Latest

Margaret the Dragon Slayer

Mary Wellesley

From a 15th-century book of hours made in north-eastern France. British Library Harley MS 2974, f. 165v

In an 11th-century English life of Saint Margaret, or Marina, of Antioch, there is a moment when she gets the devil in what martial artists call a ‘submission hold’. ‘The holy Margaret rose up and seized the devil by the hair, threw him to the ground, and put her left foot upon his neck and said: “yield you wretch!”’ (‘Seo eadiga Margarete upparas and þone deofol be þan fexe gefeng and hine niþer to eorðan gewearp, and hi hirne swiðre fot upon his swire gesette, and to him cweað: “Geswic þu earming!”’) I love St Margaret in the same way that I love Wonder Woman.

19 April 2019

On Waterloo Bridge

Anna Aslanyan

‘Where the fuck is the government?’ posters on Waterloo Bridge said. A road sign at the northern end flashed: ‘Global warming at work.’ 

18 April 2019

Sudan after Bashir

Alex de Waal

During his last years in office, Bashir used his formidable political talents simply to stay in power, and did nothing for the country. Anti-government protests erupted last December, first against the high prices of bread and fuel, and then against Bashir’s endless rule and the corruption that accompanied it. Despite weekly demonstrations in Khartoum and other cities, Bashir imagined he could outlast the protesters. He thought they lacked leadership and would be easily divided, bought off or demoralised. He was wrong. On 6 April the biggest ever crowds surrounded the Ministry of Defence and military HQ, and refused to disperse.

18 April 2019

Remember Oluwale

Tom Overton

Pages from the ‘Yorkshire Evening Post’

David Oluwale drowned in the river Aire on 18 April 1969. His body was recovered near Knostrop Sewage works on 4 May, and buried in a paupers’ grave at Killingbeck cemetery with nine others.

17 April 2019

Assange and Political Thinking

James Butler

Assange’s initial info-optimism looks fragile in an age newly sensitive to encroachments into the private realm by states and digital corporations, and when set next to his own sloppiness of redaction and politicised publication choices. The problem has never been just that there is a secret body of knowledge reserved to the state, but that our capacity to interpret and act on it is catastrophically limited. Mere facts do not suggest their own solution. Transparency is not an intrinsic good: the disgorgement of secrets may paralyse as much as catalyse. Only one person was prosecuted because of the video that Wikileaks released under the title Collateral Murder: its leaker, Chelsea Manning.

17 April 2019

Indonesia’s Queer Panic

Krithika Varagur

According to Human Rights Watch, Indonesia’s queer panic began in January 2016, when several prominent politicians, including the vice-president, issued strong anti-LGBT statements. They were reacting to queer student activism at the University of Indonesia but the discourse rapidly took on a life of its own. Indonesians went to the polls to elect a new president today. Neither the incumbent, Joko Widodo, nor his opponent has a significant track record of supporting LGBT rights. Queer activists have been at the forefront of the voter abstention movement. Early counting suggests Widodo will serve another five years in office.

16 April 2019

Sky-Scraping Gothic

The Editors

Notre-Dame as it was in 1830, by Feodor Hoffbauer (1870s).

From John Sturrock’s introduction to his 1978 Penguin Classics translation of Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris:
 

Notre-Dame is meant in part as a redemption of an architecture in eclipse. 

Read More