art of resistance, travel, Turkey

Ara Güler’s Anatolia.

It is not a secret that I am a big fan of Ara Güler’s photography. I already wrote about him and his wonderful black & white photos of Istanbul. Here are some of Güler’s photos from  Anatolia, less famous but equally wonderful.









/all photos © Ara Güler/

For Güler’s photographs of archaeological and historical sites in Anatolia, go to Flickr (Güler often said he feels those photos are his greatest contribution to human history).

For more on the photos featured in this post and more on Ara Güler, go to his official website.


art of resistance, Lebanon, Syria, travel, Turkey

Beyond Borders – from Vienna to Beirut.

Frederic Lezmi: Beyond Borders (from Vienna to Beirut)

Artist statement:

I have been searching for the “in between” – whatever lies geographically as well as culturally between my world here in the midst of Europe and my long term focus of interest in the Middle and Near East. Being half Lebanese myself, I have been studying cultural interfaces within the distant Arabic World.

From August to December 2008 I traveled between Vienna and Beirut. I encountered people in versatile worlds, inside or in front of architectural places, both real and artificial, public and private. In my photographs, people emerge either as just passers-by or while waiting, as subjects and objects of the viewer’s eye, moving about in their urban or rural environment. These are distanced views in which locals and tourists are on similar paths, randomly congregating and forming elusive compositions. These pictures represent neither precise documents nor do they create artistic worlds. They are constructions of multicolored, fragmented impressions, like looking through a kaleidoscope.

I often show architectural monuments, including the social life taking place within, in various superimposed layers and conditions. Through reflections and fragmentation within the images, the viewer’s eye is being multiplied, inverted and divided in order to call into question the perception of cultural differences and their importance for the “present” and the “past” of our society.

My pictures reveal an ambivalent point of view beyond current clichés of architectural monuments and existing borderlines. In my photographs, the Orient and the Occident overlay each other, and are further changed by ever-growing globalism. Photography in this case serves as a visual hinge and an interface between these multi-faceted worlds where the space between East and West is either expanded or reduced.

0889f5f39505d2261dbae8fb802d2022-largeZagreb, Croatia

2cfe9cc6d81c608ec1a60a2ca2e98e9e-largeSarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

aqwBucharest, Romania

041a9b3ef2e7c7ec71842d580011bbe8-largeVarna, Bulgaria

4a4af4e25d4137829d4fd868bed784d4-largeIstanbul, Turkey

awxxTasci, Turkey

360ec2d084f58fce0e05bc0e7942d4be-largeIznik Golu, Turkey

a98d35562bf9b142ccdebaa7bdd178ed-largeAleppo, Syria

asdxKfar Khilfah, Syria

4ef885d8b1f5680c776e6559b3992804-largeBeirut, Lebanon

/all photos © Frederic Lezmi/

For more on Lezmi and his projects, visit his official website.

Afghanistan, art of resistance, travel

A whole new (look at) Afghanistan.

Riverboom Ltd is a society founded by war reporters upon a moonless night in the North-West of Afghanistan, in an infamous valley infested by wolfs, bandits and runaway Taliban. This is the valley where the river Boom flows. Ever since Riverboom has been operating for world peace from its headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland, on the shores of the placid lake Leman.

The Riverbooms are photographers, film directors, graphic artists, journalists and writers. Riverboom publishes (among other things) a series of illustrated books in the collection Baechtold’s Best. These are guidebooks entirely made of images for uncommon destinations like the North Pole, Afghanistan or Louvreland.

As they say:

The world revealed in series: ten options, one best. Images replace detailed descriptions and long-winded local histories.
It will arouse the curiosity of intrepid explorers and provide them with a whole new travel experience.

Here are some of the photos from their Baechtold’s Best – Afghanistan series.











BB_AF_WEB_28all images © Riverboom

For more on this project and other works by Riverboom, visit their official website.

art of resistance, Syria, travel, Turkey

From Croatia to Syria (on a bicycle).

