The Uighurs and China’s Long History of Trouble with Islam

Ian Johnson

A Uighur woman walking past a statue of Mao Zedong in Kashgar City, northwestern Xinjiang, China, 2017

Like today’s China, the Qing Dynasty that ruled for nearly three centuries from 1644 was a multi-ethnic empire but the underlying assumption was that the state should determine orthodoxy and heterodoxy. For those who assimilated, the state was generous. But for those whose beliefs didn’t fit the mold, magnanimity turned to suppression. It would be tempting to say that this is typical Communist excess, something in the party’s DNA that forces it to turn to repression and violence to solve problems. But its approach to Muslim presence in China is part of an older, deeper problem.

On Being a Jew-ish Schoolboy

Nicholas Lezard

Secondary school pupils, Kettering, England, 1976

There was a sketch performed by the comedy troupe Beyond the Fringe many years ago, in which Jonathan Miller (still with us, thankfully) said that he wasn’t a Jew, but that he was “Jew-ish.” That got a laugh in the 1960s; a shocked laugh, perhaps, but that was what was aimed for. Whether it would get a laugh these days, I am not sure. Every single Jew I know, and I know plenty, observant or not, confesses nowadays to being suddenly very aware of their Jewishness, and alive to the potential reaction it can provoke. If someone like me, with only the haziest notion of what the Torah or the Talmud are, can be a target for anti-Semitic abuse, I wonder at how much hatred is out there, waiting to boil over again.

Breaking Through the House Ceiling

Isabel Kaplan

Newly elected members of the House of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Deb Haaland (NM) after the congressional freshman class photo, the Capitol, Washington, D.C., November 14, 2018

On November 28, the Democratic Caucus, including all the newly elected members, will gather for a closed-door meeting to select nominees for the senior leadership positions. The nominees will then go to a floor vote on January 3, the first day of Congress’s next session. These elections will be the first opportunity for new members to assert themselves. Many of the newly elected women campaigned on promises of change, different voices, and fresh leadership, and some were explicit in their opposition to Nancy Pelosi.

The Psychopharmacology of Everyday Life

Jamieson Webster

Various pharmaceuticals

Modern psychopharmacology goes hand in hand with a psychiatric diagnostic system that has, over time, been redefined to rely on medicating symptoms away rather than looking at the structure of the mind and its complex permutations in order to work with a patient in a deeply engaged way over the long haul. Modern psychiatry is hailed as a scientific success story, and drug companies have profited from the fact that talking therapies are often thought to take too long, their results frequently dismissed as unverifiable. I question, though, whether we should demand verified results when it comes to our mental life: Do you believe someone who promises you happiness in a pill?

The Prophets, Angels, & Churches of ‘Armenia!’

Gini Alhadeff

Alexander Romance, copied in Rome, 1538–1544

The exclamation mark following the word “Armenia” in the exhibition’s title—curator Helen Evans’s idea—was meant to convey her surprise that Armenian art and culture aren’t studied more or better known. The objects on display range from the fourth to the seventeenth centuries and represent the different regions Armenians inhabited. Armenia was one of the first states to adopt the Christian religion—as early as AD 301—and its history has been defined both by this, its status as an outpost of Eastern Orthodox religion surrounded by Muslim neighbors, and by its role in establishing trade routes from China and India to Western Europe, and from Egypt and the Holy Land to Russia.

Not in Our Grandchildren’s Lifetime

Danny Lyon

Young aspen trees

It takes a century for a pinyon forest to return to what it was before a fire. The Jemez are mostly pine trees, not pinyons or cedars, and within the pine forest are ponderosa pines, which grow straight as an arrow, often have diameters of over three feet, and tower far into the sky. They make beautiful burnt corpses. The smaller pines are a lot less interesting, either alive or dead—when they look like matchsticks blown down by a hurricane.

Why Britain Needs Its Own Mueller

Carole Cadwalladr

Nigel Farage speaking at a press conference the day after the Brexit referendum, flanked by Arron Banks (far left) and Andy Wigmore (right), Westminster, London, June 24, 2016

Britain and America, Brexit and Trump, are inextricably entwined. By Nigel Farage. By Cambridge Analytica. By Steve Bannon. By the Russian ambassador to London, Alexander Yakovenko, who has been identified by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as a conduit between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. The same questions that dog the US election dog ours, too. There is one vital difference on this between the US and the UK. America has the Mueller investigation.

In the Review Archives: 2000–2004

The Editors

To celebrate the Review’s fifty-fifth anniversary in 2018, we have been going back into our archives year by year. Today we go back to the turn of the millennium, with Tatyana Tolstaya on Russia’s new president, Tony Judt on the future of Israel, James McPherson on enduring Civil War fantasies, William Nordhaus on what war in Iraq would cost, and Marcia Angell on the deceptions of the pharmaceutical industry.

Decolonizing Commemoration: New War Art

Maya Jaggi

South African Native Labour Corps troops around a brazier at their camp in Dannes, France, March 1917

Official betrayal was epitomized in Britain by the Victory Parade of July 19, 1919. Lutyens, whose Cenotaph in London was the saluting point, may have sought to embrace all the Empire faithful, but Colonial Office officials deemed it “impolitic to bring coloured detachments to participate in the peace processions.” Indians were among the 15,000 soldiers and sailors on parade, but West Indians and Nigerians were not. Today, a wave of work by artists and historians is challenging World War I’s monochrome image, raising profound questions about the selectiveness of remembrance and how those who have been willfully erased can best be restored to memory.

How Brexit Broke Up Britain

Fintan O’Toole

A sticker reading

There is overwhelming evidence that the English people who voted for Brexit do not, on the whole, care about the United Kingdom and in particular that part of it called Northern Ireland. Asked whether “the unravelling of the peace process in Northern Ireland” is a “price worth paying” for Brexit, fully 83 percent of Leave voters and 73 percent of Conservative voters in England agree that it is. So, while the people who voted for Brexit are waving goodbye to the United Kingdom, Theresa May—with, in this, the support of Corbyn’s Labour—has vowed to “always fight to strengthen and sustain this precious, precious Union.” Brexit cannot be properly articulated because it has made a sacred cause of fighting for the very thing Brexit voters don’t care about.