Pirates for Iceland and Danes Against Donald: The Week in Global-Affairs Writing

The highlights from seven days of reading about the world

The entrance of the Icelandic Pirate Party headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland, September 19, 2016
The entrance of the Icelandic Pirate Party headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland (Stine Jacobsen / Reuters)

Even Danes Are Trying to Stop Donald Trump From Becoming President
Maria Murriel | PRI
“With less than three weeks before election day and three bizarre presidential debates behind us, an unexpected group is on the ground stumping hard for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton: the Social Democratic Youth of Denmark.

Forty members of the group have come to the US from Copenhagen to knock on doors and stop Republican nominee Donald Trump.

‘I'm afraid that if Trump is going to be the president, you'll have a US who are less concerned with the rest of the world, and when it’s concerned it’s maybe in a more aggressive way,’ says Lasse Quvang, one of the volunteers.”

* * *

Inside the Strange, Paranoid World of Julian Assange
James Ball | BuzzFeed News
“To an outsider, the WikiLeaks of 2016 looks totally unrelated to the WikiLeaks of 2010. Then it was a darling of many of the liberal left, working with some of the world’s most respected newspapers and exposing the truth behind drone killing, civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq, and surveillance of top UN officials.

Now it is the darling of the alt-right, revealing hacked emails seemingly to influence a presidential contest, claiming the US election is ‘rigged’, and descending into conspiracy. Just this week on Twitter, it described the deaths by natural causes of two of its supporters as a ‘bloody year for WikiLeaks’, and warned of media outlets ‘controlled by’ members of the Rothschild family—a common anti-Semitic trope.”

* * *

Iceland, a Land of Vikings, Braces for a Pirate Party Takeover
Griff Witte | The Washington Post
“[A] Pirate Party win would offer a vivid illustration of how far Europeans are willing to go in their rejection of the political mainstream, adding to a string of insurgent triumphs emanating from both the far left and far right.

To Jónsdóttir and other Pirate true believers—who define their party as neither left nor right, but a radical movement that combines the best of both—the election here could also be the start of the reboot that Western democracy so desperately needs.”

* * *

‘There Are No More Panes of Glass Left in Aleppo’
Raja Abdulrahim | Wall Street Journal
“The challenge of where to bury the dead is just one of the daily miseries afflicting the people living under a choking siege in Aleppo.

Some 300,000 people in the rebel-held, eastern side of the divided city are struggling under a blockade by the Assad regime imposed in July that has kept them from getting food, fuel and medicine. Heavy bombing by the regime and its ally Russia has brought the city to a breaking point after more than five grinding years of civil war.

‘The city of eastern Aleppo, at this rate, may be totally destroyed,’ said United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura earlier this month.”

* * *

Why Mexico Is Giving Out Half-a-Million Rape Whistles to Female Subway Riders
Kate Linthicum | The Los Angeles Times
“Nearly half of Mexican women have been subjected to rape, groping or other forms of sexual violence, according to the United Nations, which ranks Mexico among the most violent countries for women.

In recent years, there has been mounting outrage around the most notorious cases, including hundreds of unsolved killings of female factory workers in the border city of Juarez and a similar spate of killings in the state of Mexico.

But now activists are highlighting the harassment that many women face on a daily basis—and that leaders of the movement say sets the tone for the most serious violence.

The capital city’s chaotic mass transit system, which transports four million people each day, is ground zero.”

* * *

Iran: Inside the Battle to Succeed Supreme Leader Khamenei
Najmeh Bozorgmehr | Financial Times
“Reformists want to build on the progress they believe has been made by the centrist Hassan Rouhani, president since 2013, and are pushing for a moderate candidate. Hardliners are determined to do all in their power to stop them. A large number of other interests, from the Revolutionary Guards to the clerics in the holy cities of Qom and Mashhad, will have a say. Some are even privately suggesting that the position, introduced after the 1979 Islamic revolution to have a senior cleric in charge of the country, may no longer be necessary—raising questions over the future of the theocratic state.”