Longform’s Picks of the Week
The best stories from around the world.
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 new app and read all of the latest in-depth stories from dozens of magazines, including Foreign Policy.
“Witches of Chiloé” by Mike Dash, Compass Cultura.
The story of a powerful secret society in southern Chilé.
“It is not, perhaps, surprising in the circumstances that the Chilean authorities went to considerable lengths to destroy the power of Chiloé’s sorcerers. Two members of the Righteous Province were sentenced to serve fifteen-year terms for manslaughter, and ten more were convicted of membership in an ‘unlawful society.’ The old warlock, Mateo Conuecar, was sent to prison for three years, and his brother, Domingo, for a year and a half. Not, it should be noted, on charges of witchcraft — Chile, in 1880, had long ceased to believe in such a thing — but rather, they were charged as racketeers and murderers who had subjected their island to a reign of terror for the best part of a century.”
“The Unravelling” by Jon Lee Anderson, the New Yorker.
In a failing Libya, an anti-Islamist group mounts a divisive campaign.
“When I visited Haftar’s base, earlier this winter, I passed a Russian-made helicopter gunship and was greeted by a group of fighters unloading ammo. The base was in a state of constant alert. Haftar is a top-priority assassination target for Libya Dawn’s militias. Last June, a suicide bomber exploded a Jeep outside his home near Benghazi, killing four guards but missing the primary target. Now there is heavy security around Haftar at all times. At his base, soldiers frisk visitors and confiscate weapons. A few months ago, someone reportedly attempted to kill him with an explosive device concealed in a phone, and so his men collect phones, too.”
“Destroyed by the Espionage Act” by Peter Maass, the Intercept.
Stephen Kim spoke to a reporter. Now he’s in jail. This is his story.
“Until the FBI knocked on his door in the fall of 2009, a little more than three months after Rosen’s story was published, Kim was a rising star in the intelligence community and a remarkable immigrant success story. After earning a Ph.D. in history from Yale University, he started his career at the Center for Naval Analyses, followed by four years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which designs and analyzes nuclear weapons. It didn’t take long for him to attract attention. The intelligence community has a lot of experts on nuclear programs and a lot of experts on North Korea, but few who had Kim’s expertise in both. Kim was even summoned to Washington to give a classified briefing to Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.”
“Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement Isn’t Over Yet” by Lauren Hilgers, the New York Times Magazine.
A democracy movement ponders its next move.
“Hong Kong is a city whose self-conception is, above all, as a good place — a polite place — to do business. It scores well in global transparency studies. Taxes are kept low to encourage commerce. Nominally, under the arrangement known as One Country, Two Systems, the city is free to govern itself. But under Hong Kong’s strange mix of authoritarianism and corporatism, the general public votes on only half of the seats in the city legislature, with many of the remaining seats decided by corporations. The city leader, known as the chief executive, is selected by an electoral committee, a majority of whose members are not subject to popular vote and are widely believed to be under the control of mainland China.”
“The Draft Dodgers of Ukraine” by Alec Luhn, Foreign Policy.
The country’s struggling army is trying to replenish its ranks. But with its forces taking a pounding in the east, Kiev is discovering that new recruits are making themselves scarce.
“Once conscription-based, the army abolished the draft in October 2013 as part of reforms under former President Viktor Yanukovych that sought to create a more professional fighting force. And when fighting in eastern Ukraine broke out in spring 2014, the country didn’t immediately resort to a draft. It relied at first on mobilizing solely from the ranks of former soldiers to replenish its lines: In July, Parliament approved Poroshenko’s order for a “partial mobilization” of those with military experience and raised from 50 to 60 the age at which former soldiers could be called up. Kiev conducted three waves of these mobilizations in 2014, which have grown the country’s military forces to 200,000 men, according to Sergey Pashinsky, head of the national security and defense committee in the Ukrainian parliament.”
Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images; Dima Korotayev/Epsilon/Getty Images; AFP; Abdullah Doma/AFP; Chris McGrath/Getty Images; Vladimir Shtanko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images