There are Hungry People. There are Hungry People: The Twenty-Sixth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 30 June 2022 — The Tricontinental

Saloua Raouda Chocair Lebanon Chores 1948 768x574Saloua Raouda Choucair (Lebanon), Chores, 1948.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of  Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) reports that, every minute, a child is pushed into hunger in fifteen countries most ravaged by the global food crisis. Twelve of these fifteen countries are in Africa (from Burkina Faso to Sudan), one is in the Caribbean (Haiti), and two are in Asia (Afghanistan and Yemen). Wars without end have degraded the ability of the state institutions in these countries to manage cascading crises of debt and unemployment, inflation and poverty. Joining the two Asian countries are the states that make up the Sahel region of Africa (especially Mali and Niger), where the levels of hunger are now almost out of control. As if the situation were not sufficiently dire, an earthquake struck Afghanistan last week, killing over a thousand people – yet another devastating blow to a society where 93% of the population has slipped into hunger.

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We Need to Build the Architecture of Our Future: The Twenty-Fifth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 23 June 2022 — The Tricontinental

Diego Rivera Mexico Frozen Assets 1931 768x956Diego Rivera (Mexico), Frozen Assets, 1931.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

In April 2022, the United Nations established the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy, and Finance. This group is tracking the three major crises of food inflation, fuel inflation, and financial distress. Their second briefing, released on 8 June 2022, noted that, after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic:

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The Lethality of Washington’s Global Monroe Doctrine: The Twenty-Fourth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 16 June 2022 — The Tricontinental

LeRoy Clarke Trinidad Now 1970 768x513LeRoy Clarke (Trinidad and Tobago), Now, 1970.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

This past week, as part of its policy to dominate the American hemisphere, the United States government organised the 9th Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. US President Joe Biden made it clear early on that three countries in the hemisphere (Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela) would not be invited to the event, claiming that they are not democracies. At the same time, Biden was reportedly planning an upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia – a self-described theocracy. Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador questioned the legitimacy of Biden’s exclusionary stance, and so Mexico, Bolivia, and Honduras refused to come to the event. As it turned out, the summit was a fiasco.

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Land in South Africa Shall Be Shared Among Those Who Work It: The Twenty-Third Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 9 June 2022 — The Tricontinental

Hunger series Part1 001 1440x960 1 768x512Sbongile Tabhethe works in the food garden at eKhenana land occupation in Cato Manor, Durban, 9 June 2020. Credit: New Frame / Mlungisi Mbele

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

In March 2022, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres warned of a ‘hurricane of hunger’ due to the war in Ukraine. Forty-five developing countries, most of them on the African continent, he said, ‘import at least a third of their wheat from Ukraine or Russia, with 18 of those import[ing] at least 50 percent’. Russia and Ukraine export 33% of global barley stocks, 29% of wheat, 17% of corn, and nearly 80% of the world’s supply of sunflower oil. Farmers outside of Russia and Ukraine, trying to make up for the lack of exports, are now struggling with higher fuel prices also caused by the war. Fuel prices impact both the cost of chemical fertilisers and farmers’ ability to grow their own crops. Maximo Torero Cullen, chief economist at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, said that ‘one of every five calories people eat have crossed at least one international border, up more than 50 percent from 40 years ago’. This turbulence in the global food trade will certainly create a problem for nutrition and food intake, particularly amongst the poorest people on the planet.

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Africa, the Collateral Victim of a Distant Conflict: The Twenty-Second Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 2 June 2022 — The Tricontinental

Amadou Sanogo Mali You can hide your gaze but you cannot hide that of others 2019Amadou Sanogo (Mali), You Can Hide Your Gaze, but You Cannot Hide That of Others, 2019.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

On 25 May 2022, Africa Day, Moussa Faki Mahamat – the chairperson of the African Union (AU) – commemorated the establishment of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) in 1963, which was later reshaped as the AU in 2002, with a foreboding speech. Africa, he said, has become ‘the collateral victim of a distant conflict, that between Russia and Ukraine’. That conflict has upset ‘the fragile global geopolitical and geostrategic balance’, casting ‘a harsh light on the structural fragility of our economies’. Two new key fragilities have been exposed: a food crisis amplified by climate change and a health crisis accelerated by COVID-19.

