MoJo Author Feeds: Maddie Oatman | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/rss/authors/64597 http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en This Author's Juicy YA Novels Would Be Banned in Her Parents' Homeland http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/10/sara-farizan-you-could-be-mine-tell-me-again-how-crush-should-feel <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>When <a href="http://algonquinyoungreaders.com/author/sara-farizan/" target="_blank">Sara Farizan</a> presented early drafts of her young-adult novels at writing workshops, her fellow graduate students at Lesley University often responded with a stunned "Huh." The YA genre tends to be dominated by wizards and trolls, but here was Farizan writing about gay teenage sexual angst. Her 2013 debut novel, <a href="http://algonquinyoungreaders.com/book/if-you-could-be-mine/" target="_blank"><em>If You Could Be Mine</em></a>, centers on Sahar, an Iranian teenager who considers desperate measures&mdash;including sex reassignment surgery&mdash;to try to stop her true love's arranged marriage. Farizan, born in the United States to Iranian parents, figured the book would sell on the fringes. Instead, it quickly landed on several "best YA reading" lists and snagged <a href="http://www.lambdaliterary.org/features/06/03/winners-of-the-26th-annual-lambda-literary-awards-announced/" target="_blank">a Lambda Literary Award</a>.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Farizan_Crush_Crop.jpg.jpg"></div> <p>Her new novel, <a href="http://www.powells.com/biblio/9781616202842" target="_blank"><em>Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel</em></a>, takes place closer to home. Out October 7, it is set in a waspy prep school, not unlike the one Farizan attended as a closeted teen in Massachusetts ("pre-<em>Ellen</em>," she notes). "I had this outgoing personality, and I was class president, but inside, I was going to my car to cry."</p> <p>Farizan's stories, as full of gossip as any school cafeteria, are nonetheless funny and frank. They deal with uncomfortable issues&mdash;and not just for "girls named Emily or Annie." For that matter, Farizan thinks her fellow YA authors could do better at appealing to kids of all stripes. "Not that Harry isn't great," she says. "But if Ron and Hermione had been some other identity&mdash;black, Latina, gay&mdash;I think that would have made a huge difference."</p> <p><strong>Mother Jones: </strong>You've said: "I write books I wish I had as a teenager." Can you elaborate?</p> <p><strong>Sara Farizan: </strong>My first crush, as early as age 5, was Gadget the Mouse from Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. It didn't bother me that she was animated, or a mouse; it bothered me that she was female. I had these inclinations, and was really terrified by them. This was pre-<em>Ellen</em> of course, and given the culture my parents are from&mdash;where a husband and wife is very important, and kids, and then those kids grow up to be doctors hopefully&mdash;I spent a lot of years in this silent fear and anger. As a teenager, I had this outgoing personality, and I was class president and doing all kinds of things; but inside was going to my car to cry. I had no problems explaining to people what my Iranian heritage meant, and trying to be a good representative. What did worry me was that I was secretly gay.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>What were you reading at the time?</p> <p><strong>SF: </strong>There were LGBT-oriented books for teens by Julie Anne Peters, and Nancy Garden's <em>Annie on My Mind</em>. I normally got those from my town library rather than my school. But there wasn't anything about someone of a different background, you know. They were all girls named Emily and Annie. While those books were really helpful to me, there was a disconnect in that the only LGBT books that I had read about in school were concerning very of-European-descent people.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>You started your books as graduate school projects. Did you think they'd become more than that?</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Farizan_IfYouCould_CROP.jpg"></div> <p><strong>SF: </strong>I really didn't see them ever being published, based on what they're about. Everyone in the "Writing for Young People" track was writing trolls and wizards, and, um, not LGBT people of color, certainly. I thought perhaps they were too niche. I didn't anticipate that all of this would have happened&mdash;that I'd be speaking to you, for one.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>There are a lot of doctors in your books, and I see that your father was a surgeon. Did you feel pressure to go that route?</p> <p><strong>SF: </strong>No, but I think it was a profession that was understood. It's one that's really lofty and prestigious. I think for a lot of Persian parents in the States, being a doctor was the gold standard. There's this comedian, Amir K, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCxMWWf4_Ww">who does an impression of his dad</a>, who's like, "What do you mean you want to be a comedian? You can be a lawyer, you can be a doctor, you can open up a bank." And Amir's like, "Dad, you can't just go around opening up banks." [See video below.] My sister and I have gone very media-related routes. My parents are really wonderful about it, but it's not something they knew anything about. It's all very new territory for them.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/JCxMWWf4_Ww" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>Is your book, <em>If You Could Be Mine</em>, banned in Iran?</p> <p><strong>SF: </strong>I don't know that they know about it. I don't Google myself. I don't look myself up. One, because I'm a fragile flower. And two, it's going to mess up anything I want to write in the future.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>You paint a very believable portrait of life in Iran. Did you live there for a time?</p> <p><strong>SF: </strong>I've been there. I have the passport stamps. I worry about being exploitative because I'm a Westerner. But for me it was very important, being a member of the LGBT community and dealing with that kind if frustration and isolation, to imagine what it would be like growing up in the country my parents are from.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>The idea of transexualism plays a big role in the new book&mdash;though it seems pretty evident that Sahar is not trans. But I was surprised to learn that transgender Iranians can get subsidies for gender reassignment surgeries, and that they have more government protections than homosexuals.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/media/2014/10/sara-farizan-you-could-be-mine-tell-me-again-how-crush-should-feel"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Media Interview Books Media Sex and Gender Top Stories Fri, 03 Oct 2014 10:00:08 +0000 Maddie Oatman 261541 at http://www.motherjones.com Obama Plan Will Cut Out Grueling Journey for a Small Number of Central American Refugees http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/central-american-kids-will-be-able-apply-asylum-home <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Escaping rampant violence in parts of Central America, tens of thousands of child migrants made a treacherous journey up to the United States border this year. To help dissuade such a vulnerable population from taking such risky treks in the first place, Obama announced Tuesday that he plans to roll out a new program to allow children to apply for refugee status from their home countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.