Letters icon.

Necessary spotlight

Thank you so much for your excellent articles on the Kurds (NI 526). It is incredibly difficult to get the ‘mainstream’ media to take any interest in what is happening and the Australian government turns a blind eye to Erdoğan’s outrages – and to the fact that the Kurds are a beacon of light in a region marked by endless bloodshed and reaction.

My own attempts to get ‘respectable’ publications to publish pro-Kurdish articles have been unsuccessful. I have been a Kurdish solidarity activist for some years now and have been honoured to get to know many members of the Australian Kurdish community well.

John Tully Melbourne, Australia

Doughnut foresight

Richard Swift’s excellent ‘The trouble with normal’ (NI 526) said ‘crises have often been the midwives of significant change’.

He prompted me to re-read the NI 523 interview with Kate Raworth, author of Doughnut Economics. If we had used the social foundation inner ring of her doughnut to assess each country’s resilience for a global pandemic, maybe we would have foreseen many of the different Covid-19 outcomes now emerging in individual countries.

I hope the Covid-19 crisis will encourage us, as Swift put it, not ‘to keep sleepwalking into the climate catastrophe’. Using a combination of Raworth’s doughnut and global campaigning might help to avoid that somnambulism. Is the time ripe for widespread doughnut commonsense?

Jon Ashe Sheffield, UK

Pharma horrors

Re: ‘What if… drug patents were scrapped?’, NI 526. If ever there were an industry that humanity demands be nationalized, it would be the pharmaceutical industry.

Look at the strangle­hold influence these horrors have over governments.

Phill Challinor via social media

Positive steps

I think it’s a shame that Geoff Baker’s letter (Letters, NI 526) regarding ‘Young climate heroes’ (NI 524) focuses on the snacks mentioned in the article rather than the hard work, passion and dedication shown by these young people as they try to save the planet. While his points may have some validity, I think we need to remember that it’s impossible to live the perfect life but every positive step we take helps. These inspiring young women and men are doing a lot more than many and should be applauded, not unreasonably criticized.

Angela Quinn Nambour, Australia

Why West?

I really liked Nanjala Nayabola’s column ‘Who are you calling “the international community”?’, NI 525.

However, I would like to ask a further question. Why do we persist in using the nonsensical term ‘the West’?  Certain so-called  ‘Western values’ – democracy, rationality, pluralism, egalitarianism and human rights – are arrogantly and erroneously ascribed to rich and powerful nations where they are in decline. Meanwhile, there are courageous movements in all continents, ‘Western’ or not, struggling to defend these values. 

And where is ‘the West’ anyways?  West of what? When a country becomes ‘Westernized’, does that mean that exceptionally rapid continental drift has carried it to a new geographical location? This is a nonsensical term often used in a racist manner.

And thank you for your magazine. It is an essential source of information.

Judith Elliott Canterbury, US


The review of A Silent Fury by Yuri Herrera made me want to read it, especially with a 1920s story that resonates today with similar cover-ups like Grenfell Tower. But you mention the textile factories of Dakar. Surely you meant Dhaka in Bangladesh, not Dakar, capital city of Senegal?

[Indeed, we did – Ed.]

Helen Lee Hereford, UK

Why I...


I’m involved with Co-operation Town, a plan to establish a network of food co-ops on housing estates and in communities across Britain. My experience in social activism, charity development and housing co-ops has led me towards organized mutualism.

While scientists search for a vaccination, Co-operation Town is prescribing a mutual aid antidote to the UK’s rising levels of food poverty, one that is independent, resilient and sustainable. Thousands of local groups have formed to address unmet community needs in the wake of the government’s pandemic failings and the weak service response engendered by its austerity agenda.

Co-operation Town has developed a free food response to deliver over 22,000 meals to local, low or no-income households in Camden, London. [See page 30 or 32 – Ed.]

Trevor O’Farrell London, UK mutual-aid.uk