This week, while most media spun out endless analyses of Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” gaffe and Kate Middleton’s topless photos, Nation interns turned their attention to other affairs—from new information revealing US culpability in a 30-year-old massacre, to a ballot box battle for labor rights in Michigan. The articles highlight destruction in Afghanistan, failures in the media (east and west), a positive step in the fight for transgender rights and much, much more.
Elisa Wouk Almino focuses on South America, particularly Brazil.
“Waste Land.” PBS.
Muniz is a New York-based Brazilian artist who, in this movie, thinks of creative ways to use garbage and recyclable materials, while also inspiring socially marginalized groups to contribute to his project. This project is an example of ways in which public art can modify and draw attention to public space.
Nader Atassi focuses on Middle Eastern politics and society.
“A Preventable Massacre,” by Seth Anziska. The New York Times, September 17, 2012.
On the 30th anniversary of the Sabra-Shatila massacre of Palestinian refugees, which were committed by Lebanese right-wing Phalangist forces with Israeli backing, Seth Anziska reveals new information obtained from the Israel State Archives on the United States’s role. The article details how the US had the opportunity to put strong pressure on Israel to prevent the massacre from occurring, but chose not to do so, which resulted in the deaths of at least 800 Palestinian civilians on September 16, 1982, many of whom were women and children. A must-read for those interested in US-Israeli relations, and for those who are interested in how international relations can affect history in dramatic ways.
Jeff Ernsthausen focuses on domestic politics and the influence of money on public institutions.
“Michigan a Key Battleground for Labor Rights with Votes on Emergency Managers, Collective Bargaining.” Democracy Now!, September 18, 2012.
On Tuesday, Democracy Now! traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan to spotlight critical issues facing residents in the economically depressed battleground state. In this segment, investigative reporter Paul Abowd of the Center for Public Integrity discusses two ballot proposals backed by progressives to ward off Republican efforts to curtail collective bargaining rights and limit democracy in urban areas under the mantle of fiscal austerity. Proposal 1 is a referendum on the controversial Public Act 4 of 2011, which expanded the powers of emergency financial managers appointed by the governor to takeover cities or school systems facing a fiscal crisis, giving them the power to dismiss publicly elected officials and unilaterally renegotiate collective bargaining contracts with public employee unions. Proposal 2 would create a constitutional amendment that would prioritize collectively bargained contracts over local and state legislation, preempting a possible GOP push for "right-to-work" legislation and invalidating laws infringing on negotiated contracts, such as those passed in recent years limiting teachers unions’s abilities to negotiate over issues such as evaluations and tenure. Full disclosure: Paul Abowd is a friend of mine.