</p> <p></p><div id="mininav" class="inline-subnav"> <!-- header content --> <div id="mininav-header-content"> <div id="mininav-header-image"> <img src="/files/images/motherjones_mininav/migrants_225.jpg" width="220" border="0"></div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-252671"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/06/child-migrants-surge-unaccompanied-central-america"> 70,000 Kids Will Show Up Alone at Our Border This Year. What Happens to Them?</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-252866"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/06/unaccompanied-kids-immigrants-deported-guatemala"> What's Next for the Children We Deport? </a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255056"> <li><a href="/mojo/2014/06/map-unaccompanied-child-migrants-central-america-honduras"> Map: These Are the Places Central American Child Migrants Are Fleeing </a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-256341"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/07/are-kids-showing-border-really-refugees"> Are the Kids Showing Up at the Border Really Refugees?</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-256331"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/07/child-migrant-ellis-island-history"> Child Migrants Have Been Coming to America Alone Since Ellis Island</a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> <div id="mininav-footer-content"> <div id="mininav-footer-text" class="mininav-footer-text"> <p class="mininav-footer-text" style="margin: 0; padding: 0.75em; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.2em; background-color: rgb(221, 221, 221);"> See <em>MoJo</em>'s <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/topics/child-migrants">full coverage</a> of the surge of unaccompanied child migrants from Central America. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p>The program is still in the planning stages, and it remains unclear how old the kids must be and what circumstances they must be caught in to successfully apply for asylum. But at least it's a move in the right direction, says Michelle Bran&eacute; of the Women's Refugee Commission. "They are laying the groundwork and designating an avenue&mdash;it's a good starting off point," she says.</p> <p>White House spokesperson Shawn Turner <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/01/us/obama-approves-plan-to-let-children-apply-for-refugee-status-in-central-america.html?_r=1" target="_blank">told the <em>New York Times</em></a> that the initiative is meant to "provide a safe, legal, and orderly alternative to the dangerous journey children are currently taking to join relatives in the United States." The point made in the last part of this statement has caught the attention of human rights advocates including Bran&eacute;, as it suggests that only children who already have a relative in the US will qualify for asylum under this new program, leaving out thousands who are trying to escape newly developing unrest and gang violence.</p> <p>Advocates also worry about the number of applicants that will be granted asylum. The White House's announcement projects that 4,000 people <em>total</em> from Latin America and the Caribbean could be granted refugee visas in fiscal year 2015. (Let's not forget that region includes troubled countries like Cuba, Venezuela, and Haiti). The children who would be allowed to apply for refugee status from their home countries appear to be a subcategory of that 4,000. "That's not even close to enough," says Bran&eacute;. "We saw 60,000 kids arrive from Central America this year."</p> <p>One <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/are-kids-showing-border-really-refugees" target="_blank">study by the UN High Commissioner of Refugees</a> revealed that 60 percent of recent child migrants interviewed expressed a targeted fear, like a death threat, which is the type of experience that can qualify you for asylum. If you use that statistic, that means 36,000 of the kids who crossed the border this year should qualify for refugee visas&mdash;nine times the total number Obama is promising.</p> <p>But Bran&eacute; says an even bigger concern with the program is its potential to eclipse or replace protections given to targeted migrants who arrive at the Mexico/US border. "A program like this is fine as a complementary approach," she says, "but it cannot replace protection at the border; it should not impede access to asylum in the US." Ironically, it's the children whose lives are most threatened that could have the hardest time applying for refugee status from their home countries. "In some of these cases, kids have a threat against their lives," says Bran&eacute;. "They don't have time to stand in line, file an application, come back later, stand in line again. They have to leave immediately."</p></body></html> MoJo Human Rights Immigration International child migrants Fri, 03 Oct 2014 01:06:47 +0000 Maddie Oatman 261566 at http://www.motherjones.com In "Pen and Ink," People Tell the Fascinating Stories Behind Their Tattoos http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/09/pen-and-ink-tattoos-stories-wendy-macnaughton-isaac-fitzgerald <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Illustrator Wendy MacNaughton has no shame in asking our server about the tattoo peeking out from under her right armpit. We're at Magnolia Brewery, a pub in San Francisco with a soft glow and a hint of an edgy past. The petite, bespectacled waitress explains that the hen and chicks inked on her inner bicep come from a kid's book her grandma used to read to her at the childhood farm.&nbsp;After the server disappears to retrieve our fries, MacNaughton says: "If someone is choosing to permanently mark their body, there is a story behind it."</p> <p>She should know. MacNaughton has spent much of the last two years on a new oral-history book, <a href="http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/pen-ink-9781620404928/" target="_blank"><em>Pen and Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them</em></a>, out October 7. The testimonies accompanying her expressive drawings serve as glimpses into the subjects' earlier selves&mdash;"my sister and I would race after bees in the lavender bushes and try to pet them without getting stung"&mdash;or mantras to live by&mdash;"a gray-blue stripe down my spine&hellip;symbolizes 'balance.'" Some insignias represent disturbing moments: incarceration or chemo or lost family members. Others are just goofy: A male comedian sports a cursive "Whoops" on his arm, and one woman inked a <em>T. rex</em> on her ribcage as a reminder "not to take myself too seriously."</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" mozallowfullscreen="" src="//player.vimeo.com/video/106463800" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>The project was the brainchild of <a href="http://www.isaacfitzgerald.net/" target="_blank">Isaac Fitzgerald</a>, co-owner of literary website <a href="http://therumpus.net/" target="_blank"><em>The Rumpus</em></a> and the books editor at <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/books" target="_blank"><em>BuzzFeed</em></a>. Past bartending gigs had taught Fitzgerald that quizzing fellow mixologists about their tattoos was an easy ice-breaker. As his interest in publishing took hold, he noticed that most books about tattoos merely relied on photographs, which, in terms of capturing the essence of a great tattoo, "leave a lot to be desired."