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Questions that have always intrigued you about the world will appear in this, your section,
and be answered by other readers. Please address your answers and questions to ‘Curiosities’.

What are revolutionaries such as Leila Khaled, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Bernadette Devlin, Vo Nguyen Giap, Bobby Seale, Abu Nidal and Wadi Haddad doing now?

I have no knowledge of the whereabouts of the majority of those mentioned but I can speak about Bernadette Devlin, now Bernadette McAliskey.

Largely because of her independent mind and unwillingness to toe party lines, Bernadette has never risen to prominence in any formal political grouping. She has, however, been working tirelessly and selflessly on issues of human rights and social justice over the last quarter of a century. She has been at the forefront of campaigns on prisoners’ issues, against discrimination in employment, and against sectarianism and repression. Her energy and dedication never falter.

Her commitment to justice and democracy has cost her dear: she was seriously injured in a murder bid against her and her husband while they lay sleeping, and remains disabled from her injuries. She and her family – demonized, marginalized and censored by the state whose injustice they oppose – live in a small council house in Coalisland in Northern Ireland.

Bernadette jokingly refers to herself now as one of the few middle-aged revolutionaries and by current form intends to continue the struggle for another 25 years if necessary.

Dr Anne McCloskey
Derry, Northern Ireland

In 1980 General Vo Nguyen Giap, who had been Defence Minister since 1945, was sacked in a purge of pro-Chinese members of the Vietnamese cabinet. He retained his Politburo position and was given the portfolio for family planning. In 1987, however, he returned to the wider political and diplomatic scene after he was sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister. In August 1994 he visited Italy as a guest of the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS). The series of meetings with various luminaries was designed to celebrate and reinforce relations between Hanoi and the Left in Italy. He still happily grants interviews in French and is deeply respected in Hanoi.

David Roberts
Stafford, England

Daniel Cohn-Bendit is now a Member of the European Parliament for the German Greens.

Susan Pomeroy
Harpenden, England

How did human beings learn to take hard, inedible seeds, grind them up, mix them with water and cook them to get something they could eat?

All such crafts for living were learned by initiate priests in megalithic times through inspiration. Stone circles and dolmens were built as places where priests could work. At certain times when the sun forces had particular qualities, the priest would give himself over to its spiritual power and make himself aware of a specific need, such as how to make hard seeds edible. Thus earthly experience and cosmic knowledge could unite to reveal wisdom, through which the needs of human beings could be met.

John Marking
Forest Row, England

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awaiting your answers

When visiting England last year I found the population debate was all about ‘enabling women in the Third World’ to have fewer children. I find England overpopulated. What’s to be done about it?

Mark Collet
Lake Okareka, Aotearoa/New Zealand

The February 1995 issue of NI informed us that 1999 will be the International Year of Ageing. What other themes are planned for 1996, 1997 and 1998?

Andrew Leigh
Pennant Hills, Australia

If you have any questions or answers please send them to Curiosities, New Internationalist, 55 Rectory Road, Oxford OX4 1BW, UK, or to your local NI office (see inside front cover for addresses).


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©Copyright: New Internationalist 1995

New Internationalist issue 268 magazine cover This article is from the June 1995 issue of New Internationalist.
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