Weekly Review — March 1, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Tempest, December 1878]

In a unanimous vote, the United Nations Security Council imposed military and financial sanctions on Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, freezing his assets and placing an arms embargo on Libya. The Security Council also voted to open a war-crimes investigation based on Qaddafi’s brutal response to antigovernment protests; estimates of the death toll since protests began on Februay 17 range from hundreds to 2,000. Egyptian cleric Yusuf al Qaradawi, famous for his fatwas, ordered officers in the Libyan army to “shoot a bullet at Mr. Qaddafi,” and President Barack Obama called for Qaddafi to step down. Security forces loyal to Qaddafi reportedly shot protesters and ran them down with cars, while military aircraft were used to bomb rebels. As Qaddafi’s security forces comprising police, military, and African mercenaries gathered in Tripoli to defend the leader’s stronghold, Libyans hid inside their homes. “They won’t just shoot us,” said one Tripoli resident. “Maybe they will get revenge on the whole household, the whole family, even the whole street. These people have no mercy. We have known them for 42 years.” Qaddafi, who referred to protesters as “cockroaches,” appeared in Tripoli’s Green Square and promised that his government would “defeat any aggression,” then encouraged his supporters to “dance” and “sing and get ready.” He blamed the unrest on al Qaeda, who he claimed were “exploiting” Libyan youth by “putting hallucinogenic pills in their coffee with milk, like Nescafé.” WaPoAl JazeeraHaaretzWaPoAl JazeeraMSNBCBBCSky News

More than 70,000 protesters rallied in Madison, Wisconsin, against Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to strip public-sector unions of their collective-bargaining rights. The state’s Republican-controlled assembly passed Walker’s plan, while fourteen Democrats in the state senate continued hiding in Illinois to stall a vote in the upper house, where Republicans also hold a majority. Many non-union Wisconsin residents agreed with Walker’s crackdown. “I know there was a point for unions back in the day,” said Carrie Fox, who works for a billboard-advertising company. “But now there??s workers?? rights; there??s laws that protect us.” Vicki Guzman, a Canadian government employee who drove down from Guelph, Ontario, to join the protests, said, “It’s about solidarity, eh?” ReutersReutersChicago TribuneNYTDetroit planned to close a gap in its education budget by shuttering half the city’s schools and raising class sizes to 60 students, and the school board in Providence, Rhode Island, voted to fire all its nearly 2,000 teachers at the end of the year, which would allow the city to hire back teachers without honoring their union contract. Click On DetroitBoston GlobeA Texas college student and his friends created the Former Majority Association for Equality, which will offer scholarships worth $500 to deserving white men, and Warren Buffet, in his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, said America’s “best days lie ahead.”MSNBCBBCA Florida programmer of Whac-a-Mole games was charged with violating intellectual-property laws for planting computer viruses that caused the arcade games to shut down, thus ensuring more work for himself.Orlando Sentinel

The Philippines marked the 25-year anniversary of the 1986 People Power rebellion that unseated dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos’s son Bongbong, now a senator, suggested his overpopulated, underdeveloped nation would be “like Singapore” today had his father not been ousted.GMANews.tvA 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand, causing 30 million tons of ice to fall from a nearby glacier. More than 100 people died and hundreds more were missing; Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker warned survivors to prepare for “very black news.”NZ HeraldCNNNZ HeraldLouise Amantillo, a visiting 23-year-old student from the Philippines, was buried alive when the building housing her school collapsed. “Mommy, I got buried,” she texted her mother, whom she texted forty minutes later to say: “Mommy, I can’t move my right hand.” The final text before she died read: “Please, make it quick.”APA Chinese man slipped into a coma and died after three days of continuous online gaming with no sleep and little food, and Uzbekistan state television aired “Melody and Calamity,” a documentary made to persuade Uzbek youth to avoid the “pernicious influence of Western rock and rap music.” The program explained that “satanic music” like hip hop “was originated by inmates in prisons??that’s why rap singers wear wide and long trousers.”AFPAFP

Share
Single Page

More from Rafe Bartholomew:

Weekly Review April 26, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review January 4, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review October 19, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2019

Gimme Shelter

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Body Language

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Trash, Rock, Destroy

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Make Way for Tomorrow

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Red Dot

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Gimme Shelter·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I.

