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Required Reading

‣ Elsa Delmas and the investigative team at Le Monde visualized the physical impact of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, detailing the schools, hospitals, and places of worship that have been destroyed through photos, videos, and statistical maps. The results are gut-wrenching:

‣ Muslims across the world celebrated Eid al-Fitr on Tuesday. In Gaza, the day passed without the normally joyous festivities. In a story for BBC, David Gritten and Rushdi Abu Alouf speak to Palestinians there, many of them children, about the holiday in the midst of Israel’s ongoing attacks on Gaza:

Sarah Amer, an 11-year-old girl from Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighbourhood, said she would usually go to the amusement park during the festival or be invited to parties by her aunts and cousins.

“This is a holiday of war. How can we rejoice and celebrate when there are people being killed, prisoners, and wounded?” she asked.

“My friends… are missing now and I do not know where they are,” she added. “I miss those moments when I would meet and play with them, celebrate and chat and sing together.”

‣ The United States is building a 19-structure, billion-dollar embassy across 40 acres in Beirut. The price tag and scale are oversized compared to the US’s other international outposts. Habib Battah explores the phenomenon for the Middle East Research and Information Project:

No specific reason has been offered for building such a massive compound in Lebanon. According to the State Department’s website, the “primary purpose” of any US Embassy is to “assist American citizens,” visiting or living in the host country.[1] But such explanations are belied by Lebanon’s relative size and economic status. Rather, the new embassy, like that of Baghdad, speaks to longstanding US military interests and activity in Lebanon and the wider region.

‣ In light of the news that Arizona is reviving a draconian 1864 anti-abortion law from before it even officially became a state, the Washington Post‘s Philip Bump gives us a brief history lesson on some of the other laws that were active at the time:

Consider, though, the other prohibitions that surround the initial Howell language. A bit before that, for example, the code establishes what constitutes a murder or a manslaughter. In Section 34, it also creates the category of “excusable homicides.” Those include situations such as when “a man is at work with an axe, and the head flies off and kills a bystander” or “a parent is moderately correcting his child, or a master his servant or scholar.” Only when that correction is “moderate,” mind you. Exceed the bounds of moderation correction, and you’re subject to more severe charges.

‣ Pope Francis has become known for his (relatively) progressive policies, like blessing same sex couples and siding with science on climate change, but last week, the Vatican issued a startl-ng declaration about trans people in its 20-page “Dignitas Infinitas.” The document lists violations of human dignity and mostly names standard Catholic fare — poverty, war, abortion, etc. — but a few additions are new, namely, sex changes and “gender theory.” Vox‘s Li Zhou delves into the Vatican’s sinister attack on trans rights.

The document’s treatment of trans people continues this pattern by emphasizing the need to acknowledge every person’s human dignity while offering “limited dignity” to trans people, DeBernardo said.

In particular, it argues that gender-affirming procedures threaten the dignity that a person is born with at conception, claiming that such medical care interferes with “the need to respect the natural order of the human person.” The document also broadly denounces “gender theory,” which includes “argu[ing] that a person’s gender can be different from the sex that person was assigned at birth,” NPR’s Jason DeRose explains.

“​​That ‘Dignitas Infinita’ rebukes gender transition interventions as a rejection of God’s plan of human life implies that those individuals who have elected to transition … have violated divine will,” said Chesnut.

Jason Steidl, a professor of religious studies at St. Johns University who specializes in Catholicism, put it more bluntly. “This is the Newsmax version of Catholic theology,” he said.

‣ Roseanne Barr is back at it, white wine in hand. There are few surprises in her latest stream of word vomit, besides, “Our Trump is here being the DJ, and I’ve just danced, and everyone is amazed.” Perhaps he was playing Elton John? Barr follows this remark with another jump scare: “Please drop out of college because it’s going to ruin your lives.”

‣ Package thieves are getting smarter:

‣ A trolling comedian heads to City Hall, where he mocks New York City Mayor Eric Adam’s insistence on adding more and more cops to the subways. He aptly notes that these officers seem to just be standing around playing Candy Crush:

‣ The Bob Ross documentary footage his estate didn’t want you to see …

‣ Finally, an honest review of the eclipse:

‣ Gen Z has such a magical way of narrating cultural history:

‣ A Manhattan chicken shop foregoes an in-person cashier for a remote one, who literally Zooms into work from the Philippines. The shop owner calls the decision “cost effective,” but it seems likely that this dystopian new method is just a way to avoid paying NYC minimum wage. There are so many questions, but one thing is for sure — the comment section is livid:

‣ No one foams milk better than someone with 5+ identities in their X bio:

‣ Hell hath no fury like an arts and craft girly scorned:

Required Reading is published every Thursday afternoon, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.

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