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News 17.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 17.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 17.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 17.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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LONDON — Sarah Everard is a name now etched in British history.

The killing of Ms. Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive who disappeared while walking home through a busy London borough on March 3 and whose remains were found a week later some 50 miles away, set off an extraordinary outpouring of grief and anger.

She joins the tragic company of murdered British women — among them Milly Dowler, Joy Morgan, Suzy Lamplugh, Rachel Nickell — in a country where over the past 10 years, on average, a woman is killed by a man every three days.

That tells a terrible story of sexism, misogyny and patriarchal violence. But the killing of Ms. Everard — suspected to be at the hands of a serving police officer — has exposed a deadly truth. In Britain, those entrusted to protect women from violence are actually enacting it. And the government’s response is to give them more power.

Perhaps Wayne Couzens, the police officer accused of Ms. Everard’s murder, could have been written off as a “bad apple.” But after Saturday, the police can have no such excuse.

On Clapham Common, the park close to where Ms. Everard disappeared, hundreds of women showed up to pay their respects at a vigil the authorities had banned on the grounds that it violated coronavirus restrictions. The gathering was peaceful, until suddenly it wasn’t. Night fell and the police moved in, body-slamming young women to the ground in pictures that appeared on the front page of many national newspapers the next day.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

News 17.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 17.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The confession, when it came, did not hold back. “For the better part of my adult life, every move I’ve made, every relationship I’ve formed, has been rooted in the napalm toxic soil of lies,” read the Medium post. It was published in September under the name of Jessica A. Krug, a George Washington University professor specializing in Black history. Krug had, she said, variously assumed the identities of “North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness.” She was actually a white Jewish woman from Kansas. “You absolutely should cancel me,” Krug wrote in her self-dramatizing mea culpa, “and I absolutely cancel myself.”

Krug had cultivated her assumed identity over several years, and used it to speak “authentically” about race in America. The deception appears to have begun while she was studying at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where Krug “used to identify as half Algerian, saying that her father was a white man of German ancestry who had raped her mother,” a fellow academic told The Cut. When Krug moved to New York, she became Afro-Latinx, and used the name “Jessica La Bombalera” for her activism. One of her former students said: “There was this theme in her teaching of being super-representative of her communities and saying that folks had destroyed it and gentrified it. Now looking back, she was talking about herself.”

One of the oddest aspects of the saga was that Krug’s assumed identity was so stereotypical as to be borderline unconvincing: She wore hoop earrings, crop tops, and “tight, tight cheetah pants” to class, and spoke with an exaggerated accent. She also took funding from a program designed for marginalized scholars. According to Gisela Fosado of Duke University Press, the publisher of Krug’s academic book, her scholarship “may not have ever existed without the funding that was inseparable from her two decades of lies.” And yet—the work was well regarded. The white, Jewish Jessica Krug could have had an academic career. What she would not have had was moral authority.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

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The Elle magazine article was a shocker. It went live a few days before Christmas and told a story of a journalist who lost her husband and her job because she fell in love with her source, who happened to be one of the most hated men on the planet, “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli. Why had Bloomberg News reporter Christie Smythe tossed away her “perfect little Brooklyn life” to pursue a seemingly doomed love affair with a sneering criminal known for jacking up medicine prices by 5,000 percent? And why had she then spilled her guts about it? I immediately wanted to dish about it. So did lots of other people. But in a pandemic, there are none of the usual gossipy gatherings.

Unless you were on Clubhouse.

Minutes after the story appeared, someone on Clubhouse had started a “room” to discuss it. Clubhouse, as you have no doubt heard, is an invitation-only audio social network that has drawn millions of people eager to socialize and listen in on an endless stream of conversations, as if all the text on Twitter, Facebook, and Interview magazine had acquired vocal cords. I joined the room titled “That Martin Shkreli Article” via the app on my iPhone, and my thumbnail profile photo was soon elevated from the “audience,” where people follow along as if listening to a podcast, to the “stage,” where you can unmute and contribute to the gabfest. I found myself among about a dozen people speculating about Smythe and the Pharma Bro. Maybe the whole thing was to solicit a movie deal? A scheme to help spring that nasty guy? We were talking out our asses.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

News 17.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 17.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Last summer a photograph of Syria’s First Lady circulated on social media. At the time, government troops in north-west Syria were battering the last pockets of rebel resistance to the regime. The picture showed Asma Assad, her husband Bashar al-Assad and their three children standing on a wind-swept hilltop, flanked by soldiers in camouflage. Bashar, dressed in an anorak, trainers and an untucked polo shirt, looks more suited to corralling the kids for a Sunday walk than torturing dissidents. Asma stands more stiffly, arms by her sides, wearing white jeans, trainers and the kind of aviator sunglasses beloved of Middle Eastern strongmen. She is at the centre of the photo; Bashar, president of Syria, hangs awkwardly at her shoulder.

The tranquillity of the landscape behind Asma is deceptive. Ten years on from the Arab spring, in which millions of people across the Middle East turned on repressive regimes, Syria’s ruling family has retained power – but at a terrible cost.

The regime’s forces have killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians, and tortured more than 14,000 people to death. Half the population have fled their homes, precipitating the greatest refugee crisis since the second world war. Iran and Turkey, as well as America and Russia, have fought proxy battles for influence on Syrian soil. Throughout the Arab world the hopeful dreams of a decade ago have been crushed, but nowhere more bloodily than in Syria.

Asma, however, is more powerful than she has ever been. Her journey to supremacy over this devastated land has been a winding one, and the road is littered with her many incarnations: a J.P. Morgan banker cutting late-night deals; the glamorous First Lady who thought social reform and sharp tailoring would modernise a pariah state; the Marie Antoinette of Damascus, shopping as her country burned; mother to the nation, battling cancer while her husband’s troops crushed insurgents.

Read the rest of this article at: The Economist

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News 17.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

At first, Ahmad Muaddamani was a distant voice coming through my computer speakers: a fragile whisper from a hidden basement. When I made contact with him on Skype, on 15 October 2015, he hadn’t left Darayya in nearly three years. Located less than five miles from Damascus, his town was a sarcophagus, surrounded and starved by the regime. He was one of 12,000 survivors.

They had been under fire from Bashar al-Assad’s rockets, barrel bombs and even a chemical weapon attack for many months. Syria’s president had besieged the town since November 2012. Like many others, Muaddamani’s family had packed their suitcases and escaped to a neighbouring town. They begged him to follow. He refused – this was his revolution, his generation’s revolution.

He had joined one of the first demonstrations in Darayya calling for change, in 2011. He remembered everything about his “first time”: his heart on fire. Losing his voice from shouting slogans. The joy of being there. It was his first sensation of freedom.

Muaddamani and other young rebels had stayed, not to defend their city, but to keep something in it alive. In the city under siege, he got hold of a video camera and finally realised his childhood dream: he would expose the truth. He joined the media centre run by the new local council. In the daytime, he roamed the devastated streets of Darayya. He filmed houses ripped apart, hospitals overflowing with the injured, burials for the victims, traces of a war invisible and inaccessible to foreign media. At night, he uploaded his videos to the internet.

One day in late 2013, Muaddamani’s friends called him – they needed some help. They had found books that they wanted to rescue in the ruins of an obliterated house.

“Books?” he repeated in surprise.

The idea struck him as ludicrous. It was the middle of a war. What’s the point of saving books when you can’t even save lives? He’d never been a big reader. For him, books smacked of lies and propaganda. After a moment of hesitation, he followed his friends through a gouged-out wall. An explosion had ripped off the house’s front door. The disfigured building belonged to a school director who had fled the city and left everything behind.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.