That year, the year of the Ghost Ship fire, I lived in a shack. I’d found the place just as September’s Indian summer was giving way to a wet October. There was no plumbing or running water to wash my hands or brush my teeth before sleep. Electricity came from an extension cord that snaked through a yard of coyote mint and monkey flower and up into a hole I’d drilled in my floorboards. The structure was smaller than a cell at San Quentin—a tiny house or a huge coffin, depending on how you looked at it—four by eight and ten feet tall, so cramped it fit little but a mattress, my suit jackets and ties, a space heater, some novels, and the mason jar I peed in.

The exterior of my hermitage was washed the color of runny egg yolk. Two redwood French doors with plexiglass windows hung cockeyed from creaky hinges at the entrance, and a combination lock provided meager security against intruders. White beadboard capped the roof, its brim shading a front porch set on cinder blocks.

After living on the East Coast for eight years, I’d recently left New York City to take a job at an investigative reporting magazine in San Francisco. If it seems odd that I was a fully employed editor who lived in a thirty-two-square-foot shack, that’s precisely the point: my situation was evidence of how distorted the Bay Area housing market had become, the brutality inflicted upon the poor now trickling up to everyone but the super-rich. The problem was nationwide, although, as Californians tend to do, they’d taken this trend to an extreme. Across the state, a quarter of all apartment dwellers spent half of their incomes on rent. Nearly half of the country’s unsheltered homeless population lived in California, even while the state had the highest concentration of billionaires in the nation. In the Bay Area, including West Oakland, where my shack was located, the crisis was most acute. Tent cities had sprung up along the sidewalks, swarming with capitalism’s refugees. Telegraph, Mission, Market, Grant: every bridge and overpass had become someone’s roof.

Post
Perhaps the World Ends Here·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Climate disaster at Wounded Knee

Article
Body Language·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I am eight years old, sitting in my childhood kitchen, ready to watch one of the home videos my father has made. The videotape still exists somewhere, so somewhere she still is, that girl on the screen: hair that tangles, freckles across her nose that in time will spread across one side of her forehead. A body that can throw a baseball the way her father has shown her. A body in which bones and hormones lie in wait, ready to bloom into the wide hips her mother has given her. A body that has scars: the scars over her lungs and heart from the scalpel that saved her when she was a baby, the invisible scars left by a man who touched her when she was young. A body is a record or a body is freedom or a body is a battleground. Already, at eight, she knows it to be all three.

But somebody has slipped. The school is putting on the musical South Pacific, and there are not enough roles for the girls, and she is as tall as or taller than the boys, and so they have done what is unthinkable in this striving 1980s town, in this place where the men do the driving and the women make their mouths into perfect Os to apply lipstick in the rearview. For the musical, they have made her a boy.

No, she thinks. They have allowed her to be a boy.

Article
Trash, Rock, Destroy·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The writer and filmmaker Virginie Despentes lives in a nondescript modern building in the Belleville neighborhood of Paris. I know it well: it has a Bricorama—like a French Home Depot—on the ground floor, where we sometimes had cause to shop back when we lived in the neighborhood. The people who work there seemed to hate their jobs more than most; they were often absent from the sales floor. In the elevator to Despentes’s apartment, I marvel that while I was trying to get someone to help me find bathroom grout she was right upstairs, with her partner, Tania, a Spanish tattoo artist who goes by the name La Rata, like someone out of one of Despentes’s novels.

In an email before our meeting, Despentes asked that we not do a photo shoot. “There are so many images available already,” she explained. Much had been written about her, too. A Google search yielded page after page: profiles, interviews, reviews, bits and bobs—she read from Pasolini at a concert with Béatrice Dalle; someone accused her of plagiarizing a translation; a teacher in Switzerland was fired for teaching her work. The week I met her, she appeared in the culture magazine Les Inrockuptibles in conversation with the rapper-turned-actor JoeyStarr. The woman is simply always in the news.

Article
The Red Dot·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

That night at the window, looking out at the street full of snow, big flakes falling through the streetlight, I listened to what Anna was saying. She was speaking of a man named Karl. We both knew him as a casual acquaintance—thin and lanky like Ichabod Crane, with long hair—operating a restaurant down in the village whimsically called the Gist Mill, with wood paneling, a large painting of an old gristmill on a river on one wall, tin ceilings, and a row of teller cages from its previous life as a bank. Karl used to run along the river, starting at his apartment in town and turning back about two miles down the path. He had been going through the divorce—this was a couple of years ago, of course, Anna said—and was trying to run through his pain.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

An eight-foot minke whale washed ashore on the Thames, the third beaching of a dead whale on the river in two months.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Jesus Plus Nothing

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

Subscribe Today