NI 521 - Who owns the sea? - September, 2019

NI 521 - September, 2019

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Who owns the sea?

A note from the editor

Vanessa Baird

Sea fever

‘I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,’ we would belt out, in ragged unison, aged 10. ‘And all I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by.’

Our teacher’s idea of imparting English literature was to get the class to learn by heart her favourite poems. This was one of our favourites too, judging by the decibel level at which we would deliver it.

John Masefield’s lines speak to the pull of the sea, that elemental compulsion that makes the time it takes between spotting that distant stretch of blue and getting into it or riding its waves far too long.

My great-grandfather most likely felt it – running away to sea not once but twice during his teens, according to family lore. He carried on charting his own course through life, becoming a vegetarian and, when forced to be on land, wearing only suits of green tweed. His fiery temper gave him a fearsome reputation, but I remember him as a salty dog with an aura of the sea’s freedom about him, good to four-year-olds and no trouble at all.

The romance of the freedom of the seas is so potent that a question like ‘Who owns the sea?’ might seem absurd. But as this edition’s Big Story shows, it is of profound relevance in times of accelerated resource grabbing, militarization of the seas, plastics pollution and climate destruction. And so is the follow-on question: ‘How can we save the sea?’

Elsewhere in this issue, Roshan De Stone and David Suber investigate the scandal of domestic slavery in Lebanon, and poet Blake Morrison searches for what it is to be English.

Vanessa Baird for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

The big story

The rubbish that’s visible near the surface is just part of the problem of ocean abuse – and planned future exploitation.

The rubbish that’s visible near the surface is just part of the problem of ocean abuse – and planned future exploitation.

Photo: Justin Hofman/Greenpeace

Who owns the sea?

The coming months are critical if we are going to stop the damaging free-for-all that is the current status quo and save the world’s oceans for our common future. Vanessa Baird examines the prospects.

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The Big Story

Climate regulator

Without the ocean, climate change would be happening much faster.

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The mineral-rich eastern Clarion-Clipperton zone is home to diverse marine species, 90 per cent of which are new to science.Photo: Natalie Hurova/Unsplash

Deep-sea dilemma

Sea-bed mining promises many riches, but at great risk. Should we pause for thought? asks marine biologist Diva Amon.

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The Sea - The Facts

Living sea; Fewer fish in the sea than ever before; Acid sea; Sea of plastic; Blue economy; Future prospects?; Marine protection.

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A Liberian soldier, on joint patrol with Sea Shepherd, about to board an illegal shrimper.Photo: Sea Shepherd global

How to fight illegal fishing

Can fishers, coastguards and marine activists see off the thieves from powerful nations plundering the seas of West Africa? Aïda Grovestins reports.

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Genetically rich crabs at the Center for Marine Biotechnology in Baltimore.Photo: Cavan/Alamy

Marine gene rush

The race is on to patent all marine life – and some have got a head start. Marine scientist Robert Blasiak explains to Vanessa Baird what it means.

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Oceania

Oceania

For Epeli Hau’ofa, by Karlo Mila.

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Chinese People’s Republic soldiers patrol the Paracel Islands, also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. The US asserts its military dominance via naval patrols and bases in the region.Photo: Stringer/Reuters

Who is militarizing the South China Sea?

This area is a simmering cauldron for conflict between China and its neighbours – and the US. Mark J Valencia makes sense of the situation.

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Burmese worker Ko Htay complained of long working hours and lack of food on a Thai trawler. Workers report 20-hour shifts; some are given amphetamines to keep them going.Photo: Photograph © EJF

High seas, low deeds

Human rights at sea by Vanessa Baird.

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What can I do?

Personal efforts are definitely worthwhile, but the scale of the problem requires action at a national and international political level, too.

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Illustration: Peter Reynolds

What we cannot avoid

Jeremy Seabrook surveys a political landscape riven with virulent nostalgias which obscure an essential conflict – how to reconcile the needs of the planet with the necessities of economics?

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A Filipino worker in a Lebanese household shows a picture of her daughter, whom she hasn't seen in years.Photo: Matthew Cassel

No place to hide

Will shaming employers on social media finally bring justice for Lebanon’s domestic workers? Roshan De Stone and David Suber report from Beirut.

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Empire Day around 1950 – a flagwaving, monocultural past for which too many Britons currently feel nostalgic.Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty

‘Call yourself english?’

Blake Morrison grew up in Yorkshire – and made his escape from his traditional conservative background via literature. As he discovered writers from other cultures, borders between cultures and nations seemed to fall away, leaving him as a citizen of the world. But since the Brexit referendum he has often felt like a stranger in his own country.