</p> <p>One day, Fitzgerald was having a drink with MacNaughton, whose playful renderings have adorned the pages of the<em> New York Times</em>, the <em>Wall Street Journal</em>, <em>PRINT</em>, and several books<em>.</em> "I said, 'Here's this really dumb idea!'" Fitzgerald recalls. "And I think she was like, 'That's not <em>that</em> dumb.'" So, in 2012, they launched a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tumblr" target="_blank">Tumblr</a> called <a href="http://penandink.tumblr.com/" target="_blank"><em>Pen and Ink</em></a>, which pairs MacNaughton's tattoo portraits with the subjects' personal stories. Before long, their project had attracted 80,000 followers, including rock star fans such as Neko Case and Colin Meloy.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/TattooBusCrop2.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>"Andrea de Francisco, Cafe Owner"</strong></div> </div> <p>Drawing hadn't always come so easy for MacNaughton. After graduating from Pasadena's City Art Center College of Design in 1999, and making, in her words, "the worst conceptual art ever," she abandoned her pen in exasperation. Instead, she went to grad school for international social work, and spent several years working on political campaigns in East Africa.</p> <p>The drawing bug bit again after she moved to the Bay Area and began sketching fellow commuters on the train to work. Something had shifted: "In art school it was all about expressing my analysis of the world, and my ideas." But now she wanted to use her talents to tell other people's stories. Her sketches of life in the city&mdash;street characters, found objects, or moments on a bus&mdash;became an online series for <em>The Rumpus</em>, culminating in a 2014 book, <a href="http://www.chroniclebooks.com/titles/meanwhile-in-san-francisco.html" target="_blank"><em>Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words</em></a>.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/TattooAnna_1.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>"Anna Schoenberger, Manager at Thrift Store"</strong></div> </div> <p>Interviewing diverse tribes for <em>Meanwhile</em> was a great warmup for <em>Pen and Ink</em>, MacNaughton tells me. Nowadays, it's impossible to predict who might have a tattoo: anyone from "people who work downtown in an office on a top floor in a suit to somebody who doesn't work who has tattoos all over his face," she says. She shoots me a sly look. "I get a possible tattoo vibe from you."</p> <p>When I break the news that I'm actually not among the <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2010/10/millennials-confident-connected-open-to-change.pdf">23 percent of Americans</a> who are inked, she counters, "You just don't have one <em>yet.</em>" (I've recently become obsessed with FlashTats, those sparkly temporary tattoos designed to look like jewelry. Gateway drug?)</p> <p>MacNaughton, who has wavy rust-colored hair and sparkly eyes, sports two tattoos herself&mdash;both equally embarrassing, she admits. She points to one on her forearm: a triangle connecting three circles meant to represent a philosophical "mirror theory." "There was a point when I would have removed this. But I'm really glad now that I didn't." Doing <em>Pen and Ink,</em> she says, "helped me embrace that attitude that this represents a time in my life when I was more sincere. That was a great time. And I am so glad it is not that time anymore."</p> <p>MacNaughton and Fitzgerald are already busy with a sequel, <a href="http://penandink.tumblr.com/post/89655274167/we-are-thrilled-to-announce-that-bloomsbury-aka" target="_blank"><em>Knives and Ink</em></a>, an illustrated series of tattooed chefs and their tales. MacNaughton's not done inking herself, either. "My next tattoo," she confides, "is Grandma-related."</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/TattooAbout.jpg"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/TattooCraig_0.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>"MJ Craig, Assistant Lab Manager"</strong></div> </div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/TattooMac.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>"Mac McClelland, Journalist"</strong></div> </div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/TattooCassyFritzen.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>"Cassy Fritzen, Bartender"</strong></div> </div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/TattooChrisColin.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>"Chris Colin, Writer"</strong></div> </div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/TattooRyanChest2.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>"Ryan M. Beshel, Public Relations Coordinator"</strong></div> </div> </div></body></html> Media Slideshows Books Media Fri, 26 Sep 2014 10:00:07 +0000 Maddie Oatman 260416 at http://www.motherjones.com It's Now Illegal to Kill Wolves in Wyoming http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/09/wolf-hunts-canceled-wyoming-endangered-species-gray-wolf <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>For the past two years, killing a wolf in Wyoming was pretty simple. In a trophy game area near the border of Yellowstone, licensed hunters were allowed to take a certain number of gray wolves. In the rest of the state, or about 80 percent of Wyoming's land, anyone could kill a limitless number of them on sight.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/slideshows/2011/04/wolves-protect-climate-change/staring-wolf"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/1wolfgarykramersmallagain.jpg"></a> <div class="caption"><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/slideshows/2011/04/wolves-protect-climate-change/staring-wolf" target="_blank"><strong>Read "10 Reasons We Need Wolves" </strong></a></div> </div> <p>But that's about to change. A judge <a href="http://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/files/14-09-23%20Doc%20%2068%20OPINION.pdf" target="_blank">ruled Tuesday</a> that the animals' delisting in 2012, which handed management of the species <a href="http://wgfd.wyo.gov/web2011/wildlife-1000380.aspx" target="_blank">over to the Wyoming government</a>, was "arbitrary and capricious," and that the state isn't ready to manage wolf populations on its own. The move has wolf activists breathing a sigh of relief; Wyoming's management plan, as Sierra Club's Bonnie Rice put it, could have potentially taken wolves "back to the brink of extinction." Judge Amy Berman Jackson did not challenge the previous finding that wolves had recovered and that the species "is not endangered or threatened within a significant portion of its range." But even so, her ruling means that Wyoming's wolves will again enjoy protections under the Endangered Species Act and can no longer be hunted&mdash;at least in the short term.