1. The future of humanitarianism in Afghanistan: Free online recording of the seminar in which I participated this week and whose panelists included field representatives of Oxfam and Doctors Without Borders, international humanitarian lawyers, and a Lieutenant Colonel. The issues discussed range from competition among NGOs for resources, guaranteeing the security of aid workers, navigating the question of the militarization of aid, and securing independent funding for NGOs. Attending the seminar rekindled my desire to work in Afghanistan (no, not until I have fully recovered from the accident, worry not.)
2. On writing, the personal essay, and ‘artful artlessness’: Carl Klaus interview in The Millions. Among other subjects, he discusses the illusions of the personal essay, developing a writing practice, and where blogging fits into the modern writing world. Also in The Millions, I loved this essay on the joys and dangers of readership. Made me think of my own reflections on the “terror of the invisible reader” last December.
3. The slow photography movement: The idea that this is a ‘movement’ or that it is ‘new’ was a bit foreign to me, but the basic premise of the article had me nodding along: Stop, look, really look, and then click. A prescription for photo-taking and for finding and capturing beauty.
4. “Kids these days”: It is no secret that I love Sloane Crosley, her How did you get this number, and her ability to artfully weave insight into humor. In this brief essay of hers in The Independent, she won me over with these words:
“When we grow up, we put a premium on a wide-eyed wonderment of the world. We value a lack of the jaded and the bitter in each other, and do everything in our power to stave off these qualities in ourselves.”
5. Zainab Salbi on “Women and Power”: It is also no secret that Zainab Salbi’s work and life story compel me to get out of bed in the morning. In this talk, she discusses her work with Women for Women International, her experience as an Iraqi refugee in the United States, her coping with PTSD and her interactions with women in war zones nowadays.