home Must Reads Must reads: Marijuana in Israel, Geert Wilders, mysterious disappearances

Must reads: Marijuana in Israel, Geert Wilders, mysterious disappearances

Good morning, gentle readers! March is right around the corner and there’s lot to read this week, so let’s dive in — and as always, we want to hear from you about what you’re reading, and where!

How to Topple a Dictator‘ (Waleed Shahid for The Nation)

This fascinating interview with an expert on dictatorships and authoritarian regimes explores what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to tackling those in power most effectively.

Chenoweth says the most effective variable in toppling a dictator is the number of people participating in a movement. Chenoweth argues that many more people—and more diverse groups of people—participate in nonviolent campaigns than in activities perceived to be violent. She concludes that this means nonviolence is not merely a moral choice for an individual, but a strategic necessity for a movement.

Geert Wilders Follows the Trump Twitter Trail‘ (Claus Hecking for Der Spiegel)

Wilders has been active in politics far longer than Trump, but he shares traits like xenophobia and Islamophobia, complete with rabid followers and promises to ‘reclaim’ the nation in vague, unspecified ways. And, like Trump, he’s counting on Twitter as an organising tool.

With his postings, Wilders has once again reached his goal of drawing the maximum possible attention with the least effort. In the run-up to the March 15 general election in the Netherlands, all eyes are on Wilders, with his signature blow-dried coiffure.

He was supposed to protect the sea. Then he vanished from his ship‘ (Tom Knudson for Reveal News)

This is an absolutely fascinating and immersive longread about the people who work as observers, keeping an eye on the world’s fisheries and the integrity of the supply chain. When one went missing in mysterious circumstances, it set off a chain of events you’ll have to read about in this fantastic piece.

Their plight is playing out as concern grows about the future of wild seafood and marine ecosystems. In many parts of the world, fishermen have caught too much, too fast, driving populations of bluefin tuna, Atlantic cod and other species to alarmingly low levels. In the process, they’ve also netted, hooked and killed vast numbers of sharks, seabirds and marine mammals.

Barbara, Wanda‘ (Nathalié Leger for The Paris Review)

It’s strange, circuitous, compelling, engaging. How does a writing project turn into a tangled morass of self and family? You’ll have to find out!

So what’s the story about? my mother had inquired. She was pretending to be interested just to be nice, but she didn’t care. She really wanted to go back to ordinary stories of ordinary lives, gossip, things she knew and cared about—a dead cousin, an ailing female friend, a sickly child; and no sooner had she asked the question than my mind went blank, a fog set in, I felt a sudden unfamiliarity with the subject: everything that had been clear and obvious suddenly seemed completely inconsequential, lost in the awful echo chamber of background noise as she absentmindedly scraped her spoon around the bottom of her almost empty coffee cup, waiting for me to begin.

Marijuana In Israel Gets A Push From The Right‘ (Naomi Zeveloff for Forward)

This is an interesting read on the peculiar journey of marijuana policy in Israel, a nation that has invested in research and development with the support of some surprising parties.

The journey of marijuana in Israel from a fringe issue on the left to a near-consensus cause championed by the right starts with a Bulgarian-born organic chemist Raphael Mechoulam. In the 1960s, a sympathetic Israeli police officer slipped Mechoulam confiscated Lebanese hashish for his research. Mechoulam became first person to isolate and synthesize THC, the plant’s main psychoactive ingredient, and went on to establish Israel as a world leader in medical marijuana research.

If you enjoy our work, please consider supporting us with a one time or recurring donation. We believe in paying writers, and we rely on our readers to help us continue serving up interesting, dynamic, and engaging commentary every weekday. To make sure you don’t miss any of that commentary, you can subscribe to our newsletter below — and if you’re interested in writing for us, check out our contributor guidelines.

Photo: Ted Eytan/Creative Commons