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April 05 2013

‘Fi Shi Ghalat': Online Campaign to Promote Migrant Workers Rights Launched

Seven NGOs in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Affairs have recently launched the “Fi Chi Ghalat” (Something is Wrong) campaign, denouncing Lebanon's controversial Kafala (sponsorship) System.

The way the system works is quite simple. All ‘unskilled laborers’ (domestic workers) must have an in-country sponsor responsible for both her or his visa and legal status. That sponsor is usually their employer as well. The system which, according to International Labor Organization senior Ms. Simel Esim, “creates total vulnerability and opens the door wide to exploitation” due to its dimension of complete dependency has created a large number of victims over the years.

Indeed, Nadim Houry, Senior Researcher for Human Rights Watch (HRW) in Lebanon, was quoted as saying:

The two leading causes of death for migrants is suicide [and] dying while trying to escape from employers.

The situation remains grim in Lebanon. According to statistics compiled by AltCity and Migrant Workers Task Force, 99 per cent of migrant workers are denied freedom of movement; 65% work more than 11 hours per day; 52% are called derogatory terms such as Hmara (donkey); 34% are not given time off; 31% are not allowed to leave the house; 14% are physically abused; and 7% are sexually abused.

This campaign comes in addition to KAFA’s [Enough Violence and Exploitation] 24/7 helpline for all migrant workers who are victims of physical and sexual abuse (76090910), the Anti-Racism Movement’s campaign against racism in Lebanese beaches and the ‘Ethiopian Suicides‘ blog’s constant reporting of cases of abuse.

So what are they asking for? has the answer:

These organizations call for the replacement of the sponsorship system with a framework that guarantees:

the right to be paid on time
the right to quit job
the right to keep her passport and belongings
the right to a system that protects her well-being, humanity and labor right
the right to a set hours of rest, including a day off outside the house

The campaign is aimed at both the population and authorities [ar]:

لازم يتغير القانون وعقلية العالم وهيدا ببلش من الشخص وبعدين الحكومة. لازم نغير نظام الكفالة!

The law and the mentality have to change and that starts with the individual and then the government, we must change the Kafala System!

And as we were reminded on the campaign's Facebook page by a Nepali migrant worker, things have to change.

I did not even get enough food. sometimes I only had bread and tea. I worked all day, with only bread and tea. One day, I asked for my full salary and told madam not to send me to wok at the houses of her friends and relatives, and I said that, ” if you don't give me my salary I will not work at all”. After saying this, I was beaten right away. She even used shoes to beat me. My right hand was broken and there were bruises all over my body. I was only taken to hospital 10 days later. But Madam told me that if I was asked by a doctor or anyone else about what happened to me, I should not tell them that I was beaten. She told me to say that, “It happened because I fell down while I was working”

Amrita from Nepal

February 24 2013

"History and Identity in the Late Antique Near East", edited by Philip Wood

Egypte actus's curator insight, Today, 8:23 AM


History and Identity in the Late Antique Near East gathers together the work of distinguished historians and early career scholars with a broad range of expertise to investigate the significance of newly emerged, or recently resurrected, ethnic identities on the borders of the eastern Mediterranean world. It focuses on the "long late antiquity" from the eve of the Arab conquest of the Roman East to the formation of the Abbasid caliphate. The first half of the book offers papers on the Christian Orient on the cusp of the Islamic invasions. These papers discuss how Christians negotiated the end of Roman power, whether in the selective use of the patristic past to create confessional divisions or the emphasis of the shared philosophical legacy of the Greco-Roman world. The second half of the book considers Muslim attempts to negotiate the pasts of the conquered lands of the Near East, where the Christian histories of Hira or Egypt were used to create distinctive regional identities for Arab settlers. Like the first half, this section investigates the redeployment of a shared history, this time the historical imagination of the Qu'ran and the era of the first caliphs. All the papers in the volume bring together studies of the invention of the past across traditional divides between disciplines, placing the re-assessment of the past as a central feature of the long late antiquity. As a whole, History and Identity in the Late Antique Near East represents a distinctive contribution to recent writing on late antiquity, due to its cultural breadth, its interdisciplinary focus, and its novel definition of late antiquity itself.

