War and peace


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Islamist fighters walk through the streets of Al Raqqah. The town is now the capital for the so-called Islamic State. Photo by David Rose/Panos

Essay/
Values and beliefs
ISIS is a revolution

All world-altering revolutions are born in danger and death, brotherhood and joy. How can this one be stopped?

Scott Atran

Photo by Larry Towell/Magnum Photos

Essay/
Human rights and justice
The invasion of America

The story of Native American dispossession is too easily swept aside, but new visualisations should make it unforgettable

Claudio Saunt

Brotherhood. A young Argentinan legionnaire and his colleagues make fun of their instructor at the base in Nimes, France, 31 August 2015. Photo by Edouard Elias from his series Patria Nostra .

Essay/
War and peace
The legend of the Legion

His cap is bleached as white as the bones of a Saharan camel. Is the romance of the French Foreign Legion a cult of death?

Robert Twigger

Prince Aurangzeb, 1653-1655, gouache with gold on paper. Image © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Essay/
Global history
A much-maligned Mughal

The great king Aurangzeb is among the most hated men in Indian history. A historian claims he’s been unjustly demonised

Audrey Truschke

Yanomami Indians from two different villages meet in Novo Demini on the border between the states of Amazonas and Roraima, 15 October 2012. Photo by Odair Leal/Reuters

Essay/
Evolution
Is there a war instinct?

Many evolutionists believe that humans have a drive for waging war. But they are wrong and the idea is dangerous

David P Barash

SS officers and staff relax at Solahütte, a resort for camp personnel 19 miles from Auschwitz-Birkenau. The photo is from an album taken by Karl-Friedrich Höcker, adjutant to the Auschwitz Kommandant, Richard Baer. Photo courtesy the USHMM

Essay/
War and peace
How evil happens

Why some people choose to do evil remains a puzzle, but are we starting to understand how this behaviour is triggered?

Noga Arikha

Members of the Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Power Force) listen to a speech by Ashin Wirathu in Colombo, September 2014. Wirathu, a radical monk, is accused of stirring violence against Muslims. Photo by Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

Essay/
Religion
Monks with guns

Westerners think that Buddhism is about peace and non-violence. So how come Buddhist monks are in arms against Islam?

Michael Jerryson

Photo by Jan Banning/Panos

Essay/
Politics and government
Anti-anti-communism

Millions of Russians and eastern Europeans now believe that they were better off under communism. What does this signify?

Kristen R Ghodsee & Scott Sehon

People make their way amid debris near the World Trade Center in New York, 11 September 2001. Photo by Gulnara Samoilova/AP/PA

Essay/
Cities
The intimacy of crowds

Crowds aren’t really crazed – they are made of highly co-operative individuals driven to shared interests and goals

Michael Bond

Boudica, Queen of the Iceni, from R Havell’s The Costume of the Original Inhabitants of the British Isles (1815), London. Courtesy the British Library Board

Essay/
The ancient world
Boudica the warrior queen

How a widowed queen became a rebel warrior, defying Roman patriarchy, and leading her people to glory even in defeat

Caitlin C Gillespie

US Marines from Charlie Company at work in the north east of Fallujah, Iraq, November 17, 2004. Photo by Jerome Sessini/Magnum

Essay/
War and peace
The unforgiven

When soldiers kill in war, the secret shame and guilt they bring back home can destroy them

Kevin Sites

Photo by Lana Slezic/Panos

Essay/
Gender
Clothes and daggers

British missionaries hated the sari; US feminists would ban the burqa. Why do empires care so much about women’s clothes?

Rafia Zakaria

The Hartgers View, the earliest known view of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, on Manhattan, as it appeared c1627. Photo by Getty Images

Essay/
Global history
Guns, empires and Indians

Multilateral imperial politics triggered an indigenous arms race and led to the violent transformation of Native America

David J Silverman

‘The oppressive force in this case was neither a class nor a generation but the British empire itself.’ A British officer in India receives a pedicure from an Indian servant. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Essay/
History
The empire dreamt back

To help rule its empire, Britain turned to psychoanalysis. But they weren’t willing to hear the truth it told

Erik Linstrum

Aerial view of Masada showing the Roman ramp. Photo by HG/Magnum

Essay/
The ancient world
The Masada mystery

Have archaeologists proven the ancient tale of mass suicide in the Judaean desert or twisted science for political end?

Eric H Cline

Photo by Paolo Pellegrin/Magnum

Essay/
Gender and identity
The weaponised loser

Mass shootings have one thing in common: toxic masculinity. Where does it come from and what can be done to stop it?

Stephen T Asma

Lemon vendors in Palermo, Sicily, in 1943. Photo by J R Eyerman/LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Essay/
Economic history
The big squeeze

Sicily’s mafia sprang from the growing global market for lemons – a tale with sour parallels for consumers today

Ola Olsson

Detonation of nuclear device ‘Annie’ during Operation Upshot-Knothole, 1953, Nevada. Courtesy Wikipedia

Essay/
War and peace
The deterrence myth

Nuclear deterrence continues to dominate international relations. Yet there is no proof it ever worked, nor that it ever will

David P Barash

The Battle of Karbala by Abbas Al-Musavi. Late 19th - early 20th C. Brooklyn Musuem. Photo by Corbis

Essay/
History of ideas
Return of the king

The ‘cosplay Caliphate’ of ISIS is a deadly fantasy, but a familiar one in the West. It feeds the same urges as Tolkien

Benjamin Dueholm

At Wounded Knee, South Dakota, 1984. Photo by Pierre Perrin/Gamma-Rapho/Getty

Essay/
Genetics
Haunted by history

War, famine and persecution inflict profound changes on bodies and brains. Could these changes persist over generations?

Pam Weintraub

Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, 2007. Photo by Tim Hetherington/Magnum

Essay/
Ethics
Ethics on the battlefield

The soldier in battle is confronted with agonising, even impossible, ethical decisions. Could studying philosophy help?

Andy Owen