This is the most amazing and horrifying documentary you can watch this winter. Watch it now. You may remember Sandra Bland was a 28 yr old woman who was stopped in Waller Texas — allegedly because she didn’t signal when driving. The Latino cop escalated the interaction until he is seen hauling her out of the car, throwing her to the ground and kneeing her spine in order to handcuff her. Bland was driving to the grocery store to stock her kitchen as she just landed a good job. Two days later she was found hanging in her cell, dead. The cops say she tied a large clear garbage bag to a rafter and then hanged herself. Yet there was not a fingerprint on the plastic bag. She wasn’t depressed, she was angry — Bland was a black lives matter activist, a blogger and a woman full of life. You need to watch this to see the cops lie, the prosecutor lie and an all-women family who continues to fight to know what really happened that July day in 2015. The cop’s behaviour was reminiscent of another cop’s slamming a 15 yr old black girl’s head to the ground and assaulting her, handcuffing her when a pool party got a little loud and out of hand in McKinney Texas — one month before Bland was murdered.
What to read: Rula Jebreal’s book Miral is an excellent novel about three Palestinian women. When was the last time you read a political novel about women only? Beginning in 1948 with a woman who operates an orphanage for girls in Jerusalem, the book recounts the lives of the women through Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine in 1967, and to the charade of the Oslo Accords in the early ’90s. Jebreal is a journalist by vocation and her voice and reporting was once heard on BBC and other news outlets that actually tried to portray the Palestinian reality. This is an excellent read — I couldn’t put it down. Though some of the novel takes place in Tel Aviv and in Haifa, most of it is located in Jerusalem — her descriptions are detailed and unnervingly realistic, especially for anyone who has travelled there.
Another good read is Exit West by the author of the Reluctant Fundamentalist — which I highly recommend. Exit West is about two Muslims who become a couple because of their desire to find safety and a way out of unnamed city — perhaps Kabul, perhaps Riyad, perhaps a city in Pakistan. Insurgents come to the city and destroy their families and their lives. This is a very political book, as is the Reluctant Fundamentalist, which takes aim at the US backed wars, drone strikes and bombings through the Middle East, and South Asia. This is a fast paced novel which is gripping and rings very true. It explores immigration, refugees, and a Britain and a California of the future — which is not very rosy.