Giraffe Edition 35

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Death Of A Religion: Isis And The Yazidi

Sean Thomas | Telegraph | 6th August 2014

Yazidism is "a vastly ancient form of bird-worship", probably the oldest surviving religion in the world, dating back 6,000 years to Sumeria and Assyria. Its objects of veneration include a Devil-figure, called Melek Taus, a variant of Moloch, imagined in the form of a peacock angel. For this heresy the Yazidis in northern Iraq face extermination by the jihadis of the Islamic State. "The Devil has revealed a sense of irony" (640 words)

Wanting To Be Normal

Tania Glyde | The Lancet | 6th August 2014

A psychiatrist writes: Many patients say that they "just want to be normal". But what's so great about normal? "I stand to be corrected, but I'll hazard a guess that there isn't a Shakespeare play, classical drama, or opera that celebrates the protagonist attaining the state of normal as their climax or finale. A gulf seems to exist between the meaning of normality as an outward state, and its desirability as an inward state" (1,590 words)

Prison Journal Of A Child Bride

Zarbibi | Guernica | 1st August 2014

Heartbreaking. Horrifying. Zarbibi was married and four months pregnant at the age of 16, "in keeping with the norms of her Afghan community in Iran". Her sister had been married and pregnant at eleven. But Zarbibi couldn't stand it. She murdered her husband with a kitchen knife. "I tried very hard to work on myself and live with my husband. I really did. But I just couldn’t make it work. I had no life experience" (4,800 words)

Why America Fought

David Adesnik | Weekly Standard | 4th August 2014

The United States entered the Great War in 1917 "with its eyes wide open". There could be no illusions about the horrors ahead. The "mechanical slaughter" in Europe had already killed millions. There was no direct threat to US territory. Woodrow Wilson had been re-elected in 1916 partly on the basis that he had kept America out of the war. So what could explain America's swift decision to go to war after all? (3,360 words)

The Enemy’s Enemy

Richard Overy | Literary Review | 1st August 2014

The two-year alliance between Hitler and Stalin, from the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of August 1939 to German's invasion of Russia in June 1941, is a relatively understudied part of the Second World War, and perhaps with good reason. How to understand the dynamics of a relationship between two regimes that hated one another so fundamentally, and yet had so much to gain from acting together? (1,200 words)

A Friend Flees The Horrors Of ISIS

George Packer | New Yorker | 6th August 2014

The Islamic State advances through northern Iraq, trapping tens of thousands of Yazidis in the mountains with a choice between starvation and slaughter. The insurgents' immediate target seems to be the Mosul Dam, which provides electricity to Mosul. "If ISIS takes the dam, which is located on the Tigris River, it would have the means to put Mosul under thirty metres of water, and Baghdad under five" (2,090 words)

Video of the day: Theory Of Everything

What to expect: Trailer for film about Stephen Hawking

Thought for the day

"Nothing inspires forgiveness quite like revenge"
— Scott Adams

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