Partition, Nuclear Attack, Heart Attacks, Marcel Ophuls, Madness

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

The Terror Of Partition

Moni Mohsin | Guardian | 2nd August 2017

Survivors remember the atrocities attending the 1947 partition of India into Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-majority India, at the close of British rule. “It was one of the most painful births in modern history. More than 12 million people were displaced. Muslims fled across the hastily drawn borders into Pakistan, Hindus and Sikhs into India. Two million people were killed, tens of thousands of women were raped and abducted, homes were plundered and villages were torched” (4,300 words)

The Nuclear President

The Editors | Scientific American | 8th August 2017

Every link in the US nuclear decision chain has safeguards against poor judgment, deliberate misuse or accidental deployment. Except for one: The President. “He or she can decide to trigger a thermonuclear Armageddon without consulting anyone at all and never has to demonstrate mental fitness. This must change. We need to ensure at least some deliberation before the chief executive can act. And there are ways to do this without weakening our military responses or national security” (788 words)


Jeff Sharlet | VQR | 9th August 2017

On suffering and surviving two heart attacks. The first: “I’m told the pain can be instantly alarming. Not for me. It was only an ache, or sometimes a ripple, weak as chamomile, never sharper than nettles. That is, I did not know it was a heart attack. Then, after midnight, my chest began to fill as if with heavy water. My breath was cut into small and ragged pieces. I was being pressed, as if by a hard hand, back into the rocking chair in which I sat until dawn” (2,090 words)

Fools, Cowards, Criminals

Ian Buruma | New York Review Of Books | 9th August 2017

Admiring reassessment of Marcel Ophuls’s 1976 film, The Memory Of Justice. Critics were wrong to claim that Ophuls equated Nazi war crimes with those of the French in Algeria and the Americans in Vietnam. “The film never suggests that Auschwitz and My Lai, or French torture in Algiers, are equivalent. Ophuls tries to complicate the problem of moral judgment. What makes human beings who are normally unexceptional commit atrocities under abnormal circumstances?” (4,000 words)

Remote Diagnoses

Greg Afinogenov | n+1 | 9th August 2017

It became a tenet of American foreign policy after the Cold War that American allies were rational actors, whereas opponents — such as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and the Kims — were irrational actors whose refusal of American leadership was the first proof of their irrationality, and whose time on Earth was limited. If we are now “on the brink of nuclear apocalypse”, that is not due primarily to Donald Trump, but to the policies of the “reasonable” presidents before him (1,500 words)

Video of the day: Half A Million

What to expect:

Animation created by hand using 5,566 stickers. Produced by Lamar+Nik for The Shins (3’23”)

Thought for the day

The lion consists of assimilated sheep
Paul Valéry

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