</p> <p>While as many as 2 million gray wolves once roamed North America, the carnivores were nearly wiped out by humans by the early 1900s. Roughly 5,500 remain today, though <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/09/map-which-states-hunt-wolves" target="_blank">an uptick in laws permitting wolf hunting</a> in states like Wyoming, New Mexico, Montana, and Idaho all threaten to keep the animals scarce. Wyoming's hunting and "kill-on-sight" policies, for instance, meant 219 wolves were gunned down since 2012, according to Earthjustice.</p> <p>In part because wolves were <em>re</em>introduced in Wyoming, whether to kill or protect this predator remains a very polarizing issue in the state. Wolves kill farm animals and pets, pissing off ranchers and rural landowners alike and feeding into the attitude that the canids are just a deadly nuisance. A <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=564330240283396" target="_blank">Facebook photo posted last year</a> by hunting outfitters, for instance, shows a group of hunters posing with a dead wolf with blood covering its paws and mouth. The caption reads "Wyoming is FED up." Commenters responded with notes like "the only good Canadian gray wolf to me is a dead Canadian gray wolf" and "Keep on killing guys!"</p> <p>But scientists and conservationists have fought hard to restore this species into the North American ecosystem. <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/slideshows/2011/04/wolves-protect-climate-change/yellowstone-wolf-project-tagging#" target="_blank">Studies have shown</a> that wolves maintain balance in the environment: they prey on other large mammals like moose and elk, whose populations (<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/slideshows/2011/04/wolves-protect-climate-change/mexican-wolf-near-stream" target="_blank">and eating habits</a>) can get out of control without a predator to keep them in check; their hunting <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/files/2-predatorpreymanagement.pdf" target="_blank">helps feed scavengers</a> like wolverines, bald eagles, and mountain lions; their predation can force elk to hang out in smaller groups, thereby <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/files/6elkherdresponse.pdf" target="_blank">reducing the spread of diseases</a>; and they've even been found to <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19967871" target="_blank">be good for the soil</a>.</p> <p>By restoring protections to gray wolves, states Rice <a href="http://earthjustice.org/news/press/2014/victory-for-wolves-in-wyoming" target="_blank">in a press release</a>, "the court has rightly recognized the deep flaws in Wyoming's wolf management plan." She argues that the state needs to reevaluate how it treats the animal and develop "a science-based management plan that recognizes the many benefits wolves bring to the region."</p> <p>The conservation groups that sued after the wolves were delisted in 2012 include Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, and the Center for Biological Diversity. Though yesterday's news comes as a victory to these groups, a bigger hurdle lies ahead: The US Fish and Wildlife <a href="http://www.fws.gov/home/wolfrecovery/" target="_blank">has proposed</a> to remove the gray wolf from the federal Endangered Species list altogether based on the animals' perceived recovery. A final decision is expected later this year.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Animals Science Wed, 24 Sep 2014 17:24:08 +0000 Maddie Oatman 260896 at http://www.motherjones.com 5 Dazzling Female Singers on the Rise http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/08/lady-singers-diana-gameros-frazey-ford-sevyn-streeter-fka-twigs-irene-diaz <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Summer's pulling to a close, but perk up. Here are videos of five refreshing female vocalists whose smart and uncompromising performances have dazzled me recently:</p> <p><strong>1. Frazey Ford</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/YZFgKbkrmIY" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>Fans of the quirky alt-folk band the Be Good Tanyas&mdash;of which Frazey Ford is a founding member&mdash;won't be disappointed with this sneak-peek single off Ford's upcoming solo album, <a href="http://www.frazeyford.com/content/indian-ocean" target="_blank"><em>Indian Ocean</em></a>, out in mid-October. With subtle vibrato and pulsing emotion, Ford's velvety vocals take center stage in "September Fields." While Ford's a country-folk singer at heart, the electric organ in the track transforms her normally aching lullaby into something funkier and full of sunshine. As I listened, I kept picturing late summer drives through peaceful farm towns, passing barns with their paint peeling, peach stands framed by dry corn stalks, little girls in their Sunday best giggling on the steps of a small church. "Are you holding, holding on so tight?" Ford croons. Yes&mdash;to the edge of my seat in anticipation for her album to land.</p> <p><strong>2. Diana Gameros</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/TV7izivR-jo" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>One evening in July, Mexican singer Diana Gameros boarded the historic <a href="http://www.nps.gov/safr/historyculture/balclutha.htm" target="_blank">Balclutha</a>, a tall ship parked in the San Francisco Bay. Under violet lights in the main cabin, alongside a handful of other masterful Latin American musicians, she delivered "Canciones Del Mar (Songs of the Sea)." The group performed ocean homages plucked from all over the continent, from fishing ditties to a silly tune about an octopus to a tribute to the Argentine poet Alfonsina Storni, who is said to have ended her own life by wading into the sea.</p> <p>Gameros also performed her original, "Soy Tu Mar," and released this humble video a month later. The waves washing through the ballad offer the singer an ethereal alternative rhythm, and pair well with her bright nylon-stringed Takamine guitar with a sound reminiscent of a mariachi. Gameros grew up bouncing between her hometown of Ciudad Ju&aacute;rez, Mexico, and Holland, Michigan, where she learned English and studied music. She now resides in the Bay Area and plays regularly <a href="http://dianagameros.com/upcoming-performances/" target="_blank">at a tamale parlor</a> in San Francisco's Mission District. Her delicate first album, <a href="http://dianagameros.com/music/" target="_blank"><em>Eterno Retorno</em></a>, showcases Gameros' bilingual songwriting and jazzy voice. Like "Soy Tu Mar," it's at once full of yearning and serenity. Don't miss the improvised bonus song in the tunnel at the end of the video.</p> <p><strong>3. Sevyn Streeter</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="338" scrolling="no" src="http://www.npr.org/templates/event/embeddedVideo.php?storyId=338276926&amp;mediaId=338294182" width="600"></iframe></p> <p>Ignore the nails and revel in this diva's silky and powerful voice. It baffles me that the guys lifting weights in the righthand corner of this scren were able to hold it together while Streeter just kills it.</p> <p>With roots in church gospel music, Streeter started winning talent competitions at a young age, but her cousin had to convince her to upload her music to MySpace. It soon caught the eye of Beyonc&eacute; and Jennifer Lopez's producer Rich Harrison, who asked Streeter to join RichGirl, a new pop group he was forming. The band never really took off, but Streeter continued to write songs, and six of the tracks she helped pen made it onto Chris Brown's Grammy-winning album <em>F.A.M.E.