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Under the Nuclear Shadow

Nuclear madness is killing our planet
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~This week's Observer International section
~World Latest: international news from The Guardian and Observer

~This week's Observer Comment section

Under the nuclear shadow

Nuclear neighbours teeter on brink of Armageddon

~Britain in war zone rescue mission

The only question: when do you leave?

'The people suffer in a dispute they cannot control'

My lost country

Madmen think the unthinkable

Special report: Kashmir

Another false dawn for Africa?

~More World Today Essays

Bono who?

Don't wag your finger at us, Mr Bush

Why Bush's deal with Putin doesn't make the world safer

~Worldview highlights: debating American power

When Uncle Sam meets 'Stan

~Worldview highlights: best of Jason Burke

'We are already dead. This is the cemetery of the living'

Huddled masses and muddled asses

Britain needs immigrants now

Asylum: myths and reality

For the good of the game

Send off Blatter

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Permission to panic please, Sir

Mugabe 'starves' opponents' children

Report extract: the politics of hunger in Zimbabwe

My night in Mugabe's stinking jail

I don't care if they beat me. I'm going to vote for change'

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~Where journalists who disagree are 'terrorists'

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~Africa on Mugabe

Press freedom campaign

Why Israel's 'seruvniks' say enough is enough

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Italians' last action hero

'How IRA bombers trained guerrillas'

A bad call?

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Tell us, Mr Bush

'Secret' war prevents us from learning the truth

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Tariq Ali vs Christopher Hitchens: The war of words

Sudan's last fighting season?

~Unseen Wars: More on Sudan

Why the earth summit matters

~Earth Summit risks ridicule over grandiose preparations

A safer world?

How a British coup ended siege

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The warning shot

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A matter of death and life

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Europe's true colours?

One free in Burma, fifty million to go

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War at the top of the world

Raped Pakistani mother to be stoned to death

If we ruled the world ...

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People's revolt challenges Castro

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Reason with your heart, Mr Sharon

America must see that Sharon is the problem

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The roots of Palestinian despair

Let there be justice for all, Mr Bush

Journalist sows the fragile seeds of peace

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Two wronged peoples

Is anti-Zionism anti-Semitic?

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Europe squanders billions spoiling MEPs

Europe can defeat fascism

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Danger doesn't stop at Dover

Freedom of expression is imperative to democracy

The risk of being a journalist in Colombia

Syrian Jails: a Hell on Earth

Log cabin to White House? Not any more

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The day Jean-Marie Le Pen opened a Pandora's box of bigotry

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No racism here please, we're British

How to save the western alliance

Iraq and the Bush doctrine

~Tony Colman: Funding a global war on poverty

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Why law beats war

Venezuela coup linked to Bush team

If you want a free vote, ask nicely

Britain's most wanted

Al-Qaeda's bombers used Britain to plot slaughter

How the perfect terrorist plotted the ultimate crime

Bin Laden's men wait to take bloody revenge

~The making of the world's most wanted man: Part 1

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First shots in Labour's European civil war

Will the euro be a casualty of Blair's Iraq war?

Tamil Tigers hide their claws

Imperialism may be out, but aggressive wars and colonial protectorates are back

Why we still need empires

The new liberal imperialism

Can we escape the colonial past?

Why military power is no longer enough

Russia's bogus 'email brides' break the hearts - and wallets - of Western men

$100,000 bounty on Westerners

Afghan girls seize chance to learn

Turkey unmoved by sacrifice of hunger strikers

Bushmen victory over drug firms

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How anti-Americanism betrays the left

How to deal with the American goliath

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OK, George, make with the friendly bombs

'Bombing Saddam is ignorance'

Trading insults

Blair's mission possible

The dam buster

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Arms to Africa scar Britain's conscience

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Anti-Blatter candidate has powerful allies

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Will Fifa vote for a clean-up?

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Inside FIFA: the making of a President

Six months that changed a year

Terror's march backwards

9/11: George Bush's day

~Leader: Yes, the world has changed

Bin Laden's men wait to take bloody revenge

~Focus: Battle for Gardez

New York: Big, bad and back to its ballsy best

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America gears up for a new kind of war

New world, but the same old disorder

Why America isn't listening

Americans are masters of destruction

My world changed forever

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Armed to the teeth

Is America too powerful for its own good?

