New Internationalist

Briefly…

Issue 133

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[image, unknown] BRIEFLY...

[image, unknown] DRUGS[image, unknown]

Swatting qat

‘Qat, go to hell, bloodsucker, enemy of my pocket. We shall not lust for you.’ Thus runs the uncompromising lyric of a song beamed out to Somalis on government radio in an attempt to discourage the use of the narcotic chewed by a large proportion of the population.

The campaign seems to have had the opposite effect: the black-market price has risen by 200 per cent.

From African Business, No. 63.

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[image, unknown] APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY[image, unknown]

Kilimanjaro convent cloth

Tanzanian nuns are all set to produce textiles worth T.Shs. six million ($490,000) per year at their convent in Kilimanjaro. The idea is to produce scarce but essential items such as dress materials, unbleached cloth and bedspreads. The Haruma Sisters’ project boasts 14 power looms, as well as dyeing, bleaching and printing machinery.

The project began two years ago and now employs 40 people, producing some 400,000 metres of finished fabric per year. Practical assistance came from the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Industrial Development Unit, whose engineers installed the equipment and showed local employees how to operate and maintain it.

From commonwealth currents, Oct. ‘83.

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[image, unknown] MINORITIES[image, unknown]

Ways of seeing

‘When communalism breaks loose it creates a sort of clarity, as all polarization does. The habitual, inchoate social norm in which people living in a country refer to themselves as "us" suddenly changes into a clear "we" and ‘they’ If war is the logical extension of diplomacy, arson and murder are the expressions of communal ulcers festering under cultivated propriety. People drop their educated postures and reveal their deeper attitudes.

‘The reaction of a well-educated lady in Colombo (during the racial conflicts in Sri Lanka in summer ‘83) was, "What a terrible thing, no? I can’t believe human beings can do such things. But, after all, see what they did to us!"

‘What all Sri Lankans lost is to be found in those innocently loaded words, "after all" and "they". The underlying implication is that beneath the knowledge that we are all human, there is another knowledge, a blood-borne truth that tribalism runs deeper than nationalism. It is a false assumption.’

From World Paper, Oct. ‘83.

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[image, unknown] IMMUNISATION[image, unknown]

Looking after the army

Although smallpox was declared eradicated world-wide in May 1980, with 154 countries halting their routine vaccination programmes, the smallpox policy of their armed forces has still to be determined.

Five countries - Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the UK - no longer require their armed forces to be vaccinated. And Norway, according to the WHO’s magazine, World Health, has now joined the list for a trial period of just three years. But the others still require their military to be vaccinated.

Why are countries guarding the health of their military personnel with so much more delicacy than that of their populations?

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[image, unknown] COMMONWEALTH[image, unknown]

Family of 48

What does the Commonwealth consist of? When St. ChristopherNevis joined as a full member last September, membership of the Commonwealth rose to 48 independent sovereign states across the globe: 13 from the Western hemisphere, 17 from Asia and the Pacific, 15 from in the African region, and three from Europe (including the Mediterranean).

From Commonwealth Currents, October ‘83.

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[image, unknown] CHINA[image, unknown]

Back to school

When the head of China’s military academy network, General Xiao Ke, was released from labour camp after the Cultural Revolution, he revisited the former top army school to find it completely stripped - except for an empty flower-pot.

Now the academies are being vigorously restored; by 1984,70 per cent of all officers will be expected to attend, and they will not be promoted from now on unless they have been to military academy.

Xiao claims that ‘The revolutionists of the older generation were all highly talented people and had a high cultural level.’ This is certainly true of premier Zhou Enlai, and Marshal Ye Jiangying, a classical scholar and poet. But Mao himself was self-taught. And many others were little more than bandits when they joined up in the 1920s and 1930s.

From Far Eastern Economic Review Sept. 22, ‘83.

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[image, unknown] DISARMAMENT[image, unknown]

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[image, unknown] CULTURE[image, unknown]

On snobbery

‘The very nature of capitalism militates against a stable snobbery: the capitalist seeks the widest possible market; quality chases the dollars of the mob, but when the mob buys en masse, the illusion of quality, of specialness, vanishes. With metaphysical complexity, the makers of Lacoste shirts have understood this, and are making Lacoste shirts that have no alligator on them, a spectacular instance of self-supersession. In one stroke, Lacoste has taken snobbery into another dimension.’

From Time, Sept. 19, ‘83.

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[image, unknown] TELEVISION[image, unknown]

Word pictures

Ministers attending a ‘preaching clinic’ in Nashville, USA, have been advised on how to keep in line with people’s listening ability which has, it is claimed, become modified.

The Rev. David Buttrick, professor at the Vanderbilt Divinity School, says that television, which speaks both verbally and visually, has greatly affected listening ability: the average 1980s listener has a shorter attention span and needs more time to assemble a mental picture from words alone. He considers it necessary, therefore, that sermons should contain ‘moving word pictures' in order to be effective.

From WACC Action No. 83.

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[image, unknown] SOUTH / NORTH[image, unknown]

Cheap imports

The World Bank’s Vice-President for External Relations, Munir Benjenk, exploded the myth that developing countries have penetrated the West’s markets to such an extent that domestic industries are being hurt. In fact, he says, the share of the markets of the industrial nations accounted for by Third World products is tiny: just 3.4 per cent.

From World Development Forum, Vol. 1, No. 20.

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Endquote

‘What I want to see above all else is that this country remains a country where someone can always get rich. That’s the thing we have and that must be preserved.’

President Reagan

 

‘We are either going to become a
community or we are going to die.’

Barbara Ward

 

‘Masterpieces are not single and solitary births; theyare the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.

Virginia Woolf


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