TV-Akjsonen 2016 & 25m2 of Syria | POL

Because we need more of this in our complex, beautiful, messy, and too often terrifying, world. To provoke action, thought, empathy, and an unshakeable, haunting awareness that, in our modern context, parents console wailing children as bombs rattle cinder block. Communities witness their hospitals and doctors intentionally destroyed. War and genocide propel children across desolate mountain plateaus. That those realities matter, deeply, and deserve our attention and action, regardless of race, creed, gender, or any other rationale by which we justify labeling another as "other", looking away, or becoming so busy with our day to day we forget to look in the first place. 

25m2 SYRIA from POL on Vimeo.

For two weeks the installation was an initiative to promote Norway’s annual fundraising event “TV-aksjonen”. This year all donations went to the Red Cross, and people living in war and conflict. IKEA partnered with the Red Cross to promote the cause.

25 m2 of Syria is an apartment at IKEA Slependen (flagship store in Norway). But it is not one of the "picture perfect" homes that are usually on display. The apartment is built as a replica of the real home of Rana and her family of 9 in Damascus, Syria.

The iconic IKEA-posters and price tags told the story of how people live. Lacking food, medicines and access to clean water. Caught in the crossfire of Syria’s civil war. But most importantly: On every little tag we let the public know just how they could help.

Ketchup sandwiches and other things stupid poor people eat | Think Progress

That this timely, straightforward article would give us all pause and deepen empathy.

"When looking at a spider’s web can you point to the 8th spun web, or the 108th? There are those who claim this astounding ability — those who take full credit for crafting, spin by spin, a better life than ours, a life without aid. If you had help paying for college, if someone bought you your first car, if you had health insurance growing up, if your mom never cried over $17, you were lucky. The Hail Mary toss of birth landed you in a family that could put you on a soccer team and buy cleats as your foot grew. And someone was home to help you with your math and give you a gummy vitamin each morning. That’s called aid, by the way. And not all kids get it, but all kids should."

Ethan Zuckerman: Solving Other People's Problems With Technology | The Atlantic

Zuckerman speaks to the perils of forgetting empathy and humanity when designing potential solutions.

The Developed World Is Missing the Point About Modern Slavery | TIME

Complex issues need questions not wide brush strokes, a reality well represented by this article.

Four Years A Student-Athlete: The Racial Injustice of Big-Time College Sports | VICE Sports

In their usual fashion, VICE takes on a tense topic with gloves off. 

Why Do We Teach Girls That It’s Cute to Be Scared? | The New York Times

A provocative, always relevant question. Caroline Paul takes it on with grace and tenacity. What's your take? (Comment below if you like.)

Extended Author’s Note | Colum McCann

In June 2014 Colum McCann was viciously attacked after intervening on behalf of a woman being beaten by her partner. This is his address to the court and his attacker. 

Geography of Poverty South | msnbc

Cancer Alley. An 85-mile stretch of Louisiana home to 150 plants and refineries, and many poor, and predominantly African-American, communities. A stunning piece in writing, photojournalism, and data visualization. 

A grandmother's 36-year hunt for the child stolen by the Argentinian junta | The Guardian

While living in Buenos Aires, I was fortunate to be trusted with friends and colleagues accounts of life under the military junta in the 70s and 80s. This amazing and heartbreaking account offers another glimpse into those terrifying, dark years.