Oxford University Press, USA, April 1, 2013, 272 pages





Contents via ;


Sophronius of Jerusalem and the end of roman history / Phil Booth -- Identity, philosophy, and the problem of Armenian history in the sixth century / Tara Andrews -- The chronicle of Seert and Roman ecclesiastical history in the Sasanian world / Philip Wood -- Why were the Syrians interested in Greek philosophy? / Dan King -- You are what you read: Qenneshre and the Miaphysite church in the seventh century / Jack Tannous -- The prophet's city before the prophet: Ibn Zabala (d. after 199/814) on pre-Islamic Medina / Harry Munt -- Topoi and topography in the histories of al-?ira / Adam Talib -- "The crinkly haired people of the black earth"; examining Egyptian identities in Ibn 'abd al-?akam's futu? / Hussein Omar -- Forgetting Ctesiphon: Iran's pre-Islamic past, ca. 800-1100 / Sarah Savant -- Legal knowledge and local practices under the early Abbasids / Mathiew Tillier.


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February 15 2013

L'Egypte inonde des tunnels conduisant à Gaza

(Reuters, via Le Nouvel Observateur) - Les forces armées égyptiennes ont inondé plusieurs tunnels de contrebande rejoignant la bande de Gaza sous contrôle palestinien, dans le but de les fermer, ont déclaré les autorités égyptiennes et palestiniennes.

Le réseau de tunnels est essentiel à la vie de Gaza, permettant l'importation d'environ 30% de tous les biens atteignant la bande de territoire enclavée et soumise à un blocus israélien depuis plus de sept ans.

Des reporters de Reuters ont vu qu'un tunnel servant à faire entrer sur le territoire du gravier et du ciment a subitement été rempli d'eau dimanche, obligeant les travailleurs à l'évacuer à la hâte.

Selon les habitants, deux autres tunnels auraient été inondés de la même manière, par de l'eau délibérément pompée par l'Egypte.


Plus :

// oAnth: une gallerie des photos commentées (via Égypte actualités) -;

Reposted from02mysoup-aa 02mysoup-aa

April 03 2012


Israel bricht Beziehungen zum UNO-Menschenrechtsrat ab | 2012-03-26

Das Gremium der UNO in Genf hat beschlossen, die Auswirkungen der israelischen Siedlungspolitik zu untersuchen. Die Regierung in Jerusalem reagiert mit einem Einreiseverbot.

Reposted fromverschwoerer verschwoerer viakrekk krekk

A bullet killed Ahmed Ismael, but not his videos

When people talk about legendary freedom fighters, I always recall citizen journalists. Those young men and women who post videos and updates online for the rest of the world are real heroes. It has never been easy to be in the middle of police crackdown and take video and photo shoots. Those anonymous soldiers are my legendary heroes.

Ahmed Ismael, 22 years, is one of those heros.

On March 31 Ahmed was shot on his lower abdomen. Hours later, he was announced dead. Bahraini Ministry of Interior announced him dead as a result of a single bullet wound.
Although my article is written after several days after the incident, but I had a good reason to wait. I was waiting for the Bahraini government to have other announcements regarding the death of Ahmed. Until the time this article was written, Ahmed’s family refused to sign papers to receive his body. Official documents do not mention the real cause behind Ahmed's death.

Why Ahmed was shot?
According to eyewitnesses, Ahmed was holding his camera when he was shot. The killer was in a civil car. This makes me certain that Ahmed has been targeted. Ahmed was not an ordinary protestor. He was an incredible citizen journalist and videographer.
Although YouTube is a free website that enables users to upload videos, Ahmed paid his life as a price for uploading videos of security forces violations and Bahraini peaceful protestors’ bravery.
The live bullet was successful in taking away the life of Ahmed, but the brutal Bahraini regime will never be successful in shutting down Ahmed’s YouTube channel. I want to share with you some of the videos he uploaded:

Injured eyewitness in Salmaniya hospital

Types of the tear gas canisters used in Salmabad village

Bahraini security forces entering Salmabad village

Ahmed never surrendered until the last breathe. He was holding his bloodied camera before his death. His tragic loss is not only a loss to his family, but is a loss to the world. We lost a young man who was committed to convey the truth.

