Texans show up for each other in a time of crisis. The mosques opening their doors to evacuees on a holiday. Public and private disaster in Houston. Reading Jane Eyre while black. Texas forever. New Hemon. Jhumpa Lahiri on Italy and falling in love with a city. These dudes clearly do not understand what Lord of the Flies was actually about. Appalachia's war cry.
Around the Globe
Africa. In South Sudan, the U.N. is working to protect citizens. Kenya is taking striding measures against the use of plastic bags. In less exciting news, Kenya also threw out the results of last month's presidential election. In CAR, a Catholic bishop is protecting 2,000 Muslims.
Americas. Canada introduced a gender-neutral X option on passports. Opposition figures are being targeted with alarming frequency in Venezuela. Colombia's FARC rebels are making moves towards becoming a political party. Corruption in Guatemala is spiraling. Two laws that would have targeted immigrants and people seeking abortions were respectively halted in Texas. Which is good, because Texas is reeling from the horrifying impact of Hurricane Harvey, which has claimed dozens of lives and destroyed much of the state's southeastern region, including the sprawling Houston.
Asia. A bomb in Helmand, Afghanistan killed at least 13 people. Violence erupted in India after a famed guru was found guilty of raping his followers. Tempers may finally be cooling between China and India. Flooding across South Asia has displaced 41 million people and killed over a thousand. Mumbai's apartments are falling apart as a result. Burma's minority Rohingya community is becoming more and more precarious. Syria's dictator looks poised to consolidate control as Western countries lose interest.
Europe. Britain's Labour party wants an extended Brexit. In a deeply unpopular move, France's Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron is getting set to overhaul the country's labor laws. Jews are concerned over rising anti-Semitism in Poland.
Spoken & Written
“They are the number one priority. They will not be disturbed, they will not be displaced, they will not be moved. People who come, if they have to pray in the parking lot, they’ll pray in the parking lot.” —M.J. Khan, the president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston.
Journalism: Mexico is ready to help Texas, definitely not paying for the wall. Texans became heroes as Harvey raged. Harvey could worsen and it did. South Asia is also hurting because of climate change. For Katrina survivors, Harvey's toll could be even worse. SB4 was halted late Wednesday night. Well, we're back to U.S.-North Korea drama.
This week saw some of the most intense highs and lows I've experienced this year and I'm still processing. Southeastern Texas is under water; I watched alerts and updates from loved ones fly past me on the internet all week, while footage of sobbing Texans flashed across the TV screens that surround me at work. It was traumatizing but also captivating -- I kept watching, hoping that if I wrote about everything, got it all down, I would feel closer to home, as opposed to sitting in D.C., feeling useless.
The week ended with terror over DACA, the repeal of which would hurt even more people, ruin even more lives. I sat on Friday, in a state of suspended horror, waiting for some new fresh hell to unfold, worrying about loved ones and unknown ones and all of the bodies put in danger this year. In that way, it was a week like many of the weeks we've all marked since January.
But it was also completely different. My favorite person in all things has been waiting for months (years, really; when does the process of wanting something begin? how do you measure waiting?) to hear back from jobs. International students in the U.S. have only so much time to apply and wait; at a certain point, the clock runs out. This happened last time and we were devastated. This year has felt like deja vu, that same creeping dread. But on Friday we sat waiting on a call (would she get it? wouldn't she?) and then beams abounded, we ordered drinks, we're spending a weekend celebrating and toasting our good fortune. It seems we'll have at least another year before these conversations come up again and, H1B lottery providing, maybe even longer.
It seems terrible to feel joyful while other people are suffering. I don't know how to multitask these things -- the personal win, the personal loss, the more removed loss that comes from any sort of empathy towards others. Even in posting good news to friends I felt the need to make caveats. To be clear I do think this is how it should be; your joy does not necessarily counter another's pain, and no one inherently deserves anything more or less than anyone else. So to that end, I am very glad to have a reason for joy, and I hope everyone else, especially those most precarious right now, soon will to.