The Trauma of Facing Deportation
Rachel Aviv | The New Yorker
“The next day, a doctor inserted a feeding tube through Georgi’s nostril. ‘He showed no resistance,’ Soslan said. ‘Nothing.’ Georgi was given a diagnosis of uppgivenhetssyndrom, or resignation syndrome, an illness that is said to exist only in Sweden, and only among refugees. The patients have no underlying physical or neurological disease, but they seem to have lost the will to live. The Swedish refer to them as de apatiska, the apathetic. ‘I think it is a form of protection, this coma they are in,’ Hultcrantz said. ‘They are like Snow White. They just fall away from the world.’”
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Ursula Lindsey | Places Journal
“The new capital of Egypt has no residents. It doesn’t have a local source of water. It just lost a major developer, the Chinese state company that had agreed to build the first phase. You might say the planned city in the desert 45 kilometers east of Cairo doesn’t have a reason to exist. Urban planner David Sims told the Wall Street Journal, ‘Egypt needs a new capital like a hole in the head.’
What the project has going for it is a president who likes to talk big. Five million inhabitants big. An amusement park ‘four times the size of Disneyland’ big. Seven hundred hospitals and clinics, 1,200 mosques and churches, 40,000 hotel rooms, 2,000 schools—that kind of big. Yes, and fast, too. Standing with the Emir of Dubai beside a model of the new city, in March 2015, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi declared that construction would proceed immediately. ‘What are you talking about, ten years?’ He turned to his housing minister. ‘I’m serious. We don’t work that way. Not ten years, not seven years. No way.’”
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The Living Disappeared
Bridget Huber | California Sunday
“Some 500 children are thought to have disappeared during the dictatorship. Some were stolen when their parents were abducted, but most were born in Argentina’s torture centers. After women gave birth, they were considered as worthless as any other prisoner. In the Pozo de Banfield, the guards often made new mothers clean the makeshift maternity room right after delivery. Some postpartum women were dropped from planes into the Río de la Plata’s turbid waters; others were executed and dumped into mass graves or burned in the crematoriums that operated day and night. In a final erasure, the dictatorship’s operatives stripped the women’s babies of their identities—many were kept as spoils of war by people close to the regime. Others were abandoned at orphanages or sold on the black market.”
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The Female Free Divers of Jeju
Emily Cataneo | Roads & Kingdoms
“No one’s quite sure when Jeju’s inhabitants first started harvesting shellfish from the ocean floor. Archaeologists have found evidence of shellfish-gathering from as far back as 300 B.C.E., while the first historical mention of divers appeared in a court document from 1460. These early haenyeo contributed to a shell trading network with China and Japan. Then, at some point in the 1600s, women started taking over the diving work. This could be because foreign wars drained Jeju’s men away from the island; it could be because women’s earnings were exempt from the onerous taxes imposed by the Korean king in this era. No one knows for sure. But for whatever reason, the haenyeo became exclusively female, a tradition that’s endured until today.”
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Britain: An Economy on the Brink
Simon Head | New York Review of Books
“With half of British goods exports going to other nations in the EU, and with the UK’s service industries, especially banking, heavily dependent upon unfettered access to the EU single market, the stakes for Britain in the forthcoming negotiations could not be higher. Even before the negotiations have begun there are multiple signs that Britain is heading for economic disaster—all the more unsettling in view of the apparent lack of awareness of this threat on the part of Prime Minister Theresa May and her ministers.
A crucial issue weighing on the negotiations is the future of the many global manufacturing and financial services corporations that are now located in Britain. Most of these firms are in the UK because of its membership, until now, in the European single market. Even before Britain officially gave notice of its intention to withdraw, five leading global banks with a strong presence in London’s financial district—Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citicorp, UBS, and HSBC—announced that they would be moving parts of their operations to countries in the EU.”
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Why Doesn’t China Rein in North Korea?
“China has done something. It agreed to abide by the most recent round of United Nations economic sanctions on the North and in February suspended its purchases of North Korean coal for the rest of the year. Coal is the largest source of foreign exchange for the isolated country. Mr Xi is widely thought to be furious at Mr Kim, blaming him for the assassination in February of his own half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, who had close ties to China and had lived in Macau under Chinese protection. The trouble is that while Chinese policy has changed a little, American policy seems to be changing a lot. ‘If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will,’ Donald Trump recently told the Financial Times. ‘The policy of strategic patience has ended,’ his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said in March, adding, ‘All options are on the table.’ For the Americans, the threat of a North Korean ICBM capable of hitting California is proving a game-changer.”
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