Issue 526 of New Internationalist

Reader-owned global journalism

July-August 2020

The Kurds: Betrayed again

While the world’s attention is on the Covid-19 pandemic, Turkey is ramping up its war against the Kurds – in Syria, in Iraq and in Turkey itself. Will the West, once again, wring its hands and do nothing to help the friends who led the fight against Islamic State?


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In this issue

  • Jo Lateu, Peter Whittaker, Vanessa Baird review Solved by Andrew Wear; Artemisia by Anna Banti; Becoming Kim Jong-Un by Jung H Pak; A Silent Fury by Yuri Herrera.

  • Aung San Suu Kyi’s spectacular fall from human rights icon to genocide denier.

  • Louise Gray and Malcolm Lewis weigh up the latest in alternative music releases.

  • The Uncertain Kingdom by Various; The Australian Dream directed by Daniel Gordon; Classics: The Happy Family co-written and directed by Muriel Box; Bicycle Thieves directed by Vittorio de Sica.

  • South Sudan’s James Aguer Garang talks to Jan-Peter Westad about art, trauma and healing.

  • Fresh from organizing deliveries of PPE to frontline workers, social scientist Sarojini Nadimpally speaks to Amy Hall about women’s health, the Covid-19 crisis and the inequalities it has exacerbated.

  • The Kurdish quest for freedom and independence has been long, dramatic and complicated. Here’s a potted history of the past century.

  • Lorraine Mallinder gets inside the proto-petrostate of Iraqi Kurdistan.

  • Ethical and political dilemmas abound these days. Seems like we’re all in need of a New Internationalist perspective. Enter stage: Agony Uncle.

  • Five years after bombarding the historic neighbourhood of Sur, the Turkish state still wants to keep Kurdish residents out. But it cannot stop people dreaming, hoping, resisting.

  • Richard Swift on the ambiguous figure managing the WHO’s pandemic response. 

  • Having travelled to the land of her birth as the coronavirus pandemic began to gather pace, Yewande Omotoso feels the tug of home. 

  • We are a third of the way towards 2030, the target date for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Gary Rynhart and Jan Vandemoortele differ over how likely the Goals are to be achieved.

  • The deadly neglect of India’s rural communities must end, writes Nilanjana Bhowmick.

  • Aruna Chandrasekhar on how climate activism has kept going in a time of isolation.

  • Nanjala Nyabola grapples with the challenge of misinformation and disinformation.

  • Iran’s Kurds are suffering in silence. But for how much longer?

  • How did a once hardcore Marxist-Leninist and nationalist guerrilla leader come to develop a politics of participatory democracy, feminism and ecology? Vanessa Baird traces Abdullah Öcalan’s journey.

  • A clamour to return to the status quo after Covid-19 would be bad news for people and the planet, argues Richard Swift. We may never get a better chance for a new normal.

  • Four years ago, New Internationalist travelled to West Africa to hear the stories of communities in recovery from the deadly Ebola epidemic. Hazel Healy gets back in touch.

  • Liam Taylor on the World Bank’s waning reputation in pandemic response.

  • In Brazil, the rich, who infected the poor, are now buying ICU flights for themselves.

  • Husna Rizvi makes a vital suggestion.

  • Turkey is bent on extinguishing a beacon of women’s liberation in northern Syria. But the women of Rojava are not giving up, writes Dilar Dirik.

  • Under the cover of Covid-19, Turkey is hammering the Kurds. Again. Should the world care? Vanessa Baird offers several good reasons why it should.

  • This Covid-19 crisis is not the ultimate leveller. Just like the financial crash of 2008, it is producing winners and losers. Husna Rizvi presents a round-up of the lesser known stories of social abandonment unfolding.

  • Two-thirds of the country’s inmates haven’t even been on trial yet. Nosmot Gbadamosi speaks to an all-woman law firm fighting for their rights.