Weekly Review — July 22, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

The “mystery” of who shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17; the theater of war in Gaza; and ritual crime in Iceland

“His Majesty Frank Penguin, King of the Brutes” (January 1857)

“His Majesty Frank Penguin, King of the Brutes” (January 1857)

One day after U.S. president Barack Obama imposed new economic sanctions on Russia as punishment for providing weapons and fighters to separatist militias in eastern Ukraine, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over Ukraine with a Russian-made SA-11 missile system, killing all 298 people on board.[1][2][3] Armed separatists took possession of the plane’s black boxes, blocked European investigators from entering the crash site, and withheld the victims’ bodies before allowing three Dutch forensics experts access to the refrigerated rail cars where the bodies were being stored.[4][5][6][7] The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that five Ukrainian air-defense systems were within firing range of the plane, and Ukraine released a recording, subsequently authenticated by U.S. analysts, of militia leader Igor Bezler confirming responsibility for the attack. “Of course, the state over whose territory it happened is responsible for this terrible tragedy,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin. “Tomorrow the Ukrainians are going to say that I shot this plane down with my gun,” said a coal miner fighting with the separatists. “We have just shot down a plane,” said Bezler in the recording. “It was 100 percent a passenger aircraft. . . . Fuck.”[8][9][10][11][12][13] In Libya, at least 47 people died in fighting between rival militias for control of Tripoli International Airport.[14] Boko Haram killed at least 100 people in a dawn attack on the northeastern Nigerian town of Damboa.[15] Christians in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul left or converted under threat from the Islamic States of Iraq and the Levant, and Iraqi forces preparing to raise victory flags over government buildings in Tikrit following days of bombardment were ambushed and routed by ISIL militants. “The doors of hell opened,” said a wounded Iraqi soldier. “Suicide bombers were throwing themselves from the windows and detonated themselves in the air.”[16][17] A 76-yard-deep crater appeared at the End of the World.[18]

Israeli forces entered Gaza and began a ground operation focused on destroying tunnels used by militants from Hamas. The death toll since the conflict began two weeks ago reached at least 556 Palestinians and 27 Israelis, including more than 60 Palestinian soldiers and civilians and 13 Israeli soldiers who were killed during a battle in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza City on Sunday. “They are targeting whole families,” said a surgeon at Shifa Hospital. “Civilian casualties are unintended by us, but intended by Hamas,” said Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “They use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause.”[19][20][21][22][23] In the border town of Sderot, Israelis gathered on a hilltop to eat popcorn and cheer strikes on Palestinian towns below.[24][25] Bashar al-Assad was sworn in for a third seven-year term as president of Syria, and former Panamanian ruler Manuel Noriega, who has been imprisoned in three countries on drug-trafficking and murder charges, filed suit against the makers of the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops II for depicting him as “a kidnapper, murderer, and enemy of the state.”[26][27] Australia repealed its two-year-old tax on heavy carbon-dioxide emitters, becoming the first developed nation to reverse such legislation. “A useless destructive tax,” said Prime Minister Tony Abbott, “is finally gone.”[28][29] Paleontologists reported discovering the fossilized remains of a four-winged dinosaur in China’s Liaoning Province and the fossilized brain of a predatory 520-million-year-old shrimp in Yunnan Province.[30][31] A waitress in Chengdu ate a cockroach in response to a complaint by a customer who had discovered the bug in his salad. “You will always find cockroaches in the food,” she told him. “It is very normal.”[32] A three-year-old Filipina girl awoke at her own funeral.[33]

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

Police in Bangalore said that a six-year-old girl complaining of stomach pains had been raped at school two weeks prior by a security guard and a gym teacher.[34][35] A survey of scientists who conduct field research found that 64 percent of 666 mostly female students who were polled had experienced sexual harassment at a worksite. “People are being told,” said the study’s lead author, “ ‘What happens in the field stays in the field.’ ”[36] The corpses of 55 catsharks and smoothhounds were discovered on Pwll Du beach in Wales, and a great white shark washed up on Australia’s Coronation Beach with a sea lion stuck in its throat.[37][38] British economists correlated the happiness of a country’s population with its genetic resemblance to Danes.[39] A Reykjavík burglar was arrested for the fourteenth time in 14 days, and French police chased a thief carrying 100,000 euros in gold coins through the Paris Metro.[40][41] The Japanese artist Rokudenashiko was arrested for distributing 3D-printer schematics of her vagina in exchange for donations intended for the construction of a kayak.[42] The state of California approved outdoor-watering restrictions carrying fines of up to $500, and a California couple who had been under-watering their lawn were ordered by the city of Glendora to restore their green grass under threat of a $500 fine.[43] A water mite discovered in Puerto Rico’s Mona Passage was named Litarachna lopezae in honor of Jennifer Lopez, and a Seattle man burned down his own house while trying to kill a spider with a makeshift blowtorch. “I’m pretty sure,” said a fire-department spokesperson, “the spider did not survive.”[44][45]


Sign up and get the Weekly Review delivered to your inbox every Tuesday morning.

