The Khashoggi Killing: America’s Part in a Saudi Horror

Hugh Eakin

A protest in front of the Saudi Consulate against the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Istanbul, Turkey, October 5, 2018

This brazen killing did not occur in isolation. If it was the “game-changer” that many see, it was also the latest, most extreme manifestation of a repressive regime that has acted with virtual impunity while maintaining enviably close ties to Washington. The Saudis did what they did because they assumed they could get away with it. And President Trump appears as keen to let MBS off the hook as the crown prince is to evade responsibility. Yet, with the president’s Iran policy at stake, even an angry Congress may be reluctant to take more drastic steps against Riyadh. If that is the case, the barbaric assassination of Khashoggi may go down as a different kind of game-changer: not the end of the US–Saudi relationship, but the moment when it was exposed for what it really is.

Bringing Poetry to the Cruel History of Comfort Women

Maya Chung

Three Korean

On August 14, Korea and Taiwan unveiled two statues commemorating the 80,000 to 200,000 “comfort women,” primarily from Korea, but also from Taiwan, China, and Southeast Asia, who were forced into prostitution by the Japanese army during World War II. Into this fractious space comes a new poetry collection by Korean-born poet Emily Jungmin Yoon. By fluidly adopting the voices of those who experienced the comfort system, Yoon shares stories that were silenced for decades.

Why Assad and Russia Target the White Helmets

Janine di Giovanni

A White Helmet member carrying a wounded girl after Russian airstrikes on Urum al-Kubra, a town west of Aleppo, Syria, November 6, 2016

The White Helmets’ financial backing is not the real reason why the pro-Assad camp is so bent on defaming them. Since 2015, the year the Russians began fighting in Syria, the White Helmets have been filming attacks on opposition-held areas with GoPro cameras affixed to their helmets. Syria and Russia have claimed they were attacking only terrorists, yet the White Helmets have captured footage of dead and injured women and children under the rubble. Putin’s bombers have targeted civilians, schools, hospitals, and medical facilities in opposition-held areas, a clear violation of international law. “This, above all, is what the Russians hated,” Ben Nimmo, a fellow at the Atlantic Council, told me. “That the White Helmets are filming war crimes.”

Berlin, 1918–1919: Käthe Kollwitz, Witness to History

Daniel Schönpflug

Revolutionary soldiers and workers in Berlin, where the Spartacist leader Karl Liebknecht declared the German Socialist Republic in November 1918

Berlin, 1918. You can feel the “terrible divisions today,” Kollwitz notes in her diary. There are daily mass protests, demonstrations and violence in Berlin. Even those crippled in the war are putting their wounds on public display and taking their demands to the streets, chanting: “We don’t want pity—we want justice!” The social democratic movement is about to split, and the Allies have refused to enter into peace negotiations or even deliver food to Germany until a democratically elected government is in place. In her heart, Kollwitz supports the communist groups without whom the war would not have ended or the Kaiser been driven from power. Like the radical leftists, she hopes the revolution will continue rather than settle for the status quo. But her head knows that Germany is on the verge of breaking apart.

In Urgent Color: Emil Nolde’s Expressionism

Jenny Uglow

Emil Nolde: Party, 1911

Profoundly influenced by Van Gogh and later by Munch, Emil Nolde (1867–1956) rejected Impressionism—which catches the external impression of a scene—in favor of Expressionism, which tries to convey the artist’s inner response, using exaggeration and distortion to delve into the nature of being. Yet Nolde seems to go even further, to be in love with the “expressiveness” of paint itself, its power to manipulate emotions, to delight, inflame, provoke.

Paul Simon: Fathers, Sons, Troubled Water

Daniel Drake

Paul Simon with his son Harper, June 7, 1973

Unlike silly songs for children by, say, Raffi, or maudlin songs for parents like Dylan’s “Forever Young” or Cat Stevens’s “Father and Son”—two ballads eager to preserve their singers’ sons in amber—Paul Simon had genuinely intergenerational appeal. He shared with us young passengers the joyful and terrible news of adulthood with patty-cake rhymes (“mama pajama,” “drop off the key, Lee”) and jaunty rhythms, scored by a panoply of ludicrous and wonderful-sounding instruments—from the hooting cuíca in “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” to the triumphant parade drums of “The Obvious Child.”

Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s Would-be Dictator

Vincent Bevins

Former army captain and far-right frontrunner for the Brazilian presidency Jair Bolsonaro posing with soldiers, São Paulo, May 3, 2018

For most of his political career, Jair Bolsonaro has been a fringe figure on the far right of Brazilian politics, hopping among nine different political parties and yelling his support for Brazil’s bygone military dictatorship into empty congressional chambers. All that has changed. Last weekend, the former army captain came close to an outright win in the presidential election’s first round. He goes forward to the run-off on October 28 as the clear favorite. Brazil has been a democracy since 1989, but for the preceding quarter-century it was ruled by a brutal military regime. Bolsonaro is not merely nostalgic for that era; he would reintroduce the dictatorship’s political ethos, preserved and intact, into modern Brazil.

Using Psychoanalysis to Understand #MeToo Memories

Avgi Saketopoulou

From Sophistication Simplification, 2017

Part of the disconnect in appreciating how and why allegations of sexual harassment and assault arise as and when they do has to do with our culture’s understanding of trauma. We are accustomed to thinking that trauma happens in real time; the harm itself occurs at the time of the scarring event. This is the most widely held understanding of how trauma works, but psychoanalysis offers an alternate conception of trauma: specifically about how a traumatic experience can mean quite different things for the same individual over time.

Abolish ICE: Beyond a Slogan

Tina Vasquez

Protesters from an immigrant rights group marching to protest the Secure Communities program, Los Angeles, California, August 2011

There were nationwide demonstrations in June, and placards calling to “Abolish ICE” were ubiquitous. The movement to abolish ICE has repeatedly been dismissed as little more than the left’s “new rallying cry,” accompanied by the accusation that the slogan lacks “a real plan.” But there are existing and emerging models for what it looks like to chip away at ICE and put something else in its place: there can be a community-based alternative to a violent immigration system.

The Bloomsbury Group’s Most Famous Work of Art

Lucy Scholes

Inside Charleston, where the Bloomsbury Group created an artists' community, East Sussex, England, circa 2012

To visit Charleston, a farmhouse that the Bloomsbury Group transformed into their most famous work of art, is to be transported back in time. It has been open to the public since 1986, but it has just launched its first exhibition and event spaces, along with a new restaurant. At the same time, under Charleston’s modern guise as a tourist heritage site—having become a destination for day-trippers, complete with café and gift shop—it’s easy to overlook just how radically the members of the Bloomsbury Group lived their lives.