Poor? Lets mean it in English

20 February 2005

When John Berger wrote his 'ten dispatches' about endurance in the face of the walls that surround poverty (around two billion of us live on $2 a day) he wanted a good old-fashioned print readership. He wanted readers to take it like poetry and think - and even act. Now we have just published it in openDemocracy.

Strike one for the web.

Around the world, other editors also got the point. Print ones, that is. In Sweden's biggest: Aftonbladet, in Spain's El Pais, in France's Le Monde Diplomatique, in Argentina's Clarin and Mexico's La Journada and even in Italy's International. Nor will it stop there. But try as hard as he could, in his once native England and in the United States, John found his essay was repeatedly rejected. Could it be something that Anglo-Saxons have about 'the poor'? They can be generous in helping them with aid and donations but when it comes to taking them seriously, not patronising them, breaking through that wall... bringing it home, so to speak, it seems that, well do we need to go on about it, I mean don't we know it already, I mean, hasn't it been said before (unlike all the original articles that fill our papers and magazines).

Freud had a word for it. It was, um, er, now just remind me again...

Who's getting rich from COVID-19?

Boris Johnson's government stands accused of 'COVID cronyism', after handing out staggering sums of money to controversial private firms to fight COVID-19. Often the terms of these deals are kept secret, with no value-for-money checks or penalties for repeated failures which cost lives. And many major contracts have gone directly to key Tory donors and allies – without competition.

As COVID rates across the country surge, how can we hold our leaders accountable? Meet the lawyers, journalists and politicians leading the charge in our free live discussion on Thursday 1 October at 5pm UK time.

Hear from:

Dawn Butler Labour MP for Brent Central and member of the House of Commons Committee on Science and Technology

Peter Geoghegan Investigations editor, openDemocracy, and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Jolyon Maugham Barrister and founder of the Good Law Project.

Peter Smith Procurement expert and author of 'Bad Buying: How Organisations Waste Billions through Failures, Frauds and F*ck-ups'

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief of openDemocracy

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email


We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData