Spirituality and religion are a fact of life. They appear in virtually every culture known to humans in some shape or form. But recent times have seen an upsurge in religious extremism. The name of `God’ has been invoked to justify some of the most appalling acts - including the 9-11 bombings, communalist killings in Gujarat, the war on Iraq, and social violence especially against women and gay people. Can religion be a force for good and social change in the world today? Or is it, as some secularists believe, the most grave threat to democracy? At what point does wholesome spirituality become murderous fanaticism? And how are fundamentalist tendencies to be tackled-both within and outside faith systems?
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Religions often target the young. Marilyn Mason counts the human cost.
repression cheek by jowl with tourism in the Maldives
Sadanand Menon assesses the health of India’s secular tradition after the Hindu fundamentalists’ election defeat.
When a Peruvian woman's children were kidnapped by their Lebanese father, Reem Haddad was asked to intervene.
Why young Western Muslims are going abroad to fight for Islam by Shaista Aziz.
Jeremy Seabrook draws an unholy line from the obscene imagery of Abu Ghraib to the growing repression in Bangladesh.
Eduardo Galeano on the white curse that has afflicted the terrible history of Haiti.
A floating hotel for the poor, photographed by Bablu Chowdhury from Bangladesh.
Vanessa Baird examines the special relationship between religion and violence.
Oiling the wheels of corporate domination – International Chamber of Commerce head Maria Livanos Cattaui.
Seeds of Deception by Jeffrey M Smith
Somalia: The Untold Story edited by Judith Gardner and Judy El Bushra
Attac! Another World is Possible by Various
The Story of the Weeping Camel directed by Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni
List of Lights and Buoys by Susanna and the Magical Orchestra
Brazil’s rebellious priests are still putting the poor first. Jan Rocha reports.
Few pacifists can put themselves in danger as much as David Hartsough, co-founder of the Nonviolent Peaceforce.
Novelists Ben Okri and Amy Tan talk to Bel Mooney about their eclectic spirituality.
World Fiction Special
This issue of New Internationalist not only analyses these developments but also showcases four exquisite short stories as examples: ‘Fat’ by Krys Lee from South Korea; ‘In The Garden’ by FT Kola from South Africa; ‘Ghosts’ by the Cuban-American Ana Menéndez; and ‘The Lake Retba Murder’ by Efemia Chela from Zambia and Ghana.
A relic of a bygone era – or a billion-strong social movement fighting for workers’ rights everywhere?
The reality of trade unionism today falls somewhere in between. In the Western world, union-busting laws, globalization and internal conflicts have left many trade unions reeling. In some countries of the Global South, trade unionists face discrimination, danger and even death. Meanwhile, workers’ rights are being sacrificed on the altar of corporate greed gone mad: zero-contract hours, sub-contracting, privatization, outsourcing and special economic zones are all part of a ‘race to the bottom’ being run by transnationals concerned only about their profits.
Yet all is not lost. From Colombia to China, Bangladesh to Barcelona, workers are still fighting for their rights – and, sometimes, winning. This issue, New Internationalist looks at the state of the unions, how they need to adapt to the new reality for workers in the 21st century, and why they are more important than ever.
In a nutshell: the countries most recently featured in the New Internationalist magazine.
Sharp insights from an array of guest writers.
Personal stories from our own correspondents.
Interviews with inspirational people.
Reviews of the latest books, films and music.
Seeing the world through a Southern lens.
A regular column from some of the best writers of the South.
Taking aim at the rich and powerful.
If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.
– Emma Thompson –
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