Three years ago, my friend Siniša Glogoški, photographer, traveler, a wanderer of the world, took his bike and rode it from Croatia to Syria (more than 4000 kilometers).

It was a journey of revelation – revelation of the unknown, of the beauty of the landscape, faces of the people, and everything that’s moving and vibrating around him, and – very important – it was a revelation of what’s inside, of the inner strength, of the will to continue (it was a hot summer, and being on a bike for a looong time can get exhausting).

Siniša did it. He moved his boundaries, went beyond. His stories about the journey are full of desert stars at night, children running, tranquility of morning silence… He brought it with him, and it seems so bittersweet remembering it now, when Syria faces such harsh times.

Be sure to watch his video, embark on a journey with him for five minutes.

And here are some of the photos.











1962725_617223848332134_300289296_nall photos © Siniša Glogoški

For more of Siniša’s adventures and inspiring stories, visit his facebook page.

Islam, travel

The simplicity of Zagreb’s Mosque.

I went to visit Zagreb’s mosque and Islamic cultural centre this weekend. I’ve been living in Zagreb for six years, but I never went there before, so – it was about time to visit it! Zagreb Mosque is the biggest in Croatia, its construction began in 1981, and had finished in 1987.  I like that it is very simple, and manages to escape the kitsch so often found in religious places.

I took some photos, of course, so – feel free to have a peek!








IMG_1751all photos © Ivana Perić/Middle East Revised

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

Rare photos of Hebron (Khalil), West Bank.

Hebron is a city in the West Bank, home to almost 300 000 Palestinians, and around 8oo Jewish settlers. It is one of the holy cities for both Jews and Muslims (it was traditionally viewed as one of the “four holy cities of Islam”).  Following the 1997 Hebron agreement, the city was split into two sectors: H1 is controlled by the Palestinian Authority and H2 controlled by Israel.  

However, around 30,000 Palestinians along with around 800 Israelis remain under Israeli military control in H2. The Palestinian population there has greatly declined due to the impact of Israeli security measures which include extended curfews, strict restrictions on movement, etc. The Jewish settlement is widely considered to be illegal by the international community, although the Israeli government continues to dispute this.

All that aside, Hebron and its people – live, survive. The city is a busy hub of the West Bank trade, well known for its grapes, figs, limestone, pottery workshops and glassblowing factories, and is the location of the major dairy product manufacturer, al-Junaidi.

Some months ago, Palestinian Photo Club published an album of rare photos of Hebron/Khalil, and that is what I want to share with you today. 







1075736_403687259740502_581476147_nall images © Palestinian Photo Club

For more, visit Palestinian Photo Club facebook page.


art of resistance, Iran, travel

Diversity and Exuberance – Panoramas of Iran.

Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji is an Iranian photographer whose work I already mentioned here, introducing his mosque photos – well, more – mosque flowers, full of colors and amazing light.

There are some great news – he has a new site, you can check it out here. To get you excited about his work and his new photos, I am posting this random collection of the lovely moments he captured so far. I think it is a beautiful portrayal of Iran in its diversity  – from the amazing Bafgh desert at night to Theran’s towers and carpet repair workshops in Shiraz.


600006_10151094035054155_1688659751_nBafgh Desert at Night 

1239657_10151926184579155_733728856_nAzadi (Shahyad) Tower , Tehran , Iran

1398974_10152101519869155_1451639517_oChoret Lake , Mazandaran , Iran

1497720_10152176360829155_1755420827_nWinter in Mazandaran

1901159_10152325876384155_643173717_nEram Garden , Shiraz , Iran

1653533_10152369305194155_1132995383_nCarpet Repair Workshop, Shiraz, Iran (all photos © Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji)

For more of Mohammad’s work – visit his website and his facebook page.

art of resistance, travel

Bani Shanta, Bangladesh: The island of the forgotten women.