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And Then There Was No More Empire All of a Sudden: The Twenty-First Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 26 May 2022 — The Tricontinental

Bisa Butler USA I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings 2019Bisa Butler (USA), I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 2019.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

Empire denies its own existence. It does not exist as an empire but only as benevolence, with its mission to spread human rights and sustainable development across the world. However, that perspective means nothing in Havana nor in Caracas, where ‘human rights’ has come to mean regime change, and where ‘sustainable development’ has come to mean the throttling of their people through sanctions and blockades. It is from the standpoint of the victims of empire that clarity comes.

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Art Is a Dream in Which We Imagine Our Future: The Twentieth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 19 May 2022 — The Tricontinental

Newsletter20 Collage

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

On 11 May 2022, an Israeli sniper fired at the head of the veteran Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh as she reported on an Israeli military raid on a refugee settlement in Jenin (part of the Occupied Palestine Territories). The snipers continued to fire at the journalists who were with her, preventing them from aiding her. When she finally arrived at Ibn Sina Hospital, she was pronounced dead.

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In a World of Great Disorder and Extravagant Lies, We Look for Compassion: The Nineteenth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 12 May 2022 — The Tricontinental

Francisca Lita Saez Spain An Unequal Fight 2020Francisca Lita Sáez (Spain), An Unequal Fight, 2020.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

These are deeply upsetting times. The COVID-19 global pandemic had the potential to bring people together, to strengthen global institutions such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), and to galvanise new faith in public action. Our vast social wealth could have been pledged to improve public health systems, including both the surveillance of outbreaks of illness and the development of medical systems to treat people during these outbreaks. Not so.

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With Clenched Fists, They Spend Money on Weapons as the Planet Burns: The Eighteenth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 5 May 2022 — The Tricontinental

Dia Al Azzawi Iraq Sabra and Shatila Massacre 1982 83Dia Al-Azzawi (Iraq), Sabra and Shatila Massacre, 1982– 83.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

Two important reports were released last month, neither getting the kind of attention they deserve. On 4 April, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group III report was published, evoking a strong reaction from the United Nations’ Secretary General António Guterres. The report, he said, ‘is a litany of broken climate promises. It is a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unliveable world’. At COP26, the developed countries pledged to spend a modest $100 billion for the Adaptation Fund to assist developing countries adapt to climate change. Meanwhile, on 25 April, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) issued its annual report, finding that the world military spending surpassed $2 trillion in 2021, the first time it has exceeded the $2 trillion mark. The five largest spenders – the United States, China, India, the United Kingdom, and Russia – accounted for 62 percent of this amount; the United States, by itself, accounts for 40 percent of total arms expenditure.

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I Cannot Live on Tomorrow’s Bread: The Seventeenth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 28 April 2022 — The Tricontinental

Takashi Murakami Japan The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg 2002Takashi Murakami (Japan), Tan Tan Bo Puking – a.k.a. Gero Tan, 2002.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

On April 19, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released its annual World Economic Outlook, which forecasted a severe slowdown in global growth along with soaring prices. ‘For 2022, inflation is projected at 5.7 percent in advanced economies and 8.7 percent in emerging market and developing economies – 1.8 and 2.8 percentage points higher than projected in … January’, the report noted. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva offered a sobering reflection on the data: ‘Inflation is reaching the highest levels seen in decades. Sharply higher prices for food and fertilizers put pressure on households worldwide – especially for the poorest. And we know that food crises can unleash social unrest’.

