Those of us who make art and culture for a living thrive on free and open communication. So what should we do when we see culture becoming part of a political agenda? “Music unites”, says UK Eurovision entrant Michael Rice. What happens when a powerful state uses art as propaganda, to distract from its immoral and illegal behaviour? Everybody involved in the Eurovision song contest this year should understand that this is what is happening.
European broadcasters, including the BBC, are pushing ahead with plans to hold the contest in Tel Aviv this May, as if broadcasting a hugely expensive entertainment spectacle from an actively repressive apartheid-like state is no problem at all.… Seguir leyendo »
Anyone who has seen Hunger, Steve McQueen's harrowing film about the Maze prison hunger strike, will have some idea of just how horrific it is to die by starvation. Bobby Sands, a fit 27-year-old man, survived 66 days without food. Aminatou Haidar, a delicate 42-year-old, is on the 29th day of her hunger strike; with a perforated ulcer and a constitution weakened by years of imprisonment and torture, there are fears that she will not survive much longer.
She is now too weak to stand, and the director of Lanzarote hospital, Domingo de Guzmán, has warned that Haidar's life expectancy is now "hours or days rather than weeks".… Seguir leyendo »
The battle to find the funds
Easy. They must sustain a two-pronged approach: mitigation and adaptation. The only suitable response is a binding international framework to curb greenhouse gas emissions beyond the Kyoto protocol, which expires in 2012. We have to take steps to increase the resilience of vulnerable communities to the impact of climate change. To achieve the global development agenda, we must integrate environmental policies with social and economic policies. It will take huge resources to fund the adaptation to the actual impact of climate change on communities around the world. Funding must be a part of any serious solution to the climate change predicament we face.… Seguir leyendo »
Our leaders would undoubtedly be happy if we "moved on" from Iraq. They don't want to talk about it any more: it was a dreadful blunder, and reflects little credit on any of them. Presumably this is why the question has hardly been debated in parliament. Although the majority of the public were always against the war, this was not reflected by their elected representatives. The government behaved in a way that was transparently undemocratic but the Conservatives won't call them on it, for without their almost unanimous support the whole project couldn't have happened.
But to conveniently forget Iraq now is to forfeit the only possible benefit the war might have: the chance to rethink the dysfunctional political system that got us into this hole.… Seguir leyendo »