~David Rose: Why the doves are wrong - again

Why should Bush take Europe seriously?

What Bush got right

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Western troops are vulnerable too

Focus: The future of War

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We saw him as a solution. In fact, he was the problem

Justice is on trial

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Old friends hold key to peace in Cyprus

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The rout of the Taliban: the inside story

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When our world changed forever

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~When our world changed forever (part three)

The making of the world's most wanted man

~The making of the world's most wanted man: Part 2

The suicide bomber who changed his mind

Dead man talking

~'Dear Tracy' - by mass killer Timothy McVeigh

Kosovo: the untold story

~Kosovo: the untold story (part two)

Kosovo's killing fields

The graduates of Robben Island

A chance to save the world



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Under the nuclear shadow

Arundhati Roy, Booker prize-winning author, looks at the conflict over Kashmir from her home in New Delhi

Observer Worldview

Sunday June 2, 2002
The Observer

This week as diplomats' families and tourists quickly disappeared, journalists from Europe and America arrived in droves. Most of them stay at the Imperial Hotel in Delhi. Many of them call me. Why are you still here, they ask, why haven't you left the city? Isn't nuclear war a real possibility? It is, but where shall I go? If I go away and everything and every one, every friend, every tree, every home, every dog, squirrel and bird that I have known and loved is incinerated, how shall I live on? Who shall I love, and who will love me back? Which society will welcome me and allow me to be the hooligan I am, here, at home?
We've decided we're all staying. We've huddled together, we realise how much we love each other and we think what a shame it would be to die now. Life's normal, only because the macabre has become normal. While we wait for rain, for football, for justice, on TV the old generals and the eager boy anchors talk of first strike and second strike capability, as though they're discussing a family board game. My friends and I discuss Prophecy, the film of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the dead bodies choking the river, the living stripped of their skin and hair, we remember especially the man who just melted into the steps of the building and we imagine ourselves like that, as stains on staircases.

My husband's writing a book about trees. He has a section on how figs are pollinated, each fig by its own specialised fig wasp. There are nearly 1,000 different species of fig wasps. All the fig wasps will be nuked, and my husband and his book.

A dear friend, who is an activist in the anti-dam movement in the Narmanda Valley, is on indefinite hunger strike. Today is the twelfth day of her fast. She and the others fasting with her are weakening quickly. They are protesting because the government is bulldozing schools, felling forests, uprooting handpumps, forcing people from their villages. What an act of faith and hope. But to a government comfortable with the notion of a wasted world, what's a wasted value?

Terrorists have the power to trigger a nuclear war. Non-violence is treated with contempt. Displacement, dispossession, starvation, poverty, disease, these are all just funny comic strip items now. Meanwhile, emissaries of the coalition against terror come and go preaching restraint. Tony Blair arrives to preach peace - and on the side, to sell weapons to both India and Pakistan. The last question every visiting journalist always asks me: 'Are you writing another book?'

That question mocks me. Another book? Right now when it looks as though all the music, the art, the architecture, the literature, the whole of human civilisation means nothing to the monsters who run the world. What kind of book should I write? For now, just for now, for just a while pointlessness is my biggest enemy. That's what nuclear bombs do, whether they're used or not. They violate everything that is humane, they alter the meaning of life.

Why do we tolerate them? Why do we tolerate the men who use nuclear weapons to blackmail the entire human race?

This was first broadcast on Radio 4's Today programme.

Kashmir crisis
Observer Worldview
02.06.2002: Britain in war zone rescue mission
02.06.2002: Nuclear neighbours teeter on brink of Armageddon
02.06.2002: Luke Harding in Delhi: The only question: when do you leave?
02.06.2002: Arundhati Roy: Under the nuclear shadow
02.06.2002: Leader: Madmen think the unthinkable
26.05.2002: 'If it kicks off, we will see fighting in Britain'.

View from Kashmir
10.02.2002: Muzamil Jaleel: My lost country
12.05.2002: The regional crisis: War at the top of the world

What the papers say
26.05.2002: World press: on the brink of war?
The weblog: more Kashmir comment

Special reports
Observer Worldview
Special report: Kashmir
Special report: Pakistan