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.
“No Parties, No Banners: The Spanish Experiment with Direct Democracy,” by Gianpaolo Baiocchi and Ernesto Ganuza. Boston Review, January/February 2012.
Frustrated citizens, unclear demands, populist anti-bank sentiments—it may sound like Occupy Wall Street, but this description applies to Spain’s indignados, a movement that predates and influenced Occupy. While the similarities are striking, this piece does a good job of illuminating the differences between the two movements—both in content and context—and provides a useful explanation of an important movement we can learn from.
Zoë Carpenter focuses on the intersection of economics, health and the environment.
“Reproductive Health Locked Up,” by Sara Mullen and Carol Petraitis. ACLU, February 16, 2012.
This new report from the ACLU on the inadequacy of health services for women in the criminal justice system opens a new angle in the reproductive healthcare debate and raises yet more questions about an increasingly incarcerated America. The report reveals that the thousands of women who cycle through the jail system—often for nonviolent offenses—are often unable to access healthcare to which they are legally entitled.
Umar Farooq focuses on the worldwide movement for democracy.
A decades-long insurgency and military crackdown in the Pakistani province of Balochistan is making waves in that country’s politics, as leaders condemn a recent American congressional bill that would call for the region’s independence, including the parts in Iran and Afghanistan. As the Pakistani Supreme Court continues ground-breaking hearings into thousands of missing persons, many of them Baloch, this article focuses on the story of one of those “disappeared.”
Loren Fogel focuses on peace, power and political culture.
“NATO Will Switch On Its (Tiny) Missile Shield in May,” by Spencer Ackerman. Wired.com, February 2, 2012.
Last week’s article submission concerned the procurement of police gear in preparation for G8 and NATO summits that will be held this May in Chicago. While police and protesters face one another out in the streets, inside the NATO summit attendees will be focused on the strategic future of the world’s only military bloc. High on the agenda will be an announcement declaring the operational launch of the first phase of the “phased adaptive approach” to European-based missile defense capabilities. As Spencer Ackerman notes: NATO is “sending the message that a European missile shield is an irreversible fact that missile-wielding adversaries have to adjust to.” In these dangerous times, there is little room for error, misjudgment, miscommunication or the failure of diplomacy.
Connor Guy focuses on racism and race relations.
“Counting Justices,” by Scott Jaschik. Inside Higher Ed, February 22, 2012.
This is an important case that warrants close attention, particularly because it will likely be argued this autumn, just as the media’s obsessive fixation on the presidential race reaches its apex. Ironically, though, the case does highlight an important facet of the presidential race: whoever wins may have the opportunity to appoint one or more Supreme Court justices. Remember, this affirmative action case wouldn’t even be a question if George W. Bush never had the chance to appoint Samuel Alito when Sandra Day O’Connor retired.
Ebtihal Mubarak focuses on human rights.
“Peaceful Protest Can Free Palestine,” by Mustafa Barghouthi. The New York Times, February 21, 2012.
"Over the past 64 years, Palestinians have tried armed struggle; we have tried negotiations; and we have tried peace conferences," starts Mustafa Barghouti. His eloquent op-ed displays much frustration, but is followed immediately with a very promising approach to the Palestinians plight. Peaceful protests, represented by Khader Adnan’s hunger strike, are inspiring Palestinians to seek the last and most effective path for their just cause.
Hannah Murphy focuses on sex and gender.
“How an Abortion Divided America,” by Guy Adams. The Independent, February 16, 2012.
Jennie McCormack, a single mother of three in a small Southern Idaho town, learned that she was pregnant again last autumn. Unable to support a fourth child—or even the cost of the three hour trip to the nearest Planned Parenthood in Salt Lake City—McCormack ordered RU-486, a drug to induce a miscarriage. Self-administered abortions are illegal in Idaho (a previously unenforced law), but in the midst of this campaign culture war, McCormack has now become the center of a case that may become our newest Roe v. Wade.
James Murphy focuses on migration in the 21st century.
“David Goodhart on Immigration and Multiculturalism,” by Alec Ash. The Browser, February 21, 2012.
The United Kingdom is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, and has had its fair share of success and failure in accommodating its multicultural population. David Goodheart, founder of Prospect magazine and the current director of London-based think tank Demos, is writing a book on the history of British immigration. In this wide-ranging interview with Alec Ash of The Browser, Goodheart discusses the process of British multiculturalism, citing five other books to further enlighten the reader.
Erin Schikowski focuses on the politics and business of healthcare.
“Bureaucracy May Be Putting Lives At Risk, Europe.” Medical News Today, February 15, 2012.
This article covers a European Parliament meeting held last week, where critics of a 2001 EU directive had an opportunity to discuss its shortcomings. Although the directive was designed to standardize clinical-trial regulation, critics say a lack of coordination and large increases in bureaucracy have had a detrimental effect on academic clinical research and may put children and adolescents with rare forms of cancer at risk. This will be an interesting story to watch in the coming months as a proposed revision of the directive is to be sent for legislative review in September.
Elizabeth Whitman focuses on the Syrian uprising, its implications and the wildly varied domestic and international reactions.
“Underground Medical Expertise Refined in Syrian Crucible,” by Ivan Watson and Kareem Khadder. CNN, February 22, 2012.
In the northern province of Idlib, the Syrian regime and its army are targeting the opposition’s medical workers, who are cobbling together an underground medical network to aid the wounded and prepare for the possibility of a far more brutal assault. But they are extremely short on medical supplies, and Syrian government is arresting and torturing medical workers. The story depicts both the resourcefulness and the desperation of the Syrian opposition in Idlib.