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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. It was only the actions of a whistleblowing police cadet, Gary Galvin, that brought Ellerker and Kitching to trial in 1971. Both men admitted beating Oluwale, but claimed it had been justified by his conduct. They were, the defence said, the ‘night-soil men’ of society. It was never proved who had replaced ‘BRIT’ with ‘WOG’ on the nationality columns of Oluwale’s charge sheets, and it couldn’t be proved that Ellerker and Kitching were the two men whom a witness saw chasing someone down Call Lane to the river on 18 April. They were tried for manslaughter and found not guilty. Ellerker, who was involved in another misconduct case, got three years for assaults on Oluwale; Kitching, 27 months.

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. 

15 April 2019

Fire Underwater

Rachel Connolly

Which face is real? *

Earlier this year, researchers announced a new Artificial Intelligence system, GPT-2, that can finish people’s sentences. The resulting text is relatively coherent but, as the researchers note, far from perfect. Word repetition is one problem; describing the impossible (such as a fire underwater) is another; and sentences are prone to strange topic changes.

12 April 2019

Netanyahu’s Progress

Yonatan Mendel

The Israeli elections turned on the ‘ideological’ question of whether Binyamin Netanyahu should be prime minister or not. Other, less crucial topics – including the occupation of the West Bank, which has entered its second jubilee; the siege of Gaza, which has entered its 13th year; the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the status of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights; the complete lack of negotiation with the PLO; the growing inequality in Israeli society; the deteriorating health system; the housing crisis and more – were all left largely undiscussed.

11 April 2019

Cod Solemnity

James Butler

At a meeting on Tuesday of the Bruges Group, one of the proliferating and fissiparous Tory sectlets devoted to hatred of the European Union, Mark Francois topped off a speech of near-hallucinatory weirdness by lapsing into Poetry Voice – cod solemnity with pauses and emphases scattered at random – and sweating his way through the last few lines of Tennyson’s ‘Ulysses’, a doughty lump of patriotic Victoriana to ginger up a senescent audience.

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