Longform’s Picks of the Week

The best stories from around the world.

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Every weekend, Longform highlights its favorite international articles of the week. For daily picks of new and classic nonfiction, check out Longform or follow @longform on Twitter. Have an iPad? Download Longform's brand-new app and read all of the latest in-depth stories from dozens of magazines, including Foreign Policy.

Undercover Anarchist, by David Kushner. Rolling Stone.

An undercover cop infiltrates a group of British activists, befriending and then betraying them:

Every weekend, Longform highlights its favorite international articles of the week. For daily picks of new and classic nonfiction, check out Longform or follow @longform on Twitter. Have an iPad? Download Longform’s brand-new app and read all of the latest in-depth stories from dozens of magazines, including Foreign Policy.

Undercover Anarchist, by David Kushner. Rolling Stone.

An undercover cop infiltrates a group of British activists, befriending and then betraying them:

“Like a hippie James Bond, Kennedy excelled at his part. He had transformed himself from a lowly London bobby to an international eco-spy: growing his hair long, going vegan, learning guitar, and insinuating himself into a radical, and sometimes militant, network of activist and anarchist groups. But he made one mistake: falling in love with the movement he was assigned to shut down. After years of living undercover  as a green warrior, he could no longer separate his roles as a spy and a protester. ‘The only difference between Mark Stone and Mark Kennedy,’ he says now, ‘is that Mark Kennedy was a cop.'”

Riodoce Covers the Drug Cartel Beat, by Drake Bennett, Michael Riley. Businessweek.

A profile of the Mexican newsweekly, a “lone voice” in reporting on the narcos:

“According to Reporters Without Borders, 80 Mexican journalists have been killed and 14 others have disappeared since 2000. In Juárez, on the country’s northern border, the city’s biggest newspaper, El Diario, has had both a police reporter and a photographer murdered in the past three and a half years. The editor of El Mañana, in Nuevo Laredo, was stabbed to death in 2004, and two years later assailants sprayed gunfire and tossed a grenade into the newspaper’s offices, badly wounding a veteran reporter. Riodoce had its own grenade attack in 2009, although no one was hurt. Mexico last year beat out Iraq as the most dangerous country in the world for journalists in the rankings of the International Press Institute, and the first death of 2012 took place on Jan. 6, when a reporter from La Ultima Palabra, in a suburb of Monterrey, was chased down in his car and shot to death.

‘Crimes against journalists occur with impunity at the local level,’ says Jorge Zepeda Patterson, the former editor of El Universal in Mexico City. ‘We are losing our capacity to say what’s happening to our country.'”

The Stalking of Korean Hip Hop Superstar Daniel Lee, by Joshua Davis. Wired.

The story of a bizarre — and bizarrely effective — smear campaign:

“But then, at the height of the group’s fame, the comments sections of articles about Epik High started filling up with anonymous messages accusing Lee of lying about his Stanford diploma. In May 2010 an antifan club formed and quickly attracted tens of thousands of members who accused him of stealing someone’s identity, dodging the draft, and faking passports, diplomas, and transcripts. The accusations were accompanied by supposed evidence supplied by the online masses, who also produced slick YouTube attack videos. It was a full-fledged backlash.

By that summer, Lee’s alleged fraud had become one of Korea’s top news items. Death threats streamed in, and Lee found himself accosted by angry people on the street. Since his face was so recognizable, he became a virtual prisoner in his Seoul apartment. In a matter of weeks, he went from being one of the most beloved figures in the country to one of the most reviled.

But in fact Lee had not lied about his academic record. He actually did graduate from Stanford in three and a half years with two degrees. His GPA had been in the top 15 percent of his undergraduate class. The evidence marshaled against him was false. It was an online witch hunt, and last spring I set out to discover why it happened.”

An American (Working) in Paris, by Rosecrans Baldwin. GQ.

An advertising copywriter adjusts to daily life in Paris, and works in a dysfunctional office:

“Office culture in Paris held that it was each person’s responsibility, upon arrival, to visit other people’s desks and wish them good morning, and often kiss each person once on each cheek, depending on the parties’ personal relationship, genders, and respective positions in the corporate hierarchy. Then you moved on to the next desk.

Not everyone did it, but those who did not were noticed and remarked upon.”

Why Do They Hate Us?, by Mona Eltahawy. Foreign Policy.

There is a real war on women, and it is in the Middle East:

“But let’s put aside what the United States does or doesn’t do to women. Name me an Arab country, and I’ll recite a litany of abuses fueled by a toxic mix of culture and religion that few seem willing or able to disentangle lest they blaspheme or offend. When more than 90 percent of ever-married women in Egypt — including my mother and all but one of her six sisters — have had their genitals cut in the name of modesty, then surely we must all blaspheme. When Egyptian women are subjected to humiliating ‘virginity tests’ merely for speaking out, it’s no time for silence. When an article in the Egyptian criminal code says that if a woman has been beaten by her husband ‘with good intentions’ no punitive damages can be obtained, then to hell with political correctness. And what, pray tell, are ‘good intentions’? They are legally deemed to include any beating that is ‘not severe’ or ‘directed at the face.’ What all this means is that when it comes to the status of women in the Middle East, it’s not better than you think. It’s much, much worse.”

Have a favorite piece that we missed? Leave the link in the comments or tweet it to @longform. For more great writing, check out Longform’s complete archive.

Max Linsky is a co-founder at Longform.

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