ContentsNew Internationalist NOVEMBER Issue 427
Sometimes a story can make you want to run away and hide. I was on the phone to Ajit Sahi, talking about his tenacious reportage that had blown the lid off one particular narrative. Last year he had investigated how the Indian state had banned a grouping called the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) just days after 9/11, and thereafter how the police had locked up scores of former SIMI members as suspected terrorists. Incredibly, Sahi was the first independent journalist to explore whether the charges held up. The rest of the Indian news media had been content to parrot the official line.
Over three months, he investigated case after case, met many of the accused, their families – and discovered that there hadn’t been a shred of viable evidence presented in any of the cases. He recounted how, after meeting a stream of weeping relatives whose lives had been ripped up and hearing tales of gruesome abuse, he thought he was going crazy. The truth can be like that sometimes.
And then he said what was on my mind – if it could happen to all these people, could it not happen to me or you? Given the right set of circumstances and prejudices, of course. In his piece for us, he looks back on that story and the continuing scandal of those wrongly accused.
Terrorism must be countered with the sharpest and best means at our disposal, there can be no doubt about that. And our best attempts must also be made to plug its wellsprings with whatever works – often boring diplomacy.
But we cannot let justice suffer, and kick aside years of work on building up human rights, as our first response to terrorism. Which is exactly what we seem to have done. It does nothing to solve the problem; instead we create new ones to get mired in.
The quest for justice continues in our photographic Special Feature this month, which chronicles the dogged effort required all round in a situation as complex as that in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the use of rape as a weapon of war was widespread. And in our Essay from Sierra Leone, we see how an expensive international judicial set-up has left a rather impoverished legacy.
Dinyar Godrej for the New Internationalist Co-operative
I M Y O U N G
R E U T E R S / J
main FEATURE : Counterterrorism's rise
4 In the name of fighting terror
Dinyar Godrej on the damage done.
8 World of counterterror
A snapshot of the continuing spread of counterterrorist measures – real and unreal.
10 Beyond security theatre
Expert Bruce Schneier argues for security measures that actually work instead of theatrics.
12 You couldn’t make it up The lunatic fringe of planet terror. 14 The ticking bomb
Peru’s rash of unlikely terrorists. Stephanie Boyd reports. 16 And justice for all?
Ajit Sahi’s account of the scandalous record of the Indian State. 18 The ultimate rendition
A poem by Hubert Moore + ACTION directory.
V E P H O T O
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Regular Features 2 Letters
The values of Western Enlightenment offer more than religion; two-faced nature; and why bees and microwaves don’t mix. 3 Letter from Cairo
Perceptions of efficiency – and cleanliness – can differ, Maria Golia discovers. 19 View from Santiago
Sixty years on from the publication of 1984, the neoliberals in Chile are still spouting Newspeak, reveals Lezak Shallat. 26 Currents
The catastrophic effects of ‘bloody oil’ in Canada; the ugly face of World Cup fever in South Africa; and how to make the most of solar energy’s potential. 27 Only Planet
Time for food to fight back, in Marc Roberts’ cartoon. 29 NI Prize Crossword
PLUS: No room for grey matter in Polyp’s cartoon. 30 Mixed Media
Common humanity revealed in Ramin Bahrani’s new film; Yoko Ono alive and kicking ass on her new album; and a haunting novel about Angola’s troubled history. 32 Making Waves
Helen Gray has helped to clear 100,000 mines from Mozambique. She talks to Janet Nicol about what her all-female team has achieved. 33 Worldbeaters
President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka’s slick reputation comes unstuck. 34 Essay: The not so Special Court for
24 Love in a grey zone
Front cover and magazine design: Andrew Kokotka. All monetary values are expressed in US dollars unless otherwise noted.SPECIAL Features20 Tears & justice – Rape in DR Congo Women in the DRC suffer the worst sexual violence in the world. But more and more of them are speaking out and taking action to bring their violators to justice. Photojournalist Jean Chung has been documenting their struggle.
In Bangladesh, homosexuality is illegal. Delwar Hussain talks to Suleman, a gay imam, about what this means for him and his partner.
Sierra Leone The trial of Charles Taylor has left an unhappy judicial legacy, argues Sulakshana Gupta. 36 Country profile: St Lucia