New Internationalist

Briefly…

Issue 149

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[image, unknown] BRIEFLY...

[image, unknown] NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT[image, unknown]

Sidewalk silhouettes

The 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima will be commemorated on August 6th this year by peace activists participating in the International Shadow Project. They will stencil human shadows on the streets and sidewalks, signifying what will remain after nuclear war. Why the shadow? Because Hiroshima atomic bomb victims caught close to the ground were vaporized, leaving only their silhouettes etched into the pavement.

Numerous peace and environmental action groups are providing support and publicising the idea. From one project organiser: ‘It is possible that people seeing for themselves what will be left after nuclear war will not only act to preserve their own lives, but to continue all life on earth.’

For more information contact:
The international Shadow Project,
Portland PAND PO Box 40223, Portland
OR 97240, USA.

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[image, unknown] NORTH AMERICA[image, unknown]

Anti-Reagan views

Think anew, act anew, Mother Jones the prominent alternative US magazine urges, after the electorate’s act of faith in placing the Great Communicator in the White House for another four years. They asked a number of prominent anti-Reaganities what opposition policies should be junked and what should be revitalised. Replies included: from Roger Wilkins of the Institute for Policy Studies: ‘The most important idea we’ve had on the Left in years, domestically, is full employment

Because what is savaging the black community right now is the fact that 46 per cent of all black males over 16 are jobless. This leads to hopeless teenagers, single parent families and some 49 per cent of all black children growing up in poverty.’

From Frances Moore Lappe of the Institute for Food and Development Policy: ‘Progressives need to talk the language of human values to communicate to ordinary Americans. Values like freedom, family, democracy, efficiency, fairness, self-reliance, individualism and responsibility fit into a progressive program. But the Left has allowed the Right to claim the high ground.’

From ‘Mother Jones’ Feb / March 1985.

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[image, unknown] POVERTY AND WEALTH[image, unknown]

Canada pines

[image, unknown] Statistics Canada defines an official poverty line for the country. At the end of 1984 it was $7,130 (Can $9,839) for an individual and $12,583 (Can $17,365) for a family of three living in one of the big cities. Overall almost one in every five Canadians was poor under this definition. But perhaps Canadians can take comfort from those who are doing OK. like:

. Kenneth Thomson (of Thomson newspapers) the multi-billionaire with a personal income in 1984 of at least $58 million (Can $80 million).

. The sixteen families and individuals whose personal fortunes will have netted them incomes of at least $8.7 million (Can $12 million) without having to life a finger,

. The 28 families and individuals whose personal fortunes will have yielded incomes in 1984 of at least $4.35 million (Can $6 million).

From ‘GATT-FLY Report’, March 1985.

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[image, unknown] CONSUMER POWER[image, unknown]

Inappropriate labelling

Purchased from a pharmacy in Blantyre, Malawi, recently was a pack of Farley Baby biscuits with the enclosed printed instructions illustrated above. Malawi’s official language is English. although Chichewa and other African languages are spoken. Very few Malawians speak Sinhala, Tamil, French, Malay, Thai or Farsi the languages of the printed instructions. Thoughtfully Glaxo have instructed the customer in English about what to do in the event of a complaint: a useful way of cutting down on irritating mail. If such a mix-up occurs with something like rusks, what happens with instructions for dangerous drugs?

From a personal communication.

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[image, unknown] CENTRAL AMERICA[image, unknown]

Guatemala’s war

Hector Orlando Gomez, press secretary of Guatamala’s only public human rights group, has been found murdered a day after being abducted on a street in the capital. He had been beaten and his tongue cut out.

From ‘The Guardian' April, 1985, London.

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[image, unknown] CENTRAL AMERICA[image, unknown]

Smear Nicaragua campaign

Earlier this year the White House launched a massive propaganda offensive to promote US aid to the rebels fighting to overthrow the Nicaraguan government In a radio broadcast to the nation Reagan hailed the contras as ‘our brothers’ and compared assisting them to French support for the American Revolution. Journalists were told this was part of an ‘educational drive’ to win public support for a $14 million request to Congress to renew Central Intelligence Agency operations in Nicaragua.

Since then the Administration’s propaganda machine has shifted into high gear. The contras have now been canonised by the President as the ‘moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers’. Numbers of senior contra leaders have been trooping through Washington trying to convince Congress that they are not the terrorists guilty of systematic atrocities against civilians, as reported recently by prominent human rights organisations, but rather democratic freedom fighters worthy of US financial support.

For US policy-makers Nicaragua has become part of the strategy to take the offensive against the Soviet Union by sponsoring insurgencies in the Third world. The US trade embargo against Nicaragua is just one more weapon in the policy of ’low-intensity warfare’ designed to erode the Sandinistas popular base until the regime collapses from within, becomes an easy mark for external invasion or, in the President’s words. learns ‘to say uncle’. Dear old Uncle Sam.

From ‘The Nation’, April 13, 1985, USA.

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[image, unknown] FOOD[image, unknown]

Another helping?

The same amount of food that feeds 220 million Americans would feed 1,500 million Asians on an average Chinese diet. Perhaps some of this might be because Americans are. on average, six inches taller. Perhaps more has to do with how much is wasted in Northern nations. Further food facts to digest: besides Southern nations’ decreasing staple food production, as more and more land is used for cash crops which are then exported, the poor countries annually send to the developed world something like 3.5 million tonnes of high-quality protein. In return they import 2.5 million tonnes of mainly grain-based protein.

From Asia Pacific People’s Environment Network,
c/o SAM, 37 Lorong Birch Penang, West Malaysia.

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Endquote

The society of money and exploitation has never been
charged with assuring the triumph of freedom and justice.'

Albert Camus

'God shows his contempt for wealth by the
kind of person he selects to receive it'

Austin O'Malley 1858-1932


'Those who dread a dead-level of income or wealth. . . do not dread, it seems, a dead-level of law and order, and of security of life and property. They do not complain that persons endowed by nature with un-usual qualities of strength, audacity, or cunning are prevented from reaping the full fruits of these powers.'
RH. Tawnev. Equality'.


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