It’s been a busy week to say the least, and I am ready for a nap. My days were filled with meetings, lesson planning, checking in on fires on the west coast, and trying to set up new technologies for the semester. Taking moments to read has been a great escape, even if the topics are sometimes daunting. I find letting my brain forget the day in front of me, even for a short while, can be refreshing. Hope this weekend’s list can be a brief escape for you as well.


In the Land of Kush by Isma’il Kushkush (photos by Matt Stirn) via Smithsonian Magazine

So often when we read about Sudan, we are reading stories of violence and suffering. And it is true, there has been and continues to be a great deal of suffering in the country. However, as we discover in this article, that’s not the country’s whole story. Isma’il Kushkush takes us into the world of ancient Sudanese civilizations, complete with pyramids, powerful female rulers, and royal cities. While Sudan’s ancient history is often overshadowed by Egypt and overlooked by scholars, the author noted that with the fall of President Omar al-Bashir, there has been renewed interest in discovering and sharing in this great history. (Read the article.)

Attorneys: Texas Border Facility is Neglecting Migrant Kids by Cedar Attanasio, Garance Burke and Martha Mendoza via AP News

There have been numerous articles out this week that have simply broken my heart. This is one of them. The fact of the matter is, things have not gotten better at the border, particularly for children. And even worse, these cruelties are out of the public consciousness currently. So people aren’t paying attention and raising a ruckus. This article in particular details the neglect of children at a facility in El Paso. It’s not the only place this is happening. I would encourage you to spend some time reading around the internet on this topic to get up to date on the danger children at the border are experiencing.

Those Boats in Texas Paraded at the Wrong Speed by Brendan Greely via Financial Times

We’re learning science, people! This was an entertaining–and informative–article about what exactly happened during that Trump boat parade in Texas. I learned things like that Republicans and Democrats apparently tend to buy different kinds of boats. And that the type of boats Republicans buy have a specific hull…and this hull had a lot to do with all the boats sinking? I honestly hope the Trump boaters read this article before they plan another parade so they don’t keep sinking their boats. (Read the article.)

The Wages of Whiteness by Hari Kunzru via The New York Review of Books

This one is a bit of a doozy. It is perhaps even three essays packed into one. I’d say it is best read with a glass of whiskey or a beer. The author, Hari Kunzru, traces the idea of “whiteness” back through history; from time of the Weather Underground, to the 1600s, and then today. There’s a lot to take in here; too much to summarize on this page. I will say that I learned a great deal, and I’m going back in for a second read through for all the things I missed. I’ll leave you with one quote from the Combahee River Collective. Kunzru explains that this group made the argument that the success of liberation movements on the whole could be judged based on the liberation of Black women. “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.” (Read the article.)


The Mysteries of Haditha by M.C. Armstrong

It’s been fun to dig into this book over the last few days. I worked with M.C. Armstrong when I was the managing editor at The Mantle, and he would send in awesome essays on DeLillo, or Edward Snowden. True to form, his memoir of his time in Iraq did not disappoint. I’ve found myself at points in the book reading from a distance, yelling at the 24-year-old M.C., “no, you’re not going to do that!!” “Please, please don’t go swimming downstream from the burn pits!” Luckily, I have the privilege of knowing he’s survived these adventures to write about them. Looking forward to finishing the book this week and seeing where this adventurous story goes. Also, I’d definitely suggest you pick up a copy. It’s a great read!

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