From Nation Interns: This Week’s Top Stories (1/26)

From Nation Interns: This Week’s Top Stories (1/26)

From Nation Interns: This Week’s Top Stories (1/26)

Every week, interns at The Nation try to cut through the echo chamber and select an important article in their area of interest that they feel deserves more attention.


Our media coverage is often dominated by one big story that crowds out most 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

Laura focuses on human rights and revolution.

Tahrir Square: A Year in Graffiti,” by Wendell Steavenson. The New Yorker, January 24, 2012.

Sometimes words are not quite enough to capture moments in time. As we reflect on the Tahrir uprising and the sometimes awkward tension between where it was and where it is going, a collection of the year in graffiti illuminates as much, if not more, of the revolution than post hoc analysis can.

Zoë Carpenter

Zoë focuses on the intersection of economics, health and the environment.

Utah Doctors Join the Occupy Movement,” by Dr. Brian Moench. Truthout, January 22, 2012.

Big money isn’t just a threat to democracy and equality—it’s also a public health hazard. Dr. Moench explains why a group of physicians in Utah is suing the world’s third largest mining corporation and why health justice matters for the 99 percent.

— Umar Farooq

Umar focuses on the world-wide movement for democracy.

Where’s the ‘Bread, Freedom and Social Justice’ a Year After Egypt’s Revolution?” by Mariz Tadros. The Guardian, January 25, 2012.

Class divisions, like the one between Occupy Wall St. and Occupy the Hood, are powerful shapers of peoples’ identities but often overlooked by media, as we run the simple, catchy stories. The Egyptian revolution is no exception. There is plenty of blame to go around, but it seems like in Egypt, freedom and hunger go hand-in-hand.

— Loren Fogel

Loren focuses on peace, power and political culture.

U.S. Companies Key to Gulf Missile Shield.” United Press International, January 9, 2012.

It’s been twenty-nine years since President Reagan first proposed that the United States invest in ballistic missile defense capabilities, “to keep the peace well into the next century.” Well, we are now in that next century, and though the Cold War is allegedly over and the Soviet Union has become but a distant memory, cutting edge missile defense technologies are proliferating rapidly. Iran’s perceived nuclear ambitions are cited as a key impetus for the development and deployment of such capabilities, but the strategic and financial commitments being made look like something else—the construction of a 21st century global security armature that is likely to foster overconfidence in the ability to deter risk and neglect the art of diplomacy.

— Connor Guy

Connor focuses on racism and race relations.

Banning Books in Tucson,” by Dennis Bernstein., January 21, 2012.

It seems that far right extremists in Tucson, Arizona have found a way to simultaneously attack their two least favorite things: brown people and intellectualism. As this article details, conservative state politicians have shut down a highly successful ethnic studies program in Tucson and banned a number of very intelligent, cogent books by Native American and Mexican-American authors. Their reasoning? They were "offended" by lessons about whites oppressing minorities. What Newt Gingrich started when he riled Tea Party ideologues by suggesting that racism is gone forever comes to its inevitable conclusion here: the forced suppression of the idea that racism ever existed.

— Ebtihal Mubarak

Ebtihal focuses on human rights.

Egypt’s Election Results Are None of Israel’s Business,” by Lisa Goldman. +972, January 22, 2012.

No one said it better than Lisa Goldman in +972 online magazine—whatever the immediate outcome is, democracy remains Egypt’s only remedy after decades of dictatorship rule. The discourse that Egyptians’ freedom might jeopardize Israel’s stability is frivolous, not to mention patronizing.

— Hannah Murphy

Hannah focuses on sex and gender.

The Parade Is the Pride of Serbia,” by Phil Hoad. The Guardian, January 24, 2012.

In October 2010, 5,000 Serbian police guarded a 1,000 marchers in Belgrade’s Gay Pride parade, as rioters fired shots and threw petrol bombs into the crowd; the violence was so severe, that in the following year, the parade was cancelled all together. But in 2011, "Parada," (The Parade) a cheeky but indicting comedy about a policeman at the Parade stole the Serbian box office, and is now being screened in Serbian schools to help stimulate debate—their goal: a riot-free 2012 Parade.

— James Murphy

James focuses on migration in the 21st century.

Homesick: Why Chinese Migrants Will Take 3.2 Billion Trips Over 40 Days,” by Helen Gao. The Atlantic, January 26, 2012.

In an election year it can be easy to forget that ‘migration’ has a meaning beyond the Rio Grande. Migration is a global phenomenon, and often internal: In China, city dwellers now outnumber rural dwellers for the first time as more people seek better economic opportunities. At this time every year, millions of Chinese return to their families for the holiday period. Gao’s feature in The Atlantic captures the scale and struggle of the annual Chinese New Year migration. Three billion journeys are made during this period—all within her borders.

— Erin Schikowski

Erin focuses on health and environmental politics.

Docs more likely to suspect abuse in poor kids,” by Amy Norton. Reuters, January 20, 2012.

According to a study published earlier this month, physicians may be more likely to suspect physical abuse when treating injured children from lower-income households, as compared with children from higher-income households. Surprisingly enough, the researchers concluded that race had no significant effect on the percentage of doctors who suspected abuse. Although these findings could have significant implications, they have been ignored by most mainstream news organizations.

— Elizabeth Whitman

Elizabeth focuses on the Syrian uprising, its implications and the wildly varied domestic and international reactions.

Why Russia Is Willing to Sell Arms to Syria,” by Fred Weir. The Christian Science Monitor, January 19, 2012.

Russia’s support for the Assad regime—and its resistance to any collective international action—in Syria is  unsurprisingly rooted in self-interest, this article explains, with financial considerations playing a leading role. Still, though Russia and Syria have been longtime allies and Russia still reaps hefty profits from arms sales to Syria, other factors bolster Russia’s support for the Assad regime, including the desire to oppose interference in a sovereign nation, especially when Russia is confronting its own domestic unrest.

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