I am still waiting for the government’s response to my question: who killed Ahmed? This might take really long time or never happen. Is the government of Bahrain targeting citizen journalists?

Ahmed's bloodied camera

March 29 2012

March 05 2012

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Occupy AIPAC Opposes War and Sanctions Against Iran

130 organizations call for diplomacy with Iran and a US Middle East policy not based on unequivocal support for Israel

Time: 08:34 More in News & Politics
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September 07 2011


September 04 2011

IRAN: La centrale nucléaire de Bouchehr connectée au réseau électrique

La centrale iranienne nucléaire de Bouchehr d'une capacité de 1 000 mégawatts a été connectée au réseau national électrique, samedi 3 septembre 2011. Elle ne produit pour l'instant que 60 mégawatts à titre de test, mais doit progressivement monter en puissance pour atteindre 400 mégawatts le 12 septembre. A cette occasion une cérémonie officielle est prévue.
Vue générale du deuxième réacteur nucléaire de Bouchehr, en construction, le 21 août 2010
REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi
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August 26 2011

Play fullscreen
Egyptian Revolution Affects Israeli-Gaza Policy
Phyllis Bennis: Israel holds back from all out attack on Gaza concerned about reaction of Egyptian public opinion

August 25 2011

Gaddafi compound reveals dictator's taste for bling - and Condoleezza Rice

Bab al-Aziziya ruled by 'bigger, better and with more gold on' interior design principle beloved of other deposed despots

Libyan rebels raid Gaddafi family mansions – in pictures

There was the gilded bronze statue, of course, the golden pistols and a peacock-feather flyswat topped with a gold elephant. But among all the grotesque finery seized by jubilant rebels from Muammar Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound since his ignominious flight, one item emerged yesterday that may give a more revealing insight into the dictator's thinking than all his bling.

A group of rebels accompanied by an Associated Press photographer found an album full of pictures of the former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. Here she is in a smart black suit and gold necklace, addressing an unidentified gathering, here speaking from a podium, perhaps at the UN. Here consulting with an unnamed world leader or diplomat.

The exact location in which it was found is unclear, but so exuberantly has Gaddafi spoken in the past of his fondness for Rice that it seems likely the album came from his personal collection. "I support my darling black African woman," he told al-Jazeera in 2007.

"I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders … Leezza, Leezza, Leezza … I love her very much. I admire her and I'm proud of her because she's a black woman of African origin."

The Rice album aside, those seeking an insight from the items looted from Gaddafi's compound into the dictator's state of mind may be struck by a faint sense of deja vu. Aside from their megalomania, fondness for brutality and (frequently) ignominious ends, dictators unwaveringly seem to share a taste in possessions and interior decor that might best be described as exuberant.

Saddam Hussein famously gold-plated his taps; he did the same to his lavatory brushes. US soldiers entering his palace in Basra in 2003 found huge Moorish screens carved from teak, enormous columns clad in marble with vaulted ceilings and stained-glass windows seemingly everywhere.

Romania's Nicolae Ceausescu demolished much of historic Bucharest to construct a 1,100-room presidential palace of such scale that it is now said to be the world's second largest building; he did not survive to see it completed.

Among the many luxurious residences of Mobutu Sese Seko, Congo's president for 32 years until his death in 1997, was a Chinese-style palace at Gbadolite (he also had a "private" and a "presidential" palace in the same town, which earned it the nickname "the Versailles of the jungle") surrounded by 40ft railings topped in gold.

