art of resistance

10 Portraits of Female Soccer Players from different Arab countries.

Lia Darjes is a German photographer, living and working in Berlin and Hamburg. She did several great projects, including Konvertieren and I escaped miserable Syria.  This time, however, I wish to present her small series 10 Portraits of female soccer players from different Arab countries.

Here are the photos.









15_10_v2all photos © Lia Darjes

For more of Lia’s work, go to her official website.

art of resistance, Iraq

Electrify Baghdad – Let there be light.

Nedim Kufi is an Iraqi-Dutch visual artist. He was forced to leave  his hometown of Baghdad in 1990 following the chaos of the First Gulf War. He is currently participating in 3D artistic visualization and environmental design for architectural projects in the Netherlands and Germany. He works with mixed media ranging from paper and flowers to earth and ceramics, in order to develop a close relationship between the disciplines of printing, etching, sculpture, and design. With his frequent use of grids in his artwork, Nedim draws on the Islamic tradition of repetition and patterning.

His project Electrify Baghdad (2008) is an amazing video work. Kufi digitally manipulated a Google Earth satellite view of Baghdad at the time of the “Shock and Awe” terror attacks in 2003. During the course of the attack, the city experienced major black-outs as a result of failing electrical systems. The explosions of bombs and missiles looked like brief pulsations of light. We could see that every neighborhood was targeted. The radar scans and military helicopters sweeping across the screen were signs that the city was under military surveillance. Towards the end of the video, as the city descends into total darkness, the artist “relights” the city transforming it into a brilliant tapestry of many points of light. Metaphorically, not only is Baghdad brought out of the darkness but also into the light of the Spirit. Electrify Baghdad is an absolutely beautiful video that communicates the artist’s profound spiritual orientation. And – it brings hope.

asssElectrify Baghdad, Nedim Kufi

Kufi has done some great projects, and I’ll be sure to write more about his work sometime in the future. In the meantime, see more at Iraqi artists in exile (StationMuseum).

art of resistance, Lebanon

Fairuz in records.

I’ve already written about Fairuz, the great Lebanese singer and one of the most admired singers in the Arab world. Fairuz is an icon, and just like in her song Baadak ala bali (You’re still on my mind) – will continue to stay on the minds of her numerous fans.

english translation:

Summer rushed past with appointments
And the air rustled the grape bunches
And we didn’t hear any news about you oh moon
And not a single person waved to us
As the nights came and went
And you’re still on my mind, my mind

arabic original:

مرق الصيف بمواعيدو
والهوي لملم عناقيدو
وما عرفنا خبر
عنك يا قمر
ولاحدا لوحلنا با يدو
وبتطل الليالي وبتروح الليالي
وبعدك على بالي على بالي

So, to honour Fairuz, I’ve gathered a nice collection of her records (in photos). Enjoy.


Fayrouz EH FI AMAL --- -- --- BY ZIAD RAHBANY




For more of Fairuz and her lovely tunes – go to Fairuz YouTube channel.

art of resistance, Israel, Israeli - Palestinian conflict, Palestine

A Child’s View from Gaza – censored drawings.

A Child’s View from Gaza: Palestinian Children’s Art and the Fight Against Censorship is a collection of drawings by children from the Gaza Strip, art that was censored by the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland, California (in 2011, A Child’s view from Gaza, which is also a traveling exhibition, was to be shown in Oakland, but cancelled at the last moment. Barbara Lubin, the Executive Director of MECA, said then: “We understand all too well the enormous pressure that the museum came under. But who wins? The museum doesn’t win. MECA doesn’t win. The people of the Bay Area don’t win. Our basic constitutional freedom of speech loses. The children in Gaza lose.“)

The art was submitted by Gazan children depicting their lives and experience during the 22-day Israeli attack on Gaza in 2008-2009, during which over 1,100 Palestinians died including hundreds of children.

