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Society

Essays and videos on social issues, history, political life and the future
Trenches in Chernobyl | Aeon
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War and peace

Trenches in Chernobyl

Disturbing and inhaling radioactive dust, in their haste Russian soldiers unburied the wrecked, undead Earth itself

Michael Marder

Exhuming the truth | Aeon
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Human rights and justice

Exhuming the truth

Thousands of victims of political executions lie in anonymous graves. Forensics offers hope for the ‘forgotten’ ones

Nicole Iturriaga

If you love this planet | Aeon
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War and peace

A peace activist’s harrowing account of nuclear war is a visceral case for disarmament

26 minutes

The will to fight | Aeon
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War and peace

The will to fight

Throughout history, the most effective combatants have powered to victory on commitment to core values and collective resolve

Scott Atran

With respect and friendship | Aeon
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Global history

With respect and friendship

For a century before the rise of European empires, Britons and North Africans lived together in amicable peace

Nat Cutter

The last tape | Aeon
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video

War and peace

Before he leaves to go to war, Artem, 18, says goodbye to the man who raised him

12 minutes

Souvenir souvenir | Aeon
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video

War and peace

When his grandfather won’t talk about the war, Bastien is left to his imagination

15 minutes

Tattoos and trousers | Aeon
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History

Tattoos and trousers

Let your imagination take flight to the hunting, riding, adventurous lives of Scythia’s warrior women, the real Amazons

Christine Lehnen

Those born later | Aeon
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History

Those born later

How does a nation begin to take responsibility for its past wrongs? The German case suggests courage comes locally

Helmut Walser Smith

The Battle of San Romano | Aeon
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Art

An artistic collaboration across centuries brings a 1432 battle scene to arresting life

2 minutes

Unsafe passage | Aeon
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Demography and migration

Tension, bureaucracy and deep humanity define life aboard a refugee rescue ship

27 minutes

How disruptions happen | Aeon
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History

How disruptions happen

Major disruptions in world history follow a clear pattern. What can upheavals of the past tell us about our own future?

David Potter

When hope is a hindrance | Aeon
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Thinkers and theories

When hope is a hindrance

For Hannah Arendt, hope is a dangerous barrier to courageous action. In dark times, the miracle that saves the world is to act

Samantha Rose Hill

Hail the peacebuilders | Aeon
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War and peace

Hail the peacebuilders

Conflicts only fully end when the delicate threads of peace have been steadily and quietly woven by ordinary, dedicated folk

Tobias Jones

How to disappear | Aeon
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video

War and peace

What happens when pacifist soldiers search for peace in a war video game

21 minutes

Who counts as a victim? | Aeon
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War and peace

Who counts as a victim?

Innocent, passive, apolitical: after the Holocaust, the standard for ‘true’ victimhood has worked to justify total war

A Dirk Moses

Colette | Aeon
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War and peace

A French resistance fighter reluctantly revisits her past in this Oscar-winning portrait

25 minutes

Reading John Gray in war | Aeon
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War and peace

Reading John Gray in war

As a soldier, I was hard-wired to seek meaning and purpose. Gray’s philosophy helped me unhook from utopia and find peace

Andy Owen

Tower | Aeon
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Childhood and adolescence

Each memory in different strokes: how four siblings recall a tumultuous childhood

19 minutes

Unrest in your backyard | Aeon
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War and peace

Unrest in your backyard

Rich nations with strong governments can no longer assume that political violence is a problem for other, poorer countries

Mark Kukis

The five-minute museum | Aeon
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video

History of technology

Fast-forward through a history of human artefacts, from arrowheads to plastic toys

6 minutes

Zone Rouge | Aeon
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video

The environment

Clearing the Zone Rouge in France, where First World War debris still poses a threat

15 minutes

Buffalo Common | Aeon
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video

Nature and landscape

Prairies, bison and nuclear warheads – a 2002 postcard from North Dakota

23 minutes

Indian removal | Aeon
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Nations and empires

Indian removal

One of the first mass deportations in the modern world, administered by state bureaucrats, took place on American soil

Claudio Saunt