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These Dark Times Are Also Filled with Light: The Sixteenth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 21 April 2022 — The Tricontinental

20220411 Web FeatureShengtian Zheng and Jinbo Sun, Winds of Fusang, 2017. ‘Fusang’ is an ancient Chinese word referring to what some believe to be the shores of Mexico. The work is an homage to Latin America’s influence on China, particularly that of Mexican artists on the development of modern Chinese art.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

In early March, Argentina’s government came to an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a $45 billion deal to shore up its shaky finances. This deal was motivated by the government’s need to pay a $2.8 billion instalment on a $57 billion IMF stand-by loan taken out under former President Mauricio Macri in 2018. This loan – the largest loan in the financial institution’s history – sharpened divides in Argentinian society. The following year, the Macri administration was ousted in elections by the centre-left Frente de Todos coalition which campaigned on a sharp anti-austerity, anti-IMF programme.

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We Do Not Want a Divided Planet; We Want a World Without Walls: The Fifteenth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 14 April 2022 — The Tricontinental

Ever Fonseca Cuba Homenaje a la paz 1970Ever Fonseca (Cuba), Homenaje a la paz (‘Homage to Peace’), 1970.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

While the United States began its illegal war against Iraq in 2003, Cuba’s President Fidel Castro spoke in Buenos Aires, Argentina. ‘Our country does not drop bombs on other peoples’, he said, ‘nor does it send thousands of planes to bomb cities … Our country’s tens of thousands of scientists and doctors have been educated on the idea of saving lives’. Cuba had an army, yes, but not an army for war; Castro called it ‘an army of white coats’. Most recently, Cuba’s Henry Reeve Brigade of medical practitioners have selflessly worked around the world to help stem the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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This Is Not the Age of Certainty. We Are in the Time of Contradictions: The Fourteenth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 7 April 2022 — The Tricontinental

Henry Moore Britain Grey Tube Shelter 1940Henry Moore (Britain), Grey Tube Shelter, 1940.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

It is hard to fathom the depths of our time, the terrible wars, and the confounding information that whizzes by without much wisdom. Certainties that flood the airwaves and the internet are easy to come by, but are they derived from an honest assessment of the war in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russian banks (part of a broader United States sanctions policy that now afflicts approximately thirty countries)? Do they acknowledge the horrific reality of hunger that has increased due to this war and the sanctions? It appears that much of the ‘certainties’ are caught up in the ‘Cold War mentality’, which views humanity as irreversibly divided on two opposing sides. However, this is not the case; most countries are struggling to craft a non-aligned approach to the US-imposed ‘new Cold War’. Russia’s conflict with Ukraine is a symptom of broader geopolitical battles that have been waged over decades.

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History Rounds off Skeletons to Zero: The Thirteenth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 31 March 2022 — The Tricontinental

Almagul Menlibayeva Kazakhstan Transoxiana Dreams 2010Almagul Menlibayeva (Kazakhstan), Transoxiana Dreams, 2010.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

On 16 March 2022, as Russia’s war on Ukraine entered its second month, Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev warned his people that ‘uncertainty and turbulence in the world markets are growing, and production and trade chains are collapsing’. A week later, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released a brief study on the immense shock that will be felt around the world due to this war. ‘Soaring food and fuel prices will have an immediate effect on the most vulnerable in developing countries, resulting in hunger and hardship for households who spend the highest share of their income on food’, the study noted. South of Kazakhstan, in the Kyrgyz Republic, the poorest households already spent 65% of their income on food before these current price hikes; as food inflation rises by 10%, the impact will be catastrophic for the Kyrgyz people.

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In the World, There Are Many Traps, and It Is Necessary to Shatter Them: The Twelfth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 24 March 2022 — The Tricontinental

01 Jaider Esbell Brazil The Intergalactic Entities Talk to Decide the Universal Future of Humanity 2021 1024x597Jaider Esbell (Brazil), The Intergalactic Entities Talk to Decide the Universal Future of Humanity, 2021.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

On 31 March 1964, the Brazilian military initiated a coup d’état against the democratically-elected progressive government of President João Goulart. The next day, Goulart was deposed and, ten days later, the 295 members of the National Congress handed the state over to General Castello Branco and a military junta. The military ruled over Brazil for the next twenty-one years.

