new Internationalist MARCH Issue 420
This month’s main theme has been put together with the support of UNICEF. It actually emerges out of research and writing that I did last year for the UN agency, which has been doing its utmost in recent months to raise awareness of the unnecessary deaths of mothers and newborn children, especially in Africa and South Asia. I’ve been writing for UNICEF alongside my work for New Internationalist for eight years now, yet this is the first time for more than a decade that there has been such a close collaboration between the two organizations. We hope it will be the first of many. March marks the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s flight into exile from Chinese-occupied Tibet, followed by thousands of his compatriots. Journalist Nick Harvey has visited Tibetans in both India and Nepal and heard about all the frustrations of life in exile – as well as their plans for future resistance. They are probably now wondering if the new US President might conceivably make a difference to their situation. One of Obama’s first acts following his inauguration was to draw a line under one of the most shameful episodes in recent US history – the living monument to human rights abuse
represented by its Guantánamo prison camp. This magazine carries testimony not only from a former prisoner but also from an ex-guard who is just as outspoken about the inhumanity of the penal regime. Maternal mortality, Tibet, Guantánamo… big issues clearly worthy of notice. But these editor’s letters rarely draw attention to some of our regular features that in their own quiet way tell us just as much about the shape of our world. Maria Golia’s Letter from Cairo, for instance, this month offers a vignette drawn from everyday life that speaks volumes about the knots of culture, race and class in which we all tie ourselves up.
Chris Brazier for the New Internationalist Co-operative
ATIOn by ROWEnA
FT TO R
Mothers who die maIn FeatuRe
4 The heartbreak Why are so many women still dying in childbirth? Chris Brazier explains how they could be saved.
13 In memoriam A visual memorial to the 61 mothers who die every hour, by artist Rowena Dugdale.
8 MATERNAL MORTALITY – THE FACTS
10 Those we lost Afghanistan has the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world. And behind every death there is a poignant story – told here by a sister, a husband and by photographer Jean Chung.
14 Beyond witchcraft Pilirani Semu-Banda meets a young woman from Malawi who thought her life had been ruined by giving birth – until she heard about a simple operation.
16 Poem by Margaret Atwood Why birth does not always mean hope.
17 Tibet: 50 years from home It is half a century since the Dalai Lama and thousands of other Tibetans were forced into exile by the Chinese occupation. Nick Harvey talks to exiles young and old about their hopes for their country.
18 Tibetan Timeline
22 Guantánamo: Both Sides of the Wire Rowenna Davis meets a guard and an inmate from the notorious US prison camp in Cuba.
2 Letters Why we should get rid of cats and dogs; the implications of Peak Soil; women dressed for sex. PLUS: Letter from Cairo – Maria Golia goes into battle for the underdog – and then wonders just what she has done.
25 Currents Jewish voices raised against Israel’s Gaza onslaught; trade union triumph in Argentina; spreading solar power across Europe.
27 Only Planet Gort and Klaatu meet their first psychopathic killer human.
28 NI Prize Crossword PLUS: Guest cartoonist Khalil Bendib’s take on the bank bail-outs.
29 Making Waves Nete Araujo’s work is illegal – but it couldn’t be more vital for homeless people in Brazil.
30 Mixed Media Featuring a groundbreaking new film about climate change starring Pete Postlethwaite; nonfiction about debt by Margaret Atwood; a Polish novel; rap from Israel/Palestine.
32 Southern Exposure A queue for gas, captured by Senegalese photographer Djibril Sy.
33 View from New Delhi Urvashi Butalia learns some lessons from South Africa.
34 Essay: Facing history in Cambodia Why Cambodians need the Khmer Rouge on trial, by Tom Fawthrop.
36 Country Profile: Malaysia
Front cover: Ian Nixon. Magazine design: Ian Nixon. All monetary values are expressed in US dollars unless otherwise noted.