Confessions of an Islamic State Fighter | 1843

“Erion’s family say they don’t resent Lladrovci for blackmailing them.
‘We begged as many Albanians in Syria as we could to bring Erion back,’
Suad Sadullahi, Erion’s cousin, told me. ‘We even asked Lavdrim
Muhaxheri. Fitim [Lladrovci] was the only one who agreed.’ Two weeks after Erion had been returned, Sadullahi travelled to Obilic to give Lladrovci the promised money. When they met, Sadullahi began to
appreciate why Lladrovci had turned to jihad. ‘I walked into
that house, took one look at that family – the unbelievable poverty of that family – and I remember thinking to myself: Fitim’s reasons for
joining the Islamic State had nothing to do with Islam.'”

—Alexander Clapp, “—Confessions of an Islamic State fighter.” 1843. [August 2019?]

So rare to have an article that presents an issue live the Islamic State from the perspective of a jihadi fighter.

Driving a Moving Truck – a.k.a. Bedbuggers

“Then we’ll pack everything in the house into cartons. I don’t love packing; it’s inside work and mostly tedious. I do enjoy packing stemware, china, sculpture, and fine art, but that stuff is getting rarer in American households. Books are completely disappearing. (Remember in Fahrenheit 451 where the fireman’s wife was addicted to interactive television and they sent fireman crews out to burn books? That mission has been largely accomplished in middle-class America, and they didn’t need the firemen. The interactive electronics took care of it without the violence.)”

—Finn Murphy, “A High-End Mover Dishes on Truckstop Hierarchy, Rich People, and Moby Dick: On the beauty and burdens of the long haul.Longreads.com. September 21, 2017.

Not a representative quote, but a fascinating excerpt. Something to add to the book queue.

You’ll Never Be as Radical as This 18th-Century Quaker Dwarf

“Disparaged and abandoned by his fellow Quakers, Lay eventually helped win the debate over slavery. He wanted to provoke, to unsettle, even to confound — to make people think and act. His greatest power, indeed his genius, lay in his gift as an agitator. In every meeting he attended, public or private, he drew a line over the issue of slavery. He asked everyone he met, Which side are you on?”

—Remixer, Marcus. “You’ll Never Be as Radical as This 18th-Century Quaker Dwarf.” The New York Times. August 12, 2017.

Which side are you on is probably a good question we all should be asking of ourselves (and others).

Ben Grierson, Equinophobic U.S. Civil War Cavalry Hero 

“If you grew up in church, you get that story in a hot second: He was one of the Elect, horse-wise. God got him kicked, marked with the hoofprint to tell him he’d have to crawl to the ol’ rugged hoss, like it or not, and added the horse-phobia to make it more interesting. Although I’m not sure being scared of horses is even a phobia. It’s just common sense. Any animal with a tiny brain and an iron-tipped back leg cocked like a bear trap is a good thing to be scared of. I had some horsey relatives and every time they wanted to show us Gypsy or Joker, I’d be edging around trying to stay out of range of that twitchy back leg. I’d already read enough military history to know that horses killed and crippled a whole lot of soldiers. One thing I’ll say for cars: they may kill you but at least it won’t be personal. A horse can nurse a little grudge for weeks, then kick your brain out the back of your head.”

—Brecher, Gary. “Ben Grierson, Actual Hero.” The Exile: War Nerd.  October 16, 2011.

Not in the authoritative style of most history, but damn if it isn’t much more interesting to read.