</em></p> <p>Now, with an EP to her name, Streeter is working on a debut album. The singles out so far are gussied up with plenty of electronic beats and echo-y harmonies. But after seeing this video, I hope she releases more stripped-down acoustic tracks that allow her pure voice full reign.</p> <p><strong>4. FKA Twigs</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/3yDP9MKVhZc" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>Move over Gaga: FKA Twigs has arrived. This satisfyingly weird artist struts her sultry vocals and mesmerizing poise in the video version of "Two Weeks." This year saw the London-based Twigs, a former backup dancer, move into the spotlight with her album <em>LP1. </em>Hipster music blog <em>Pitchfork</em> <a href="http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/19590-twigs-lp1/" target="_blank">raves about</a> its "eerie, post-humanist, Uncanny Valley-girl aesthetic." Indeed, Twigs plays a doll in many of the surreal videos off this album&mdash;in "<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFtMl-uipA8" target="_blank">Water Me</a>," her head bobs from side to side and her eyes are unnaturally large.</p> <p>In the video above, she's an unapproachable empress. But amid all this cold posturing, her voice is piercingly intimate. And her command of her space and skilled restraint suggest that this 26-year-old half-Jamaican artist is only getting started.</p> <p><strong>5. Irene Diaz</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/LwM1fkxOjVE" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>Okay, this video's not brand new. But Irene Diaz is probably new to most of you. I just stumbled on her recently (h/t NPR's <em>Tiny Desk Concerts</em>), and I'm hooked on this playful song with its driving piano and flirtatious glances.</p> <p>Based in Los Angeles, the soulful Diaz is just breaking into the national scene, playing at 2014's SXSW and <a href="http://www.rialtotheatre.com/event/552981-lila-downs-tucson/" target="_blank">opening for Lila Downs'</a> on her current tour. Diaz seems like she'd be a ton of fun live&mdash;but here's hoping she pauses from touring long enough to complete her first full-length album soon. As <a href="http://music.remezcla.com/2013/latin/irene-diaz-i-love-you-madly-ep-interview/" target="_blank">one blogger pointed out</a>, Diaz sounds a bit like Fiona Apple, but her songs aren't quite so morose. They're muscular and catchy, with a hint of vintage spunk.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Video Music Music Mondays Mon, 01 Sep 2014 10:00:05 +0000 Maddie Oatman 259371 at http://www.motherjones.com 785 of This Year's Unaccompanied Migrants Were Under 6 Years Old http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/unaccompanied-child-migrants-younger-than-five-pew-research <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/migrants-age-pew630.png"><div class="caption">Pew Research Center</div> </div> <p>Little kids, including a troubling number of children age five or younger, make up the fastest-growing group of unaccompanied minors apprehended at the US border in fiscal year 2014. So far this year, nearly 7,500 kids under 13 have been caught without a legal guardian&mdash;and 785 of them were younger than six.</p> <p></p><div id="mininav" class="inline-subnav"> <!-- header content --> <div id="mininav-header-content"> <div id="mininav-header-image"> <img src="/files/images/motherjones_mininav/migrants_225.jpg" width="220" border="0"></div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-252671"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/06/child-migrants-surge-unaccompanied-central-america"> 70,000 Kids Will Show Up Alone at Our Border This Year. What Happens to Them?</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-252866"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/06/unaccompanied-kids-immigrants-deported-guatemala"> What's Next for the Children We Deport? </a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255056"> <li><a href="/mojo/2014/06/map-unaccompanied-child-migrants-central-america-honduras"> Map: These Are the Places Central American Child Migrants Are Fleeing </a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-256341"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/07/are-kids-showing-border-really-refugees"> Are the Kids Showing Up at the Border Really Refugees?</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-256331"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/07/child-migrant-ellis-island-history"> Child Migrants Have Been Coming to America Alone Since Ellis Island</a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> <div id="mininav-footer-content"> <div id="mininav-footer-text" class="mininav-footer-text"> <p class="mininav-footer-text" style="margin: 0; padding: 0.75em; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.2em; background-color: rgb(221, 221, 221);"> See <em>MoJo</em>'s <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/topics/child-migrants">full coverage</a> of the surge of unaccompanied child migrants from Central America. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's still mostly teens who travel solo to the United States from countries like El Salvador and Honduras, as the <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/07/22/children-12-and-under-are-fastest-growing-group-of-unaccompanied-minors-at-u-s-border/" target="_blank">Pew Research Center</a> revealed today in a new analysis of US Customs and Border Protection data. But compared to 2013, Border Patrol apprehensions of kids 12 or younger already have increased 117 percent, while those of teens have jumped only 12 percent. Apprehensions of the youngest group of kids, those under six, have nearly tripled.</p> <p>These new stats reveal a trend made all the more startling as details of the journey continue to emerge. In his <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/child-migrants-surge-unaccompanied-central-america" target="_blank">feature story</a> about this influx of child migrants, for instance, <em>MoJo</em>'s Ian Gordon tells of Adri&aacute;n, a Guatemalan kid who dodged attackers armed with machetes, walked barefoot for miles through Mexico, and resorted to prostitution to reach sanctuary in America. And Adri&aacute;n was 17. For the increasing number of kids under 13 making this harrowing trek without parents, the vulnerability to exploitation is only magnified, the potential for trauma and even death only amplified.</p> <p>That so many young kids feel compelled to leave home, or that their parents feel compelled to send them, sends a grim message about the state of their home countries. As El Salvadoran newspaper editor Carlos Dada told <em>On the Media</em>'s Bob Garfield <a href="http://www.onthemedia.org/story/on-the-media-2014-07-18/" target="_blank">last week</a>, quoting a Mexican priest who runs a shelter in Oaxaca, Mexico: "If these migrants are willing to take this road, knowing everything they are risking, even their lives, I don't even want to imagine what they are running away from."