Alessandro Grassani is an Italian photographer whose work has appeared in numerous international publications including Sunday Times, New York Times, Time, El Pais, Foreign Policy, Der Spiegel, Mare, Vanity Fair, etc. He has traveled around South America, Africa and Asia, particularly Middle East – going back to Israel, Palestine and Iran more than once.

His famous pieces are focused around the  the lives of the people forced to migrate because of climate changes and with no alternative to the illusion of a better life in the city. And, of course – conflict and conflict areas draw his attention. 

One of his photo essays is The island of forgotten women. Today, I wish to put that one in the spotlight.

Artist statement:

Ruined by the climate change and shunned by society, this is the sad destiny of the 200 women who live on the island of Bani Shanta, one of the 14 official brothels in Bangladesh, a Muslim country where prostitution is legal. Abandoned or sold by their fathers and husbands, today they must also reckon with the crisis their clients face, which is brought about by global warming: the rise of the bed of the River Pashur which has caused changes in the size of the seaport in Mongla.


To smoke in public is forbidden by prejudiced for a woman in Bangladesh, only prostitutes feels and is free to smoke everywhere. Pia is 25 years old and her family doesn’t know where she is and what she is doing. Her father promised her as spouse but she didn’t want to get married that young. (© Alessandro Grassani/Invision Images)


Saheda Begum is taking care to an her friend’ s baby, working in the brothel and living next door. She arrived to Bani Shanta when she was 15/16 years old. She worked as prostitute in the brothel for almost 20 years but she does’t want to tell her story because as she says ” it is too sad ti hear my story”. (© Alessandro Grassani/Invision Images)


A prostitute having bath in the Pashur river, all the prostitute are used to bathing in the dirty river water because the lack of bathroom in the brothel.(© Alessandro Grassani/Invision Images)


 Zosna ,45 years old, getting ready for a day of work. She has been working in the brothel since15 years ago and before that she was working in a rice factory. She decide to quite her job in the factory because her husband left her when her daughter was only 1 years old and with the factory salary she was not able to support her daugther. (© Alessandro Grassani/Invision Images)


The brothel is located in the Bay of Bengala where sea level rise is getting dangerous and dangerous for the prostitutes living in the Bani Shanta brothel which can go under water any time now. (© Alessandro Grassani/Invision Images)


 A local ngo with the support of the Italian Mani Tese has just started a project of alternative work to save the prostitutes from misery. The prostitutes are producing string, sold to local factory producing local handcrafts. (© Alessandro Grassani/Invision Images)

 For more of Grassani’s work, visit his official website.
art of resistance, travel

Oualata, Mauritania: A garden in Sahara.

Oualata is a small oasis town in Mauritania. It was an important  caravan city in the 13th and 14th century, as the southern terminus of a trans-Saharan traderoute.

An important trans-Saharan route began at Sijilmasa and passed through Taghaza with its salt mines and ended at Oualata. The Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta used this route in 1352 on his way to the city of Mali, the capital of the Mali Empire. Ibn Battuta found the inhabitants of Oualata were Muslim and mainly Massufa, a section of the Senhaja. He was surprised by the great respect and independence that women enjoyed. He only gives a brief description of the town itself:

“My stay at Iwalatan (Oualata) lasted about fifty days; and I was shown honour and entertained by its inhabitants. It is an excessively hot place, and boasts a few small date-palms, in the shade of which they sow watermelons. Its water comes from underground waterbeds at that point, and there is plenty of mutton to be had.”

Oualata has its modern descriptions too – by other kind of explorers – photographers. Pascal Meunier is a photographer whose work I’ve  covered before, but this time I am putting his photo series Oualata, a garden in the Sahara in the spotlight.

Artist statement:

Sand almost smothered Oualata from the memory of men. The knell sounded for this caravan stage of Mauritania with the end of the trans-Saharian trade on which it once based its fortune. Isolated, ruined and forgotten, it has just won a formidable bet, that of its survival, thanks to the initiatives of a handful of unconditional ones, fallen under its spell.