Gaddafi, for his part, erected the requisite statues in his own image, and sported heavy golden necklaces and the braided military cap gleefully looted by a rebel fighter earlier this week. A gold plated tea trolley was found. In the home of his daughter Aisha, now also fled, rebels discovered – in an enormous marble hall at the entry to her palace – a large gold chaise in the shape of a mermaid with Aisha's own face.

"You just have to think what it takes to be a dictator," notes the style commentator Peter York, who, as author of Dictator's Homes, literally wrote the book on the subject of despot decor. "You have fought your way there. Even if you did have capital-G "Good" taste, it wouldn't work with your people, many of whom are not very literate. The point is to impress and intimidate to the max. To say, 'I'm fantastically important and powerful." The home of a dictator is, he notes, "a world entirely without irony".

York has gone so far as to formulate a number of key principles which, he says, invariably inform how a dictator will deck out his humble palace. They include building big – "everything is wildly, fantastically oversized" – installing gold, glass and images of oneself everywhere, and emulating everywhere a particular style of ancien regime French grandeur that is wholly fake. "They like old-style because it looks serious but they don't like actual antiques because they're old."

Key principles include "Ferrero Rocher twinkly" and "testosteronic symbolism" – the eagles, lions, elephants and other aggressive animals dictators like to employ as symbols of the imperial, yet slightly savage, power.

Karen Pine, professor of psychology at the university of Hertfordshire and a specialist in consumerist culture, said Gaddafi's interior design principle – "bigger, better, with more gold on" – has "nothing to do with taste or style"; its only purpose being to reinforce to others, and himself, his elevated position. As she notes, "it can't be very relaxing" living in such a space.

But just as dictators create themselves, very literally, as icons – striving for ubiquity in their image, always expressed in heroic or godlike terms – so is their fall a very literal one, says Pine. "The fallen idol is what we are literally seeing. We talk of 'toppling' dictators, just as we do their golden statues." Gaddafi's image has been stripped from walls and lampposts in Tripoli; soon his finery and golden weapons will have vanished too. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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American Hikers Convicted of Spying Are Pawns in Iranian-US Conflict
Hamid Dabashi: Bauer and Fattal convicted of spying also caught in the middle of internal Iranian power struggle

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August 05 2011

Bahrian: Shouting in the dark excerpt

Al Jazeera examines how attacks on Bahrainis who participated in pro-democracy demonstrations moved from television to Facebook, with sites like 'Together to unmask the Shia traitors' calling on Bahrainis to identify their countrymen for arrest.
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July 13 2011

Qatar becomes world's biggest buyer of contemporary art

Massive spending spree undertaken by royal family ahead of 2022 World Cup football tournament

The tiny emirate of Qatar has become the world's biggest art buyer after a massive spending spree by the royal family to enhance its cultural portfolio before the 2022 World Cup. Research by the Art Newspaper has revealed that Qatar has been responsible for the bulk of contemporary and modern art purchases over the past six years, including work by Andy Warhol and Mark Rothko.

Last month the chairman of Christie's, Edward Dolman, resigned from the auction house to become an adviser to Qatar's museum authority. He will handle acquisitions for new museums including the National Museum of Qatar, designed by Jean Nouvel, due to open in 2014. "Qatar is looking to deliver a series of exciting cultural projects in time for the World Cup in 2022," Dolman told the Art Newspaper.

The Arab Museum of Modern Art opened in Doha last year, two years after the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by IM Pei, was inaugurated. Nouvel's National Museum of Qatar, a futuristic complex of buildings inspired by a desert rose, will be the most prestigious project of all. With money to spend, the Qatari royal family is investing heavily in contemporary western art to attract cultural tourists.

The emirate was named cultural destination of the year two years ago by the New York Times. It has spent almost $430m (£267m) on cultural imports from the US alone in the past six years.

A major collector is Sheikha al-Mayassa Bint Hamad Al Thani, daughter of the emir, who chairs the museums authority. In 2007 she bought Rothko's White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose) for an estimated $70m. The royal family has also purchased work by Francis Bacon and Damien Hirst's Lullaby Spring (for £9.7m).