</p> <p>Here's another Pew age breakdown, this time by country of origin:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/pew-kids-country310_0.png"><div class="caption">Pew Research Center</div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Charts Immigration child migrants Tue, 22 Jul 2014 20:49:51 +0000 Maddie Oatman 256751 at http://www.motherjones.com Are the Kids Showing Up at the Border Really Refugees? http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/are-kids-showing-border-really-refugees <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Ever since unaccompanied child migrants became a national news story six weeks ago, many people have started asking: Is this an immigration crisis, or is it a refugee crisis? In response, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/un-pushes-migrants-be-called-refugees" target="_blank">said last week</a> it wants to designate many of the Central Americans fleeing regional violence and gang extortion as refugees.</p> <p>The announcement comes amid mounting evidence of the horrific conditions causing so many people to flee Honduras, El Salvador, and parts of Guatemala: kids escaping rape, gang recruitment, and murder all around them, as Pulitzer Prize-winning author Sonia Nazario detailed <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/13/opinion/sunday/a-refugee-crisis-not-an-immigration-crisis.html?ref=opinion&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">in a chilling op-ed</a> in last Sunday's <em>New York Times</em>. With this new designation, the UNHCR hopes to pressure the United States to give more immigrants, including many of the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/child-migrants-surge-unaccompanied-central-america" target="_blank">70,000-plus unaccompanied minors likely to arrive</a> at the US border this year, political asylum.</p> <p></p><div id="mininav" class="inline-subnav"> <!-- header content --> <div id="mininav-header-content"> <div id="mininav-header-image"> <img src="/files/images/motherjones_mininav/migrants_225.jpg" width="220" border="0"></div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-252671"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/06/child-migrants-surge-unaccompanied-central-america"> 70,000 Kids Will Show Up Alone at Our Border This Year. What Happens to Them?</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-252866"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/06/unaccompanied-kids-immigrants-deported-guatemala"> What's Next for the Children We Deport? </a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255056"> <li><a href="/mojo/2014/06/map-unaccompanied-child-migrants-central-america-honduras"> Map: These Are the Places Central American Child Migrants Are Fleeing </a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-256341"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/07/are-kids-showing-border-really-refugees"> Are the Kids Showing Up at the Border Really Refugees?</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-256331"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/07/child-migrant-ellis-island-history"> Child Migrants Have Been Coming to America Alone Since Ellis Island</a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> <div id="mininav-footer-content"> <div id="mininav-footer-text" class="mininav-footer-text"> <p class="mininav-footer-text" style="margin: 0; padding: 0.75em; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.2em; background-color: rgb(221, 221, 221);"> See <em>MoJo</em>'s <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/topics/child-migrants">full coverage</a> of the surge of unaccompanied child migrants from Central America. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p>But if the UNHCR were to make such a move, it still would have no legal significance for the United States. So is it really that important? Yes and no, says <a href="http://www.womensrefugeecommission.org/about/staff/173-migrant-rights-justice/1791-michelle-brane" target="_blank">Michelle Bran&eacute;</a>, director of migrant rights at the Women's Refugee Commission. Bran&eacute; and I talked about what a "refugee" designation could mean, and other ways the US can help ease the pain for immigrants&mdash;particularly those who've experienced targeted violence.</p> <p>Here are nine key takeaways from our conversation:</p> <p><strong>1. Casting this as a "refugee situation" isn't necessarily the important part. </strong><br> "This population contains within it many children and mothers and parents bringing their children who qualify for refugee protection <em>or</em> for protection under international law. Whether you formally call it a 'refugee situation'&mdash;that to me is less relevant than acknowledging that this is a population that is being driven out of their country. And their government is not willing or able to protect them."</p> <p><strong>2. It's not just general violence and unrest that's causing people to flee Central America and Mexico. </strong><br> "It's true that general conditions of war or of danger are not sufficient to qualify for asylum. But the UN agency of refugees, <a href="http://www.unhcrwashington.org/sites/default/files/UAC_UNHCR_Children%20on%20the%20Run_Full%20Report.pdf" target="_blank">in interviewing 400 of these children</a>, for over an hour each, they found that 58 percent expressed a targeted fear. Not just, 'I was scared because my neighborhood was dangerous.' Fifty-eight percent of the kids said, 'I received a death threat.' Or, 'I had a body cut up in a plastic bag left on my doorstep as a warning.' One hundred percent come from a dangerous place. That we know. But 58 percent were targeted. That's the piece that people are not getting."</p> <p><strong>3. Using gang violence as grounds for international protection is not a novel idea.</strong><br> "The UN committee for refugees has recognized for many years now that gang violence absolutely qualifies, depending on the circumstances, as persecution and as qualifying for status under the refugee commission. And the US has granted many claims. People talk about this being difficult to do. It is difficult, especially if you don't have an attorney. But children with attorneys requesting asylum are winning those cases. It's absolutely a grounds that has been accepted in the US. It's not something revolutionary."</p> <p><strong>4. Yes, this is a crisis&mdash;but we shouldn't throw our hands up. </strong><br> "The numbers are small if you compare them to refugee situations worldwide. Like look at Syria. There's over a million Syrian refugees in Turkey. There's over 2 million Syrian refugees in Jordan. Those countries are tiny compared to the US, and the numbers are much bigger. It's absolutely our responsibility as the United States to manage this and handle it in a way that does not roll back protections. We have been the ones to stand up there and say to Turkey:' You've got to take these refugees'. For us to say, because of this small number, 'Oh, maybe we'll reconsider,' is crazy. It's absolutely manageable."</p> <p><strong>5. Very few migrants are faking persecution in order to get to stay in the United States.</strong><br> "The US has excellent asylum screening procedures. The problem is, you need to beef up the system in order to accommodate these numbers. But that's something we need to do anyway. I know there's been a lot of allegations and concern that it's a system that can easily be gamed, and you can fake it&mdash;but it actually it's quite a rigorous process. There's several screening hurdles you have to get over, and then you have to go in front of a judge, and then there's security clearance."