I did a lot of work on my blog in 2014, and I am really happy and excited about writing even more and making it better with time. I hope I will find time and manage to do that. So, 2015 has just arrived and to commemorate last year in a small, symbolic way, I decided to post Top 5 Interviews I did last year, published here, on Middle East Revised. Why interviews? Because I really enjoy doing them, and I always try to prepare myself and get to really know the people I am interviewing (and their work, of course), in hope of providing a good and fresh dialogue, something new – food for thought, a spark of enlightenment! So – here is the list, enjoy reading!
✩ Matthew Hoh: Veterans, America’s Wars & A Long Way To Go.
Matthew Hoh is a former State Department official who resigned from his post in Afghanistan in 2009. He did so in protest over US strategic policy and goals in Afghanistan. Prior to his assignment in Afghanistan, Hoh served in Iraq; first in 2004 and 2005 in Salah ad Din Province with a State Department reconstruction and governance team and then in 2006 and 2007 in Anbar Province as a Marine Corps company commander. He often writes about the torments he went through during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and particularly – about the despair he faced upon his return to USA, facing an everyday life as a veteran. I think his voice is truly important in times when, as Ingeborg Bachmann wrote: “War is no longer declared, only continued. The monstrous has become everyday.” Read more.
✩ DAM (Palestine): When The Levee Breaks.
/photo via DAM/
This is an interview I did with DAM’s Suhell Nafar, and it was published on Reorient Magazine. Heralded by Le Monde as ‘the spokesmen of a new generation’, the members of DAM – the first [known] Palestinian hip-hop crew and among the first musicians to rap in Arabic – began working together in the late 90s. Struck by the uncanny resemblance of the streets in a Tupac video to those of their own neighbourhood in Lod, brothers Tamer and Suhell Nafar, along with Mahmoud Jreri were inspired to tell their stories through song. They’ve come a long way since the 90s, and part of their tale has been documented in the acclaimed film, Slingshot Hip Hop, directed by Jackie Reem Salloum. As well, a year ago, they released the long-awaited album, Dabke on the Moon, to popular acclaim. Read more.
✩ Tamara Abdul Hadi: A Different Middle East.
Tamara Abdul Hadi is an Iraqi – Canadian photojournalist. Her projects are strong and on point, dealing with social injustice and deconstructing stereotypes. Through her work one can be constantly reminded how nothing is black and white, nothing is sealed in time and space – there’s a lot of grey areas, but also a lot of colour to our world, and everything around us is fluid, ever changing. It is important to be reminded of that, especially when talking about the Middle East, the area often approached by oversimplification, constantly reduced to one (dark) image. Read more.
✩ Tamara Erde: On History, Memory & Living Near The Livings.
/Tamara Erde in Cell in a Human Scale/
Tamara Erde is a French-Israeli filmmaker who creates in various mediums, from documentary and fiction films, to performances and video installations. Erde is a brave artistic soul, often taking from her most personal places and transforming it into her art. In her work, she often deals with political and social issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That is what hits home. Read more.
✩ From The Sky: The Story Of Drones & Resistance.
/image via From The Sky facebook page/
From The Sky (2014) is a short film about a humble father (Hakeem) and his son (Abbas) who live in a region frequently targeted by drone strikes. Drawing inspiration from the films of Werner Herzog and Peter Weir, the film tells a minimalist story in an atmosphere that balances eerie tension with ethereal cues. While the story is minimalistic, the questions it opens are of great dimensions, not just concerning the issues of US drone policy, but of an eternal dillema of resistance and what it can turn (a person) into. The director of the film is Ian Ebright (the film is also written by Ebright) and I’ve been lucky enough to ask him some questions about the film and the idea behind it. Read more.
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P.S. Happy New Year & All The Best to All of You!