MAGAZINE
Contents: The abuse of history
04 Apr 2018
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP

With contributions from Omar Mohammed, Mahvash Sabet, Simon Callow and Lucy Worsley, as well as interviews with Neil Oliver, Barry Humphries and Abbad Yahya

The spring 2018 issue of Index on Censorship magazine takes a special look at how governments and other powers across the globe are manipulating history for their own ends.

In this issue, we examine the various ways and areas where historical narratives are being changed, including a Q&A with Chinese and Japanese people on what they were taught about the Nanjing massacre at school; the historian known as Mosul Eye gives a special insight into his struggle documenting what Isis were trying to destroy; and Raymond Joseph takes a look at how South Africa’s government is erasing those who fought against apartheid.

The issue features interviews with historians Margaret MacMillan and Neil Oliver, and a piece addressing who really had free speech in the Tudor Court from Lucy Worsley.

We also take a look at how victims of the Franco regime in Spain may finally be put to rest in Silvia Nortes’ article; Irene Caselli explores how a new law in Colombia making history compulsory in school will be implemented after decades of conflict; and Andrei Aliaksandrau explains how Ukraine and Belarus approach their Soviet past.

The special report includes articles discussing how Turkey is discussing – or not – the Armenian genocide, while Poland passes a law to make talking about the Holocaust in certain ways illegal.

Outside the special report, Barry Humphries aka Dame Edna talks about his new show featuring banned music from the Weimar Republic and comedian Mark Thomas discusses breaking taboos with theatre in a Palestinian refugee camp.

Finally, we have an exclusive short story by author Christie Watson; an extract from Palestinian author Abbad Yahya’s latest book; and a poem from award-winning poet Mahvash Sabet.

Special report: The abuse of history

A date (not) to forget, by Louisa Lim: The author on why her book about Tiananmen would be well-nigh impossible to research today

Who controls the past controls the future…, by Sally Gimson: Fall in line or be in the firing line is the message historian are receiving from governments around the world

Another country, by Luka Ostojić: One hundred years after the creation of Yugoslavia, there are few signs it ever existed in Croatia. Why?

No comfort in the truth, by Annemarie Luck: It’s the episode of history Japan would rather forget. Instead comfort women are back in the news

Unleashing the past, by Kaya Genç: Freedom to publish on the World War I massacre of Turkish Armenians is fragile and threatened

Stripsearch, by Martin Rowson: Mister History is here to teach you what really happened

Tracing a not too dissident past, by Irene Caselli: As Cubans prepare for a post-Castro era, a digital museum explores the nation’s rebellious history

Lessons in bias, by Margaret MacMillan, Neil Oliver, Lucy Worsley, Charles van Onselen, Ed Keazor: Leading historians and presenters discuss the black holes of the historical universe

Projecting Poland and its past, by Konstanty Gebert: Poland wants you to talk about the “Polocaust”

Battle lines, by Hannah Leung and Matthew Hernon: One battle, two countries and a whole lot of opinions. We talk to people in China and Japan about what they learnt at school about the Nanjing massacre

The empire strikes back, by Andrei Aliaksandrau: Ukraine and Belarus approach their former Soviet status in opposite ways. Plus Stephen Komarnyckyj on why Ukraine needs to not cherry-pick its past

Staging dissent, by Simon Callow: When a British prime minister was not amused by satire, theatre censorship followed. We revisit plays that riled him, 50 years after the abolition of the state censor

Eye of the storm, by Omar Mohammed: The historian known as Mosul Eye on documenting what Isis were trying to destroy

Desert defenders, by Lucia He: An 1870s battle in Argentina saw the murder of thousands of its indigenous people. But that history is being glossed over by the current government

Buried treasures, by David Anderson: Britain’s historians are struggling to access essential archives. Is this down to government inefficiency or something more sinister?

Masters of none, by Bernt Hagtvet: Post-war Germany sets an example of how history can be “mastered”. Poland and Hungary could learn from it

Naming history’s forgotten fighters, by Raymond Joseph: South Africa’s government is setting out to forget some of the alliance who fought against apartheid. Some of them remain in prison

Colombia’s new history test, by Irene Caselli: A new law is making history compulsory in Colombia’s schools. But with most people affected by decades of conflict, will this topic be too hot to handle?

Breaking from the chains of the past, by Audra Diptee: Recounting Caribbean history accurately is hard when many of the documents have been destroyed

Rebels show royal streak, by Layli Foroudi: Some of the Iranian protesters at recent demonstrations held up photos of the former shah. Why?

Checking the history bubble, by Mark Frary: Historians will have to use social media as an essential tool in future research. How will they decide if its information is unreliable or wrong?

Franco’s ghosts, by Silvia Nortes: Many bodies of those killed under Franco’s regime have yet to be recovered and buried. A new movement is making more information public about the period

Column

Global view, by Jodie Ginsberg: If we don’t support those whose views we dislike as much as those whose views we do, we risk losing free speech for all

In focus

How gags can remove gags, by Tracey Bagshaw: Comedian Mark Thomas discusses the taboos about stand-up he encountered in a refugee camp in Palestine

Behind our silence, by Laura Silvia Battaglia: Refugees feel that they are not allowed to give their views in public in case they upset their new nation, they tell our interviewer

Something wicked this way comes, by Abigail Frymann Rouch: They were banned by the Nazis and now they’re back. An interview with Barry Humphries on his forthcoming Weimar Republic cabaret

Fake news: the global silencer, by Caroline Lees: The term has become a useful weapon in the dictator’s toolkit against the media. Just look at the Philippines

The muzzled truth, by Michael Vatikiotis: The media in south-east Asia face threats from many different angles. It’s hard to report openly, though some try against the odds

Carving out a space for free speech, by Kirsten Han: As journalists in Singapore avoid controversial topics, a new site launches to tackle these

Culture

Just hurting, not speaking, by Christie Watson: Rachael Jolley interviews the author about her forthcoming book, why old people are today’s silent community and introduces a short story written exclusively for the magazine

Ban and backlash create a bestseller, by Abbad Yahya: The bestselling Palestinian author talks to Jemimah Steinfeld about why a joke on Yasser Arafat put his life at risk. Also an extract from his latest book, translated into English for the first time

Ultimate escapism, by Mahvesh Sabet: The award-winning poet speaks to Layli Foroudi about fighting adversity in prison. Plus, a poem of Sabet’s published in English for the first time

Column

Index around the world, by Danyaal Yasin: Research from Mapping Media Freedom details threats against journalists across Europe

Endnote

Frightening state, by Jemimah Steinfeld: States are increasing the use of kidnapping to frighten journalists into not reporting stories

The Abuse of History

The spring 2018 issue of Index on Censorship magazine takes a special look at how governments and other powers across the globe are manipulating history for their own ends

With: Simon Callow, Louisa Lim, Omar Mohammed 

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