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News in Context

As we head into a summer scorcher this weekend here in southern England, I've got some great articles for you to read whether you're out on a sun lounger soaking up some Vitamin D (with sunscreen of course) or if you're like me, hiding in the coolest corner of the house. That said, if you're in the Southern Hemisphere or if it's actually not a heatwave where you are, curling up on the couch with some good reading is always a valuable pastime, in my opinion anyway. In #Repost this week, let's begin with the deadly blast in Beirut. British engineers at the University of Sheffield have described it as "unquestionably, one of the largest non-nuclear blasts in history." They calculate it as having approximately "10 per cent of the intensity of the Hiroshima bomb." What makes this tragedy even more heartbreaking, is the people of Lebanon were already at breaking point when it came to the country's economy and politics. They were literally at the point of no return as talks with the IMF and hopes of a bailout yielded yet no results before the explosion. Citizens are describing their leaders as "warlords" who have bankrupted the country. I have included a story published in Der Spiegel about just how dire the situation is in Lebanon. It is important context when we look at the city of Beirut resembling a war zone and the desperation of not only not knowing how they will rebuild structures but more importantly, how the Lebanese will rebuild lives that are shattered by mismanagement and cronyism. This seemingly real disconnect between elected officials and their constituents rings true in many countries. The United Kingdom is no exception. In a poignant blog post, the writer Jack Monroe describes in detail what life really is like when living on the poverty line, when one is forced to having to find creative ways to feed their children on barely £10 a week. Her blog post is in response to a wealthy politician who had the gall to suggest to those struggling how to cook on a budget. It really is an eye-opening and heartbreaking read.  Finally in #Repost this week, there are four stories about men who are brilliant, talented, self-aware, and introspective. From the Tamil writer Perumal Murugun's return from self-imposed exile with the release of the English translation of his latest book; why the designer Marc Jacobs feels fear is his true driving force; how the Canadian track star and Olympian Donavan Bailey was once ostracised for his (true) description of racism in Canada and is now finally being given his due; to Fox commentator Emmanuel Acho recognising his passion by simply inviting people to ask him, a Black man, uncomfortable questions about race, privilege, myths, and experiences. In fact, what began as an instagram video has become a series called, "Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man". It has found a whole new audience and now even a book deal with Oprah Winfrey. As always, context is key. From the stories making headlines to the videos going viral, it is important to understand the stories from the most relevant angles. Not the noise surrounding them. It is my promise to all of you, dear readers and friends in The Citrine Room, that what you read will add value and bring perspective in the hopes that those stories give you time to pause and think about finding new paths forward for you too.

Monita xo



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