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Sitdown Sunday: 7 deadly reads

The very best of the week’s writing from around the globe.

Michael Freeman

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair. We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour this Sunday.

1. The secret history of guns
Adam Winkler on how 30 Black Panthers marched into the California statehouse armed to the teeth, and what happened in the decades after (The Atlantic).

Along with providing classes on black nationalism and socialism, Newton made sure recruits learned how to clean, handle, and shoot guns. Their instructors were sympathetic black veterans, recently home from Vietnam. For their “righteous revolutionary struggle,” the Panthers were trained, as well as armed, however indirectly, by the US government.

2. A country in the throes of change
Siddhartha Deb on the rise of India, and the brutal realities of its changing society (Guernica).

Here, finally, was the heart of the place, a vast, open-sided shed filled with deafening noise and the blast of heat from furnaces operating at 1,200 degrees Celsius. The men visible through the smoke and noise were infernal creatures, rags wrapped around their faces to protect themselves from the heat.

3. Why I wanted war after 9/11
Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller takes a long hard look at his reasons for supporting the Iraq war, and his regrets (New York Times).

I remember a mounting protective instinct, heightened by the birth of my second daughter almost exactly nine months after the attacks. Something dreadful was loose in the world, and the urge to stop it, to do something — to prove something — was overriding a career-long schooling in the virtues of caution and skepticism.

4. An unspeakable crime in Cleveland, Texas
Kathy Dobie on the brutal gang-rape of an 11-year-old girl, and the public sympathy for those on trial (GQ).

Three teenagers were clustered around the cell phone, heads almost touching as they peered at the video. “Eww…that’s nasty.” A surge of excitement, of almost electric disgust, passed between them. It was Monday after the long Thanksgiving weekend.

5. Building a Third World city in the desert
Dialika Krahe on the man trying to turn a vast refugee camp into a living, working town (Der Spiegel).

This morning the Somali refugees are trying, again, to bury a child in his new city. Henok Ochalla sees them digging up red earth with their hatchets. He stops his SUV, plods over to the parents and tells them this camp is a place for life, not a cemetery.

6. The real-life CSI
Megan Abbott on the men and women who staff the Los Angeles Crime Laboratory (LA Times).

In 2008, a city audit revealed thousands of untested rape kits sitting in LAPD freezers, some for longer than 10 years. In April, the backlog was finally cleared, a process made possible only through the cobbling together of public funds, federal grants and private donations as small as $5.

…AND A CLASSIC READ FROM THE ARCHIVES…

In February 1995, Rick Bragg wrote about the Indian Tribes of New Orleans – and the Mardi Gras that tourists don’t see – for the New York Times.

By tradition, the chiefs must sew their own costumes, and must do a new costume from scratch each year. Mr. Bannock’s fingers are scarred from a lifetime of it. His right index finger is a mass of old punctures. Some men cripple themselves, through puncture wounds or repetitive motion, and have to retire.

Read more: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

Read more: The Sports Pages – the best sports writing collected every week by TheScore>

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Michael Freeman

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