Longform’s Picks of the Week

The best stories from around the world.

OSLO, NORWAY - JULY 25:  Norwegian police stand guard outside the court house as Anders Behring Breivik who confessed to Norway's worst act of terror appears in a closed court on July 25 ,2011 in Oslo, Norway. So far seven people have been confirmed dead from the bomb attack and 86 on Utoya. Although Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik has confessed to the killings, claiming that he acted alone, he has not pleaded guilty.  (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
OSLO, NORWAY - JULY 25: Norwegian police stand guard outside the court house as Anders Behring Breivik who confessed to Norway's worst act of terror appears in a closed court on July 25 ,2011 in Oslo, Norway. So far seven people have been confirmed dead from the bomb attack and 86 on Utoya. Although Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik has confessed to the killings, claiming that he acted alone, he has not pleaded guilty. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Every weekend, Longform highlights its favorite international articles of the week. For daily picks of new and classic nonfiction, check outLongform 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.

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - JUNE 8:  A lesbian couple hold hands during the annual Gay Pride rally, on June 8, 2007 Tel Aviv, Israel's most cosmopolitan city. Thousands of alternative lifestyle Israelis took advantage of the mild summer weather to celebrate sexual freedom amidst calls from Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious leaders to ban a similar rally in Jerusalem later this month. (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)

“The Lonely Fight Against Belize’s Antigay Laws” by Julia Scott, the New York Times Magazine.

Can one challenge to a statute criminalizing sodomy create a domino effect in the Caribbean?

“In Belize, church leaders are granted deference in the press and by lawmakers on social issues. But in large part, the ecclesiastical focus has always been on the spiritual rather than the political realm. So Orozco was blindsided by the announcement, soon after the suit was filed, that the Roman Catholic Church of Belize, the Belize Evangelical Association of Churches and the Anglican Church had together joined the case on the government’s side as an ‘interested party,’ a legal distinction that allowed them to hire lawyers, file motions and be heard during the trial. More than 400 church leaders and ministries came together to mobilize their adherents in the name of public morality. In another first for Belize, church leaders founded a nationwide activist campaign, Belize Action, and began drawing thousands of believers to rallies that denounced the ‘homosexual agenda.'”

<> on July 18, 2010 in Polokwane, South Africa.

“What Makes the Lion Whisperer Roar?” by Susan Orlean, Smithsonian Magazine

He’s famous for getting dangerously close to his fearsome charges, but what can Kevin Richardson teach us about ethical conservation — and ourselves?

“The first time I saw one of Richardson’s videos, I was transfixed. After all, every fiber in our being tells us not to cozy up with animals as dangerous as lions. When someone defies that instinct, it seizes our attention like a tightrope walker without a net. I was puzzled by how Richardson managed it, but just as much by why. Was he a daredevil with a higher threshold for fear and danger than most people? That might explain it if he were dashing in and out of a lion’s den on a dare, performing a version of seeing how long you can hold your hand in a flame. But it’s clear that Richardson’s lions don’t plan to eat him, and that his encounters aren’t desperate scrambles to stay a step ahead of their claws. They snuggle up to him, as lazy as house cats. They nap in a pile with him. They aren’t tame—he is the only person they tolerate peaceably. They simply seem to have accepted him in some way, as if he were an odd, furless, human-shaped lion.”

(FILES) - Picture taken t on August 24, 2012 shows self confessed mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik raising his fist in a right wing salute after being sentenced to 21 years in prison, in court room 250 at Oslo District Court. The newspaper Aftenposten revealed on May 10, 2013 that Breivik had applied to create a party he wished to call "The Norwegian Fascist Party and the Nordic League" but permission was denied. AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN        (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

“The Inexplicable” by Karl Ove Knaussgard, the New Yorker.

Inside the mind of a mass killer. 

“After the shock of the first few days, and the sorrow of the following weeks, the events of July 22nd have shuttered themselves. The most striking aspect of the ten-week trial—which took place a year later, and at which we were given our first glimpse of Breivik, and his entire life and his every environment were documented and analyzed—was how normalized both the perpetrator and the crime had become. It was as if the fact that he was a human being like us, who defended his point of view, subsumed the incomprehensible: suddenly, Breivik was the measure, not his crime. One of Breivik’s victims called him “a jerk” in the newspaper; numerous commentators described him as small, petty, pathetic. Some devoted themselves to finding the holes in his arguments; others described his missteps and his misconceptions. This reduction of the perpetrator, the act of making him seem less dangerous, is understandable, because a person in and of himself is small, but that does not mean we understand any more about how this act of terror was possible. On the contrary, in the wake of the trial, it is as if the two entities, the unimaginable crime and the man who committed it, were irreconcilable.”

A sculpture created by the Yugoslav artists Nandor Glid is pictured at the International Concentration Camp memorial in Dachau, southern Germany as German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits the Camp on August 20, 2013.  AFP PHOTO / GUENTER SCHIFFMANN        (Photo credit should read GUENTER SCHIFFMANN/AFP/Getty Images)

“A Liberator, But Never Free” by Steve Friess, the New Republic.

An Army doctor helped free the Dachau concentration camp in 1945, meticulously documenting his experiences in letters home to his wife. Hidden for the remainder of his life, the letters have resurfaced, and with them, questions about the G.I.’s we know only as heroes. 

“The Wilsey cache of letters is invaluable, and perhaps even unprecedented, because of its volume—hundreds of letters, sent over a span of nearly five years—and the bluntness of its depictions of the war. Along with the executions of SS soldiers, the letters described instances of heroism (‘trying to save a good-looking German eight-year-old who had stepped on a mine with resultant nine holes in his intestines, half a foot off, and hundreds of minor fragments in his upper legs, arms and face’); withering criticism of Wilsey’s commanding officers (‘such incompetent, unqualified, mentally inferior people’); racial bigotry (‘the colored boys have been accepted ‘whole-heartedly’ (if not ravenously) by women-­across-the-Atlantic’); and widespread looting of Nazi possessions, much of it, in all likelihood, previously looted by the Germans from their Untermensch victims across the continent.”

Retired admiral Dennis Blair speaks after being nominated as national intelligence director by US President-elect Barack Obama during a press conference January 9, 2009 at the Presidential Transition Office in Washington, DC. Looking on is CIA director nominee Leon Panetta. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Mission Unstoppable” by Seán Naylor and Yochi Dreazen, Foreign Policy.

From drone strikes to prison torture, the CIA has been pulling the strings of U.S. foreign policy since 9/11. And if history is a guide, the agency will be calling the shots in the Middle East for years to come. 

“Today, the CIA is the tip of the spear of the administration’s growing effort to beat back the Islamic State, which controls broad stretches of Iraq and Syria. CIA officers in small bases along the Turkish and Jordanian borders have helped to find, vet, and train members of the so-called moderate Syrian opposition so they can fight to dislodge the Islamic State and, ultimately, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Damascus. In addition, the agency is responsible for helping to funnel weapons and other supplies to rebels. Meanwhile, the Pentagon, which dwarfs the CIA in size, resources, and congressional backing, is dispatching Special Forces personnel to the region to carry out basically the same training mission. But if the two pillars of the national security establishment were to collide over Iraq and Syria, it would be a mistake to assume that the CIA would lose out. For better—and sometimes for worse—the CIA has been winning just these types of fights since the war on terror began 14 long years ago.”

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images; GUENTER SCHIFFMANN/AFP/Getty Images; ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images; David Silverman/Getty Images; MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images; Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

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