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Monday
Sep102018

The Man Who Raised a Fist, 50 Years Later


Tik Root | The Atlantic (October 2018 Issue)| Photo: Associated Press

In the boyle heights
 neighborhood of Los Angeles, tucked between a gas station and what looks to be an abandoned warehouse, sits a former ceramics factory that now houses the studio of Glenn Kaino, a prominent conceptual artist. One morning in April, Kaino opened the back door and ushered inside the Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith; Smith’s wife, Delois; and me. We were greeted by an imposing stack of 70 or 80 cardboard boxes. “What are those?” asked Smith, who at 6 foot 4 towers above Kaino. “Arms,” Kaino responded. “Those are all arms?” Delois exclaimed.

The arms are not just any arms, but fiberglass casts of Smith’s actual right arm, made from a silicone mold that Kaino took a few years back. Dozens of replicas are now strewn across the studio, in various states of preparation. Each one extends from the shoulder to a gloved fist, every vein and ripple of muscle discernible along the way. When any of the arms is held upright, its significance is immediately evident.

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Monday
Oct092017

The Jamaican Apple Pickers of Upstate New York

Tik Root | The New York Times | Photo: Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist

Seth Forrence is the fourth-generation manager of his family’s apple farm, Forrence Orchards, in Peru, N.Y. He is only 41, but the business, he said, has changed drastically during his lifetime. Traditional varieties like McIntosh and Cortland are slowly giving way to the sweetness of Honeycrisp and SnapDragon, and the trees are getting smaller; up to 1,200 can be packed into one acre. But there has been one constant during his time on the farm: the Jamaicans.

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Saturday
May282016

Life under curfew for American teens: ‘it’s insane, no other country does this’

Tik Root | The Guardian | Photo: Eliana Aponte/Reuters

Around 11pm, on a temperate Friday last August, Officer Troy Owens was patrolling south-eastern San Diego. Peering through his driver’s side window into the darkness, he scanned the streets until his eyes stopped on the corner of 47th and Market. “Somebody trying to hide from me?” he wondered aloud. “Yup,” he answered, swinging the SUV around, and turning on the flashing lights.

Owens, who has worked for the San Diego police department for nearly 20 years, pulled toward the curb and got out of his car. As he approached, three teenagers slowly slunk out from behind an electrical box: a boy, David, 15, whose identity, along with those of other minors, is being protected, and two girls. Heads hanging, shoulders slouched, they knew they were caught. All three were soon searched, handcuffed, and put in the back of cars for the ride to the command post – a local Boys & Girls Club.

Were the teenagers picked up for using drugs? No. Drinking? No. Had they fled a store without paying for their goods? Hardly. Their crime: being out past curfew.

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Friday
Feb282014

Al-Qaida Destroyed Our Family

Tik Root | Slate and Roads & Kingdoms | Khaled Abdullah Ali Al Mahdi/Reuters

SANA’A, Yemen—On the morning of Aug. 30, 2013, in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a, Khaled al-Dhahab’s phone rang. The villager on the other end relayed the news Khaled had long dreaded: His brother, Qaid, was dead.

Hours earlier, Qaid al-Dhahab had been returning from a wedding celebration to his home near the rural city of Rada’a, roughly 160 miles southeast of Sana’a, when a torrent of missiles flew from the sky, turning the car in which he rode into a smoldering heap. Qaid, who by most accounts was a rising leader in al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)—considered the most active and dangerous branch of the global terrorist network—had been a target in a suspected U.S. drone strike.

Khaled was not vengeful—he said Qaid had “chosen his path.” He was, however, upset—distressed that his once-proud family keeps finding itself mixed up in al-Qaida and the West’s so-called war on terror.

CONTINUE READING AT ROADS & KINGDOMS OR SLATE