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Dublin: 14 °C Sunday 22 September, 2019
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Sitdown Sunday: The bed that saved a Greek pilot from a Taliban hotel attack

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

Image: Shutterstock/MONNKA

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. What I saw in the border warehouse 

Dolly Lucio Sevier, a paediatrician, talks about what she saw in a Border Patrol warehouse in Texas.

(The Atlantic, approx 12 mins reading time)

Sevier set up a makeshift clinic—stethoscope, thermometer, blood-pressure cuffs—in a room, lined with computer stations, that agents use for paperwork. Each of the agent stations had its own bottle of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. But when Sevier asked the 38 children she examined that day about sanitation, they all said they weren’t allowed to wash their hands or brush their teeth. This was “tantamount to intentionally causing the spread of disease,” she later wrote in a medical declaration about the visit, the document that the lawyers filed in federal court and also shared with me. 

2. Black directors

Back in the 90s, a number of black directors seemed to be breaking through in Hollywood. But the boom went bust – and now they’re speaking out about how they were ‘set up to fail’.

(New York Times, approx 18 mins reading time)

Many of the participants had never before talked to one another, reflecting a commonly reported feeling of isolation. But the experiences they shared — of barely disguised prejudice, of being marginalized by executives who feigned interest in their work, of lacking a safety net that seemed to buoy their white peers — fit into a kind of mosaic. It depicts a system that failed to sustain a generation of its minority talent, and stands as a challenge to those who would seek reform.

3. Will Hunter Biden jeopardise his father’s campaign?

The son of Joe Biden has become quite a controversial character. 

(The New Yorker, approx 55 mins reading time)

At the same time, the gossip pages have seized on Hunter’s tumultuous private life. He has struggled for decades with alcohol addiction and drug abuse; he went through an acrimonious divorce from his first wife, Kathleen Buhle Biden; and he had a subsequent relationship with Beau’s widow, Hallie. He was recently sued for child support by an Arkansas woman, Lunden Alexis Roberts, who claims that he is the father of her child. (Hunter has denied having sexual relations with Roberts.)

4. From street hustler to basketball star

7ft-tall Giannis Antetokounmpo used to work as a street vendor – now he’s an NBA star.

(BBC, approx 15 mins reading time)

“That background as a kid is where my work ethic is coming from. I saw my parents every single day working hard to provide for us, it was unbelievable and has stuck to me my whole life. “I don’t do it because I want to get fame, because I want to get money, that is just how I am built and how I am and all that comes from my parents and how they hustled.”

5. Is enough being done to keep Dublin Bay safe?

In this Noteworthy investigation, published on TheJournal.ie, we looked at the safety of the water in Dublin Bay in the wake of issues with the Ringsend plant.

(Noteworthy, approx 10 mins reading time)

The leak only came to light after one Dubliner used a drone to capture images of the effluent on Saturday evening, bringing the matter to public attention. Locals were alarmed at the brown mass of sewage seeping into their waters, the colour of which was caused by low tidal levels, sunlight, wind direction and water temperature on the day.

6. The bed that saved me from the Taliban

This incredible true story of a Greek pilot who escaped death when the Taliban stormed the Kabul Intercontinental Hotel makes frightening reading.

(BBC, approx 15 mins reading time)

I went out on to the balcony. I could see a man on the ground covered in blood and I could hear gunfire coming from inside and outside the hotel. I realised how lucky it was that I wasn’t in the restaurant at that moment and said to myself, “OK Vasileios, you have to do something in order to survive.”

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

In 2012, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote about the ‘fear of a Black president’, during Obama’s time as POTUS.

(The Atlantic, approx 47 mins reading time)

 Obama is not simply America’s first black president—he is the first president who could credibly teach a black-studies class. He is fully versed in the works of Richard Wright and James Baldwin, Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X. Obama’s two autobiographies are deeply concerned with race, and in front of black audiences he is apt to cite important but obscure political figures such as George Henry White, who served from 1897 to 1901 and was the last African American congressman to be elected from the South until 1970.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday

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