Required Reading

1785 4485 TranTuanViet Vietnam NationalAwards 2024

‣ In the early 1970s, revolutionary Amílcar Cabral asked four young filmmakers to document the liberation struggle in their native Guinea-Bissau. Cabral, who would prove integral to his country’s eventual overthrow of Portuguese rule, was assassinated before the documentary was finished. Now more than 50 years later, two of the original filmmakers — Flora Gomes and Sana Na N’Hada  — are finishing the work they started a half-century ago. Michael Galant talked to Gomes in an interview originally published with Progressive International and republished in Jacobin.

I think this film has a simple aim, which is to pay tribute to the people, starting with Cabral and the people with whom Cabral created an unforgettable story in Africa. It’s very important that we hold on to this story today — that we talk about it — because there’s so much misinformation circulating through our media, through social networks.

I think that generations of Africans, young people, need to understand that this country didn’t have the luck to achieve independence like the Senegalese did, without a [violent] struggle. We had a struggle that lasted eleven years, in which we lost friends, families, colleagues, acquaintances. And we can’t let that memory disappear. Cabral will soon be a hundred years old, in September. We wanted to record something that would remain in the memory of the youth of Africa — and (why not) the youth of the world.

‣  As Russian military attacks continue to threaten cultural heritage in the Ukranian city of Odesa, Laura King spoke with several workers and first responders who have taken charge of protecting the city’s architectural gems. She writes in the Los Angeles Times:

Because of the building materials used — wood, flammable insulation within the walls — the 19th century buildings that line Odesa’s cobblestone, tree-lined central streets are especially susceptible to fire or collapse. First responders undergo special training in how to fight blazes in structures like Odesa’s sumptuous opera house, perched on a promontory above the seafront.

“From brment to ceiling, I know these buildings like my old friends,” said Duryagin, 52, who has more than three decades of firefighting experience. “I know their mysteries.”

Falling debris from airborne interceptions, rather than direct drone or missile strikes, has caused some of the most serious destruction. Some sites, like the city’s Fine Arts Museum, which is housed in a reconstructed palace, were hit again before they could be cleaned up after an initial attack

‣ Dakota/Lakota Sioux writer Ruth H. Burns recently learned that Harvard’s Peabody Museum will finally return hair belonging to her aunt and grandmother to her Tribe. She pens a moving essay in Atmos about the emotional experience of processing the announcement, along with all the community-led efforts that preceded it: 

To understand the gravity of what was taken, you must know that hair is sacred to my people. Our hair is imbued with spiritual power, and cutting one’s hair was not taken lightly. Traditionally, one’s hair was only cut for spiritual reasons like the death of a loved one. Even the cutting of one’s hair for this reason involved ritual and ceremony. 

These colonizers had taken the hair of my aunt and grandmother without their consent. According to the notice provided by the Peabody, Orrin C. Gray took the hair clippings between 1930 and 1933. Gray then sent the hair clippings to George Woodbury, who donated the hair clippings to the Museum in 1935. My aunt would have been between eight and 11 years old when her hair was cut, and my grandma would have been between 11 and 14 years of age. They were just children. 

The collection likely took place in connection with boarding school. When Native children were sent to boarding school, their hair was always cut to sever their cultural connection to their people. The goal of boarding schools was to assimilate Native children and make them over in the image of the colonizer to become part of a new servant labor class. To “[k]ill the Indian and save the man,” said Richard Henry Pratt, the superintendent of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, one of the most well-known boarding schools where Native children were sent.

‣ 14-year-old Lujayn wrote a letter recounting the horrifying experience of watching an Israeli bulldozer destroy their home in Gaza. One of her family members and translator Rebecca Ruth Gould made it possible for us to hear her story in the Nation. It’s a must-read:

After this experience, Mother, I have to tell you something. I learned two things that I won’t forget. First, we must not let go of our strength, courage, and faith in God’s will at any moment. Second, we don’t turn our backs on those in need, no matter what. You didn’t leave the boy or his sisters alone. You carried their brother with them. You stayed by their side and told me: “They have no one else but us.” I won’t forget any of this. I’ve become certain that the occupation can never destroy our faith, our strength, our courage, our goodness, or our compassion.

‣ The United States might (finally) be getting its first bullet train: A track between Houston and Dallas could change a three-and-a-half hour drive into a 90-minute ride. The long-awaited project is looking more and more likely, and Adam Zuvanich and Pablo Arauz Peña share a new round of updates in the Houston Public Media.

“I think this goes beyond just Dallas to Houston, I think as a nation,” Byford said. “The alternative is to condemn Americans to ever more crowded interstates, to condemn taxpayers to just paying for ever-widening of highways, and potentially using ever more crowded airports. Surely now is the time to look at, ‘There is an alternative.’ It is a proven alternative. It is a system that is safely used in just about every other developed country of the world, except for the U.S.”

