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Sitdown Sunday: 'Did the truck stop killer try to murder me?

Grab a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. Rape as a weapon of war in Syria

shutterstock_715696108 Source: Shutterstock/Smallcreative

This 43-minute documentary about rape in Syria is shocking – and comes with a acontent warning. But it’s also a look at the types of terrible situations that women find themselves in due to gender-based violence in wartorn countries.

(Al Jazeera, 43 mins viewing time)

“Every free citizen or any citizen engaged in the revolution has had one of the women of his family sent to detention … His sister, his daughter, his wife. The message is, ‘Either you surrender or we keep your wife or your daughter’. The regime used rape to humiliate the Syrian men,” explains one woman who served in the army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for eight years before defecting.

2. What it’s like to live on the remote Faroe Islands

If you’re anything like me, you’re fascinated to read about how people live in remote places like the Faroe Islands. Here’s a short and sweet photo essay about life there.

(BBC, approx 15 mins reading time)

Tucked between Norway and Iceland, in the dark waters of the North Atlantic, the 18 tiny islands are home to a population of just over 50,000. Half of those residents live in the archipelago’s capital Tórshavn “Thor’s harbour”. But some of the islands are sparsely populated, with just a handful of people living on them.

3. Inside Vice Media

GSMA Mobile World Congress 2017, Grand Fira -  Barcelona Shane Smith Source: David Jensen

A feature on Shane Smith – who co-founded Vice – and his plan for the company. He stepped down from his role in March, something which shocked people. Or was it that shocking? It came a few months after a damning investigation into sexual misconduct across the company and a report that it missed its annual revenue target by $100million.

(New York Magazine, approx 43 mins reading time)

Smith, who had expected to sell the company in 2016, entered this year with no obvious buyers in sight, and future investment rounds more difficult to come by; even some of its advocates were unwilling to bet Vice was worth what it had been just a year prior. “How do you scale the essence of a punk-rock magazine into a multibillion-dollar media company? There is no real answer,” a former Vice executive who remains fond of the brand told me. “At some point, what got you there isn’t what you are.”

4. We’re watching you

In Newark, there are CCTV cameras on many of the streets – and absolutely anyone can watch them online.

(New York Times, 15 mins reading time)

The wild card here is the live stream of all this stuff,” said Faiza Patel, the co-director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program at New York University School of Law. “It’s definitely a kind of flash point. Every individual and every community wants to be safe. The question is: How do we get safety? When you see measures like this, you have to wonder, whose safety is being protected and whose rights are being violated?”

5. The missing Joyce scholar

James Joyce celebrations File: John Shevlin dressed as James Joyce Source: PA Archive/PA Images

John Kidd was once celebrated as the greatest James Joyce scholar alive, and had been the director of Boston’s James Joyce Research Center. 10 years ago, he vanished. Jack Hitt writes about trying to track him down.

(New York Times, approx 29 mins reading time)

Over the last 10 years, I would occasionally pick up the telephone, trying to scratch out some other ending to the story. I harbored this idea, a fantasy really, that John Kidd had abandoned the perfect “Ulysses” to become the perfect Joycean — so consumed by the infinite interpretations of the book that he departed this grid of understanding.

6. She exposed sexual misconduct – was she the victim of a smear campaign?

Last year, Vox’s politics editor Laura McGann wrote about New York Times political reporter Glenn Thrush and his behaviour around young female journalists. But now she says that there was a smear campaign against her to try and stop her publishing her story.

(Jezebel, approx 28 mins reading time)

Thrush’s removal from the White House beat was a startling development for a reporter who was an undisputed heavy hitter, so recognizable that he was parodied on Saturday Night Live (as was his trademark fedora) and, along with fellow reporter Maggie Haberman, set up with a career-making deal to write a book about the Trump White House. (He was bounced from the project following McGann’s story and his suspension, though he was allowed to keep his advance.)

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

shutterstock_416225473 Source: Shutterstock/13_Phunkod

This 2012 article is by Vanessa Veselka, who was nearly killed by a truck driver while running away aged just 15. 27 years later, she looked back to see if he could have been the truck stop serial killer Robert Ben Rhoades.

(GQ, approx 41 mins reading time)

A few minutes later, he pulled the truck onto the shoulder of the road by some woods, took out a hunting knife, and told me to get into the back of the cab. I began talking, saying the same things over and over. I said I knew he didn’t want to do it. I said it was his choice. I said he could do it in a few minutes. I said it was his choice. I said I wouldn’t go to the cops if nothing happened to me, but it was his choice—until he looked at me and I went still.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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