art of resistance, Palestine

Playlist: Atab by Cheb Abid.

110424_pages-from-beach_proof_2/Alexandria, 1959. Photo via Al-Mustarib/

I’ve heard this song, Atab, and it made me think of summer, sun, watermelons and evening walks and random dancing after having couple of drinks (too many).

It was really hard to find out something about the artist, Cheb Abid, but internet is a vast space always offering treasures for those willing to search.

And so I found out that Abid is a Palestinian artist, from the town of Hourah in Negev. His friends nicknamed him Il Cheb (The Young) because of his music’s North African flavor.

He’s also a member of the Union for Palestinian Artists in Ramallah. A singer, composer and an entertainer, he’s a part of an artistic group that protests through art, rejecting oppression, raising their voices for justice and human rights.

Even through love songs, I seek a reaction between the lyrics and the music. I respect the listener and try to present to him something worthwhile“, Abid says.

Enjoy his song Atab (with lyrics like “she winks at me and her eyelashes stop my heart”), and check out some of the other songs – if you are willing to search for more, the reward will be a truly pleasant one.

Previous Playlist:

Fadimoutou Wallet Inamoud

Khebez Dawle

Checkpoint 303 – The Iqrit Files

Mashrou’ Leila – Straight from Beirut

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Afghanistan, art of resistance

Souvid Datta: Contemporary Kabul.

I love photography. Sometimes it speaks in a language louder and more comprehensive than words do. When it comes to Afghanistan, I always try to show diverse photo projects and essays. From Massimo Berruti’s black and white photographs which show the daily distress, destroyed lives and broken country to Riverboom’s interesting twists in their Baechtold’s Best – Afghanistan series.

Today, it’s Souvid Datta and his project Contemporary Kabul. I stumbled upon his work while reading an article in The Guardian and I am really happy about this little discovery. About his Contemporary Kabul project, Datta states:

Common, contemporary perceptions of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, is based on three decades of war coverage. From the Soviet and Mujahideen battles, to Taliban rule, US invasion and subsequent security struggles, the stories and images most internationally pervasive are those coloured in conflict, bloodshed and tribulation.

Today, the Kabul that exists is one of many faces. One where bombed out buildings stand aside fresh internet cafés. Where more children and girls are attending school that ever before. Where shops and streets are populated by musicians, artists, athletes and activists who are trying to live connected to 21st century lives in spite of the massive infrastructure problems and the ever-present military attacks. Against the backdrop of Afghanistan’s first and messy democratic transfer of power as well as the Taliban’s recent tide of violence, this series explores contemporary trends in youth culture, arts and daily life. It is an ongoing, unfinished project.”

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The everyday life in Kabul is a life in a twilight zone between war and peace, as many of the different photo essays I wrote about show. This one lets a little more sunshine in.

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I think it is visible that a lot of time and dedication went into this photo project. This isn’t one of those cases where a photographer picks a ‘hot spot’, snaps hundreds of photos in couple of days and then leaves. Datta took his time to discover the culture of Afghanistan and meet its people.

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It’s refreshing to see such a detailed and in-depth look at Kabul at this moment in time. I think more of this kind of work – with genuine interest and emphaty – is needed in the photo-journalism community.

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Enjoy these photos but also remember war is still out there – and just tomorrow one of these faces could never again smile, watch a film, fly a kite, run, play, study, walk, work or  breathe.

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Undeserving and senseless death is nothing new in Afghanistan. Luckily, strength and resistance are also ever-present.

//all photos © Souvid Datta//

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For more on Datta’s work, visit his official website.

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