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The Lethal Snows of Everest

The Lethal Snows of Everest

Today, twelve Sherpas died in an avalanche on Mount Everest, the worst accident in the mountain's history. (Four are still missing.) The Sherpa community, an ethnic group in Nepal renowned for their mountaineering skills, has long guided foreign visitors up the world's tallest peak. "Sherpas bear the real burden of climbing Mount Everest," American mountaineer Conrad Anker told National Geographic. "They're the ones who take the biggest risks."

Last year we published a story by Stephanie Lowe that described the growing dangers of the mountain and the concerns of the Sherpa guides, whose very job is to risk their lives on Everest's slopes.

Call for Submissions: Resistance

Ukraine. Venezuela. Thailand. The Arab Spring. We are living in a time of vibrant protest, captured and magnified by cellphone videos and Twitter feeds. On both the political right and left, grassroots movements have emerged everywhere—including America and Europe—to resist authority and overturn the establishment.

We want to hear your stories of resistance: from powerful mass movements to personal relationships.

Losing Mama

Losing Mama

At the height of my teenage apathy, my mom made me squeal with delight by smuggling a kitten into our home in a cardboard box she’d found at work. She burst into my bedroom excitedly and shoved the box toward me. When I saw its tiny, grey nose and bright, yellow eyes, I fell in love just like my mom.

My dad, however, had a strict "no pets" policy. Caring for a cat would cost too much money, he said. He and my mom already struggled to afford food. For days, my parents fought over the kitten while I held out hope I could have this one little, good thing in a house that all too often felt devoid of good things.

Best of In The Fray 2013

Best of In The Fray 2013

Out of everything we published this year, our editors chose the following pieces from each section for being standouts among their peers. As we see it, they best represent what In The Fray is all about: stories that further our understanding of other people and encourage empathy and compassion.

Click here to read our best commentary, news, photo essay, culture, and blog pieces from 2013.

Support Stories of Inspiration and Change

Support Stories of Inspiration and Change

I am writing to ask you for your support. For twelve years, In The Fray has published stories that further our understanding of other people and encourage empathy and compassion. The staff work hard — for me and others, on a strictly volunteer basis — to bring you original reporting, photo essays, personal narratives, and reviews that we think are timely and compelling on a global scale.

Our small nonprofit urgently needs your help to continue our mission to be a forum for real, honest discussion and provocative, informed storytelling.

The Slippery Slope of Social Media

The Slippery Slope of Social Media

I am a writer who recently noticed I spend more time reading articles about writing, absorbing Top Ten lists of famous authors’ work practices, and laughing at clever memes than doing any writing. Social media is an infinite playground for intellectual stimulation. It is an unhinged door with no threat of being closed.

Maybe in America: A Review of Captain Phillips

Maybe in America: A Review of Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips, the new film based on a real-life encounter between an American commercial-shipping crew and Somalian pirates, opens with the titular character in Vermont, driving to the airport with his wife. Richard Phillips expresses concern about the state of the shipping industry, sunk by the global recession that struck a year earlier. On the other side of the globe, Muse, a poor Somalian fisherman forced into piracy by his own economic woes, wakes up to news that the local warlord has demanded that his village capture another ship, or suffer violent consequences. The angular fisherman-turned-pirate is an obvious foil for Phillips, their stories woven together through crosscut scenes that emphasize the economic anxieties shared by the men, even as they highlight the brutality of the Horn of Africa’s most chaotic state.

The Brutal Beauty of Sister

The Brutal Beauty of Sister

At the heart of Sister, Brenda Davis' documentary debut, are three inspiring stories of an Ethiopian health officer, a midwife in rural Cambodia, and a traditional birth attendant in Haiti. When Davis met Goitom Berhane in Ethiopia in 2008, she was taken with his vivacious personality and dedication to solving the maternal health crisis in his country. Goitom's example encouraged Davis to explore women's health as an international human rights issue. Eventually, he became a central figure in her film.

Rebel Blues: A Review of Mojo Hand

Rebel Blues: A Review of Mojo Hand

Blues legend Sam Hopkins — known as Lightnin’ Hopkins to his fans — influenced everyone from musical giants like Bob Dylan and John Coltrane to activists like Black Panther Party cofounder Bobby Seale. Long after his death, Rolling Stone named him one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Yet not much is known about him. Notoriously private, Hopkins fabricated and exaggerated details about his early life, preferring to keep his origins a mystery. Mojo Hand, a new biography of Hopkins, details the obscure life and music of an iconoclastic bluesman who was the consummate musician’s musician, inspiring legions of artists across many genres.

Power Failure

Power Failure

Lately, as a result of planning my wedding, there’s been a lot of talk among my buddies about what drives the expensive social conservatism we see during our various social and religious ceremonies in India. There is, of course, the cash-flashing, wealth-waving syndrome that leads to obscene shows of buying power, and the media-spurred my-fairy-tale-wedding delusion, but what spurs people with sensible plans and ideological commitments to chuck it all and take a nosedive into these pro forma spectacles of self-destructive wastage?

A Latina in Limbo

A Latina in Limbo

I talk about race — a lot. I constantly initiate discussions with friends and colleagues, and find that even in our supposedly postracial world many still deem race to be an uncomfortable subject. Although I believe attempts to have a dialogue about race are important, another part of me does it for purely selfish reasons. These conversations help me to figure out my own relationship with race. They validate and invalidate my opinions, and give me a better understanding of where I fit as a light-skinned Latina.

‘Two Fragile Souls in the City’: Contributor Joshunda Sanders at TEDCity2.0

‘Two Fragile Souls in the City’: Contributor Joshunda Sanders at TEDCity2.0

In The Fray contributing writer Joshunda Sanders recently spoke at TEDCity2.0, a conference focused on the challenges and innovations that cities across the world are experiencing today. Joshunda gave a moving talk about her mother's struggle with mental illness (a story she also told for our blog), and the ways that cities can help, and hinder, the lives of the mentally ill — particularly those who are poor and homeless. There are compelling reasons, Joshunda says, that so many homeless individuals congregate in cities.