MAGAZINE
Contents: Birth, marriage and death
13 Dec 2018
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP

With contributions from Liwaa Yazji, Karoline Kan, Jieun Baek, Neema Komba, Bhekisisa Mncube, Yuri Herrera, Peter Carey, Mark Haddon

The winter 2018 issue of Index on Censorship magazine looks at why different societies stop people discussing the most significant events in life: birth, marriage and death.

In China, as Karoline Kan reports, women were forced for many years to have only one child and now they are being pushed to have two, but many don’t feel like they can talk about why they may not want to make that choice. In North Korea Jieun Baek talks to defectors about the ignorance of young men and women in a country where your body essentially belongs to the state. Meanwhile Irene Caselli describes the consequences for women in Latin America who are not taught about sex, contraception or sexually transmitted infections, and the battle between women campaigners and the forces of ultra conservatism. In the USA,  Jan Fox finds Asian American women have always faced problems because sex is not talked about properly in their community. President Trump’s new “gag” law which stops women getting advice about abortion is set to make that much worse. In the far north of  Scotland, controversy is raging about gay marriage. Joan McFadden finds out about attitudes to gay marriage on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland, and catches up with the Presbyterian minister who demonstrated against the first Lewis Pride. In Ghana Lewis Jennings finds there are no inhibitions when it comes to funerals. Brightly coloured coffins shaped like coke bottles and animals are all rage.

Birth, Marriage and Death, the winter 2018 issue of Index on Censorship magazine

Special Report: Birth, Marriage and Death

Labour pains by Daria Litvinova: Mothers speak out about the abuse they receive while giving birth in Russian hospitals

When two is too many by Karoline Kan: Chinese women are being encouraged to have two babies now and many are afraid to talk about why they don’t want to

Chatting about death over tea by Tracey Bagshaw: The British are getting more relaxed about talking about dying, and Stephen Woodman reports on Mexico’s Day of the Dead being used for protest

Stripsearch by Martin Rowson: Taboos in the boozer. Death finds a gloomy bunch of stiffs in an English pub…

“Don’t talk about sex” by Irene Caselli:  Women and girls in Latin America are being told that toothpaste can be used as a contraceptive and other lies about sex

Death goes unchallenged by Wendy Funes: Thousands of people are murdered in Honduras every year and no one is talking about it – a special investigation by Index’s 2018 journalism fellow

Reproducing silence by Jan Fox: Asian-American communities in the USA don’t discuss sex, and planned US laws will make talking about abortion and contraception more difficult

A matter of strife and death by Kaya Genç: Funeral processions in Turkey have become political gatherings where “martyrs” are celebrated and mass protests take place. Why?

Rest in peace and art by Lewis Jenning: Ghanaians are putting the fun into funerals by getting buried in artsy coffins shaped like animals and even Coke bottles

When your body belongs to the state by Jieun Baek: Girls in North Korea are told that a man’s touch can get them pregnant while those who ask about sex are considered a moral and political threat to society

Maternal film sparks row by Steven Borowiec: South Korean men are getting very angry indeed about the planned film adaption of a novel about motherhood

Taking Pride in change by Joan McFadden: Attitudes to gay marriage in Scotland’s remote islands are changing slowly, but the strict Presbyterian churches came out to demonstrate against the first Pride march in the Hebrides

Silence about C-sections by Wana Udobang: Nigeria has some of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world, in part, because of taboos over Caesarean sections

We need to talk about genocide by Abigail Frymann Rouch: Rwanda, Cambodia and Germany have all dealt with past genocides differently, but the healthiest nations are those which discuss it openly

Opposites attract…trouble by Bhekisisa Mncube: Seventy years after interracial marriages were prohibited in South Africa, the author writes about what happened when he married a white woman

Global View

Snowflakes and diamonds by Jodie Ginsberg: Under-18s are happy to stand up for free speech and talk to those with whom they disagree

In Focus

Killing the news by Ryan McChristal: Photographer Paul Conroy, who worked with Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin, says editors struggle to cover war zones now

An undelivered love letter by Jemimah Steinfeld: Kite Runner star Khalid Abdalla talks about how his film In the Last Days of the City can’t be screened in the city where it is set, Cairo

Character (f)laws by Alison Flood: Francine Prose, Melvin Burgess, Peter Carey and Mark Haddon reflect on whether they could publish their acclaimed books today

Make art not war by Laura Silvia Battaglia: Yemeni artists are painting the streets of bombed out cities with their protests

Truth or dare by Sally Gimson: An interview with Nobel prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich about her work and how she copes with threats against her

From armed rebellion to radical radio by Stephen Woodman: Nearly 25 years after they seized power in Chiapas, Mexico, Zapatistas are running village schools and radio stations, and even putting people up for election

Culture

Dangerous Choices by Liwaa Yazji: The Syrian writer’s new play about the horror of a mother waiting at home to be killed and then taking matters into her own hands, published for the first time

Sweat the small stuff by Neema Komba: Cakes, marriage and how one bride breaks with tradition, a new short story by a young Tanzanian flash fiction writer

Power play by Yuri Herrera: This short story by one of Mexico’s most famous contemporary authors is about the irrational exercise of power which shuts down others. Translated into English for the first time

Column

Index around the world – Artists fight against censors by Lewis Jennings: Index has run a workshop on censorship of Noël Coward plays and battled the British government to give visas to our Cuban Index fellows 2018 (it took seven months)

Endnote

The new “civil service” trolls who aim to distract by Jemimah Steinfeld: The government in China are using their civil servants to act as internet trolls. It’s a hard management task generating 450 million social media posts a year

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Birth, Marriage and Death

Listen

The winter 2018 magazine podcast, featuring interviews with Times columnist Edward Lucas, Argentina-based journalist Irene Caselli, writer Jieun Baek and  law lecturer Sharon Thompson

LISTEN HERE

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