Marking the UN's Social Justice Day
20 February marks the UN World Day of Social Justice. The UN defines social justice as 'an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations'. This Issue responds to this pertinent theme by highlighting key social and political issues including poverty, suffragettes, the Black Lives Matter movement, Brexit, the importance of ensuring access to books and libraries for all, slavery, and more.
Extract from Poverty Safari: Understanding the Anger of Britain’s Underclass By Darren McGarvey (aka Loki) Published by Luath Press
The Cutting Room
How about I take a wee shot of being the expert? I mean, I know I’m not an expert and I know you know I’m not an expert but, well, this is my book. There’s no way someone like me would have been given the opportunity to write a book like this had I not draped it, at least partially, in the veil of a misery memoir. Okay then, first, we need to create the illusion of objectivity. It seems the most effective way to do this would be to completely dehumanise my family and me, to turn my four siblings and me into quantifiable data for your rational consideration. This process should facilitate the sort of objectivity that is necessary to scientifically assess the issue. Here we go:
Four out of five have experienced alcohol or substance misuse problems at some point.
Three have a criminal record.
Three were suspended or excluded from school for disruptive or violent behaviour.
Two have attempted suicide on one or more occasion.
One has served a prison sentence for drug-related offences.
Three have never voted in a general election.
Five have experienced abuse and neglect at the hands of ...
Imagine life in seventeenth-century Iceland. Sally Magnusson has, and the proof is written all over her first novel, The Sealwoman’s Gift. All the details are there: dark smoke-filled hovels reeking of fulmar oil used for the lamps, with a sheep’s uterus strung across a window to keep out the wind. A fire fuelled by puffin bones, a housewife stirring a greasy mutton stew, or softening the head of a cod in whey.
But she’s also imagined life almost as far away from there as you could get at the time: the slave markets of Algiers, the city’s rooftops where – hard to imagine for any Icelander – washing dried quickly in the sun; the da...
‘We need to reclaim what it means to be Black in America.’
‘Life is not a level playing field. Children do not have equal starting points or opportunities.’
‘Scotland is at the heart of Frederick Douglass’ journey from slavery to freedom.’
Alexander McCall Smith: ‘Such is the power of dance to change our lives!’
‘This sense of unease and dissatisfaction is repeated to varying degrees across the whole of the western world.’
‘Libraries offer a multitude of literature-based experiences to the public which might otherwise be inaccessible.’
‘The passion expressed in the Scottish referendum campaign in 2014 showed that people do care about how their countries are run.’
‘February 2018 marks the centenary of the first wave of women in the UK being given the right to vote.’
‘Only by trying to understand each other’s culture and traditions can we dispel mistrust.’
‘David Wojnarowicz ’s eyeball-blistering howl of rage will be found to be part of the answer too.’