Our new feature reviews the good news and the bad, the sad news and the weird.
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Finding Love Amid the Strife in Gaza
This particular Gaza conflict story doesn’t start with a shelling, bombing, or shootout—it starts with a tweet. Half-Lebanese journalist Sulome Anderson posted a picture of herself kissing her Jewish boyfriend, holding up a sign that reads “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies” (which lends itself to the hashtag) and a tweet that says: “He calls me neshama, I call him habibi. Love doesn’t speak the language of occupation #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies.” Soon after, the picture went viral, now retweeted over 3,500 times, and the interviews and news stories started pouring in. There was finally a peaceful meme in the midst of war. Anderson’s since written a story about the photo and her relationship with her star-crossed boyfriend, with whom she can agree on one thing: “Instead of dehumanizing those who have hurt you, I think you need to look at the context of their lives and understand them as human beings in order to reach any real peace, with yourself or with them.” It’s a refreshing reminder that somewhere amid the seemingly endless violence in the Middle East and biased media on both sides, there still exists love.
Tony Dungy Is Another Reminder of Why Pro Ball Still Has a Long Way to Go
In an interview with the Tampa Tribune about locker-room behavior, former coach and current NBC sports analyst Tony Dungy had a few things to say about openly gay Michael Sam. “I wouldn’t have taken him,” Dungy said. “Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it.” So what he’s saying is he wouldn’t want to deal with it, so Michael Sam shouldn’t have a chance to be in his locker room. Dungy’s been outspoken about his anti-gay marriage stance and this isn’t his first egregious, pseudo-moralistic statement. He has said he wouldn’t hire Rex Ryan as a coach because he curses too much and that Reggie Bush should give back his Heisman trophy after the NCAA discovered his family received gifts. This time, Sam, who’s likely preparing himself for an onslaught of ignorant criticism, responded to ESPN’s Nick Wagoner, “Thank God he wasn’t the St. Louis Rams coach,” adding, “like everyone in America, everyone is entitled to their own opinions.” Wonder how Dungy would feel about being in a locker room with the abusive Ray Rice, the Raven RB, who beat the crap out of his fiancée, Janay Palmer, and then dragged her unconscious body through a casino. (The NFL cares so much that they’ve suspended him for two whole games. Yup, that’s it. First Take panelist Stephen A. Smith went so far as to opine that people have to be careful not to “do anything to provoke wrong actions”—because, you know, women ask for it when they behave badly.)
Separate But Equal: The Class Edition
The state of income inequality in New York City reached new levels this week when a new high-rise apartment building on 40 Riverside Drive announced there will be separate entrances for the wealthy and for the lower-income residents. Fifty-five of the building’s 219 units are people earning 60 percent less than the median income, allowing for major tax breaks for Extell, the development company. So the Inclusionary Housing program moves low-income housing into thriving new neighborhoods, but the people living there are segregated. Turns out there are a number of other buildings like this throughout the city, but Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer has said she will reject future developments with separate entrances. Might this be the start of a class war in New York City? It’s definitely not the De Blasio New York we all dreamed of.
The ISIS Fatwa Ordered Iraqi Girls To Be “Circumcised”
The United Nations has announced that the Sunni Muslim military group Islamic State, more commonly known as ISIS, has ordered all girls and women in and around Iraq’s northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation. The circumcision involves removing all external female genitalia to suppress a woman’s sexual desire and prevent “immoral” behavior. It’s a tradition practiced widely in African and Muslim countries. Doubts of the UN’s claim emerged over social media as some said the document the UN found might be a year old. Other Middle East analysts questioned whether the order fit with the cultural traditions of the area. A mistake is possible as the UN has “zero contact” with ISIS and only communicates to the affected areas through tribal leaders. They’re still working to confirm, but if this is true there isn’t much time to waste. More than half of the ISIS area’s 2 million residents are women.
A Doctor Leading the Fight Against Ebola Has Contracted the Virus
Dr. Sheik Umar Khan is a leader in fighting Sierra Leone’s major Ebola outbreak, the deadliest and largest in history, treating over 100 patients—the country’s health minister has even called him a “national hero.” But in a horrible twist of fate, Dr. Khan has contracted the virus. “This is a huge blow,” said says NPR reporter Jason Beaubien. “And the fact that it is so public is just going to add to the overall fear and the sense among people there’s nothing you can do to keep yourself safe.” Dr. Khan is not even the first person treating the virus to pick it up. Three nurses have died and at least eight were infected just over the last week, which led to a strike on Monday over safety concerns at the hospital. It’s a modern-day plague that’s taken a dangerous medieval turn. Since the outbreak started in March, more than 1,000 people have been infected in three countries and the World Health Organization said Saturday that 604 people have died, 206 from Sierra Leone.
Blake Lively’s Dark, Dim, and Deathly Lifestyle Site
File under gallows humor after a week of devastating news: Former lead Gossip Girl Blake Lively apparently has a penchant for the macabre, launching her idea of lifestyle website, Preserve—the anti-GOOP if there ever was one. No, it’s not an online magazine for hoarders, but it teeters awfully close to the line, while evoking images of mummified bodies. Nearly all of the site’s images are backlit and ominous and deathly: a guy wielding a giant ax may just be lurking around the corner. The picture of Blake herself is illuminated in away to portray her like a ghost peering down over her readers. And in the introductory video, there is both a one-eyed dog and a man smiling while talking to a gravestone. “Deathstyle,” it seems, is the new lifestyle.
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