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Not the only bad guy

I very much enjoyed NI 514 about the financial crisis. It was examined from many points of view and with many different opinions. I cannot say the same for the short Agenda piece about Gaza. There was no mention that Gaza has a border with Egypt and in principle all the supplies Gaza needs could come through that border but Egypt, like Israel, also controls what goes in and out of the Gaza Strip. The article leads one to think it is only Israel that is the bad guy.

The story refers to Zionist militias forcing Palestinian refugees from the newly created state of Israel. While this is true, the advancing Arab armies also advised the Arabs living there to leave the new state of Israel and to return when Israel was defeated – which didn’t happen. There were half a million Arabs who were not forced from their land by Zionist militias and did not listen to the advice of the approaching Arab armies, but stayed and went on to become Israeli citizens. Israeli governments past and present can be criticized on many grounds but please give readers who are not so familiar with the history a more balanced and nuanced understanding.

Barry Spivack

Attitude problem

Re: ‘Against their will’ (NI 514) which reported on the historic forced sterilization in the Czech Republic. The world population will be destroyed by religious and cultural attitudes to large families. When I became a third-time father, I took immediate action, which was mildly painful for a short time, but the bonus of no more children increased sexual enjoyment considerably for my wife and myself.

China, without such appalling biased religions, was able to address the issue, but a two-child policy would have been less dramatic and more acceptable.

The concern about loss of children born could be addressed with modern technology by allowing fathers to store their sperm for use in such an event.

We now need three or four planets to satisfy our present population. I totally disagree with space travel while we ignore essential behaviour changes on our own planet!

Peter Foreman Chelmsford, England


Re: your edition on Public ownership (NI 514). I see your general message is to strengthen the ‘public’ sector. This is not equal to strengthening the position of people, just giving power away to governments.

You’re just one more of those bogus ‘social democrats’ who want to enchain the people to state rule and taxation. Booh!

Edwin Delsing

A bouquet

I read many publications that deal with social justice, human rights or, basically, just the relative state of people and nations across our globe. However, as good as many of them are, I have to say that reading the New Internationalist over so many years has opened my eyes and broadened my mind and comprehension of difference, as well as showing me how acceptance of it as opportunity can enrich our world.

I don’t have the words to really explain how I feel about this contribution to my education and understanding of others, their circumstances, beliefs, cultures and circumstances but I know that it has made a Hull boy from the dockside slums of an English port a much more compassionate, caring and aware person. I don’t have material wealth, assets or fame and have never had the money or perhaps the nous to travel widely – my movements in the world have been essentially for all the wrong reasons, mainly work. Yet your publication has given me a sense of perspective that I could not otherwise have had and that I could never have achieved through tourism, even had I been able to afford it.

In my 72nd year and only too well aware of what a poor use I have made of my life, what I have learned from the New Internationalist contributors is extremely important to me.

I thank you, the whole team and all the contributors down the years. It may not be writ large on billboards or magnified by cinema and digital media but the contribution of all of you has, I have no doubt, engaged, enhanced and changed the lives of many – both advantaged and disadvantaged.

Roger Hawcroft Toowoomba, Australia

Why I...

...promote permaculture design. Permaculture is about creating self-sufficient, natural systems and its three core ethics are ‘earth care, people care and fair shares’. The principles of permaculture design, which are based on meticulous observation of how natural systems function, are applicable to everything from food production to running a business to creating supportive relationships. They work because, although we distance ourselves from this fact, we too are natural systems.

When a dubious friend said, ‘I thought it was going to be all “weaving your own yoghurt” but it turns out to be a way of life,’ I knew I was sharing something important. My favourite principle is to ‘use the edges and value the marginal’ and I love New Internationalist for manifesting that principle with every publication.

Milly Carmichael