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Opinion

View from Africa

View from Africa

On Hodan Nalayeh by Nanjala Nyabola.

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View from India

View from India

Enrolment does not equal education writes Nilanjana Bhowmick.

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View from Brazil

View from Brazil

The judge who became vigilante – and then ‘God’. By Leonardo Sakamoto.

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Currents

An Ebola victim is buried in Butembo, May 2019. Health workers are increasingly seen as a threat by their compatriots.Photo: John Wessels/AFP/Getty

The epidemic continues

Report from the Democratic Republic of Congo by Emmanuel Freudenthal.

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Democracy vs oil

Democracy vs oil

Report from Italy by Alessio Perrone.

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Free thinking

Free thinking

Report from the United States by Husna Rizvi.

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The view from above: Hondurans last year taking part in a caravan heading towards the US border. US policy toward Honduras will set new caravans in motion.Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty

Caravans in motion

Report from Honduras by Rahila Gupta.

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Benny Zable, an Australian performance artist, takes a stand at an anti-Adani rally earlier this year. Ships will head from Australia to Goa, India, where coal dust settles in homes and washes up on beaches.Photo: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty

Coal is in the air

Report from Goa, India by Mahima Jain.

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Photo: Felipe Werneck/Ibama

At loggerheads

Report from northern Brazil by Matthew Ponsford.

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Illustration: Emma Peer

Reasons to be cheerful

Dockers unite; Lamu Breathes; Let there be light; and Who knew?

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Regulars

Letters

Letters

Praise, blame and all points in between? Give us your feedback.

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Illustration: Sarah John

Letter from Dhaka: A language of friendship

Her acquaintance with an Urdu poet reveals to Parsa Sanjana Sajid the deep waters of identity and prejudice.

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Inequality Watch

Inequality Watch

Life expectancy vs wealth in São Paulo, Brazil.

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Open Window

Open Window

Drowning by CamdelaFu (Venezuela).

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Photos, clockwise from top left: a woman working in a greenhouse, fertilizing female plants with male flowers for a company that produces seeds for export to European farmers; Itaga Sasa Masuke, 21, who works at the Kahama goldmine, prepares to go underground without safety equipment; teenagers, including 16-year-old girl Mwanaid Abeid, learning about electrics at the Nzega vocational training centre; a supporter listens to a speech by (soon to be elected) President Magufuli.Photo: SVEN TORFINN/PANOS

Country profile: Tanzania

Facts, figures and photos from Tanzania.

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Illustration: ILYA

Cartoon History

Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso.

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The debate: Can the European Union be reformed?

Anti-EU sentiment is rising across much of the continent. The European Union’s institutions can appear undemocratic. And the wisdom of its commitment to austerity policies in member states like Greece has been roundly questioned. Almost everyone agrees that the EU needs to be reformed. But is it possible? Hilary Wainwright and Grace Blakeley take sides.

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Photo: Bruno Carachesti

Southern Exposure: Bruno Carachesti

Highlighting the work of artists and photographers from the Majority World.

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Photo: John W Banagan/Getty

Temperature check

Why is public money propping up fossil fuels? Danny Chivers investigates.

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Only Planet

Only Planet

More chaos at the border. By Marc Roberts.

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Photo: Stinger/Alamy

The Interview: Shahidul Alam

Subi Shah speaks to the internationally renowned Bangladeshi photojournalist about his notorious arrest last year and why he’s still not holding back his criticism of the government.

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Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia

Hall of infamy: John Bolton

Richard Swift writes of uber-hawk running regime change operations for the United States.

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Agony uncle

Agony uncle

Should I delete my Facebook account? Ethical and political dilemmas abound these days. Seems like we’re all in need of a New Internationalist perspective. Enter stage: Agony Uncle.

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Film, Book & Music Reviews

Mixed Media: Books

Mixed Media: Books

The Sun On My Head; Conspiracy Theories; This Land is Our Land; Kitchen Curse.

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Mixed Media: Film

Mixed Media: Film

Photograph by Ritesh Batra; Phoenix by Camilla Strøm Henriksen.

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Mixed Media: Music

Mixed Media: Music

Songs from the Bardo; At the Party with My Brown Friends.

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Spotlight: Raja Shehadeh

Spotlight: Raja Shehadeh

Peter Whittaker speaks to writer, lawyer and human rights activist Raja Shehadeh about the politics of memory in Palestine and Israel.

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