New Internationalist

Action And Worth Reading

Issue 154

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IDEAS FOR ACTION

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Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund
43 Greenhill Road
Ruthergien Glasgow
G73 2SW Scotland
Tel: 041-647 2133/2986

AIMS
To support the poor in the Third World in their efforts to liberate themselves from poverty, underdevelopment and oppression. To educate Scots, and in particular the Scottish Catholic community, about the basic injustice between the rich and the poor in our world and their role in changing the structures which cause this injustice in the first place.

METHODS
SCIAF funds self-help development projects mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Indian sub-continent and South East Asia. Most projects are small, should arise from a basic need of the people, should benefit everyone and should be concerned with the causes as well as the conditions of poverty.

SUCCESSES
Over the past 20 years, SCIAF has sent over £3 million from a mostiy economically deprived community to the Third World. Our small size but with international Church contacts means we can act swiftly. Our £10,000 was one of the first grants to reach Caritas Bangladesh for the cyclone victims. For several years we have sent much-valued Scottish doctors and nurses to Nicaragua. Nearly £750,000 has been sent in relief and development to partners in Eritrea and Tigray during the current famine.

FAILURES
To search out more wide-ranging partners in the field and to build up a stronger volunteer base at home.

FUTURE PLANS
To join CIDSE, the Catholic development agency network in Europe and North America; to gain access to larger programmes and ideas. To build up our volunteer network in Scotland. To encourage all Scots of good-will to support SCIAF's work as Scotland's only independent Third World charity.

HELP NEEDED
Volunteers to start up groups, carry out our educational campaign and to take part in fund- raising activities.

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Centre for World Development Education
Computer Materials Programme
128 Buckingham Palace Road
London SWiW 9SH
Tel: 01-730 8332/8333

AIMS
To produce materials for use with the micro- computer which will help to increase under- standing for the interdependence between Britain and the developing countries.

METHODS
A working team of teachers, development educationalists and computer experts has been divided into project groups. General meetings are held every two or three months when groups report progress and seek reactions from the rest of the team. The Programme is organised by a part-time paid coordinator and a steering group. Team members are reimbursed only for their expenses.

SUCCESSES
Two projects are ready for classroom testing: 'Water' is a computer game to help 8 - 13 year- old children appreciate the importance of water and its associated hazards. 'Food Around the World' helps children to compare their diets with typical diets in one of 20 countries being studied - the computer being used to hold a data-base of relevant information. 'Sand Harvest' - a simulation of life in a Sahel village, illustrating the problems and attempts to solve desertification in marginal land - is currently being programmed. 'World Focus' - a database of political and commercial facts of all the countries of the world, presented in a vidid and easily understood way - is currently short-listed for a development prize.

FAILURES
Attempts to establish a firm financial base have so far failed, and used much of the Co- ordinator's time.

FUTURE PLANS
By making available a range of computer materials in development education (including support for some existing content-free programmes) we hope to exploit the great potential of computers in assisting and promoting development education.

HELP NEEDED
Volunteers, with or without computer expertise, to help with the projects.

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The Muslim Association for the Advancement of Science
Faridi House
Sir Syed Nagar
Aligarh - 202001 India
Tel: 6254

AIMS
To foster the study of Science in the Islamic perspective with a view to meeting the spiritual and moral requirements of human beings and to encourage efforts meant for integrating science and humanities with life. To encourage the young scientists to study history, philosophy and sociology of science. To promote the study of science in systems frame- work as provided by religion and to work out its foundation in religious terms of reference.

METHODS
Frequent exchange of opinion is maintained by holding seminars, conferences, training programmes and workshops and by the publication of books, monographs and period- icals containing the Islamic critique of science and technology.

SUCCESSES
We have initiated a biannual journal entitled 'MAAS Journal of Islamic Science' which publishes Islamic critique of modern science and technology, including articles on the epistemology, philosophy and structure of Islamic science.

FAILURES
MAAS has been operating only since July 1983 and it is difficult to detail the failures. However, quick acquisition of the latest publications in the relevant fields; slow response from the working scientists, particularly for the philosophical and social issues, and lack of funds are some of the difficulties facing us.

FUTURE PLANS
To enlarge the enrolment of subscriptions to the Journal and Associateship of the MAAS, and to increase our library stock. To organise workshops and training programmes. To build local units at various places in India and to publish the MAAS News Bulletin.

HELP NEEDED
We need books and periodicals critically evaluating the history, philosophy and sociology of science and also on interdisciplinary subjects. We would welcome information on the exchange of publications with organizations working for the integration of religion and science and alternative science and technologies.

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[image, unknown] This page of New Internationalist is written by the groups featured on it The space is available free and a guide for writing entries can be obtained from New Internationalist 42 Hythe Bridge Street. Oxford, OX1 2EP.

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Worth reading on... CRIME

I have been most influenced by George Jackson’s letters from prison Soledad Brother Penguin, reprinting. Jackson writes to his mother and friends of his growing political understanding while in prison for the theft of a few dollars. His analysis was so threatening that the prison authorities eventually saw fit to assassinate him, pretending that he was shot whilst trying to escape.

Policing the Crisis by Stuart Hall et al, Macmillan is the classic exploration of how racism is linked to the crime problem through the panic generated around a supposed ‘mugging’ epidemic. The book analyses the ways in which this alarm was created in the 1970s, and how the UK Government managed to reassert its authority through its manipulation of racist fears about crime. A later development of this argument can be found in Drifting into a Law and Order Society by Stuart Hall, The Cobden Trust; 1982.

Angela Davis also analyses the ways in which fears about crime have been mapped onto racism in ‘Rape, Racism and the Myth of the Black Rapist’ in her book Women, Race and Class, Random House, 1983.

Criminal Women by Pat Carlen, Polity Press, 1985 recounts the life-stories of four female criminals in their own words and brilliantly examines the ways in which femininity and sexism shaped their very different criminal careers.

Two more difficult but important classics are Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish Penguin, 1977 and Stanley Cohen’s Visions of Social Control Polity Press, 1985. The former describes the development of particular ways of treating criminals and the latter uses a mixture of profound insights and common-sense to look at developments in administering justice (and concomitant forms of social control) that have occurred during the last 20 years. Other more practical studies of police work (including their use of computers) and the impact of proposed new laws on public order, can be found in the publications of the GLC Police Committee Support Unit County Hall, London SEJ 7PB. Similarly, a discussion of the new powers adopted by the police during the miners’ strike can be found in Police: The Constitution and the Community by John Baxter and Laurence Koffman, Professional books, 1985.

Sadly, there is little available about crime in non-Western countries. However, Amnesty International have published some excellent selections of the poetry of political prisoners in South America, including Missing, poems by Ariel Dorfman and Poetry as Witness edited by Jane Sherwin.


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