April 8, 2005

Weekend Reading

Posted by Jeremy Brown

The weekend is a good time to catch up on those stories that the mainstream press is doing a lousy job of covering (meaning, I guess, stories not about the Pope or Michael Jackson). It seems to me that if we do nothing more than brief ourselves on Lebanon and Darfur then, as they say in my tribe, that would be a mitzvah.

You know where to get information and offer help regarding the democracy movement in Lebanon, right? Michael will keep you informed here.

When it comes to getting information on Darfur and Sudan I don't know of a better place than Sudan: The Passion of the Present. There we're reminded that Wednesday marked a disturbing anniversary:

On April 6, 1994, Habayarimana and the president of Burundi, Cyprien Ntaryamira, were killed when their plane was shot down. The next day, Rwandan Armed Forces went house to house killing Tutsi and moderate Hutu. Thousands died. In response, the next day the RPF launched an offensive. But the genocide that would last three months had already gained ground. The world powers debated whether or not to call the killings in Rwanda genocide. On April 30, the United Nations agreed on a resolution condemning the killings — but it conveniently left out the g-word.

Remind you of anything? Read the whole thing.

But of course you won't be of much use to the world if you're reduced to a hopeless shell of despair. My advice is to get informed, decide on something you are willing and able to do about the issues of importance to you, then take care of your own soul.

Here's a story about something like the opposite of genocide — a story about a tribe in India winning official recognition as descendents of one of the lost tribes of Israel:

The 6,000-strong 'Bnei Menashe' or children of Manasseh tribe spread across Mizoram and Manipur states have been officially recognised by sephardic or oriental chief rabbi Shlomo Amar in Jerusalem.

“We do not have words to express our joy,” 48-year-old Peer Tlau, an engineer from Aizawl, told AFP by telephone. “We are now looking for the day when we can migrate to our promised land in Israel.”


Apart from names, the tribals share many practices in common with traditional Jews — keeping mezuzahs or parchment inscribed with verses of the Torah at the entrance to their homes, the men wearing a kippa during prayers.

And finally, there's a blog I think more people should be reading. If she had a column in the New Yorker, as she should, I'd subscribe again. Anne Cunningham writes brilliant posts and has honed a particular style in which she paints portraits of moments between people, or within people that you will one day think you read in a novel but will not be able to place which. Or maybe she'll write one, but meanwhile the stuff's here for free.

And of course we'll do our best to post some juicy stuff here too.

Posted by Jeremy Brown at April 8, 2005 7:30 AM
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