Happy Wednesday (July 4th Edition)

Last Wednesday, I started the soon to be famous weekly post, Happy Wednesday. The premise is simple: the news is often bad, and we need to balance it out with helpings of the good things going on in the world. And as you’ll see below, there are lots of good things happening this week.

Thai football team found in cave
I love this story, and though the ending is uncertain – the rescuers have a race against time to try and rescue the boys and their coach before the rainy season renders extraction impossible for months – the fact that they have been found is reason for celebration. The search for them involved international teams of divers working around the clock to find them. There’s more good news in this story: they have been described as having only ‘minor’ injuries and all of them are accounted for. I desperately hope that I will write the conclusion to this story next Wednesday.

Hong Kong grants a spousal visa

So how does a spousal visa make the Happy Wednesday column? For those of you that haven’t clicked on the link, this deceptively simple title reveals a potentially seismic change for Hong Kong emanating from its top court.  It has ruled that a lesbian woman should be granted a spousal visa. This case came about because she sued the director of immigration in 2014 after being denied a visa. What I love about this story is that we get to celebrate the ruling – a couple being allowed to live together is a good thing and recognise that these good news stories do not happen overnight – this has been a four year battle to win the same rights as heterosexual couples. What’s particularly interesting is who supported this couple in their case. Per Reuters:

“The unanimous decision by five judges…won support from more than 30 global banks and law firms, including Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N).

“This ruling strengthens Hong Kong’s ability to attract global talent and its competitiveness as Asia’s pre-eminent global center for commerce,” the companies said in a statement.

When international banks are fighting for LGBTQIA rights (for financial rather than moral reasons, but still) then you realise that we are way past due for discriminatory laws to be mothballed.

Men save life of man that fell onto subway tracks 

Similar to the first story,  I had to include this one. Kyle Busquine, a 24-year-old landscaper, saw a blind man had fallen onto the subway tracks and jumped down to save him, helped by two unknown men. What I love about this story is the response of the rescuers. None of them have sought fame or fortune for what Busquine described as “just a very basic and a compassionate, human thing to do.” Busquine is also surprised that his actions have drawn so much attention. I’m not. I decided to write this column because stories like Busquine’s were being drowned out by all the bad news that we are constantly bombarded with. It is refreshing to see heroism celebrated.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

I’m not going to spend too much time talking about Ocasio-Cortez, who I have already written about (twice), but I couldn’t keep her out of my Happy Wednesday column. Her victory is one of the rare ones that could, and should, prove to be more than symbolic. I haven’t liked the small, but annoying strain of articles that have talked about her looks and image, but, as it is a happy Wednesday,  I have a suggestion for all of those articles: the only style article that needs to be written about her is one that wonders why she doesn’t always wear the t-shirt popularised by Omar Little in The Wire: any other ‘style’ article is outdated clickbait.


The Wire: HBO

The video of Palestinians performing “The Great Dance of Return” at the border in Gaza

There are no winners when it comes to Palestine and Israel. Palestinian men, women and children die on one side and Israel’s international reputation is tarnished on the other. As with so many things, it is left up to the young to provide the perfect response. Here we see a group of young people at the Gaza-Israel border performing the Dabke, a traditional joyous folk dance performed at weddings and other celebrations. The juxtaposition of young people doing a dance of celebration against the backdrop of smoke and explosions is profoundly moving. It says that their spirit has not been broken and that they refuse to lose hope.


It’s coming home…

This England team is…likable? It helps that it looks like the first ever grime boy band, complete with grumpy security guard (Maguire), accountant (Kane), “bad boy” (Alli), the one that raps and sings (Trippier), the one whose favourite movie is definitely 8 Mile (Pickford), the one who will, every now and then rap in a patois and be criticised for promoting gun culture (we all know who that would be) and the one who seems about 3 years too old to be in a boy band (Young). The Colombia game felt different to so many knockout games before it. Regardless of how the tournament ends up, this England team is fresh, young and relatable. Southgate has known a lot of these players from their time in the Under 21s and he made a point of selecting a young team and avoiding a lot of the old guard. Very few of the players have peaked and, perhaps more importantly, are not (with the exception of Harry Kane) the undisputed best player at their club. Many of them have had to struggle to get game time and know the pressure of having to perform to retain a place. Whatever happens for the rest of this tournament,  this team have cast off the negativity that normally surrounds them. That counts as a huge win.

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