We love how blogs give us glimpses into the lives and experiences of people all over the world. We also love how they offer opinion, analysis, and on-the-ground perspectives on current events that are impossible to get anywhere else.
This week, three standout posts gave us both:
Hundreds and thousands of citizens from all walks of life then joined them to support for the protestors. Couple of more thousand passed the Bosporus Bridge on foot to support the people of Taksim. They were met with more water cannons and more pepper spray, more hostility. Four people died, thousands of people were injured.
No newspaper or TV channel was there to report the events. They were busy with broadcasting news about Miss Turkey and “the strangest cat in the world.”
Blogger Defne Suman lives in Istanbul, where protestors began taking to the streets in late May in opposition to the planned demolition of a city park to make way for a shopping mall. As protests intensified, the police reaction kept pace — but media coverage did not. Frustrated by what seemed to be a media blackout, Defne turned to her blog and published an honest, unsparing account of her city’s turmoil.
The world, eager for news, didn’t take long to pick up on it: What is Happening in Istanbul? has been viewed over 2.5 million times and has 2100 comments. Bloggers around the world translated it into other languages, and it spread like wildfire across social networks like Facebook. Defne’s post is a testament to the power of blogs to democratize publishing and make information accessible.
On Fieldwork in Stilettos, Kat Richter shared the story behind her decision to become an escort at Planned Parenthood after coming face to face with a protestor during a visit for routine health needs:
“Please take one of these,” he begs. He looks so old. So unhappy. So sad and in pain and I wonder if he should even be out here on the sidewalk. I’m sure he feels like he is doing God’s work and although he isn’t rude or abusive like some of the protestors I’ve seen on TV, he’s laid a sign down on the sidewalk that says, “They kill babies here.”
“No thank you,” I tell him. And then, because I have an embarrassing habit of being polite to people even when they’re pissing me off, I add, “Have a nice afternoon.”
For a moment, I consider asking him to join me for a cup of coffee at the café just next door. After all, good Quakers don’t try to talk sense into people; they listen.
But I’m not quite good enough.
With a provocative title and discussion on abortion rights, Do I Look Like a Baby Killer? readers might have expected an angry and one-sided diatribe. Instead, Kat tried to understand the protestor’s motivation, took a hard look at her own fears, and wrote a personal, insightful post that opened the door to conversation. What could have been a vitriolic rant became an opportunity for debate — which readers did, with vigor — on a deeply divisive issue.
Extra guards we had stationed in the Black Room would then noisily shuffle off, creating the illusion of cooperating detainees. The words and sounds exploited their worst fears. Within seconds, hands would go up (if they hadn’t initially). Paranoia soared as the sound of more exiting detainees echoed throughout the room.
Chris Simmons, the blogger behind Human Chess, is a veteran of the Balkan, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars and former Army Interrogator. In What Al-Qaeda Taught Me About the Frailty of Loyalty, he walks readers through one of his most successful interrogation techniques, the “Prisoner’s Dilemma.” (Note: while the Prisoner’s Dilemma is a physically non-violent technique, some may still find this a challenging read.)
Chris’ unflinching narrative paints a clear picture of the interrogation room. This candid, difficult description informs debates about interrogation techniques by giving us the kind of detail that was previously inaccessible.
If you’d like a more lighthearted read for your Friday afternoon, here are a few more Freshly Pressed posts that got us laughing and thinking:
- On “Geek” Versus “Nerd”: a Twitter-based statistical analysis breaking down the geek/nerd distinction.
- 9 Photos for 9 Years: photographer Diane Parsons celebrates her daughter’s 9th birthday by photographing her as nine strong women throughout history.
- But What is it That I Want?: musings on growing up, in rhythmic, staccato verse.
- Comparing Oranges to Cookies: lessons about grace and thankfulness from a stuffed monkey named Joe-Joe.
Did you read something in the Reader that you think is Freshly Pressed material? Feel free to leave us a link, or tweet us @freshly_pressed.
For more inspiration, check out our writing challenges, photo challenges, and other blogging tips at The Daily Post; visit our Recommended Blogs; and browse the most popular topics in the Reader. For editorial guidelines for Freshly Pressed, read: So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed.
Thank you for the great insight on the power of blogging!
I see so many times that your reader picks are about national news or politics or something really out there, but what about the every day activities, the elderly, the homeless. This entire world is not run on politics alone, I am just saying it would be nice to see some real life living in some of your freshly pressed.
I think your freshly pressed picks are brave.
Interesting choices, all.
I LOVE how blogs give us insight into other lives too. I just love, truly love visiting other people and what they’re up to, in their blogs. Wonderful.
Interesting ideas presented in interesting form by bloggers with something they felt they had to share. Thank you, writers, for presenting these gems.
People like Defne Suman are different and deserve appreciation. And the work of Michelle W. is no less commendable in sharing such a meaningful report.
Waiting for more good reads!