Lakshmi Chaudhry, a senior editor at Firstpost.com and a Nation contributing writer, is the author, with Robert Scheer and Christopher Scheer, of The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq, published by Akashic Books and Seven Stories Press.
The best read this morning is this amazing piece by Rolf Potts titled "Death of an Adventure Traveler" (via Arts and Letters Daily). The narrative traces his decision as a writer for what he describes as "a Major American Adventure Travel Magazine" to abandon his trade. The immediate reason: the disappearance, and perhaps death of a beloved Burmese friend.
The article delineates the stark and shameful contrast between the faux adrenalin-raising thrills sought by adventure tourists and the very real dangers faced by the people who call these "exotic" destinations home.
Here are some excerpts to encourage you to click through and read the article:
Here's an interesting -- and not always in a good way -- article from Der Spiegel on American Muslims. Its thesis is that American Muslims have responded in a positive and potentially empowering way to the challenges of post-9/11 America because the United States has a better immigration policy than European nations.
The article does an excellent job of highlighting the ways in which the American Muslim community has met post-9/11 racism with greater political participation, civic activism, and engagement -- rather than retreating into anger and alienation. The US press hasn't paid enough attention to this angle.
But a some of the language is problematic and just plain odd. Like the bit where the writer claims that "America's new Muslim immigrants now find themselves being associated with [black] people who were traditionally viewed as America's losers" because they now vote almost entirely for Democrats. Huh? There's an odd whiff (or should that be stink) of elitism that runs through the article, as in: Wealthy, educated immigrants are good; working class, uneducated immigrants, bad.
Watching the Michael Vick saga unfold over the past month has been a typically frustrating experience, as a woman, a person of color, and dog owner (or rather "pet guardian," as they insist upon in my oh-so PC hometown, San Francisco).
The entire nasty affair points to the ways in which any national "debate" – usually conducted by talking heads, lawyers, and a couple of celebrities on TV -- on race or gender in popular culture ends up mired in arguments that can at best be described as absurd, and at worst, damaging.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we can't seem to bring ourselves to talk about, say an important issue like racism unless there is a low-life like O. J. Simpson or Michael Vick facing charges for some reprehensible crime. Is this really the ideal context for a conversation that requires open minds, compassion, awareness, and a strong desire to do right?