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Mapping out a path to peace


US AND Israeli politicians and commentators always blame the current violence in the Middle East on Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians. They claim that the Palestinians were getting the best deal possible in the peace process and they rejected it. The new edition of The End of the Peace Process, a collection of essays by the Palestinian writer Edward Said, exposes these claims for the lies they are. It shows that under the peace agreements the areas under Palestinian control would be small, cut off from one another and remain dominated by Israeli troops and settlers.

Bacardi leaves very bad taste


Bacardi is one of the most instantly recognisable brands in the world, but behind the sleek image lies a sinister side to this multinational. Hernando Calvo Ospina, a Colombian investigative journalist, demonstrates in his new book Bacardi: The Hidden War that Bacardi has prosecuted a clandestine war against Cuba in an effort to destabilise the Castro government.

Tijuana is live


Radio Bemba Sound System, the new live album by the anti-capitalist musician Manu Chao, captures the exuberant energy of his live shows. It makes it clear why he and his sound system have become a flagship for the movement. His music fuses influences from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and the US in a manic aural assault.

Refuge in friendship


The experience of refugees in British society has given rise to a number of plays in recent years. One of the best has been John Retallack's Hannah and Hanna, which is about to go on an extensive tour. Set in Margate, on the Kent coast, it follows the relationship between two teenage girls - one from the town itself, the other a refugee from Kosovo.

A moving film for Palestine


PALESTINE IS Still The Issue, the new film by the journalist John Pilger, is a rarity on TV. It is a painfully honest documentary that refuses to toe the established political line.

Many colours


IF YOU'VE spent the last two years planning to read Zadie Smith's novel White Teeth you can now take a shortcut. Channel 4 has turned the highly popular novel into a four-part series. It is about the way that people from different backgrounds mix in modern Britain.

Colour, contrast and our world


"EARTH FROM the Air" is an amazing outdoor exhibition of giant photographs that contrast the beauty of the world we live in to the terrible suffering all around us.

There's nowt so tuneful as folk


THE BAND Blue Murder brings together seven of the most influential voices in English folk music. Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson are joined by their daughter Eliza, Norma's brother Mike, and the trio Coope, Boyes and Simpson. The end result is a celebration of the human spirit. None of the songs on this CD are overtly political. There's a fair slab of religion, gospel-style, thrown in.

Two worth viewing


TWO MEN, a nurse and a travel journalist, and their relationships with two women, a dancer and a bullfighter, who are both in a coma. Talk To Her, a new film by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, uses that unlikely storyline to reveal a lot about sexuality in Spain today. The characters are sensitively drawn, especially male nurse Benigno and his obsessive and one-sided relationship with the dancer.

It's cold war all over again


THE SUM of All Fears, which is now being shown in cinemas, was done and dusted before 11 September 2001. But the film deals with a major terrorist attack on the US and has been seen as Hollywood's first attempt to deal with the attacks. It has been a big hit in the US.

The godfathers' hold in Naples


IF YOU want to know more about modern Italy then read See Naples and Die, the new book by socialist Tom Behan. It is about the Camorra, the powerful organised crime group that dominates the southern Italian city of Naples. The Camorra has grown because of the huge unemployment rate in the Campania region - 23.3 percent overall and 28 percent in Naples.

Dignity in the face of horror


EVEN AMID the horror of full scale war there exists an obscene taboo. It is the fate of those soldiers who are severely wounded and mutilated. So when Margaret Thatcher ordered a Falklands War victory parade, such casualties were told not to attend.

More than just people's opium


A CLASSIC Marxist account of religion, The Meek and the Militant by Paul N Siegel, has been reprinted in a special deal for London's socialist bookshop, Bookmarks. It takes as its starting point Marx's famous description of religion as "the sigh of the oppressed, the heart in the heartless world, the opium of the people".

The poet of Harlem


LANGSTON HUGHES was one of the greatest and most popular black US writers of the 20th century. He was one of the leading lights of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. This was a movement that celebrated black culture and was associated with very left wing politics.

Blair wants TV run by Murdoch


JUST HOW far will Tony Blair go in his pursuit of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch? Blair is set to rip up the findings of a parliamentary committee that discussed his government's draft Communications Bill. The committee advised New Labour to scrap its plans to loosen controls on British TV that would allow Rupert Murdoch's Fox TV to gobble up Channel 5.

African socialists write on struggle


THE NEWS of famine across much of southern Africa has underlined the suffering of that continent-a suffering which is the result of slavery, colonialism and capitalism. But there is another side of African experience-the fightback against capitalism and imperialism.

When British judges sent angry to jail


A NEW radio play this week marks the thirtieth anniversary of the trial of the Angry Brigade. The Angry Brigade were a group of young British men and women who launched a campaign of bombing against the government in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They were inspired by the huge waves of international protests against war in Vietnam, repression in Ireland and attacks on workers' rights in Britain.

Sunshine State: the darker side of the American Dream


Sunshine State is the new film from the radical film director John Sayles. The "sunshine state" of the title is Florida, and the film tells us much about the realities underlying the American Dream. The "Buccaneer Days" are a marketing ploy dreamt up by the local Chamber of Commerce to exploit the pirate history of Florida.

Calypso in London: bittersweet sounds of rebellion


IN 1948 a young black man from Trinidad, Alwyn Roberts, was sitting on the deck of an old troop carrier which had been converted to civilian use. The ship was four days from England. Alwyn started to compose a tune. Although unknown in Britain, he was well known in the calypso tents of Trinidad as Lord Kitchener.

Woomera anti-detention protests: a great escape


OVER 1,000 protesters converged on the Woomera detention centre for refugees in the south Australian desert last Easter. This video is an inspiring account of what happened. Woomera is one of six privately run camps used by the Australian government to detain all "illegal entrants".

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