‣ A right-wing nonprofit called Americans Stewards for Liberty — we can’t make this up — has been quietly fighting nature conservation efforts across the country. Boye Upholt reports from the organization’s unsettling conference for Mother Jones:

I consider myself a nature critic, which is to say I write about the human relationship with the environment. So for several years, I have been tracking the Biden administration’s campaign to conserve 30 percent of US land and water by 2030—“30×30,” as the goal is typically known. Gradually, I came to realize that more interesting than the campaign itself (which has felt, at times, halting and disorganized) was the opposition to it. The tale spun by American Stewards of Liberty can feel like a James Bond movie without the glamour, with Biden and his wealthiest supporters cast as villains who aim to conquer and shackle the natural world. But it’s also got the appeal of an episode of Yellowstone, invoking the halcyon days of the rugged American frontier.

That frontier rhetoric is why I’m not surprised when, after an obligatory pledge of allegiance, Dan Byfield—a professorial, white-haired Texan who serves as ASL’s CEO—opens the conference with a brief history lesson. The Texas Revolution, the war that helped Texas split from Mexico, he says, was an example of “true bravery.” (He fails to note that those brave Texas soldiers helped protect and expand the institution of slavery.)

‣ For the Yale Review, Brandy Jensen turns to everything from books to news articles to her own personal life to answer the question, “Why can’t we stop talking about nonmonogamy?”: Brady Jensen/Yale Review:

This isn’t the fault of the polyamory community as a whole. It’s easy to have your scene ruined by annoying rich people (for example, San Francisco) or to make something cool sound uncool by talking about it too much (for example, weed) or to be right and yet still be embarrassing about it (for example, atheism). The lighthearted mockery of terms like “compersion” is mostly a harmless good time, until it inevitably provides cover for reactionary sexual politics. Suddenly someone is writing an essay in The Atlantic about how polyamory is bourgeois, and before I can even think, “That doesn’t seem right,” a bunch of revanchist weirdos eager to roll back the Sexual Revolution are chiming in on X to call polyamory both bourgeois and morally degenerate, and all the fun has been sucked out of my eye-rolling. And so I end up back in bed with the polyamorists, wishing they could figure out how to make having sex sound sexier.

‣ A Columbia professor is appalled by the administration’s crackdown on academic freedom and students’ right to protest:


#greenscreenvideo #greenscreen #columbia #columbiauniversity

♬ original sound – Emma

‣ A Holocaust historian says Holocaust museums, institutions that teach visitors not to be bystanders, have “invalidated” themselves by remaining silent as Israel’s ongoing bombardments of Gaza:


#millenial #xennial #genx #upstander #progressive #progressivetok #biden #trump #historytok #politics #lgbtqia #bipoc #tiktokban #humanrights #jewish

♬ original sound – Boho Hippie Historian

‣ A TikToker is fed up with Shakespeare authorship conspiracies:


Seeing too many weird conspiracy theory videos lately #shakespearetiktok #englishliterature #englishmajor #lightacademia #shakespeare

♬ original sound – glutenbergbible

‣ POV, you’re an art critic who loves to sprinkle in a classic “dichotomy” this and “juxtaposition” that:


♬ original sound – Leo González

‣ Two pranksters successfully place a staged stabbing scene into Google Maps street view:


the result is too funny 🤣 #googlemapsprank #googlemapsfun #googlecarprank

♬ Texas Hold Em (Sped Up) – Remix – Beat Record

‣  Did you know that US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen accidentally ate psychedelic mushrooms at a restaurant in China? And that she admitted and explained the mishap to CNN? “There was a delicious mushroom dish. I was not aware that these mushrooms had hallucinogenic properties. I learned that later,” she told the news outlet last summer.


U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently went viral for MushroomGate, in which Yellen unknowingly consuming psychedelic mushrooms at a Yunnan restaurant during her recent visit to China. “There was a delicious mushroom dish. I was not aware that these mushrooms had hallucinogenic properties. I learned that later,” Yellen told CNN. 🍄Learn more about Yellen’s psychedelic trip in the full article on our website in our linkinbio

♬ original sound – NextShark

‣  A liberal mom really wants her son to be gay. The comment section is surprised to learn that “drag race” does not involve cars.


Her political views are unclear #sketch #fyp #sketchcomedy

♬ original sound – Julia DiCesare

‣  A comedian gives a convincingly academic lecture about the origins of heterosexuality:


More from my #standup show A Guide To #Heterosexuality Follow for more #queer #comedy #trans #funny

♬ original sound – Aves Robins

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