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Dublin: 10 °C Monday 14 October, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: When a medic was killed in Gaza, was it an accident?

Settle back in 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.

shutterstock_1087888667 Children on a concrete fence in the Gaza Strip. Source: Shutterstock/Val_Yankin

1. Being a film critic in the #MeToo era

Manohla Dargis writes about being a female film critic as things have changed in Hollywood, and as the power of MeToo is felt across the world. 

(New York Times, approx 8 mins reading time)

One reason that I appreciate and don’t just love “A Star Is Born” is that its director and male lead, Bradley Cooper, gives fairly equal time to both the body of his co-star, Lady Gaga, and to his own, including through some amusingly self-admiring shots of his bare chest. 

2. When a medic was killed in Gaza, was it an accident?

A stunning piece of investigative work by the NYT looks at the killing of a medic on the Gaza strip, and what really happened. Both sides had different stories – so the paper delved into the mystery.

(New York Times, approx 27 mins reading time)

To the Palestinians, she was an innocent martyr killed in cold blood, an example of Israel’s disregard for Palestinian life. To the Israelis, she was part of a violent protest aimed at destroying their country, to which lethal force is a legitimate response as a last resort. Palestinian witnesses embellished their initial accounts, saying she was shot while raising her hands in the air. The Israeli military tweeted a tendentiously edited video that made it sound like she was offering herself as a human shield for terrorists.

3. The mystery of the dead man

The identity of a man found dead in Sydney has stumped investigators – all they have to go on is the travel card he had with him. 

(BBC, approx 7 mins reading time)

His body was found just as the sun was rising over Beamish Street in Campsie, a mostly working-class suburb. The man, aged over 50 and “of Asian appearance”, had died of an apparent suicide outside a unit block, authorities said. He had no wallet, phone or documents of any kind.

4. What’s up with our obsession with protein?

Why are we so obsessed with protein? And do we need to be?

(The Guardian, approx 26 mins reading time)

In addition to the ubiquitous protein balls, protein bars and protein shakes, you can now buy protein noodles, protein bagels, protein cookies and – wait for it – protein coffee. Even foods that are naturally high in protein such as cheese and yoghurt are sold in protein-boosted versions. Strangest of all might be “protein water” – clear, fruit-flavoured drinks laced with whey protein, as if ordinary water was insufficiently healthy.

5. The children growing up in hiding in Dubai 

Dubai is a very rich city in the United Arab Emirates, where people flock to for fancy holidays. But it is also somewhere that has strict laws around marriage and sex, and as a result some children’s lives are badly affected by their lack of rights.

(The Guardian, approx 9 mins reading time)

His name is Jerry and he shares a tiny bed with his mother, Neng. Jerry loves dancing, Peppa Pig and doughnuts. This small dark room is the only home he has known, as he’s spent his life in hiding as a stateless child. Growing up without a birth certificate or any other identification means he has no access to education and has never visited a doctor. Officially, this little boy does not exist.

6. Sally Rooney profile 

Young Irish writer Sally Rooney gets the New Yorker profile treatment, in a really interesting read that takes in just why we love her writing, and what makes her unique.

(The New Yorker, approx 27 mins reading time)

Rooney’s voice is bright and crisp. There’s something autumnal about her. It’s hard to see how you could characterize her as shrieky, unless you believe that forthright and vigorous speech from women in their twenties necessarily constitutes shrieking. But her criticism of a national hero—and her assumption of the standing to do so—caused a small controversy. “Oh, my God, that was so ill-advised, trashing Yeats!” she told me, seeming more amused than chagrined. 


This isn’t a proper archive piece, but as we missed it last year… here’s a much-shared read by Lauren Hough about her time as a “cable guy” in America.

(Huffington Post, approx 32 mins reading time)

One of those creeps, his suit cost more than my car. I can’t fathom what his smile cost. He had an elevator in his three-story McMansion. Maybe he thought he owned me, too. I broke his nose with my linesman’s pliers. Nice heft to those linesman’s pliers. He’d called me a dyke. I hope I ruined his suit. I lost the points.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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