Have you read the awful news event about the death of journalist Kim Wall? This story has been haunting me since it was released a few days ago. At first, I thought I was only freaked out because it drew so many parallels to the thriller novel “Woman in Cabin 10,” by Ruth Ware. People everywhere are captivated and horrified by this story, and one news source compared it to “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” saying that people were hooked on the brutal mystery taking place in Scandinavia. I want to check the romanticization of violence against women right at the door and learn more about this woman, her impassioned work, and the circumstances that led to her death.
A Swedish native, Kim Wall listed her address on twitter as “China/NYC,” two places she frequented. Fluent in English, she wrote many articles for papers in the UK and USA. Her self-described bio on twitter reads, “I studied foreign policy & now I write about hackers, hustlers, Vodou, vampires, Chinatowns, atomic bombs, feminism, etc.” Her bio describes her work easily. Wall traveled all over the world, often to remote areas taking risks to get gritty details on tough stories. She was an old-school foreign policy journalist in a new world age. Her friend who wrote about her life in The Guardian highlights the bitter irony that even though she traveled to communist nations and third world countries, riding motorcycle taxis and reporting when it was illegal, it was in her seemingly gender-forward (parity?) homeland where she was brutally murdered.
The more I learned about Kim Wall, the more I understood my equal parts despair and fascination with the events surrounding her murder. Kim Wall was a self-driven, confident and independent woman. She was a world traveler and an extremely successful freelance author, writing pieces that mattered and received a global audience. Kim Wall was the picture of what many young women would like to be: free, independent, and influential. Her murder was brutal and unjust. Now that I have come to terms with why this event seems so significant in my eyes, I would like to learn more about Kim Wall through her writing. Here are some important pieces I have selected to share with you, in an effort to learn more about her.
The Weekly Package
Many Cubans who have no access to the internet receive regular deliveries, “The Weekly Package,” of hard drives jam packed with news, music, movie trailers, and more. With an underground network utilizing over 45,000 foot soldiers, this “offline media” is used all over Cuba. This article was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
Haiti Sees Tourism Promises Fade Amidst Electoral Tensions
When the only thing you hear about a country are stories of destitution and corruption, you are not inspired to go visit that place. However, tourists are starting to see Haiti as the “last untouched corner of the Caribbean.” Which could be good for Haiti’s economy, and terrible for their ecosystem and national independence. Kim Wall takes a close look at how the tourist industry could revive or destroy Haiti.
Fetish lovers begging for freedom: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey is our Stonewall moment’
I have never read “Fifty Shades of Grey” or any articles about BDSM. However, I found this article captivating. It is interesting that people find power in these role play situations, and equally interesting that the US has laws against it. The groups represented at this writers conference explain that their relationships are based on open communication and consent. This article serves as a reminder to refrain from judging people living lifestyles different from your own.
Vodou is elusive and endangered, but it remains the soul of Haitian people
One more story from Haiti, because as the saying goes, “Haiti is 70% Catholic, 30% Protestant, and 100% Vodou.” A tender look at religion, culture, history, and as with most of Wall’s writing, gender, this piece reveals purpose and meaning of Vodou practice. “Vodou tends to be radically unjudgmental. The alcoholic, the thief, the homeless, the mentally ill, all of these people are welcomed into a Vodou temple and given respect.”