New Internationalist

A bunch of fives

Issue 309

From big ideas to ridiculous wars - the century in lists of five.

5 martyrs

Amilcar Cabral Inspirational revolutionary from Guinea-Bissau, assassinated just before independence in 1973.

Yitzhak Katzenelson Poet and friend of the Halutz Underground resistance to the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto, murdered in Auschwitz in 1944.

Rosa Luxemburg Socialist who led the abortive German Revolution and was murdered by paramilitaries in 1918.

Chico Mendes Union activist among Amazon indigenous people and rubber tappers, murdered by landed interests in 1988.

Fernando Pereira Photographer killed when French secret-service agents blew up the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in 1985.

5 unfulfilled national dreams

Kurdistan Occupied by Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria.

Tibet Occupied by China since 1950.

East Timor Occupied by Indonesia since 1975.

Palestine Occupied by Israel since 1948.

Western Sahara Occupied by Morocco since 1975.

5 fulfilled national dreams

Israel Created in 1948.

Vietnam Reunited after the US War in 1975.

Namibia Liberated from apartheid South Africa in 1990.

The Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, liberated from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Eritrea Liberated from Ethiopia in 1993.

5 resistance quotes

The life of a single human being is worth a million times more than all the property of the richest man on earth. Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, Latin American revolutionary

Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. Paulo Freire, Brazilian educator

When the white man came we had the land and they had the Bible. They taught us to pray with our eyes closed and when we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible. Jomo Kenyatta, who led Kenya to independence

There are very few jobs that actually require a penis or a vagina. All other jobs should be open to everybody. Florynce R Kennedy, US civil-rights activist

It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees. Emiliano Zapata, Mexican revolutionary

5 non–violent direct actions

Suffragette chainings Women campaigning for the vote in Edwardian Britain chained themselves to railings outside places of power.

The Salt March Gandhi’s 380-kilometre mass march to the sea to make salt in protest at the salt monopoly of the British colonial government in India, 1930.

Mothers of the Disappeared In Argentina, Chile and now in Turkey, mothers of people murdered by repressive regimes have demonstrated on the same day every week for years.

Peace marches All over the world in the 1980s, the sheer numbers of anti-nuclear demonstrators made a difference.

Greenpeace voyages From the Arctic to the Pacific, small boats have sailed into the teeth of the Dragon.

5 big ideas that did big damage

Fascism The first new political philosophy of the 20th century – and the worst.

Nuclear energy From Hiroshima to Chernobyl, it has a lot to answer for.

Mega-dams Still being built, despite all the environmental evidence.

Structural adjustment It may be simplistic, schoolchild economics, but that hasn’t stopped Washington imposing it on most of the Majority World.

‘Ethnic cleansing’ Actually the most small-minded, savage idea, which has afflicted the Armenians, the Jews and the Bosnians, to name but three.

5 big ideas whose day will come

Sustainability Green economics and new patterns of living.

Debt jubilee If only to look after its own long-term interest, the West must soon lift the debt noose from the necks of the poor.

A UN independent of the US There will ultimately be no UN otherwise.

Tobin Tax The tax on foreign-exchange transactions that would transform the global economy.

United States of Africa Common interests and self-defence.

5 dangerous corporations

Newscorp Rupert Murdoch’s vehicle for world domination.

Nestl้ Still guilty of pushing artificial babymilk to Majority World mothers after all these years.

Monsanto The cutting edge in genetic mutilation of food.

Philip Morris Its tobacco still causes disease but it is now spreading its tentacles into food.

Global Climate Coalition A club of transnationals which works to stall action on global warming; its board members include Chevron, Chrysler, Exxon, Ford, General Motors, Mobil and Texaco.

5 ridiculous wars

Boer War Where Churchill made his name and the concentration camp was born.

World War One Still the epitome of military futility.

Iran-Iraq An eight-year war over nothing that cost 500,000 lives.

Falklands/Malvinas Collision between Argentine dictatorship and the last writhings of the British Empire.

Football War The 1969 war between Honduras and El Salvador sparked by a World Cup soccer match between the two countries.

5 classic resistance texts

The Second Sex Simone de Beauvoir

Open Veins of Latin America Eduardo Galeano

Pedagogy of the Oppressed Paulo Freire

The Wretched of the Earth Frantz Fanon

Monopoly Capital Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy

5 nominees for the Hitler/Stalin Tyranny Prize

King Leopold II of Belgium No paternalistic nonsense about a ‘civilizing mission’ here. Until 1908 the Congo was his personal province and playground whose people existed only to produce rubber.

General Augusto Pinochet Chile’s dictator wrote the most brutal chapter in Latin America’s recent history, breaking new ground in torture and right-wing economics .

Mobutu Sese Seko Unlucky Congo has two of its rulers as nominees. His ruthlessness a byword, Mobutu stole over $4,000 million in his 32 years in power.

Pol Pot (Saloth Sar) Unleashed a holocaust on the Cambodian people; 1.5 million died in his chilling attempt to design a new society without cities or education.

Idi Amin Dada The most notorious of Africa’s dictators was no joke to the estimated 250,000 tortured and killed during his nine-year rule of Uganda.

5 revolutions that raised then dashed Left hopes

Mexico 1911 ‘The Institutional Revolutionary Party’ says it all.

Russia 1917 Stalinist Terror and State Arthritis.

China 1949 Mao stood up for equality but killed millions through his social experiments.

Cambodia 1975 It is little remembered now, but the Khmer Rouge was initially received with enthusiasm by the Western Left.

Ghana 1982 Jerry Rawlings claimed his coup was ‘a revolution for social justice’ but his regime has been the IMF’s pet.

5 environmental disasters

Chernobyl The explosion of the Soviet nuclear reactor in Ukraine in 1986 which made 10,000 square kilometres uninhabitable and gave at least 21,000 Western Europeans fatal cancers.

Bhopal The explosion in an Indian chemical plant of the US-based transnational, Union Carbide in 1984; 2,500 died immediately while at least 50,000 suffered long-term damage.

The Aral Sea As much a polluted dustbowl as a sea now, thanks to the irrigation and pesticides of the Soviet cotton industry.

Western transport policy Or lack of one - ‘they paved paradise and put up a parking lot’.

The god of economic growth Before which all but the Greenest few still bow down.

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This article was originally published in issue 309

New Internationalist Magazine issue 309
Issue 309

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New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

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