Long Reads: Boko Haram, drone strikes, human trafficking and talkshows

Richard Jackson brings us drone strikes, Boko Haram, sex trafficking and, via Narritive.ly, paid TV talkshow audience members, in this week’s Long Reads.


If we run and they kill us, so be it. But we have to run now – Sarah A. Topol (Medium)

Here is some firsthand reporting concerning the too few girls who managed to escape from Boko Haram when six months ago the terrorist group kidnapped over 200 girls from their school in North-eastern Nigeria. The brilliantly told narrative is intercut with photos of the girls’ possessions, adding an eerie creepiness to the story.


Only 4% of drone victims in Pakistan identified as al Qaeda members – Jack Serle (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism)

Not the longest article, but incredibly important, so I kind of took liberties and decided to include it anyway. This is part of The Bureau’s admirable Naming the Dead project that aims to identify those killed by CIA drone strikes in Pakistan. Through over a year’s worth of research — drawing upon extensive records, working with contacts on the ground (including Amnesty International) and using leaked Pakistan and US governmental documents — the Bureau have pieced together some alarming statistics. Specifically that of the 704 identified dead from drone strikes — which is from a total of 2,379 — only 84 have been shown to be members of al Qaeda. The findings seemingly contradict claims by the US government that drone strikes are only made when they are almost certain that no civilians will be killed.


Gone Girls: Human Trafficking on the Home Front – Mike Kessler (Los Angeles Magazine)

The article, on the sex trafficking of underage girls Los Angles (showing that this activity happens in rich western countries and not just poorer ones), discusses how girls come to be involved in the sex industry; how their naivety, childhood innocence and poor economic background enable men to take advantage of them. The narrative then moves on to discuss the evolution of thought and methods that the police and judicial system now use to tackle the issue and to better engage with the victims.


Editor’s Choice from Narrative.ly

The underpaid grunts of TV talkshow land – Aitana Vargas

As someone who went to a live (but sadly unpaid) taping of The Voice AU earlier this year (#dontjudge), I can totally relate to this piece…so much artifice involved, which may be unsurprising to the smart (read: cynical) cookies out there, but kinda bummed me out a bit. The great thing about Vargas’s piece is the way it digs deeper into the broader issues involved with this phenomenon, albeit in the US, and asks us to question where the line is drawn between performer and audience.


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