For more of Meunier’s work, go to his official website.

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

Dear Gaza, I’m sorry.

Hala Alyan is an award winning Palestinian-American poet who has lived in various cities in the Middle East and the United States. Her poems reflect her life – the life of ever-wandering, searching, making and remaking, longing and feasting on the food of memories. 

This is her poem Dear Gaza together with the photos by Jehad Nga, from his series Something in the way (Iraq, 2010.).  I just thought those photos would work perfectly with this poem. They are so subtle, but so powerful.

Dear Gaza,

I’m sorry


Dear Beirut,

I still love you like an arsonist

Dear Venice,

When that glassblower put his lips to

the glowing pipe

and I followed his breath into

an ornament

I understood grace


Dear New Orleans,

You gave me swelter and melody and

staircase after the longest winter of my life

You are where I forgave myself


Dear Boston,

I found the bird already dead

Crooked nest scattering

the pavement

and for days all I saw

was that constellation of bones


Dear Aya Nappa,

I cannot hear your name

without thinking war and ship

and two moons before coastline

Dear Tripoli,

It was whiplash

It was awful month

It was season of flinching

I won’t be coming back


Dear Rome,

When I think of my future self

She is walking your piazza

wearing something yellow


Dear Wichita,

I remember the summer songs on the radio

The car rides through the backbone

of your highways

I remember corn fields and pregnant sky

and always a thunderstorm


Dear Gaza,

I’m sorry

Dear Ramallah,

Thank you for the applause

Thank you for the seltzer water

the tableh player

the 3am tomato and bread

Thank you for the balcony


Dear Dubai,

I forgot a scarf

a silver ring

a tube of lipstick

and courage to make a mistake

I found the ring

The rest you may keep

Dear Aleppo,

Forgive me my litter

my uneaten rice

my abundance of light bulbs

Forgive me my bed soft and warm

even in January


Dear Baghdad,

Twenty six years and you still

make me cry

Dear Doha,

With you I am always dreaming of

starlit eels and honey water and swans

bathing in fluorescent sky

I miss those colors


Dear Istanbul,

Marry me

Dear Dallas,

I bought polished pebbles from

your mall kiosks

and pretended I was Aladdin

turning the soil over

and gasping


Dear Gaza,

I’m sorry

Dear Beirut,

You are cherry end of cigarette

You are pulse and tunnel

Freckles and siren

How can you fit so much?


Dear Norman, Oklahoma,

No one calls me Holly anymore

I blink slept woke wanting fairytale hair

for breakfast

loving boys with quarterback hands

and suburban smiles

Dear Las Vegas,

I’d rather not


Dear Brooklyn,

I came to you tumbled and spun

I came to you with 62 books

and the mistakes I’d gathered like splinters

You showed me where to sit

Dear Dublin,



Dear Damascus,

Nothing is as dangerous

as an unlit match

You taught us that

Dear Paris,

By beauty I meant that bridge

Those clouds and the legs my brother and I

dangled over the water


Dear Jerusalem,

Only you know what I am capable of

Dear London,

When I didn’t speak

it wasn’t because I was ungrateful

I was trying not to cry


Dear Gaza,

I’m sorry


Dear Manhattan,

I left a part of myself in that nightclub

like some paper crane with a beating heart

She is crumpled and sleeping

Do not wake her


Dear Bangkok,

I ate your fruit salted

Bare fingers peeling back skin

for shrines of gold and sugar

Dear Beirut,

I bruise as easily as you do

We are both anemic veins

and unbrushed hair and survivor’s


 konjkall photos © Jehad Nga

Dear Gaza,

When I come to you

it will be summer

Scorching sun and a music to the


You’ll ask me

‘what took so long’

and I’ll tell you where I’ve been.

For more of Aylan’s poetry, visit her official website, and for more Nga’s photography visit his.