This week, I needed a break from our country’s political debacle. I don’t know about you, but it has all been weighing on me greatly. So instead, I wanted to learn new things and find out what was going on in the world beyond our borders. Thus, included in the readings this weekend are a number of stories I’ve been following closely on Twitter such as, #EndSARS, and the Armenia/Azerbaijan conflict. Also, did you know there was a Women’s KKK? See, you learn new things every day!
Rebellious History by Annette Gordon-Reed via The New York Review
In this essay, Annette Gordon-Reed asks how we tell the stories of those who have been silenced throughout history. How do we add their role in America to the history books when none of their history was documented? This essay really got me thinking, not only about how many stories have not been told, but also, how do we now attempt to tell them? How do we find the truth? Gordon-Reed goes on to discuss Saidiya Hartman’s Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, in which Hartman attempts to do just that. To tell the stories of the forgotten. I, of course, now have to add Hartman’s book to my reading list. (Read the essay.)
For the Sake of Democracy, Nigeria’s #EndSARS Campaign Against Police Brutality Must Prevail by Karen Attiah via The Washington Post
I have been following the #EndSARS movement on Twitter for the last week or so. It’s been harrowing for the protesters to say the least. The youth of Nigeria are in a fight for their lives, working to overthrow the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). There has been some progress, with the government saying they’ll disband the force, but it’s clear those officers will simply be reassigned and allowed to continue their violence elsewhere. As Karen Attiah underscores, “the energy and spirit of the Nigerian people is on display.” The protesters continue to take to the streets day after day, risking injury, arrest, and for some, death, in order to bring change to their country. There is solidarity to be found in the protests in the U.S. against police brutality, as citizens around the globe fight for freedom from the oppression of violent police forces. (Read the article.)
Reducing the Human Cost of the New Nagorno-Karabakh War via International Crisis Group
Perhaps you have seen reports in recent weeks about escalating fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. If you’re like me, you might have thought, “huh, that’s a region I don’t know much about. I wonder what instigated the violence?” This article from Crisis Group gives some great background on the decades long conflict, and insight as to what is currently happening between the two groups (as well as allies involved). I came away from this article with a better understanding of how this conflict started in the early 90s, and how things got to where they are today. Crisis Group has had continuing coverage on this topic, so feel free to check their site for even more information. (Read the article.)
A Brief History of the Women’s KKK by Emily Cantaneo via JSTOR Daily
Ah, the original Karens. The women’s wing of the KKK, better known as the WKKK, did some unique damage during its heyday. It makes total sense that the women would have their own branch of this hate group, separate from the men, but just as cruel. According to this essay, the WKKK “led ‘poison squads,’ or whisper networks, to destroy the reputations of anti-Klan political candidates,” among other things. They neatly tied their Klan duties into all the other social clubs they were already a part of. Where things take a turn in this essay, is when white supremacist women start to embrace feminism…definitely read on to find out how that goes. (Read the essay.)
Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
I have been needing a good escape read, and this new book by Charles Yu just hit the spot. I burned through it in one sitting. The story follows Willis Wu, who lives in Chinatown, and spends his life playing various roles: from Generic Asian Man to Background Oriental Male. His dream, however, has always been to become Kung Fu Guy. Yu’s book is a great combination of quirky and insightful, walking a balancing act between a screenplay and a novel. Through Willis, we are taken into the inner politics of being Asian in America, but most specifically being Asian in Hollywood in America. This book definitely deserves the acclaim of being a finalist for a National Book Award.
*Note: Header image this week is Jean-Michel Basquiat because sometimes you just need a little Basquiat in your life.