Good Reads: From a high-tech gold rush, to child brides, to rediscovering faith

This week's roundup of Good Reads includes a gold rush in Canada, making global disorder work, tracking Daniel Pearl's killer, the plight of child brides, and Malcolm Gladwell's journey back to faith.

Rick Bowmer/AP
A grizzly bear crosses a tundra in Canada’s Yukon.

Forget pickaxes, shovels, and pans. Today’s miners use GPS, soil and data analysis, and bulldozers to strike it rich. And in Canada’s Yukon – the sparsely populated wilderness region between Alaska and British Columbia – modern prospectors have recently discovered gold deposits valuing billions of dollars.
In National Geographic, Tom Clynes describes how the high-tech gold rush faces the decades-old issues of native land rights and environmental impact.

“As the material needs of the world’s seven billion people continue to grow, the rush to exploit the Yukon’s exceptionally rich resources – gold, zinc, copper, and more – has brought prosperity to a once forsaken corner of the continent,” Mr. Clynes writes. “But the boom has brought to the fore a growing tension between those who would keep one of North America’s last great wildernesses unbroken and those whose success depends on digging it up.”

A decentralized new world order

The demand for international cooperation has never been higher, but the future of foreign relations may not be determined by states or behemoth multilateral institutions (like the United Nations or the World Trade Organization). In Foreign Affairs, Stewart Patrick argues for “good enough” global governance – or the need for states to rely more on existing “minilateral” agreements, public-private partnerships, and ad hoc coalitions in order to take small steps in addressing global issues. 

“The clutter is unsightly and unwieldy, but it has some advantages, as well,” Mr. Patrick writes. “No single multilateral body could handle all the world’s complex transnational problems, let alone do so effectively or nimbly. And the plurality of institutions and forums is not always dysfunctional, because it can offer states the chance to act relatively deftly and flexibly in responding to new challenges. But regardless of what one thinks of the current global disorder, it is clearly here to stay, and so the challenge is to make it work as well as possible.”

Daniel Pearl’s last story

Twelve years ago, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl went missing in Karachi, Pakistan. A few days after his disappearance, his brutal murder was turned into a propaganda video for Al Qaeda. In the Washingtonian, Asra Q. Nomani, a colleague and close friend of Mr. Pearl’s, recounts her personal, decade-long investigation into the events surrounding his death. Beyond seeking justice, Ms. Nomani’s story is one about her seeking comfort for her grief.

“We all respond to trauma differently,” Nomani writes. “For a decade, I subsisted by dissociating, by putting up a barrier between my emotions and the trauma of the murder. I took an analytical, clinical approach to it, investigating and absorbing every detail of Danny’s case but never grieving him.”
Some peace of mind came to Nomani after seeing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who confessed to planning the 9/11 attacks and killing Pearl, being arraigned in Guantánamo Bay in 2012. Mr. Mohammed’s trial, however, will not start for a couple of years.

Capturing the plight of child brides

Roughly 39,000 girls under 18 years old are married each day, despite commitments across the globe to end child marriage.
Photographer Stephanie Sinclair has spent more than a decade documenting weddings and communities of child brides, trying to uncover the cultural and economic complexities of the practice. In many cases, families living in poverty feel there are no options for their daughters’ futures. But to Ms. Sinclair, the issue goes beyond the lack of education and opportunity for girls.

“I do think there are cultural and financial pressures, but in many parts of the world girls simply don’t have their rights,” Sinclair told “Women in the World,” a Daily Beast blog. “They are not valued as equal human beings. There is a fight going on globally for women to still have their basic human rights, and child marriage is part of that fight.”

Malcolm Gladwell rediscovers his faith

The journey Malcolm Gladwell went through in writing his latest book, “David and Goliath,” was not only intellectual, but also spiritual.
“I have always been someone attracted to the quantifiable and the physical,” Mr. Gladwell writes in Relevant magazine. “I have always believed in God. I have grasped the logic of Christian faith. What I have had a hard time seeing is God’s power.”

During his research, Gladwell met a couple in Winnipeg, Manitoba, who taught him a lesson in faith and forgiveness. Wilma and Cliff Derksen’s daughter had been kidnapped and murdered, but instead of being vengeful, they talked about wanting to share a love that the perpetrator seemed to be missing in his life.
“Maybe we have difficulty seeing the weapons of the spirit because we don’t know where to look, or because we are distracted by the louder claims of material advantage,” Gladwell writes. “But I’ve seen them now, and I will never be the same.”

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