The drawings featured in A Child’s View from Gaza serve as part of the historical record of the horror inflicted on the Palestinian people during Operation Cast Lead as experienced by Gaza’s children. Photos of the aftermath and the recent efforts by pro-Israel groups to censor the children’s art are also highlighted in the book (the exhibition continues to be postponed or cancelled in some places – like it was postponed in Fredericton, Canada in 2013. “This would appear to have been done by adults certainly not by six year olds, and/or done by children under the direction of adults,” said Israel Unger, a protestor of the exhibit).

Well, I am making sure you get atleast a part of the exhibition virtually – here are some of the drawings.







Picture 4

Picture 5

For more on this book and exhibitions, go to MECA (Middle East Children’s Alliance).


art of resistance, Iran

Shahnameh, The Pop-up Book.

Fictionville Studio has a new project, and it is a unique one!


Riding on the success of their best-selling book, Shahnameh, The Epic of the Persian Kings, they’ve have partnered with paper engineer extraordinaire, Simon Arizpe to create a magical and dynamic new pop up book, based on the art and stories of our Epic Shahnameh. They are creating the very first pop up book based on a traditional Iranian story to delight the imaginations of readers all over the world. The story of Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King is destined to kick off this new series of pop up books.

They need a little help with this lovely project, so be sure to check it out and  – share it, spread the news, donate (1 $ can help too).

South Sudan, Sudan

Dinka: The Legendary Cattle Keepers of Sudan.

Thirty years of work on the African continent have carried Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher across 270,000 miles and through remote corners of 40 countries in exploration of more than 150 African cultures. In the process, this team of world-renowned photographers has produced fourteen widely acclaimed books and made four films about traditional Africa. They have been granted unprecedented access to African tribal rites and rituals and continue to be honored worldwide for their powerful photographs documenting the traditional ceremonies of cultures thousands of years old.

The Beckwith-Fisher images are the result of a long, enduring and deeply respectful relationship with African tribal peoples. This, combined with their photographic skills, creates an intimate portrayal of ceremonies long held secret that might have never been recorded. Their work preserves and presents the power, complexity and celebration found within the rituals of African tribal life.

“Through our books and lectures we tell people about Africa’s core values: respect for their elders, the benefit of growing up as part of a community, and the importance of living in harmony with nature and one’s own spirit world.”

Their book  Dinka: Legendary Cattle Keepers of Sudan, was the fruit of a 30-year study documenting the vanishing people in war-torn Sudan. It is a window into the past, present, and future of an extraordinary egalitarian pastoral people, and arguably the greatest cattle keepers of the African continent.  It is a true celebration of one culture.

Here are some of the incredible images.







l_BF084DI_1228349357all photos © Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher

For more of their amazing work and more on this book, go to Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher official website.

Azerbaijan, Turkey

Pipe Dreams: The oil stories from Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

Rena Effendi is a photographer who keeps on bringing great stories for a decade now. In Pipe Dreams, she  followed an oil pipeline from her native Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey. Along the way she met scores of people and unfulfilled dreams. She spent years taking photos and following the story, and Pipe Dreams developed into a book later on:

A pipe dream is a fantastic hope that is regarded as being impossible to achieve. This book is dedicated to the people of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, linked by the oil pipeline and their fading hopes for a better future. Besides corporate public relations campaigns, little photographic evidence exists about the impact the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline had had on Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. This book portrays life as it is lived, with no commercial or public relations agenda. It ‘un-smiles’ the calendar smiles of corporate propaganda and sheds fresh journalistic light on this geopolitically important region.