Another royal, Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed bin Ali al-Thani, has been named by Artnews as one of the world's top 200 art collectors. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

July 06 2011

An Arab cultural spring – in pictures

Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture runs in London until 24 July. It will feature about 100 artists in 30 venues throughout the city

June 28 2011

Rachel Maxwell-Hyslop obituary

Foremost scholar of western Asiatic art and archaeology

Rachel Maxwell-Hyslop, who has died aged 97, was one of the foremost scholars of western Asiatic art and archaeology of her time. Her best-known work is Western Asiatic Jewellery: c.3000-612 BC, a bold, erudite attempt to gather together in a single volume everything important that was known on the subject. Still the standard reference work, it establishes what is characteristic about the jewellery of the near Middle East, drawing on Rachel's encyclopedic knowledge of the region's material culture, and relates it to the jewellery of neighbouring Egypt and Greece. She also wrote extensively on the weaponry and agricultural tools of bronze-age western Asia.

Born in London, she was the daughter of Sir Charles Clay and his wife, Violet, daughter of a Liberal attorney general. Her father was a noted antiquarian and librarian at the House of Lords. After going to Downe House school, Berkshire, Rachel studied French at the Sorbonne in Paris, and then gained a postgraduate diploma in the archaeology of western Asia at the Institute of Archaeology, London University. In 1938 she married Bill Maxwell-Hyslop (cousin of Sir Robin, the Conservative MP for Tiverton), with whom she had three children, Andrew, Gillian and Hilary.

Her earliest excavations included cleaning Roman pavements at Verulamium, in modern St Albans, Hertfordshire, and digging pits at the Maiden Castle site, near Dorchester, with Mortimer Wheeler, at the start of his three years of excavations there, in 1934. Those experiences left her wanting to work outside Europe, so when Wheeler founded the Institute of Archaeology that year, she was one of its first three students, even before it had found a home at St John's Lodge in Regent's Park, London.

She was impressed by the expectations of Sidney Smith, who pioneered the new course in Mesopotamian studies: "He constantly emphasised the importance of assessing every kind of evidence – historical, archaeological, architectural, pottery, metalwork, etc – and of linking it to economic, religious, mythological and legal texts, while also considering technical, scientific problems." Literature, language and archaeology were thus linked "to provide evidence not only of material culture, but of people's everyday lives".

In 1946, she joined the staff of the institute. The following year Max Mallowan arrived as professor of western Asiatic archaeology, a new post funded by his wife, the detective novelist Agatha Christie. Rachel became an assistant lecturer, and then lecturer (1952-66). She found working with Mallowan stimulating: in Easter terms in the 1950s she looked after the administration of his excavation at Nimrud, in Iraq, and he sent her to study how materials were analysed.

From 1937 to 1990 she also researched, travelled or excavated in Cyprus, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Syria and Iran. In 1989, she returned to Nimrud with Barbara Parker, another of the three students from 1934, who had married Mallowan after Christie's death.

Like her father, Rachel was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, in 1950, and also a fellow of the British Academy, in 1991. She continued to work in her later years, standing down as president of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq only on her 93rd birthday.

She enjoyed playing the piano, painting and gardening at her house at Little Tew, Oxfordshire. In later life, she gave up Turkish cigarettes in favour of occasionally smoking lavender from her garden in a pipe, all the while following her mother's family in remaining a staunch supporter of Liberal politics.

Bill died in 1993. Rachel is survived by her children and three grandchildren. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

June 17 2011

The shot that nearly killed me

Attacked by a Haitian mob, kidnapped by Gaddafi's troops, shot in Afghanistan… Who'd be a war photographer?

In pictures: the life of a war photographer (contains some graphic images)

Adam Ferguson, Afghanistan, 2009

I was one of the first on the scene. The Afghan security forces normally shut down a suicide bombing like this pretty quickly. I was able to get to the epicentre of the explosion. It was carnage, there were bodies, flames were coming out of the buildings. I remember feeling very scared because there was still popping and hissing and small explosions, and the building was collapsing. It was still very fresh and there was a risk of another bomb. It was one of those situations where you have to put fear aside and focus on the job at hand: to watch the situation and document it.