Share
Single Page

More from Camille Bromley:

Conversation October 3, 2016, 11:00 am

Unofficial Stories

“The suffering cannot disappear without a trace, we need to understand how and why,” says Svetlana Alexievich, the 2015 Nobel laureate in literature and author of Secondhand Time.

Weekly Review April 12, 2016, 1:32 pm

Weekly Review

Leaked documents reveal that heads of state around the world hide money in offshore accounts, NASA researchers report that climate change has altered the Earth’s wobble, and scientists find that touching the genitals of robots arouses humans.

Weekly Review December 15, 2015, 10:51 am

Weekly Review

An Oklahoma police officer is convicted of raping women while on patrol, Chinese officials accuse the Dalai Lama of sympathizing with the Islamic State, and a burglar hiding in a lake is eaten by an alligator 

Get access to 167 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2017

Dead Ball Situation

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Document of Barbarism

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Destroyer of Worlds

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Crossing Guards

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I am Here Only for Working”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Dear Rose

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Destroyer of Worlds·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In February 1947, Harper’s Magazine published Henry L. Stimson’s “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb.” As secretary of war, Stimson had served as the chief military adviser to President Truman, and recommended the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The terms of his unrepentant apologia, an excerpt of which appears on page 35, are now familiar to us: the risk of a dud made a demonstration too risky; the human cost of a land invasion would be too high; nothing short of the bomb’s awesome lethality would compel Japan to surrender. The bomb was the only option. Seventy years later, we find his reasoning unconvincing. Entirely aside from the destruction of the blasts themselves, the decision thrust the world irrevocably into a high-stakes arms race — in which, as Stimson took care to warn, the technology would proliferate, evolve, and quite possibly lead to the end of modern civilization. The first half of that forecast has long since come to pass, and the second feels as plausible as ever. Increasingly, the atmosphere seems to reflect the anxious days of the Cold War, albeit with more juvenile insults and more colorful threats. Terms once consigned to the history books — “madman theory,” “brinkmanship” — have returned to the news cycle with frightening regularity. In the pages that follow, seven writers and experts survey the current nuclear landscape. Our hope is to call attention to the bomb’s ever-present menace and point our way toward a world in which it finally ceases to exist.

Illustration by Darrel Rees. Source photographs: Kim Jong-un © ITAR-TASS Photo Agency/Alamy Stock Photo; Donald Trump © Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Newscom
Article
Crossing Guards·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Ambassador Bridge arcs over the Detroit River, connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, the southernmost city in Canada. Driving in from the Canadian side, where I grew up, is like viewing a panorama of the Motor City’s rise and fall, visible on either side of the bridge’s turquoise steel stanchions. On the right are the tubular glass towers of the Renaissance Center, headquarters of General Motors, and Michigan Central Station, the rail terminal that closed in 1988. On the left is a rusted industrial corridor — fuel tanks, docks, abandoned warehouses. I have taken this route all my life, but one morning this spring, I crossed for the first time in a truck.

Illustration by Richard Mia
Article
“I am Here Only for Working”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

But the exercise of labor is the worker’s own life-activity, the manifestation of his own life. . . . He works in order to live. He does not even reckon labor as part of his life, it is rather a sacrifice of his life.

— Karl Marx

Photograph from the United Arab Emirates by the author. This page: Ruwais Mall
Article
The Year of The Frog·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

To look at him, Sweet Macho was a beautiful horse, lean and strong with muscles that twitched beneath his shining black coat. A former racehorse, he carried himself with ceremony, prancing the field behind our house as though it were the winner’s circle. When he approached us that day at the edge of the yard, his eyes shone with what might’ve looked like intelligence but was actually a form of insanity. Not that there was any telling our mother’s boyfriend this — he fancied himself a cowboy.

“Horse 1,” by Nine Francois. Courtesy the artist and AgavePrint, Austin, Texas
Article
Dead Ball Situation·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

What We Think About When We Think About Soccer, by Simon Critchley. Penguin Books. 224 pages. $20.

Begin, as Wallace Stevens didn’t quite say, with the idea of it. I so like the idea of Simon Critchley, whose books offer philosophical takes on a variety of subjects: Stevens, David Bowie, suicide, humor, and now football — or soccer, as the US edition has it. (As a matter of principle I shall refer to this sport throughout as football.) “All of us are mysteriously affected by our names,” decides one of Milan Kundera’s characters in Immortality, and I like Critchley because his name would seem to have put him at a vocational disadvantage compared with Martin Heidegger, Søren Kierkegaard, or even, in the Anglophone world, A. J. Ayer or Richard Rorty. (How different philosophy might look today if someone called Nobby Stiles had been appointed as the Wykeham Professor of Logic.)

Tostão, No. 9, and Pelé, No. 10, celebrate Carlos Alberto’s final goal for Brazil in the World Cup final against Italy on June 21, 1970, Mexico City © Heidtmann/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Factor by which single Americans who use emoji are more likely than other single Americans to be sexually active:

1.85

Brontosaurus was restored as a genus, and cannibalism was reported in tyrannosaurine dinosaurs.

Moore said he did not “generally” date teenage girls, and it was reported that in the 1970s Moore had been banned from his local mall and YMCA for bothering teenage girls.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Report — From the June 2013 issue

How to Make Your Own AR-15

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

Subscribe Today