Conflicts, crises and struggles appear into the news media without much context. This is for two reasons. First, the compression of space – the brevity of a television news report or of the print media’s 300 word story – prevents any broad context from being offered to a readership which might not know how to assess a conflict, crisis or struggle. Second, the ideology of the governing class is one that proceeds with the premise that too much depth would give people too much understanding of how the world works. Far better to have a ‘free media’ that merely skims the surface, if it at all reports on a story. Shallow news reports saturated with corrosive ideological implications are what is on offer particularly when a crisis strikes. Events appear as a sudden crisis with no history.

From the Tricontinental, each month, we will produce a brief dossier on a current event that we believe requires some elaboration. These dossiers will provide a short anti-imperialist history of the crisis, offer interviews with key experts on the region and on the issue at stake and provide human stories of the people who are at the heart of the crisis.

To suggest crises that need elaboration or to offer information as well as stories for these events, please contact us at [email protected].


Water is a class issue. Its distribution has never been equitable. What the residents of Cape Town will struggle with is what more than one billion residents of informal settlements across the planet deal with each day. They too have little access to piped water and no sanitation system. They have to fetch water from afar and have to rely upon open fields to relieve themselves. What has already a afflicted the very poorest on the planet has now become a grave peril as it inflicts itself upon a major city. Our Dossier #2 looks closely at cities without water.

Tension remains across the Korean Peninsula. Despite moves to dissipate the dangerous rhetoric by both the North and South Koreans, the underlying threats remain in place. A reader of the mainstream – mostly Western – media would assume that the threats were all authored by North Korea, indeed that if the North simply gave up its nuclear weapons programme that all would be well. But this is not the whole story. Our Dossier no. 1: Crisis in the Korean Peninsula unravels the problems that bedevil the people of Korea.