This woman was escorted out of the building and round this devastated street corner. It epitomised the whole mood – this older woman caught in the middle of this ridiculous, tragic event. I wish I could have found out how her life unravelled, but as soon as the scene was locked down, I ran back to the office to file.

As a photographer, you feel helpless. Around you are medics, security personnel, people doing good work. It can be agonisingly painful to think that all you're doing is taking pictures.

When I won a World Press award for this photograph, I felt sad. People were congratulating me and there was a celebration over this intense tragedy that I had captured. I reconciled it by deciding that more people see a story when a photographer's work is decorated.

Alvaro Ybarra Zavala, Congo, November 2008

The situation was very tense – people were drunk and aggressive. I was with two other photographers most of the time, but at this moment I went back to the road alone. I saw three soldiers smoking, playing with their guns, and felt safe – I don't know why. Then I saw a man with a knife in his mouth, coming out of the bush – he was holding up a hand like a trophy. The soldiers started laughing and firing in the air. I didn't think about it and began shooting. He walked directly at me. People surrounded us, celebrating. I thought, "Don't do anything crazy, just act like you're part of this crazy party."

When I got to the hotel, I showed the other photographers. They said, "Do you realise you could have been killed?" Only then did it hit me how dangerous it had been. Years after I took this picture, every time I see it I feel scared again.

I really hate this shot. It's the worst face of humankind. I always ask myself, "Why do I do this job?' And the answer is: I want to show the best and worst face of humankind. Every time you go to a conflict, you see the worst. We need to see what we do to be able to show future generations the mistakes we make. The guy with the knife in his mouth is a human being like the rest of us. What's important is that we show what human beings are capable of. The day I don't do that with my photography is the day I'll give up and open a restaurant.

Lynsey Addario, Libya, March 2011

I had been in Libya for just over two weeks, shooting the insurgency. Pictures like this, of inexperienced rebels being fired on by machine guns and mortars. On 15 March, myself and three other journalists were captured by Gaddafi's troops. They made us lie in the dirt, put guns to us. We were pleading for our lives. They started groping me very aggressively, touching my breasts and butt. Then we were tied up, blindfolded and moved from place to place for six days.

The first three days were very violent – I was punched in the face several times, groped nonstop. At that point, it was hard to justify why I put myself in that situation. When our captors left us alone, we spoke about what we'd do if we got out. I said I'd probably have to get pregnant because I've put my husband through a lot – I was kidnapped in Fallujah in 2004, and I was in a car that flipped just months before our wedding. Some of us contemplated whether we wanted to continue covering conflicts; whether it was worth the hardships we put our families through.

When we got out, I felt surprisingly OK. We'd survived – when you survive, this job is always worth the risk. Then a few weeks later Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed in Misrata, which sent me into a tailspin. This job takes a lot of skill, but a lot of it is luck. When friends die, you wonder if it's worth the price.

João Silva, Afghanistan, October 2010

I'd been in Afghanistan for a month when I stepped on the landmine. I was the third man in line, and as I put my foot down, I heard a metallic click and I was thrown in the air. I knew exactly what had happened. As the soldiers dragged me away from the kill zone, I took these pictures. When people around me have been hurt or killed, I've recorded it. I had to keep working. The soldiers were yelling for the medics. I knew my legs had gone, so I called my wife on the satellite phone and told her not to worry. The pain came later, back in intensive care, when infections set in and they nearly lost me a couple of times.

I've spent enough time out there for my number to come up. I was one of the few who kept going back to Iraq. People think you do this to chase adrenaline. The reality is hard work and a lot of time alone. Firefights can be exciting, I'm not going to lie, but photographing the aftermath of a bomb, when there's a dead child and the mother wailing over the corpse, isn't fun. I'm intruding on the most intimate moments, but I force myself to do it because the world has to see those images. Politicians need to know what it looks like when you send young boys to war. If it's humanly possible, if the prosthetics allow me, I'll go back to conflict zones. I wish I was in Libya at the moment, without a shadow of a doubt.

