It’s been good to have a break over the last couple of months, but we’re excited to return for another round. Evelyn and I had a few days hanging out in Berlin, for the first time since Impolitikal launched in May last year. It was great to see each other in person and talk about our ideas for the next bit. I’m lucky to have such an onto it person as my deputy!
Sadly, January wasn’t a quiet month in terms of shitty things taking place. I’d like to acknowledge in particular those killed by Boko Haram in Nigeria, and those murdered in the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. Devastating for different reasons, our thoughts are with those they leave behind. They are also with Saudi writer Raif Badawi as he awaits the second of 20 potential rounds of flogging, having been arrested for insulting Islam on his blog. And with Japanese freelance journalist Kenji Goto, who IS are currently holding hostage, having beheaded his colleague Haruna Yukawa last week.
As a journalist, these events have made me think about how much I take freedom of speech for granted, and also that perhaps I can’t anymore. Even the Sony hack raises new questions as to how we will balance freedom of the press with safety of both the press and the public, as technology allows the world to become increasingly interconnected. On the one hand this is exciting to me, on the other it elbows ‘old’ quandaries into a new context: surveillance vs privacy, deference to terrorism vs putting people at risk, the safety of silence vs speaking out against injustice.
At Impolitikal, we’d like to provide a platform to voices that aren’t often heard. Many in the world are trying to push beyond currently dominant ideologies – perhaps that’s always the case – but climate change, conflict and inequality are, for example, growing not disappearing as issues and require us to address and adapt to new realities. Rather than refusing to consider alternatives to *business as usual* and button-up politics, let’s not be afraid to investigate, and if necessary change, how we view and interact with the world.
I would like this to be a place where we get the other side of the coin. There’s a lot of media already bringing ‘alternative’ voices to the fore; we’d like to join with that community, and hopefully add to it. As well as sourcing original content, we’re looking for opportunities to republish work by people in countries and contexts where media may be restricted, or content that mainstream media outlets might be unlikely to share. If you know of someone that falls into this category, or fall into this category yourself, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m currently studying (a Masters in Poverty & Development at the University of Manchester), so to keep things manageable we’re going to publish one article per week, and get a little more active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s definitely encouraging (and lets us know we should keep going!) when people interact, so find and follow us, and don’t be afraid to talk.
It’s been a crazy, great eight months since starting Impolitikal. A lot of late nights and learning curves, but it’s a privilege to present so many cool stories. Thanks to everyone who’s contributed. And to you, buddy reader: thanks again for the support. It means a lot, and we look forward to continuing to build something good.
Look out for our first article for the year this Sunday (top of the world), Monday (other half). It was sent in by one of our readers, and one I’m really excited to share.
Sarah Illingworth is a freelance journalist and Editor at Impolitikal. She has an MSc in Poverty & Development from the University of Manchester. Read more by Sarah.