Our media coverage is often dominated by one big story that crowds out nearly everything else. As an antidote, every week, Nation interns try to cut through the echo chamber and choose one good article in their area of interest that they feel should receive more attention. Please check out their favorite stories below, watch for this feature each week and use the comments section below to alert us to any important articles you feel warrant broader attention.
Laura Bolt focuses on human rights and revolution:
“Cairo, Hers Again,” by Ahdaf Soueif. Guernica, February 2012.
This is a story of the Egyptian uprising as seen by a writer who contemplates the personal history of her city and her evolving relationship with it. A subtle essay with a unique perspective, Ahdaf Soueif reclaims Cairo from a tumultuous political history and makes it her own again.
Zoë Carpenter focuses on the intersection of economics, health, and the environment:
“Atomic Bread Baking at Home,” by Aaron Bobrow-Strain. The Believer, February 2012.
What starts out as the author’s lighthearted attempt to re-create the perfectly homogenized, soft and insipid industrial white loaves that are emblematic of 1950s America becomes an investigation of the politics of healthy eating in America. As he traces the rise of industrial food through one essential product, Bobrow-Strain demonstrates how layers of research, marketing and nationalism influence us as we troll the aisles of the grocery store, and raises surprising questions about contemporary food reform movements.
Umar Farooq focuses on the world-wide movement for democracy:
“Amid NGOs Foreign Funding Row, Poll Shows Most Egyptians Oppose US Aid,” by Reem Abdellatif. Daily News Egypt, February 7, 2012.
A recent Gallup poll shows the vast majority of Egyptians would like to see US-funded NGOs gone, along with the $1.5 billion in military and economic finances the US gives to Egypt every year, in exchange for its peace with Israel. Compare this to the media blitz by American officials and publicly-funded NGOs, who are angry about the Egyptian government’s investigation into their activities in post-Mubarak Egypt. Dozens of their workers in Egypt have been arrested under suspicion that the NGOs are operating without a license, instigating strife between the army and civilians, and supporting the campaigns of political parties favorable to the West.
Loren Fogel focuses on peace, power and political culture:
This week, Daniel Serwer, a lecturer and scholar in Conflict Management at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a former leader of innovation and peacebuilding at the United States Institute of Peace, made efforts to reassert the term nonviolence into geopolitical debates over how and how not to approach the currently escalating crisis and conflict in Syria. Amidst growing calls for armed intervention or for the offering of material support to the Free Syria Army (FSA), which could amount to civil war, Serwer points out that insurgent action against the Assad regime could provoke an even deadlier response from a government that has already killed hundreds of its own citizens. In his words, “There is nothing inevitable about the fall of this or any other regime — that is little more than a White House talking point. What will make it inevitable is strategic thinking, careful planning, and nonviolent discipline. Yes, even now.”