Five Best Wednesday Columns

Kavitha A. Davidson on Donald Sterling and lingering racism, Alexis Okeowo on Nigeria's stolen girls, David Ignatius on the Syrian refugees yearning to go home, Elliot Ross on the stunt that exposed Europe's persistent racism, Geoffrey Lean wonders if global warming caused the Everest tragedy. 

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Kavitha A. Davidson at Bloomberg View on Donald Sterling and lingering racism. “Adam Silver wants you to know that he is really, really not David Stern. That's the main takeaway from today's remarkable press conference in which the new NBA commissioner banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the team and the league for life for making racist statements. In enacting the unprecedented penalty, the harshest possible, Silver is sending the message that he is not going to live in the owner's pockets. Time will tell if that is more than hot air,” Davidson writes. “At the same time, let's not fool ourselves into thinking this is somehow a perfect ending to an untenable situation. There's something cathartic about this moment, but I think that's more enthusiastic surprise amid our collective cynicism of the league's willingness or ability to take any significant action.”

Alexis Okeowo at The New Yorker on Nigeria’s stolen girls. “‘I thought it was the end of my life,’ Deborah Sanya told me by phone on Monday from Chibok, a tiny town of farmers in northeastern Nigeria. 'There were many, many of them.' Boko Haram, an Islamist terrorist group, kidnapped Sanya and at least two hundred of her classmates from a girls’ secondary school in Chibok more than two weeks ago. Sanya, along with two friends, escaped. The rest have vanished, and their families have not heard any word of them since,” Okeowo writes. “The circumstances of the kidnapping, and the military’s deception, especially, have exposed a deeply troubling aspect of Nigeria’s leadership: when it comes to Boko Haram, the government cannot be trusted.” The Guardian’s Enjoli Liston tweets, “Girl who escaped kidnap says militants dressed as military and told #NigerianSchoolgirls they'd take them to safety”.

David Ignatius at The Washington Post on the Syrian refugees yearning to go home. “Getting refugees such as Yousef Bargash back home from camps and squatters’ apartments in Jordan and other neighboring countries is at the heart of solving the Syria mess. But talking to refugees makes it obvious that this won’t happen unless conditions are more secure across the border,” Ignatius writes. “[The] Zaatari camp is the largest refugee camp in Jordan, with 107,000 residents when I visited Monday, and hundreds more coming every day. ‘Of course we want to go home,’ says Khalil Ismail al-Gothani, a refugee with eight kids living in the dust of Zaatari. ‘But who will protect us?’ That’s the heart of the matter, and it’s hard to see an answer that doesn’t include more military support for the Syrian opposition, a question that troubles the Obama administration and worries neighbors such as Jordan.”

Elliot Ross at Al Jazeera America on the stunt that exposed Europe's persistent racism. “Of course we should all applaud Barcelona’s flying fullback, Dani Alves, for his inspiring protest action during a Spanish league match Sunday. When a spectator threw a banana at the Brazilian footballer as a racist insult, he quickly picked it up, peeled it and ate it. But when it comes to finally exorcizing the specter of European racism, humor may not be enough,” Ross writes. “Sunday’s incident is not about some isolated individuals or a handful of idiots and morons, as some media and authorities have described racist supporters. Instead, the focus should be on the deep-rooted racism that persists across European societies, on the institutions and authorities whose years of lip service have so dismally failed to protect black players and on all those in the game, as in society, who stand silent and thus complicit.”

Geoffrey Lean at The Telegraph wonders if global warming caused the Everest tragedy. “It hasn't been much remarked upon during the anguished coverage in Europe and the United States of the deaths of 16 Sherpas in an avalanche on Mount Everest last week, but there is growing concern in the Himalayas that global warming may have played a part in the tragedy – and that it may go on to make the world's highest mountain unclimbable,” Lean writes. “Both Sherpas and western climbers are increasingly sounding the alarm, saying that climate change is seriously destabilizing the way up the mountain and making its ascent even more dangerous than before. Add to all this the increasing crowding of Everest – 4000 people have now reached the summit, with 800 making the attempt last year alone – and a disaster seems to have been waiting to happen.” Business Green’s James Murray tweets, “@GeoffreyLean explores Everest's climate risks”.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.