</p> <p><strong>6. And many of them migrate for multiple reasons. </strong><br> "When people say they have family here, yes, that's true. But that's not what made them come entirely. Why are they coming now? A smuggler offered them passage to the US. Is the smuggler the reason you left? Part of it. But really, the reason you were looking for a way to come, again, goes back to the violence. Poverty, also. The majority of the kids coming also are experiencing poverty in their home country. Is that the main reason? Maybe, maybe not. It's combined.</p> <p>"One interesting <a href="http://www.vanderbilt.edu/lapop/insights/IO901en.pdf" target="_blank">Vanderbilt study</a> found that people who'd been victim of a crime were more likely to migrate than those who had not. It also found that people who feel their government is not responsive to their needs were much more likely to migrate than someone who's government didn't protect them. When you combine those two factors&mdash;both been a victim of a crime and felt their government couldn't protect them&mdash;they're exponentially more likely to migrate. It's always a combination of factors."</p> <p><strong>7. Requiring international protection, or refugee designation, for more migrants is the right start&mdash;but the US can't solve this crisis alone. </strong><br> "Mexico also has to acknowledge that many of these children need protection. Mexico also has very good asylum laws on the books. What they don't have is the resources and the infrastructure to support implementing those policies. Frankly, I think one of the things the US should be doing, and could do if they talk about this in the context of a refugee crisis, is to provide support regionally, not just to Mexico but also to Belize, to Costa Rica, to Panama, all of the countries that are also seeing influxes of these children. Provide them with the support to implement their protection policies consistent with international law. And not all of these kids have to come to the US, right? The burden can sort of be shared in the region."</p> <p><strong>8. We don't have to wait to act until migrants get to our borders&mdash;we could process them before they leave their country. </strong><br> "We've done that before: with the Vietnamese in the past, with Haitians, and with Cubans. The first thing that needs to happen is you have to set up what the criteria are going to be; who qualifies to be sort of preprocessed. You could limit it to kids with strong family connection to the US, who have been targeted and pass some sort of criteria. It can be done administratively. You do not need legislation to do that. And in doing it you basically cut out the smugglers. If you process the kids internally, they can get on a plane for $300 and fly over here&mdash;they don't have to pay $3,000 to a criminal organization. It really undercuts the smugglers and trafficking operation in a huge way.</p> <p>"If children see there's a legal way that's safer to come&mdash;without taking this horrible journey&mdash;maybe they'll wait a little bit. And at the same time, you're building up the child welfare system and funding safehouses and anti-corruption campaigns. Maybe they'll see things get a little bit better; I can wait, I don't have to leave today. You slow the flow at that end. Not just by deporting people summarily, without a hearing. If you do that, and that's all you do, they're going to turn right around and come back."</p> <p><strong>9. Even if Obama's <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/obama-emergency-appropriations-unaccompanied-child-migrants" target="_blank">request for emergency supplemental funding</a> to deal with this crisis isn't perfect, it's better than nothing. </strong><br> "While we may not agree with all the details of where some of the money is going to&mdash;it's sort of heavy on enforcement, in my view&mdash;there's no question that they desperately need this money in order to be able manage the situation and get a handle on it. Frankly, it needs to go through. Blocking it will make the situation worse. They won't have any place to hold these kids while they process them, they won't have money to process them and deport them, and they won't have money to put them on planes and send them back. So it's crazy that there's discussion about blocking it."</p> <p><strong>UPDATE, 7/24/14:</strong> The Obama administration is considering a plan to screen Hondurans under the age of 21 in their home country to see if they qualify for asylum in the United States, the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/25/world/americas/administration-weighs-plan-to-move-processing-of-youths-seeking-entry-to-honduras-.html?_r=0" target="_blank"><em>New York Times</em> reports</a>. As Michelle Bran&eacute; points out in the interview above, this would allow the kids to apply for protection without making the dangerous crossing through Mexico or supporting human traffickers. If successful, the pilot program might also be adopted in El Salvador and Guatemala. That the administration is discussing such a measure helps legitimize that the Central American children migrating en masse are fleeing threats of imminent danger. According to an early draft proposal, 35 to 50 percent of Honduran applicants could be considered for asylum.</p></body></html> Politics Interview Human Rights Immigration Race and Ethnicity Top Stories child migrants Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:00:10 +0000 Maddie Oatman 256341 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Fishing the Oceans Dry. It's Time to Reconsider Fish Farms. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/07/aquaculture-feed-algae-nuts-mcfarland-springs-kenny-belov <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/e30f38_NXL4?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>When I meet Kenny Belov mid-morning at San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, the boats that would normally be out at sea chasing salmon sit tethered to their docks. The steady breeze coursing through the bay belies choppier conditions farther out&mdash;so rough that the local fishermen threw in the towel for the fifth morning in a row. Belov scans the horizon as he explains this, feet away from the warehouse of his sustainable seafood company, <a href="http://twoxsea.com/" target="_blank">TwoXSea</a>. Because his business hinges on what local fishermen can bring in, he's used to coping with wild fish shortages.</p> <p>But unlike these fishermen, Belov has a stash of treasure in his warehouse, as he soon shows me: a golf-cart-size container of plump trout, their glossy bodies still taut from rigor mortis. The night before, Belov drove north to Humboldt to help "chill kill" the fish by submerging them live into barrels of slushy ice water. Belov can count on shipments of these McFarland Springs trout every week&mdash;because he helped grow them himself on a farm.