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Mission statement by the editors

Dante and Beatrice by Michael Parkes

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Bringing a magazine to life almost from scratch requires a sort of alchemy. We begin with naked pages and then envision in the mind’s eye how to animate them with the written word, with compelling stories and ideas, and with images that will also capture the imagination.

After labouring to bring you something we can be proud of, once-lifeless paper becomes what you now hold in your hands – a tangible, physical fact, a copy of Dantemag . But we don’t rest on our laurels. We believe our reach should always exceed our grasp, so we pledge to succeed even better next time. A magazine is indeed a living entity, an evolution, a perpetual work in progress. We will keep striving for new heights every time we go to print, and keep capturing your gaze and holding your attention.

We exist online as well as in hardcopy and we embrace the web universe as one of the crucial communications arteries of our age. But when the impending death of the magazine format is pronounced, we resist such grave predictions. Perhaps it is quixotic to pursue a handmade artifact of ink and paper in our times, to try to compete with the deluge of information available on the internet and shouting from television screens. But we find an artisanal pleasure in doing what we do. Some of us can still remember when we lovingly assembled pages with scissors and glue, counting the column inches and measuring headlines with a ruler and pencil. We adamantly hold to the notion that a computer screen can never quite provide the same comfort, the unabashed pleasure, the tactile intimacy of turning the pages of a magazine, of immersing oneself in its private universe. So, we persevere in our mission to keep bringing you what we hope is a wellcrafted, incisive, entertaining and thought-provoking publication. We exist because of you, our readership and thus offer heartfelt thanks for giving us the opportunity to practise our craft and to keep classic journalistic, core values breathing – even as those too are decried as moribund. DANTEMAG is alive and kicking and we are delighted you are reading our second issue.

We promised in our premiere edition not to see the world through rose-tinted glasses, not to pull our punches. We won’t mince our words now. We’re a pan-European and transatlantic magazine with global perspectives and we would be remiss if we ignored the current state of international affairs.

The planet is in profound crisis and we need look at only a few issues to know it squarely. Economic woes range far and wide. The euro is fragile and not remotely assured of being spared from collapse. A looming second Recession could well metamorphose into a new Depression, in time. Far- right parties and with them their pathologies keep gaining new ground everywhere.

Yet we live in a fascinating era, the world has grown much smaller, we communicate amongst ourselves as we never could before. Globalisation is not just the scourge of McDonalds and Starbucks. We are closer than ever to achieving a genuine global community even if much work remains. Human beings are remarkably resilient. The hope for a better tomorrow has not been stamped out, even if it must be fought for. And in crisis, humanity has not lost its genius for invention when necessity demands it. In medicine we are making inroads into better contending with both AIDS and cancer. There have been remarkable advancements in the quest for alternative clean energy sources, especially from the miraculous and life-giving power of the sun. Not all of us are deaf to the reality of climate change. We seek new ways to preserve the oceans, detoxify them and replenish fish stocks. We are beginning to understand that organic farming can feed us efficiently and multiply the food supply dramatically without forcing us to ingest pesticides. For all that we have ravaged the earth, eco-conservation is now a voice that cannot be silenced and many work to preserve the patrimony of the natural world, although it is a never-ending struggle. We possess the technology to reclaim deserts and barren soil.

In the arts, in literature, in music, in film, in all creative endeavours, ours is as a potent a world civilization as any in history. And the simple fact that so many people are taking to the streets in virtually every continent is perhaps less a sign of our disintegration,than rather our capacity for renewal, our thirsty hope, our ability to shape the world anew with courage and determination. The demand for the upholding of human rights has never been louder. The human spirit is not broken and our world need not be irreparable.

So, instead of urging you to run into the bunker, we say step into the light, be the light, seek it within yourselves and add your light to the sum of light, however best you can. Do not hide; face the world head on, for it is still filled with the promise of greatness. All of us at Dantemag wish you a joyful and fruitful New Year. We leave you with a quote from our namesake to help bolster you greeting the New Year. “We climbed up. Until I finally saw through a round opening the beauteous things which Heaven holds. And there we came out to see, once more, the stars.”

Dante and Beatrice (Alias the editors)

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