This monthly magazine (NI) has been a constant source of inspiration and information for many years. NI is published by a collective in UK, Canada, and Australasia with contributions from many parts of the world. Every colourful, well illustrated issue has a special focus, over the thirty years of publication that has included specific countries, issues like AIDS, water, Climate Change, Slavery, Fair Trade, and Human Rights. Every issue has stories of success, as well as actions and analysis.
The August, 2003 issue is Songs of Dissent: the Politics of Music which has wonderful stories of musicians, including Victor Jarre, Mariam Makeba and Mercedes Sosa – and even comes with a CD with many songs of peace and resistance.
In this same issue is a wonderful, moving essay by Palestinian poet, Mourid Barghouti , entitled: Verbicide . He has published 12 books of poetry and won many awards. The essay first appeared in AUTODAFE #3, Spring, 2003. His autobiographical book, “I Saw Ramallah” is published by AUC PRESS, UK and Anchor Books, Random House, USA.
In this essay Barghouti writes about how language has been used to obliterate the Palestinian nation and identity. “For decades Palestine has been pushed to the edge of history, the edge of hope and the edge of despair, present and absent, reachable and unreachable, fearful and afraid. This Palestine is my identity; this Palestine is the absence of my identity; my imposed memory and my imposed oblivion.”
He tells us how people learn to accept the relative and the imperfect, how they dream of small miracles, like having a bath or even a pen. But he warns dreams may become dangerous when they are simple, so many of his poems are about “tiny little things that might seem insignificant.”
His poetry uses language that resists the process of “collective vulgarization” and tries to create a fresh perception.
“Poetry is stepping out of the orchestra to play solo with the single instrument of language. That is why the poetic imagination becomes an act of resistance par excellence.”
He believes, “We are witnessing an international apartheid language, a language that labels and defines, and divides values and virtues and segregates nations into two categories of good and evil………..poetry remains one of the most astonishing forms in our hands to resist obscurantism and silence.”.
Barghouti hands us an awesome responsibility: to use our language with care and clarity, to be concrete and specific, to face any realities of war and peace, oppression and liberation. Poets must liberate themselves from the “collective vulgarization” of our global market society to understand and express the deepest, simplest human needs and to help us all find truth and meaning in our resistance against the political language of stupidity and hate.
NI is available by subscription worldwide, but needs to change its rates which are higher for the majority world than the affluent minority world. Some of its publications and subscription information are available on: www.newint.org