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/environment/2014/07/aquaculture-feed-algae-nuts-mcfarland-springs-kenny-belov"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Environment Video Animals Food and Ag Science Top Stories Wed, 02 Jul 2014 10:00:06 +0000 — Text by Maddie Oatman; video by Brett Brownell 255296 at http://www.motherjones.com Photos: Living in the Shadow of the Bhopal Chemical Disaster http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/06/photos-bhopal-india-union-carbide-sanjay-verma-pesticides-explosion <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Before dawn on December 3, 1984, a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, exploded and leaked 45 tons of methyl isocyanate. Half a million people came in contact with the toxic gas and other chemicals, and thousands died within days. As many as <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jun/07/bhopal-disaster-india-sentences" target="_blank">25,000 people are thought to have eventually perished</a> after exposure to the gas, which causes nerve and respiratory damage.</p> <div class="sidebar-small-right"><strong>Plus: </strong>Join <em>Mother Jones' </em>research editor Maddie Oatman in conversation with Corinne Goria, editor of <em>Invisible Hands: Voices from the Global Economy</em>, which includes a narrative from a Bhopal survivor, on June 3 in San Francisco. <a href="https://826valencia.org/calendar-events/2014-06-03-voice-of-witness-invisible-hands-book-release/" target="_blank">Details here</a>.</div> <p>Union Carbide, the American company that owned the plant, initially tried to avoid any liability for the disaster, claiming sabotage by an employee. In 1989, it finally agreed to pay out $470 million&mdash;which worked out to about $550 per victim. The corporation's CEO, Warren Anderson, spent years ignoring Indian criminal charges<strong> </strong>in his abode in the Hamptons. (A 2006 <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2006/11/bhopal-evasion" target="_blank"><em>Mother Jones</em> story</a> explores the tangled the legal fallout from the tragedy.) Dow Chemical, which acquired Union Carbide 17 years after the accident, has also avoided responsibility for its subsidiary's troubled past, <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/34247132/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/page/2/#.U4vKdS_GKDM" target="_blank">maintaining that the legal case was resolved with the 1989 settlement </a>and that cleanup now falls to the Indian government.</p> <p>Unlike these corporations, Bhopal's residents don't have the luxury of moving on. In 2010, the disaster site still contained 425 tons of uncleared waste. An estimated 120,000 to 150,000 survivors still struggle with serious medical conditions including nerve damage, growth problems, gynecological disorders, respiratory issues, birth defects, and elevated rates of cancer and tuberculosis, explains Colin Toogood, spokesperson for the <a href="http://www.bhopal.org/" target="_blank">Bhopal Medical Appeal</a>, which runs free health clinics for survivors. And tens of thousands of families continue to rely on heavily contaminated water from around the abandoned factory.</p> <p>Sanjay Verma was orphaned by the gas leak, though he didn't know it until he was five. He doesn't remember the night of the explosion, but he lives with the nightmare of Bhopal's second disaster: The failure to fully clean up the leak and the ongoing neglect of its victims. Verma's story, excerpted below, is included in <em><a href="http://voiceofwitness.org/labor/" target="_blank">Invisible Hands: Voices from the Global Economy</a></em>, a new anthology of testimonies from laborers from around the world<strong> </strong>from the <a href="http://voiceofwitness.org/about/" target="_blank">Voice of Witness book series</a>.</p> <p>London-based photographer Alex Masi spent years documenting those living in the shadow of Bhopal. "I strived to portray my subjects with intimacy, meaning, and depth," writes Masi, "in the hopes of becoming a catalyst for the promotion of awareness, action, and change for the people of Bhopal." Though Masi's photoessay does not picture Sanjay Varma, the images help answer Verma's plea: "I hope that people will find out more about Bhopal. It is not just history. We are still here, and we still need help."</p> <p><em>For Sanjay Verma's full story, see </em><a href="http://voiceofwitness.org/labor/" target="_blank">Invisible Hands: Voices from the Global Economy</a> (Voice of Witness). <em>Some of Alex Masi's photos were featured in </em><em>his 2012 book, </em><a href="http://www.fotoevidence.com/bhopal-second-disaster-0" target="_blank"> Bhopal Second Disaster</a> (FotoEvidence).</p> <p><span class="section-lead">Sanjay's Verma's Story</span></p> <p>"I grew up in an orphanage in Bhopal. I was there with my sister Mamta, who is about nine years older than me, for around ten years. We went to primary school nearby. One day when I was about five years old, we had a parents' meeting at school, and many of my classmates came in with their parents. But I didn't have anyone there that night. So then I realized, I don't have parents with me. I said to my sister, "my classmates came with their parents to the meeting, but there was no one with me. Our foster mother&mdash;she's my mother, right? So who is my father? And how come they didn't go with me?"</p> <p>And so my sister told me about what had happened. She said, "Sanjay, there was a tragedy, a disaster, in 1984. We were four brothers and four sisters and two parents. But both our parents, three sisters, and two brothers died that same night." And that's all she said. When she told me that, to be honest, I don't even remember how I felt. I knew that she had answered some pretty big questions, but I still had many more.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Bhopal_Second_Disaster_MJ_001.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>The abandoned Union Carbide industrial complex in Bhopal. </strong>Alex Masi</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Bhopal_Second_Disaster_MJ_002.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Rashida Bee demonstrates with other survivors. She lost six members of her family in the Bhopal disaster. </strong>Alex Masi</div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/environment/2014/06/photos-bhopal-india-union-carbide-sanjay-verma-pesticides-explosion"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Environment Photo Essays Books Corporations Health Human Rights International Media Top Stories Mon, 02 Jun 2014 10:00:10 +0000 Photographs by Alex Masi, oral history by Sanjay Verma, introduction by Maddie Oatman 253041 at http://www.motherjones.com Playlist for an Aging Rock Goddess http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/05/wonderland-fictional-rock-goddesss-playlist-stacey-derasmo <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Anna Brundage is a "too-tall red-headed woman with bangs who rides her bike to school from the East Village" to teach carpentry to little girls in safety goggles. But she used to be a rockstar&mdash;a bohemian, coked-out siren with a devoted following and an unreplicable sound. After her second album tanked, she left the scene. Now, seven years later, bruised, divorced, and a lot less innocent, Anna wants to reclaim her old life and yearns to be back "wandering, tracing an unpredictable path." Life on the tour bus, take two&mdash;only this time, she's 44.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/media/2014/05/wonderland-fictional-rock-goddesss-playlist-stacey-derasmo"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Media Books Music Sex and Gender Music Mondays Mon, 05 May 2014 10:00:11 +0000 Maddie Oatman 251241 at http://www.motherjones.com