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.
“Russia: Investigate Police Use of Force Against Peaceful Protesters,” Human Rights Watch, May 8, 2012.
This letter, in which Human Rights Watch urges Russia to investigate abuses against protestors by police, details police misconduct during the protests of May 6th and 7th. The letter alleges that the actions of some violent protestors became a blanket excuse for police to engage in "excessive use of force against protesters and arbitrary detentions" against those participating peacefully in actions. Though protests have been occurring intermittently since December, this is the first violent action recorded by HRW.
Zoë Carpenter focuses on the intersection of economics, health and the environment.
“Diary: In Fukushima,” by Rebecca Solnit. London Review of Books, May 10, 2012.
Rebecca Solnit has a track record for shining new light on high-profile disasters, and this time she turns her attention to last year’s tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan. In her lyrical narrative, Solnit probes the disasters’ impact on the relationship between citizens and the Japanese government, focusing on the alienation and distrust that many Japanese felt after the coupled disasters.
Umar Farooq focuses on the world-wide movement for democracy.
“For Israel, Punishing Palestinians Is Not Enough,” by Amira Hass. Haaretz, May 2, 2012.
Nearly 2,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israel have been on hunger strike for weeks now, demanding improvements in prison conditions and the lifting of restrictions like the one on family visits. Israel’s open-ended detention policy has touched the lives of many Palestinians; almost all males have been to prison or have family members who have. Since this piece by Amira Hass, Israel’s highest court has refused the appeal of two hunger strikers that were challenging their detention. With international pressure from the UN and human rights groups mounting, it is unclear if Israeli authorities will make concessions.
Loren Fogel focuses on peace, power, and political culture.
“Military-Crippling Sequester Must Be Stopped,” by Reps. Buck McKeon and Paul Ryan. Real Clear Politics, May 9, 2012.
As Chairmen of the House Armed Services and Budget Committees, Representatives Buck McKeon and Paul Ryan wrote today of the need to “spare our troops from the consequences of Washington’s failures.” With the prospect of sequestration or across the board budget cuts still looming over the inability of Congress and the White House to come to consensus on federal budgetary priorities, the Chairmen, along with an overwhelming majority of their Republican colleagues in Congress, are choosing to protect the bloated defense budget over food stamp programs and federal employee pensions. Notice how their article is wrapped around a large ad for Lockheed Martin, which is one of the largest defense contractors in the world and a company that has secured the most expensive defense project of all time. It is estimated that the F-35 fighter jet program will cost $1.51 trillion over its life cycle.
Connor Guy focuses on racism and race relations.
“Elizabeth Warren’s Native American Question,” by Amy Davidson. The New Yorker, May 8, 2012.
Elizabeth Warren’s recent remarks about her race, are, at worst, not very politically calculated. But Scott Brown and conservative pundits, predictably, used them as a jumping off point to spout more of the same, tired lines about ending or curbing affirmative action. Amy Davidson gives us, with this article, a fair, balanced account of the scuffle.
Ebtihal Mubarak focuses on human rights.
“Ezzedine Errousi, a Moroccan Prisoner of Conscience, Released: 134 Days on Hunger Strike.” Jadaliyya, May 2, 2012.
The Arab Spring is not over yet. It’s long journey to achieve liberty and equality will most likely occupy the coming years. From the Bahrain, Saudi, Palestine to Morocco many activists, following the steps of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are advocating for nonviolent struggle and defying dictatorships with hunger strikes, and they shall conquer.
Hannah Murphy focuses on sex and gender.
“Why Conservatives Believe in Anti-Gay Pseudo-Science,” by Chris Mooney. AlterNet, May 3, 2012.
Now in the wake of the passage of North Carolina’s Amendment One, Chris Mooney addresses the common reasons that voters oppose gay marriage—debunking the folklore and pseudo-science that has long supported the anti-gay marriage vote.
James Murphy focuses on migration in the 21st century.
“What Football Teaches Us About Creating a Thriving Jobs Market,” by Boris Johnson. The Telegraph, May 7, 2012.
Boris Johnson, the recently reelected Mayor of London, is the Conservative Party’s shining star, his popularity eclipsing that of party leader, Prime Minister David Cameron. The key to the tow-headed, nimble-tongued politician’s success is his unique brand of Tory populism, illustrated perfectly in a recent Telegraph op-ed in which he uses the English football team to get to the heart of the subject of immigration.
Erin Schikowski focuses on the politics and business of healthcare.
“Study: Many Clinical Trials Small, of Poor Quality,” by Alexander Gaffney. Regulatory Focus, May 2, 2012.
A study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that most clinical trials performed in the United States are small and of inconsistent, often poor quality. I was surprised that it did not receive more mainstream media attention because the number of registered clinical trials has increased sharply in recent years, from 28,900 between 2004 and 2007 to 41,000 between 2007 and 2010.
Elizabeth Whitman focuses on the Syrian uprising, its implications and the wildly varied domestic and international reactions.
“Syria Uprising Creates Fear of Chemical Weapons Spread,” by Anthony Deutsch. Reuters, May 3, 2012.
Reporting on the issue of chemical weapons, of which Western countries believe Syria possesses an arsenal including mustard gas and VX nerve agent, has been surprisingly sparse since the beginning of this year. Even with coverage from Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, Wired, and antiwar.com on US concern about the possibility that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would use these weapons against opponents of his regime as he grows more desperate or that the weapons could fall into the wrong hands, the issue does not figure prominently in international discussion about the Syrian crisis. Whether or not the administration is cultivating, through occasional public speculation about Syria’s chemical weapons and even draft plans to seize them, the justification for intervention (multilateral or not) in Syria when the situation becomes more convenient is an interesting and disturbing question to consider, particularly when this article calls attention to the obvious: the similar concerns that led to the invasion of Iraq.