art of resistance, Syria

The Theatre of War.

‘The Theatre of War‘ is an exhibition of photographs dedicated to the work of some of the newest members of Magnum: Peter Van Agtmael, Moises Saman, Jerome Sessini and limited edition posthumous prints by the late Tim Hetherington, whose Estate joined the agency after his death in Libya in April 2011.

The exhibition addresses the subject that Tim Hetherington was exploring in his photography, when he was tragically killed, which is the self-conscious theatricality of the combatants he documented as they played out their roles. This exhibition brings together a unique set of images which capture the protagonists of war and their stages – the territories over which these recent conflicts have raged: Liberia, Egypt, Syria and Libya.

The following photos are from Syria, and I am posting them here together with the verses of a great Syrian poet, Nizar Qabbani.

LON160682© Moises Saman/ Magnum Photos

أدمنت احزاني
فصرت اخاف ان لا احزنا
I got addicted to my sorrows,
Until I have gotten scared of not being sorrowed.

NYC133630© Moises Saman/ Magnum Photos

وطعنت آلافا من المرات
حتى صار يوجعني بان لا اطعنا
And I was stabbed thousands of times,
Until it felt painful not to be stabbed.

PAR433458© Jerome Sessini/ Magnum Photos

ولعنت في كل اللغات
حتى صار يقلقني بان لا العنا
And I was cursed in all the languages,
Until I started being nervous of not being cursed.

PAR433521© Jerome Sessini/ Magnum Photos

ولقد تشابهت كل البلاد
فلا ارى نفسي هناك، ولا ارى نفسي هنا
And all the countries seemed the same,
That I don’t see myself there, And I don’t see myself here.

For more on The Theatre of War exhibition, go to Magnum Photos.

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art of resistance, Iraq

Nina Simone and war(s) in Iraq.

Nina Simone was much more than a singer and her voice was much more than a voice – she was an activist, and her message went beyond music. She was a rebel with cause and her story remains inspirational. When she was 12,  during her first performance, her parents, who had taken seats in the front row, were forced to move to the back of the hall to make way for white people. Simone said she refused to play until her parents were moved back to the front.

Nina Simone©Getty Images

“I had spent many years pursuing excellence, because that is what classical music is all about… Now it was dedicated to freedom, and that was far more important.”

Nina Simone

She is one of those musicians I can always listen to. I’ve been listening to her music last couple of days too, mixed with news from Iraq. And – it’s always fascinating how different struggles of the world can seem so alike – because they’re struggles, beacuse there is pain, because there’s always big fish and small fish. And so it was with Nina Simone and Iraq – so here’s a combination of Simone’s songs and fresh Iraq photos, by Moises Saman, Magnum’s photographer.

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Hound dogs on my trail
School children sitting in jail
Black cat cross my path
I think every day’s gonna be my last

Lord have mercy on this land of mine
We all gonna get it in due time
I don’t belong here
I don’t belong there
I’ve even stopped believing in prayer

Simone, Mississippi Godam

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All I want is equality
for my sister my brother my people and me

Yes you lied to me all these years
You told me to wash and clean my ears
And talk real fine just like a lady
And you’d stop calling me Sister Sadie

Oh but this whole country is full of lies
You’re all gonna die and die like flies

Simone, Mississippi Goddam

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But that’s just the trouble
“do it slow”
Desegregation
“do it slow”
Mass participation
“do it slow”
Reunification
“do it slow”
Do things gradually
“do it slow”
But bring more tragedy
“do it slow”
Why don’t you see it
Why don’t you feel it
I don’t know
I don’t know

Simone, Mississippi Goddam

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There is a beautiful land
Where all your dreams come true;
It’s all tied up in a rainbow,
All shiny and new;
But it’s not easy to find
No matter what you do.

Simone, Beautiful land

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I said nobody knows you
When you’re down and out
In your pocket, you ain’t got one penny
And your friends, you didn’t have any

Simone, Nobody knows you when you’re down and out

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Sit there and count the raindrops
Falling on you
It’s time you knew
All you can ever count on
Are the raindrops
That fall on little girl blue

Simone, Little girl blue

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You looked for work and money
And you walked a rugged mile
You looked for work and money
And you walked a rugged mile
Your children are so hungry
That they don’t know how to smile

Your baby’s eyes look crazy
They’re a-tuggin’ at your sleeve
Your baby’s eyes look crazy
They’re a-tuggin’ at your sleeve
You walk the floor and wonder why
With every breath you breathe

Simone, The ballad of Hollis Brown

NYC149889

Breaking rocks out here on the chain gang
Breaking rocks and serving my time
Breaking rocks out here on the chain gang
Because they done convicted me of crime
Hold it steady right there while I hit it
Well reckon that ought to get it
Been
Working and working
But I still got so terribly far to go

Simone, Chain Gang

NYC149890all photos ©Moises Saman/Magnum

For more on Saman’s photos from Iraq and his work in general, go to his Magnum profile.

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