11 June

'I was to see that sight again, but once was enough. Flames were coming from a human being; his body was slowly withering and shriveling up, his head blackening and charring.

June 11, 2009 · 1 min read

‘In the air was the smell of burning flesh; human beings burn surprisingly quickly. Behind me I could hear the sobbing of the Vietnamese who were now gathering. I was too shocked to cry, too confused to take notes or ask questions, too bewildered to even think … As he burned he never moved a muscle, never uttered a sound, his outward composure in sharp contrast to the wailing people around him.’

David Halberstam, New York Times

Today in 1963, Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc calmly sat in the lotus position outside the American embassy in Saigon and with the help of two other monks he doused himself in gasoline and set himself alight. His act was in protest against the repression of the US-backed South Vietnamese regime. After he died, his body was re-cremated, but his heart, which had not burned, was retrieved and revered as a symbol of compassion.


Morality tales

From cowardly men to wayward wives, pre-modern superstitions transmitted social norms as well as scares, writes Eleanor Janega

Playing on the dark side: An interview with Dawn Ray’d

Gerry Hart speaks to Simon Barr of Dawn Ray'd about black metal, its relationship with the far right and its radical potential

The global spectres of ‘Asian horror’

Bliss Cua Lim looks at how the female ghost subgenre illuminates efforts to globalise ‘Asian horror’


Rudolf Rocker: an anarchist ‘rabbi’ in London

David J. Lobina rediscovers a forgotten but fascinating figure in London’s radical and Jewish history

Review – Falling Down: The Conservative Party and the Decline of Tory Britain by Phil Burton-Cartledge

Sabrina Huck argues that a generational shift away from the Conservative Party can’t be taken for granted

The driver of dispossession

Tina Ngata explains the social and legal legacies of a 15th-century Christian principle that paved the way for imperial violence in, and far beyond, New Zealand

Want to try Red Pepper before you take out a subscription? Sign up to our newsletter and read Issue 231 for free.