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Sitdown Sunday: Survivors remember the moment the bomb hit Hiroshima

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

The wrecked framework of the Museum of Science and Industry in Hiroshima, Japan. This is how it appeared shortly after the dropping of the first atomic bomb, on August 6, 1945.
The wrecked framework of the Museum of Science and Industry in Hiroshima, Japan. This is how it appeared shortly after the dropping of the first atomic bomb, on August 6, 1945.
Image: Shutterstock/Everett Collection

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. Caring for carers

Carers do essential work, but they’ve become the forgotten frontline workers of the pandemic. Part one of this in-depth investigation shows that many carers took a pay hit and felt unsupported during the Covid-19 crisis.

(Noteworthy, approx 18 mins reading time)

The care workers that Noteworthy spoke to were all given plastic aprons and gloves prior to the pandemic and this continued to be the only PPE for many when Covid-19 cases were increasing in Ireland at the end of March and during April. Most said when they asked about this, their employer cited HSE guidance which had not recommended masks at the time. Some were told by their employers that they could “buy face masks themselves”, without offering a reimbursement, but carers said this was not plausible due to both supply and cost.  

2. Molotov cocktail

How did two lawyers end up getting charged in connection with a molotov cocktail being thrown during BLM protests? 

(Intelligencer, approx 23 mins reading time)

Today, some of Mattis and Rahman’s friends may concede in private that throwing a Molotov cocktail represents a lapse in judgment, but none are willing to discuss the degree to which their friends may have been ethically, professionally, morally, or legally out of bounds. Instead, they emphasize that violence against government property, especially in the midst of political upheaval, is not the same as violence against a person; that the prosecution of their friends for an act of what amounted to political vandalism is far more extreme than the crime itself; that it amounts to a criminalization of dissent and reflects a broader right-wing crusade against people of color and the progressive left — and, as such, demonstrates precisely the horror of the system they were out in the streets that night to protest. 

3. The panopticon

A look at China’s use of artificial intelligence.

(Atlantic, approx 30 mins reading time)

China already has hundreds of millions of surveillance cameras in place. Xi’s government hopes to soon achieve full video coverage of key public areas. Much of the footage collected by China’s cameras is parsed by algorithms for security threats of one kind or another. In the near future, every person who enters a public space could be identified, instantly, by AI matching them to an ocean of personal data, including their every text communication, and their body’s one-of-a-kind protein-construction schema. In time, algorithms will be able to string together data points from a broad range of sources—travel records, friends and associates, reading habits, purchases—to predict political resistance before it happens. China’s government could soon achieve an unprecedented political stranglehold on more than 1 billion people. 

4. Treated as a friend

When Vivian Yee got caught up in the Beirut explosion, locals helped her to find safety.

(The New York Times, approx 5 mins reading time)

When the world stopped cracking open, I couldn’t see at first because of the blood running down my face. After blinking the blood from my eyes, I tried to take in the sight of my apartment turned into a demolition site. My yellow front door had been hurled on top of my dining table. I couldn’t find my passport, or even any sturdy shoes.

5. Standing for justice

The story of Roy Hackett, whose brave actions in 1963 kicked off the Bristol bus boycott and changed Britain forever.

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(The Guardian, approx 10 mins reading time)

At the time, the so-called “colour bar” meant that ethnic minorities could legally be banned from housing, employment and public places. Prior to the Race Relations Act 1965, for instance, it was legal to hang signs saying “No blacks, no Irish, no dogs” in public places such as pubs. Until the Race Relations Act 1968, discrimination in housing and employment was not covered by anti-racism legislation. 

6. What’s the trouble?

An archive piece about how doctors can sometimes cause issues by jumping to conclusions.

(The New Yorker, approx mins reading time)

Croskerry was shocked. The colleague tried to console him. “If I had seen this guy, I wouldn’t have gone as far as you did in ordering all those tests,” he said. But Croskerry knew that he had made an error that could have cost the ranger his life. (McKinley survived.) “Clearly, I missed it,” Croskerry told me, referring to McKinley’s heart attack. “And why did I miss it? I didn’t miss it because of any egregious behavior, or negligence. I missed it because my thinking was overly influenced by how healthy this man looked, and the absence of risk factors.”

AND ONE FROM THE ARCHIVES…

It was the 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing this week. This classic piece from the New Yorker tells the stories of people caught up in it. 

(The New Yorker, approx 136 mins reading time)

He had slept badly the night before, because there had been several air-raid warnings. Hiroshima had been getting such warnings almost every night for weeks, for at that time the B-29s were using Lake Biwa, northeast of Hiroshima, as a rendezvous point, and no matter what city the Americans planned to hit, the Super-fortresses streamed in over the coast near Hiroshima. The frequency of the warnings and the continued abstinence of Mr. B with respect to Hiroshima had made its citizens jittery; a rumor was going around that the Americans were saving something special for the city.Wrecked framework of the Museum of Science and Industry in Hiroshima, Japan. This is how it appeared shortly after the dropping of the first atomic bomb, on August 6, 1945.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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