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.
“You Can’t Occupy This,” by Dahlia Lithwick and Raymond Vasvari. Slate, March 19, 2012.
If you think the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act sounds like a benign and inconsequential piece of legislation, think again. The act, passed with overwhelming support in Congress and signed into law on March 8th, contains small but significant language that threatens protesters and their right to assemble. This article outlines why a minor adjustment to this act is eroding rights and angering Occupy protesters.
Zoë Carpenter focuses on the intersection of economics, health and the environment.
“Bolivia Has Transformed Itself by Ignoring the Washington Consensus,” by Luis Hernández Navarro. The Guardian, March 21, 2012.
If panic in Europe and the lingering reach of the American recession—not to mention unchecked climate change and a health care crisis—tell us anything, it’s that our economic system is not delivering sustainable and equitable prosperity. While Navarro’s opinion piece on Bolivia’s alternative path to "living well" gives a simplistic view of the country’s successes, it is nevertheless a cogent reminder that we are not compelled to define "recovery" as a return to a failed system.
Umar Farooq focuses on the world-wide movement for democracy.
“‘Everyone’s Got Their Indian’ – I: Separations,” by M. Neelika Jayawardane. Chapati Mystery, March 14, 2012.
“We are not Indians. We are the poors." This long piece, the first of a pair, explores the place of Indian immigrants in South Africa. Never really able to find a place racially, they saw themselves through class.
Loren Fogel focuses on peace, power and political culture.
“Overstated Iranian ‘Threat’ Puts U.S. on Path to War,” by Jean Athey and Alex Welsch. The Baltimore Sun, March 19, 2012.
As the drumbeat for war with Iran continues, Jean Athey and Alex Welsch, of Peace Action’s Maryland chapters, push back against the trajectory of policy and another “preemptive” war of choice. They summarize where circumstances stand with concern for the language of SR 380, or the Liebermann-Graham bill, which has been co-sponsored by Maryland’s Senators, Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, and which offers ambiguity toward the difference between Iranian nuclear “capability” and the possession of nuclear weapons themselves. Recognizing that Iran currently does not pose a threat to the United States, they write: “We citizens of Maryland should hold our congressional delegation accountable and replace them if they do not show leadership for peace, diplomacy and rule of law.”
Connor Guy focuses on racism and race relations.
“The GOP Isn’t the Only Party That Must Face Younger, Browner Nation,” by Shani O. Hilton. ColorLines, March 16, 2012.
This article provides a much-needed reminder that progressives shouldn’t be complacent regarding the surging population of racial minorities (especially Latino/as) that have traditionally supported the Democratic Party. As Republicans try frantically, and often unsuccessfully, to court these growing minority groups, Democrats must remember that no one owes them a vote.
Ebtihal Mubarak focuses on human rights.
“Kneeling Toward Riyadh,” by Joy Lo Dico. Guernica, March 12, 2012.
The British Museum’s long history as one of the world’s most reputable historical institutions is under threat. Its Saudi-sponsored Hajj exhibition, which opened at the end of January and covers two millennia of the history of Mecca, purposely neglected the landmark 1979 Mecca siege that made the Saudi regime adopt the fundamentalists’ ideology. The headline sums it all: the west is kneeling toward Riyadh. Or, as Alec Baldwin better described it, oil whoring.
Hannah Murphy focuses on sex and gender.
“Gay Marriage Is Not a Human Right, According To European Ruling,” by Donna Bowater. The Telegraph, March 21, 2012.
The European Court of Human Rights declared yesterday that gay marriage is not a human right, arguing that it would violate churches’ rights to choose who to marry. This decision undermines much of the progress in the UK and the European Union to alter marriage laws and sets a precedent that could prove difficult to overcome, even beyond the EU.
James Murphy focuses on migration in the 21st century.
“Irish Emigration a Fact of Life but Not As Bad As It Could Be,” by Dan O’Brien. The Irish Times, March 22, 2012.
Emigration tends to be an emotive subject in Ireland; no less today. So when Dan O’ Brien, Economics Editor of the Irish Times, casts his forensic eye over the statistics and argues that the situation is "not as bad as it could be," a heated response is guaranteed.
Erin Schikowski focuses on the politics and business of healthcare.
“Greece on the Breadline: HIV and Malaria Make a Comeback,” by Jon Henley. The Guardian, March 15, 2012.
In Greece, austerity measures are contributing to healthcare problems so severe that Doctors Without Borders officials say the system is nearing breakdown. Among intravenous drug users in Athens, for example, the incidence of HIV/Aids increased by 1,250 percent from January to October last year, and malaria has reappeared while tuberculosis and Nile fever are on the rise.
Elizabeth Whitman focuses on the Syrian uprising, its implications and the wildly varied domestic and international reactions.
“Syria Crisis Causes Iran-led ‘Axis of Resistance’ to Fray,” by Scott Peterson. The Christian Science Monitor, March 16, 2012.
News of atrocities occurring in Syria has diminished in its novelty recently, though not in its importance or horror. The same can be said for the international political stalemate in ending the violence. More original material, however, can be found in analysis of its implications, such as this piece assessing the regional impact of the incalculable violence in Syria and the different stakes key players, including Hezbollah, Iran, Saudi Arabia and others, have in possible future outcomes.