New Internationalist Issue 273
Different topics I have ended up tackling as an NI editor have provoked different emotions. Some issues are motivated by anger at grievous injustice - the victimization of the world's poor, violations of human rights, the intellectual straightjacket of fundamentalism. Others are motivated more by a curiosity about how we look at history, what is appealing in architecture or how the tax system works. Rivers are a bit different, a bit closer to the heart.
I grew up beside the St Lawrence and as a school kid in Quebec City I used to sit on the Plains of Abraham with a tattered black notebook and an old pair of binoculars. My purpose was to log the ships with their strange and wonderful flags as they passed beneath that strategic citadel which had defended the river and French North America from all comers. Later I walked the shores of the Gaspe, wondered at the white flashing bellies of the Beluga whales at the mouth of the Saganuey and followed the broad St Lawrence through the maze of its Thousand Islands. When I saw the dead fish in the river or was told it was no longer safe to swim, it wrenched the heart.
Many of us are close to a river. It is a privilege that we need to cherish and a right that people around the world are increasingly having to fight to defend. It is surprising how much river language and metaphor infuses our culture. The NI office during this month's production was redolent with it - 'rivers' was flowing nicely, one argument was a 'red herring' another 'a diversion' and potential staff illness was 'rough water ahead.' Our new designer Andrew was 'taking the plunge' on his first issue. It is actually largely down to him if the beauty of the river combines well in this issue with the politics of river defense. These are both key parts to the story. It is hoped that you readers will not drown in the details of this issue but will be swept away by a current of concern over the fate of the world's rivers.
for the New Internationalist Co-operative
©Copyright: New Internationalist 1995