90View of Otagli village, 2km of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, Turkey 2007. ©Rena Effendi

awLittle bride. Djandarsky village along the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is predominantly populated by ethnic Azerbaijanis. Some of the residents here complained that they had not received compensation for their land in connection with the pipeline construction. Marneuli, Georgia, 2006. ©Rena Effendi

568Snow in Otagli village, Turkey 2007. ©Rena Effendi

asdIlyas Alban with his family at home in Otagli village. Due to BTC construction, his family’s plot of land was degraded and is expected to recover its fertility only after 12 years. Ilyas applied to local courts against Botash and is still waiting for results. “Before BTC, I had everything. Now my roof is collapsing and I have no money to fix it.” – Ilyas says. ©Rena Effendi

11Children of the Tolstoy street, Mahalla, Baku. Azerbaijan, 2003. ©Rena Effendi

1233sIlyas Alban’s two sons at their dilapidated home, Otagli, Turkey 2007. Mesheti Turk refugee and onion farmer, Meshedi Gara village along the pipeline, Azerbaijan, 2006. ©Rena Effendi

24455Refugee woman at home, Agjabedi, Azerbaijan, 2005. ©Rena Effendi

For more of Effendi’s great work, go to her official website.

Israel, Israeli - Palestinian conflict, Palestine

Palestine: Living in fear.

Living in Fear by Defence for Children Palestine

The Jewish settlement of Yitzhar is described by The New York Times as “an extremist bastion on the hilltops commanding the Palestinian city of Nablus in the northern West Bank.” Its roughly 1,000 radical Jewish settlers terrorize 20,000 Palestinians from the surrounding villages of Burin, Madama, Asira al-Qibliya, Urif, Einabus, and Huwara. 

“Multiple times they would reach as far as our doorstep,” says Um Majdi from Asira al-Qibliya. “Some of them throw rocks at us, others set fires, and some write hate slogans on the walls. We’re in a stressed psychological state.”

Yitzhar settlers are responsible for hate crimes, termed “price tag” attacks, targeting Palestinians in retaliation for actions, including those initiated by the Israeli government, against Jewish settlements in the West Bank. 

“The idea behind the Israeli settlement policy in the West Bank is very clear,” says Dror Etkes, the director of Israeli organization Kerem Navot, which studies land use in the West Bank. “To marginalize the Palestinian community, which is about 90% of the population, still today, to certain enclaves … in order to leave as much as possible vacant land for the development of the Israeli settlements.”

The Israeli authorities have consistently failed to prevent settler attacks against Palestinians and to take adequate law enforcement measures against settlers who commit these crimes. Israeli soldiers often turn a blind eye and fail to intervene in confrontations. DCI-Palestine has also documented cases where soldiers actively participate in civilian attacks by settlers.






567*these are my snapshots from the video, watch the full video here.

art of resistance, Iraq

Remembering Al-Kindi, The Philosopher of the Arabs.

Ya’qub b. Ishaq al-Kindi, shortly al-Kindi, also known as „the philosopher of the Arabs“, was an Iraqi philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, physician and many other things (he started small revolutions in chemistry, medicine, and music too).

Al-Kindi was born in Kufa (about 800 CE), present day Iraq, about 170 km south of Baghdad and 10 km northeast of Najaf. At the time, Kufa was a cultural center, creating the right atmosphere for, among other things, making of the Kufic script – the earliest alphabet of the Arabic language. It was a very stimulating environment for a young scientist willing to question things and search for new methods and new ideas.


On the scientific front, Al-Kindi plays a central role in Islamic scholarship for two principal reasons: his early role in establishing a scientific methodology and the diversity of subjects he addressed. In his work, al-Kindi was mainly interested in philosophical thought from Greece, as well as a multitude of disciplines such as medicinal treatments, astrology, mathematics, the making of steel weapons, and others.

According to Ibn al-Nadim, al-Kindi wrote at least two hundred and sixty books, contributing heavily to geometry, medicine, philosophy, logic, and physics (still, like so many other scholars of Islamic tradition, al-Kindi remains understudied – less than forty of his works are extant and even those have not been completely edited and studied).

