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The Torture Report: it isn’t just morally reprehensible, it also doesn’t work

Warning: this piece contains graphic description of torture and reference to self-harm.

The recent report from the US Senate Intelligence Committee (SIC) into the CIA’s post-9/11 torture programme has shocked the world. In the 480 page summary released on Tuesday, the SIC details not only the extent and ineffectiveness of torture carried out by the CIA, but also how it was kept a secret from the US Government and the public.

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Africa: ‘The Dark Continent’? On the inheritance of knowledge

“The world is like a Mask dancing. If you want to see it well you do not stand in one place”

Chinua Achebe

“Do they know it’s Christmas?” Well of course they bloody do. They’ll probably go to Church, and then spend the day with their families.  I find the return of Geldof’s fundraising wonder song deeply problematic. His efforts in fighting the Ebola crisis are laudable, but the lyrics of the song betray the startling grip of an inherited image of Africa. Academia has a great deal to answer for.

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The poppy is about giving thanks, not fostering division

The Feast of All Souls and Remembrance Sunday at the beginning of November always mark a period of time when we are reminded of our departed loved ones and those who have fallen whilst serving their country. Remembrance Sunday is the day traditionally set aside to remember all those who have given their lives for the peace and freedom we enjoy today. On this day people across the nation pause to reflect on the sacrifices made by our brave service men and women. However, I often feel that the importance of remembrance is belittled by many people today, and indeed, by many at Oxford.

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Politicians and Popular Culture- PR stunt?

‘Michael Gove is widely seen as one of the pre-eminent intellectuals in British political life.’ Excuse me, The Guardian, that was not expected, I thought I was safe. Yet, this sentence was designed to contrast with the video on which the article was based, which depicted Gove describing his favourite ‘Game of Thrones’ character. A publicity stunt after having been demoted to chief whip? Or is he trying to seem more ‘normal’? Either way, this video again reveals a growing trend in politics, the referencing of popular culture. (more…)

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Nigel the Builder hasn’t got a hope of fixing it.

Last week it was announced that Bob the Builder would be returning to television, revamped for the modern age. You may have seen the pictures floating around social media; the new, CGI-ified Bob staring out at the viewer with cold, dead eyes and a nightmarish grin, surrounded by his entourage of beaming, anthropomorphised goons, usually captioned with words to the effects of “What have you done?”, or “childhood ruined!”.  (more…)

The Oxford Student

One Step Ahead Since 1991