Hello girls and gays!

This has been a heavy and exhausting news week, with some light pockets of absolute ridiculousness — can you believe that godawful “i don’t date jews” WaPo piece came out this week? It literally feels like a year ago.
I’m skipping over the nonsense, because I’m presuming you all already have twitter accounts, and getting right into the meat of this week’s stories. So, without further introduction, here are your Hot Take-Aways for the week of 6 April, 2018.


In Review

If you read nothing else this week:

  1. ‘We will not wait 70 years more’: scenes from Gaza’s March of Return (Mondoweiss) — while the Israeli military continues to indiscriminately murder Palestinians, photo essays like these remind us how necessary it is to centre the humanity and vulnerability of those struggling in Gaza.
  2. Richard Poplak sets Jordan B Peterson’s house in order: a (scorching) review of 12 Rules For Life (Johannesburg Review of Books) — I won’t pretend for a minute that I have anything less than open disdain for J*rdan P*terson, so every new review I see of his mess of a magnum opus is like a shot of adrenaline for me. And this one goes in.
  3. We Asked Every U.S. Senator About Israel Killing 17 Palestinians and Shooting Hundreds More (Splinter News)​ — P. E. Moskowitz directly challenges US Senators about their role in maintaining the “special relationship” between Israel and America, and the vibrant trade in capital, security and surveillance technology, and military aid between the two settler colonial states.

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Policy Push

Canada must help rebuild the world’s refugee regime by Craig Damian Smith for The Globe and Mail (link)
It’s rare that a single article is able to concisely draw together a vortex of seemingly only tangentially connected stories — it requires a wide-ranging depth of knowledge that is often unavailable to writers who are new to their beats. But what makes this piece such a satisfying read, despite its brevity, is the level of research behind it. I’ve known Craig Smith for almost five years, and throughout that entire time, he’s been doing in-depth research on border policing, migration, and refugee policy in Europe and the greater Mediterranean region. Right now, with Western countries remain unwilling to take action in defence of refugees, and Israeli policy decisions around its substantial African migrant population changing every other minute, Smith’s article is a moral recommendation with a truly big-picture approach.

Embodied Art

This MoMA Show Asks You to Confront Racism—Both in Strangers and Yourself by Larissa Pham for Garage (link)
Larissa Pham’s piece covers the MoMA retrospective of multi-media artist Adrian Piper, who uses objects, fine art, and performance to communicate a range of experiences of racism, embodiment, and perception. Pham’s coverage of the exhibition is entranced and emotional, and for good reason; the art is all about positionality, and there’s a sense of uncomfortable but knowing consciousness that runs through the piece. The reader is encouraged to consider their own position to the text as it describes Pham’s experiencing of Piper’s work, a self-reflective showcase of the ways in which Black pain is simultaneously ignored and exploited.

Cut the Purse Strings

When Migrants Are Treated Like Slaves by Jacqueline Stevens for The New York Times (link)
Immigration enforcement institutions can be incredibly dehumanizing; even more so when they are run for-profit. This op-ed by Dr. Stevens describes the American framework of for-profit detention that allows for the brutal exploitation and coerced labour of immigrants. It also details how activists can find success in their legal battles against the entities that treat migrants as slaves, precisely by targeting their profit margins.


What’s New?

Safe Space Podcast is back to posting weekly episodes!

So I’m actually plugging two episodes of Safe Space today, because why not! Here’s a link.
The first episode is from last Friday. It’s about immigrant detention in Canada, where guests Brendan Kennedy and Nisha Toomey describe the horrific legal failures and systemic biases that endanger Black and Brown immigrants in Canada.

The second is today’s episode. It features my friend Amanda Ghazale Aziz as guest-host, and focuses on Facebook data scraping/privacy leaks, as well as issues involved in Canadian identity politics — especially as they relate to the current Canadian government.


There was a lot to choose from this week, so there was also a lot left out. If you’re subscribed to the newsletter, this Monday’s edition of Hot Take-Aways will focus on gentrification and housing justice.
Until then — stay warm, y’all.

in solidarity,
alex v