His greatest contribution to the development of Islamic philosophy was his efforts to make Greek thought both accessible and acceptable to a Muslim audience. He was also the first philosopher writing in the Arabic language. A recurring theme in al-Kindi’s works was his belief that orthodox Islam is not in conflict with philosophy as a whole. He did produce many arguments in favor of the congruent relationship that can exist between philosophy and Islam. However, this earned al-Kindi some enemies in the learned societies, the Banu Musa brothers and the astrologer Abu Ma’shar in particular. Al-Kindi stayed true to his views on life:

“Our residence in this phenomenal world is transitory; it is a journey towards the eternal one. The most miserable man, is he who prefers for himself the material above the spiritual, for the material, apart from its ephemeral nature, obstructs our passage to the spiritual world. Man should not `disregard any means to protect himself against all human vices, and he should seek to rise to the highest ends of human virtues…, that is, to the knowledge by means of which we protect ourselves against spiritual and bodily disease, and acquire the human virtues in whose very essence goodness is grounded.“

Rasa’il al-Kindi al-falsafiya, i. 280; in G.N. Atiyeh, Al-Kindi

Al-Kindi authored works on a number of important mathematical subjects, including arithmetic, geometry, the Indian numbers, the harmony of numbers, lines and multiplication with numbers, relative quantities, measuring proportion and time, and numerical procedures and cancellation. He also wrote four volumes, On the Use of the Indian Numerals (Ketab fi Isti’mal al-‘Adad al-Hindi) which contributed greatly to diffusion of the Indian system of numeration in the Middle-East and the West.

Talking about physics and geometry, al-Kindi was successful in formulating the theory of parallels. He looked into the prospect of having pairs of straight lines in a plane which are non-parallel and non-intersecting at the same time. He wrote several manuscripts with his findings on the subject, which he later compiled into books.

His most significant gift to the development of medicine was his systematic classification of the dosage to be given to patients. In one of his books, he presented precisely the correct dose for each medication used at the time, which helped standardize the preparation of recipes.

Always remaining curious about the world around him, al-Kindi produced many miscellaneous manuscripts on different subjects ranging from his views on alchemy and precious stones to the astronomical path that the planets follow. Much of this hard work is now lost in history. We know of it only through referring sources, many of them in Latin, who hint at al-Kindi’s breakthrough findings, inventions, and observations.

There is anecdote which might decribe al-Kindi’s character the best.

Once the grandson of a governor of al-Kufah asked him:

“How is it that you are never seen asking at the door of the sultan, or at the gatherings of businessmen?”

Al-Kindi answered:

“These are places where the likes of you seek their fortunes, I seek mine there where nobody ever dreams of taking it away from me.“

(Quoted by G.N. Atiyeh in Al-Kindi)

For more on al-Kindi’s life and his work, go to Alshindagah, Muslim Heritage, and on you can find a comprehensive list of the titles he wrote. Also, there are some of his books avilable on Oxford University Press.

art of resistance, Israeli - Palestinian conflict, Palestine

Nablus blues.

Nablus is a city in the northern West Bank. Since 1995, the city has been governed by the PNA. In the Old City, there are a number of sites of archaeological significance, spanning the 1st to 15th centuries.

Nablus_1898Nablus, 1898.

The city is also known for its kanafeh (the dessert BuzzFeed labelled as Israeli, another case of cultural appropriation of indigenous Palestinian and regional culture), a popular sweet throughout the Middle East, and soap industry. Little historic fact to see how important the soap industry has been for Nablus – in 1882, there were 32 soap factories and 400 looms exporting their products throughout the Middle East. Cotton, soap, olive oil, and textiles were exported by Nablus merchants to Damascus, whence silks, high-quality textiles, copper, and a number luxury items, such as jewellery were imported.

As most Palestinians do, people of Nablus depend on their extensive fields of olive groves, figs and pomegranate orchards. The city developed into a bustling modern commercial center, but still remains charming and in many ways – a little marvel.






tumblr_mnccmbyKDq1rouua1o5_1280all photos © Maren