International Committee for the Red Cross tweeted in response ‘Do not attack civilians’ over and over until its 240 characters were used up.

As designers were laying out this edition, the Syrian government intensified attacks on Eastern Ghouta, home to 400,000 trapped residents. UNICEF gave up trying to use words altogether. Instead, they released a blank press release – a first for a UN communications office.

There have been times, working on this magazine, that I’ve felt similarly lost for words. But I feel now, somehow, more hopeful than when I started – despite being fully cognisant of the horrors. Maybe because every person I have spoken to in the aid world refuses to accept the idea that some lives are worth more than others. Maybe it’s their catching admiration for the people they support and work alongside and the innate capacity of humans to survive and rebuild.

As I have gained a better understanding of the current threats to the humanitarian endeavour, I have been able to appreciate what has been achieved – and how much worse it could be if we did not keep alight the belief that human suffering, however far away, demands an international response.

We’ve got a special focus on the Middle East this month in our book reviews, Worldbeater profile and other features, along with a splash of Brazil via our new Letter from the Cabalo Seco Afro-indigenous community.

Hazel Healy for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

The big story

These three Yemeni girls are among the 3.1 million people displaced by the war. They stand by the shredded remains of their tents in Abs settlement, which is regularly damaged by passing sandstorms.Photo: Giles Clarke, UN OCHA / Getty Images

These three Yemeni girls are among the 3.1 million people displaced by the war. They stand by the shredded remains of their tents in Abs settlement, which is regularly damaged by passing sandstorms.

Photo: Giles Clarke, UN OCHA / Getty Images

Who cares?

Hazel Healy investigates the challenges facing 21st century humanitarian action.

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On a Saturday morning in February, as shoppers loaded up their DIY items in Cricklewood retail park, North London, a large banner of Mohammed bin Salman accompanied by the words ‘war criminal’ was being hoisted on to the side of a red double-decker bus.

‘Is that the Saudi Prince?’ asked a man. ‘Are you here for Yemen?’ The protest, the activists concurred, was against the planned state visit of the...




Features

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Three-year-old Kholod is admitted to hospital in Hudaida, Yemen suffering from severe acute malnutrition.* One of five children, her father is a teacher but he has not been paid for a year. Extreme hunger and disease are killing around 130 children every day in Yemen, according to Save the Children. [*We would not normally use a picture like this one in New Internationalist, but we felt that at a time when humanitarianism is under attack, it was important to show what is at stake, especially in an article that makes clear that famine is not just bad luck, it's political – ed.]Photo: Giles Clarke, UN OCHA / Getty Images

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‘Them, the governments’

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The treatment of Myanmar’s Rohingya people has been seen as a genocide in the making. Parsa Sanjana Sajid visits those trapped on the Bangladeshi border.

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A new universalism

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What remains

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The away team

Alessio Perrone reports on Algeria’s marginalized Kabylia region, where the politics of identity has spilled over into football.

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Opinion

Photo: Marco Verch (CC 2.0)

The other side of the Bitcoin

Bitcoin is more than premium bonds for hipsters or the veganism of finance, writes Omar Hamdi.

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Agenda

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‘Repeal the eighth!’

Update from Ireland by Megan Nolan.

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Media switch off

Media switch off

Update from Kenya by Moses Wasamu.

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The Battle for ZAD

The Battle for ZAD

Update from France by Claire Fauset.

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Richard Swift profiles Zimbabwe’s new leader.

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Mercury rising

Mercury rising

Update on a large-scale dam in the AmazonTom Lawson.

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CND reaches 60

Anniversary of The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

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Indigenous lives matter

Indigenous lives matter

Update from Canada by Janet Nicol.

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Reasons to be cheerful

Spud life; Toy story; Elephant reprieve.

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Regulars

Letters

Letters

Praise, blame and all points in between? Your feedback published in the April 2018 magazine.

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Open Window - MasterPEACE

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Clockwise from top left:  Migrants arrive in Tripoli after being rescued by Libyan coastguards; children wave their country’s national flags as they celebrate in Tripoli’s Martyrs’ Square in February 2018 on the seventh anniversary of the Libyan revolution, which toppled Muammar Qadafi; and a tank of the self-styled Libyan National Army loyal to Khalifa Hafter advancing through a street in Benghazi’s central Akhribish district following clashes with militants.  Photos: AFP/Getty Images; first two by Mahmud Turkia and the third by Abdullah Doma.

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Worldbeater: Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Arabia’s King-in-waiting – and his aggressive foreign policy – is put under the spotlight.

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And Finally: Meena Kandasamy

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Film, Book & Music Reviews

Mixed Media: Film

Mixed Media: Film

Even When I Fall, co-directed by Kate McLarnon and Sky Neal; 120 BPM (Beats Per Minute), directed and co-written by Robin Campillo.

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Mixed Media: Music

Mixed Media: Music

Mambo Cósmico by Sonido Gallo Negro and Forest Bathing by A Hawk and a Hacksaw

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Mixed Media: Books

Mixed Media: Books

No Turning Back by Rania Abouzeid; Beside the Syrian Sea by James Wolff; Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, translated by Jonathan Wright; Sara by Sakine Cansiz, translated by Janet Biehl.

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