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We Are in a Period of Great Tectonic Shifts: The Eleventh Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 17 March 2022 — The Tricontinental

Chiharu Shiota Japan Navigating the Unknown 2020Chiharu Shiota (Japan), Navigating the Unknown, 2020.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

The war in Ukraine has focused attention on the shifts taking place in the world order. Russia’s military intervention has been met with sanctions from the West as well as with the transport of arms and mercenaries to Ukraine. These sanctions will have a major impact on the Russian economy as well as the Central Asian states, but they will also negatively impact the European population who will see energy and food prices rise further. Until now, the West has decided not to intervene with direct military force or to try and establish a ‘no-fly zone’. It is recognised, sanely, that such an intervention could escalate into a full-scale war between the United States and Russia, the consequences of which are unthinkable given the nuclear weapons capacities of both countries. Short of any other kind of response, the West – as with the Russian intervention in Syria in 2015 – has had to accept Moscow’s actions.

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You Are Also a Victim of War like Us: The Tenth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 10 March 2022 — The Tricontinental

Daniela Edburg Mexico Atomic Picnic 2007Daniela Edburg (Mexico), Atomic Picnic, 2007.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

On 27 February, Russian President Vladimir Putin met the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov and the Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. ‘The top officials of the leading NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organisation] countries have made aggressive statements against our country’, Putin said. Therefore, he told his top officials ‘to transfer the deterrence forces of the Russian army to a special mode of combat duty’. The last phrase, reasonably cloaked in bureaucratic language, means that Russia’s nuclear arsenal will move to high alert. Meanwhile, Russian forces appeared to have seized the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Early reports that the power plant was on fire were false, although it was sufficiently chilling to hear that there had been fighting at the site.

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These Days of Great Tension, Peace Is a Priority: The Ninth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 3 March 2022 — Tricontinental

Konstantin Yuon USSR People of the Future 1929Konstantin Yuon (USSR), People of the Future, 1929.

Dear friends,
Greetings from the desk of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

It is impossible not to be moved by the outrageousness of warfare, the ugliness of aerial bombardment, the gruesome fears of civilians who are trapped between choices that are not their own. If you read this line and assume I am talking about Ukraine, then you are right, but of course, this is not just about Ukraine. In the same week that Russian forces entered Ukraine, the United States launched airstrikes in Somalia, Saudi Arabia bombed Yemen, and Israel struck Syria and Palestinians in Gaza.

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Those Who Violated the Geneva Conventions at Guantánamo Are Free, While the Man who Helped Expose Their Crimes Languishes in Prison: The Eighth Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 24 February 2022 — The Tricontinental

Ahmed Rabbani Pakistan Hero Image 2016 e1645623587246Ahmed Rabbani (Pakistan), Untitled (Grape Arbor), 2016. Rabbani endured 545 days of torture at the hands of the CIA before he was transferred to Guantánamo in 2004. He has been in the prison without charge since then.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

Twenty years ago, on 11 January 2002, the United States government brought its first ‘detainees’ abducted during the so-called War on Terror to its military prison in Guantánamo Bay. US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said, ‘We do plan to, for the most part, treat them in a manner that is reasonably consistent with the Geneva Conventions’. For the most part. Evidence began to emerge almost immediately – including from the International Committee of the Red Cross – that the Geneva Conventions were being violated and that many of the prisoners were being tortured. By December 2002, the US media began to report that ‘many held at Guantánamo [were] not likely terrorists’.

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What Red Book Will You Read This Year on Red Books Day (21 February)?: The Seventh Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 17 February 2022 — The Tricontinental

Newsletter 7 01

 

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

On 16 February 2015, Govind and Uma Pansare went for a morning walk near their home in Kolhapur, in the western state of Maharashtra, India. Two men on a motorcycle stopped them and asked for directions, but the Pansares could not help them. One of the men laughed, pulled out a gun, and shot the two Pansares. Uma Pansare was hit but survived the attack. Her husband, Govind Pansare, died in a hospital shortly thereafter on 20 February at age 82.

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