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Issue 543 of New Internationalist

Reader-owned global journalism

May-June 2023

The crisis of loneliness

The world began to notice something was awry when ‘ministries of loneliness’ cropped up in Japan and the United Kingdom following the Covid-19 pandemic. But prolonged social isolation and emotional alienation have been decades in the making.

While the problem of loneliness is finally getting some attention, the solutions being touted to ostensibly help us reconnect, feel lackluster at best, and potentially harmful at worst.

This magazine explores how we are being robbed of meaningful social interaction – through the lens of work, love, digital cultures and social marginalization. But, there is hope too. As labour reporter Eve Livingston argues, loneliness can also be a catalyst for thinking about the social structures we desperately need to meaningfully connect once more.

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In this issue

The Big Story

The connection recession

Loneliness and social isolation have become chronic issues across the world. We must resist attempts to close down meaningful human interaction, writes Husna Ara.

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Remote solidarity

Work from home policies aren’t going anywhere. So, with many workers in the UK feeling the strain of isolation, now is the time to ramp up trade union organizing, writes Eve Livingston.

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Keeping up with the Khans

From rank and file unionist heroes to industrialist lone wolves, Bollywood storytellers and ‘content creators’ have shifted to write out India’s collective spirit. Ishika Saxena questions what this means for how the country’s citizens can be brought together.

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A 101 in lovelessness

Success coaches, pick-up artists, men’s rights activists. Popular influencers are preying on men and boys’ emotional isolation. Daisy Schofield reports on how we might intervene.

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Chosen family

Tooba Syed on how Pakistan’s gender non-conforming community are fighting renewed attacks on their age old existence and customs – through queer kinship.

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‘Being racialized in patriarchal, capitalist settings, that does something to the mind’

Husna Ara speaks to Dr Samara Linton about The Colour of Madness, her co-edited anthology that brings to life the varied experiences of alienation for migrants and people of colour in the UK.

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Greenwashing aggression in the Caucasus

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Legal time travel in Bangladesh

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Bugging democracy in Greece

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Replenshing forest in Kenya

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Finding refuge in London's nature

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IMF heaps demands on Pakistan

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Introducing...Petr Pavel

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Letters from Nauta

Stephanie Boyd reports from an Amazonian community fighting to save its language.

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Country Profile: United Arab Emrirates

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Southern Exposure

Daniel Beloumou Olomo dazzles as he captures the contenders for Cameroon’s Miss Curvy and Beautiful, taking a break over a game of pool.

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Temperature check

Danny Chivers explores whether the Adani Group’s financial troubles could be good news for the climate.

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The Interview

Indian physicist and food sovereignty activist Vandana Shiva reflects with Amy Hall on a life of following her conscience.

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Hall of Infamy: King Mswati III

Absolute monarchy is a great lark – so long as you’re the King. But the stability Eswatini’s opulent autocrat has promised is starting to look like a mirage.

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Agony Uncle

A reader wonders whether to report a low-paid worker to their boss for dangerous behaviour.

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What if...children led the fight for their rights?

Time to listen to the natural rebels, argues Matt Broomfield.

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View from Brazil

Leonardo Sakamoto on Lula’s efforts to give Brazil’s Indigenous Yanomami communities a reprieve.

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View from Africa

As Uganda passes its anti-gay law, Rosebell Kagumire decries the way faltering governments make scapegoats of their most marginalized citizens.

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View from India

Could Rahul Gandhi’s epic march reverse the fortunes of India’s political opposition? Nilanjana Bhowmick deliberates.

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Tough love

As Nicola Sturgeon departs Scotland’s political stage, what kind of legacy does she leave behind? Conrad Landin digs into the Scottish National Party’s past, present and future.

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‘I'm not going to stay quiet’

In Iran rap has become the language of protest, writes Lorraine Mallinder.

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Hope in the water

Magdalena Rojo reports on the Mexico Indigenous communities finally gaining control over their water.

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From the archive: The trans revolution

Vanessa Baird on the liberating potential of transgender rights for us all.

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The Long Read: ‘They are my ancestors’

Hana Pera Aoake on how how an Indigenous-led programme in New Zealand/Aotearoa is returning the stolen remains of ancestors home to their descendents.

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Mixed Media


Senegalese singer- songwriter Baaba Maal speaks to Graeme Green about music making a difference.

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Book Reviews

Bodies Under Siege by Sian Norris; Shalash the IraqiDust Child by Nguyen Phan Que Mai; Siblings by Brigitte Neimann.

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Film Reviews

Harka directed and written by Lucy Nathan; 1976 directed and co-written by Manuela Martelli.

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Music Reviews

Marjaa: The Battle of the Hotels by Mayssa Jallad; Les Égarés by Sissoko Segal Parisien Peirani.

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