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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

The victim trap

Playing for pity in the face of IS atrocities can be counter-productive. The Ismailis are suffering but are determined to keep control of their story FAISAL DEVJI

It often seems as if the extraordinary pluralism of Middle Eastern societies, religious as much as ethnic, tends to be brought to the world’s attention only once it has been destroyed. The civil war in Syria, for example, has made communities like the Yazidis, Alawites, Druze, Assyrians and Kurds newly familiar to a global audience. The sudden prominence of their desperate plight serves only to confirm the stereotype it should dispel—that of a monotonously Islamic society. Because they have been rendered into mere victims, such groups tend to be written out of a story, whose only permanent diversity is exhibited as the supposedly age-old enmity between Islam’s two major sects, Sunni and Shia.

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In Prospect’s August issue: Adam Tooze, Helen Thompson, Ben Chu, Julian Baggini, Tom Clark and Hepzibah Anderson reveal the secret history of the banking crisis and its impact over the last decade. Tooze examines the secret history itself, suggesting the work done to repair the world’s finances could mean another crisis is just around the corner. Chu asks why more people at the top of the banks that failed haven’t faced more serious repercussions, and Anderson shows how post-crash Britain has retreated into cosiness. Elsewhere in the issue Alison Wolf asks whether universities are doing any good, and David Goldblatt explores how the decision to take football off free-to-view television in Argentina could backfire for the government. Also in this issue: Kasia Boddy asks why writers are still addicted to watching boxing despite falling viewing figures, Andrew Dickson profiles Tom Stoppard, Stephen Bush explains how Jeremy Corbyn learned to compromise and David Omand outlines the cyber-security challenges facing the UK and the wider world.