What We Love This Week, Volume CXVI

Published April 3, 2015
Updated April 30, 2015
Spring China

Chinese blacksmiths carry on a 300-year tradition in Nuanquan, Hebei Province. Each year, they throw ladles of molten iron against brick walls to create the illusion of fireworks. Source: The Atlantic

Spring’s Big Thawing Act–In Photos

Spring Daisy

Illuminated daisy petals in Frankfurt, Germany. Source: The Atlantic

Rejoice, Northern Hemispherers: the vernal equinox has arrived, and with it comes more sunshine, warmer temperatures and the possibility of finding happiness in places besides your bed and the neighborhood bar. The Atlantic has curated an excellent series of photos highlighting the changing of the seasons around the world, and we highly recommend you check it out.

Spring Holi

Dancers take part in Holi celebrations in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Source: The Atlantic

Photographer Documents Lovely And Unexpected Bond Between Family And Orphaned Bird

It’s a story so lovely it seems like it should be from Pixar, not reality: boy finds abandoned baby magpie, boy takes magpie as his own, boy grows up with bird and media-savvy dad documents it all for the world to see.

Noah, the little boy in question, found the abandoned magpie while out for a walk in Newport, Australia, and then took it to the veterinarian. Upon the vet’s OK, the family raised the bird, who they call Penguin. While free to come and go, Penguin always returns home to Noah and his family, and over the years–as the photos convey–has developed a deep bond with them. See more of the story at This Is Colossal.

Meet The Women Who Are Fighting ISIS

Women ISIS Fighters Zilan

18 year-old Syrian YPJ fighter Saria Zilan: “I fought with ISIS in Serikani. I captured one of them and wanted to kill him, but my comrades did not let me. He kept staring at the ground and would not look at me, because he said it was forbidden by his religion to look at a woman.” Source: Time Lightbox

As world leaders continue to grapple with how best to respond to ISIS, a cadre of Kurdish female soldiers have decided to respond to the group directly. An offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the YPJ (Women’s Protection Unit) are engaged in combat against ISIS, the militant group who among other things seeks to greatly undermine rights and opportunities for women.

Besides the physical threat ISIS poses to the region, it’s also worth noting that PKK party leader Abdullah Ocalan is unusual in the area for his promotion of gender equality. This shift in thinking, and a desire to unshackle themselves from the stereotype of a macho, woman-silencing Middle East, may have played a very large part in galvanizing young, rural women to join the YPJ and fight ISIS in the first place. Says one fighter, “In the past, women had various roles in the society, but all those roles were taken from them. We are here now to take back the role of women in society.”

Of course, these fights come at a grave cost; many within the YPJ have since died. Learn more about these women and their fight at Time.

Women ISIS Fighters Sign

A billboard showing fallen YPJ solders. It reads: “With
you we live on and life continues.” Source: Time Lightbox

Women ISIS Fighters Darkness

Rojin, whose sister died fighting in Syria: “When my mother told Cicek, please stay with your mother’, she answered ‘I left to fight for all the mothers of the world. I cannot stay here…My sister was very naive and sensitive when she left us. But four years later, when she came back to bury the body of her friend who had been killed in Kobane, she was smart and tough and I could see lots of self-confidence in her eyes. When my mother told her ‘please don’t go back, stay with your mother’, she answered ‘I left to fight for all the mothers of the world. I cannot stay here’. When she came back for her friend’s burial, she briefly visited the house. She kept taking pictures in every corner and with all of us, as if it was her the last party of her life.” Source: Time Lightbox