Tom Stoddart, Sarajevo, 1992

I'm not really interested in military bang-bang pictures; I'm interested in documenting people living through war. Sniper Alley, where this was taken, paralysed Sarajevo. To get from one side to the other, the residents had to pass through this intersection and Serbian snipers would take shots at them. Bullets pinged past the entire time. Some people would sprint as fast as they could; others would brazenly walk, as if they were giving two fingers. Many were killed. Anyone who says they aren't frightened during war is either lying or a fool. It's about finding a way of dealing with the fear – you have to be very calm. You're not there to get your rocks off; you're there because you feel your pictures can make a difference. Sarajevo was the most dangerous place I have worked on a long-term basis. But I could leave. The occupants of Sarajevo couldn't. That was one of the strange things about covering it – it was so close to London. You could be back at Heathrow in a couple of hours. People would pass carrying skis, or off to the Caribbean, and you'd feel like screaming, "Why don't you understand?" You become a terrible dinner guest.

Greg Marinovich, Soweto, 1990

I was deep in Soweto when I saw a man being attacked by ANC combatants. The month before, I'd seen a guy beaten to death – my first experience of real violence – and hadn't shaken the feeling of guilt that I had done nothing to stop it. "No pictures," someone yelled. I told them I'd stop shooting if they stopped killing him. They didn't. As the man was set on fire, he began to run. I was framing my next shot when a bare-chested man came into view and swung a machete into his blazing skull. I tried not to smell the burning flesh and shot a few more pictures, but I was losing it and aware that the crowd could turn on me at any time. The victim was moaning in a low, dreadful voice as I left. I got in my car and, once I turned the corner, began to scream. You're not just a journalist or a human being, you're a mixture of both, and to try to separate the two is complicated. I've often felt guilty about my pictures. I worked in South Africa for years and was shot three times. The fourth and final injury, in Afghanistan in 1999, wasn't the worst, but I decided enough was enough. I was looking to settle. Nineteen months later, I met my wife.

Gary Knight, Iraq, April 2003

This was at the start of the invasion. We were at the Diyala Bridge, which had to be taken by the marines so they could get into Baghdad. They were the lead battalion, the ones who went on to pull down the statue of Saddam. The opposition were shelling us. It was terrifying – both the actual shelling, and the anticipation of it. It comes in waves so you can see it moving in your direction. One had exploded in the tank. If it had landed on top or a couple of feet over, I would have died. Your instinct is to bury yourself, but you can't. You're there to do a job. The point is to get the news out. If you keep moving, you can manage the fear. And my stress is nothing compared with civilians and soldiers. I remind myself of that all the time. I don't have to be there – they don't have the choice.

My wife and children were very much on my mind because the danger was so extreme. You cannot separate the rest of your life and I've tried not to control how much I think about them. Sometimes they have been constantly in my head, sometimes I have not thought about them at all.

Shaul Schwarz, Haiti, February 2004

Port au Prince was falling. It was riotous, with widespread looting. A group of us had gone to the port. The thugs with guns didn't want us there. We snapped from the waist, trying not to make it obvious. We decided to go over the wall. One thug offered me "protection". As we jumped the wall, I saw this boy, and was like, "This is what it's come to." It was my first digital assignment and I was amazed to be able to look at my shots. I did for a second; when I looked up, everyone had run off. It was just me and the thug. It was like a dog that smells fear. He began pushing and threatening me. Then I was surrounded. One of them hit me. I had a few dollar bills in my trousers, and put my hand there. They began tearing at me, fighting over the bills. I waited 30 seconds, started to walk away, then ran and scaled the fence. On the other side, I tried to breathe.

I began shooting one guy a metre away. He screamed and pulled a shotgun. I saw the barrel, then he shot the man next to me – I had blood on me, brains. I was crying, shaking. I ran to the car horrified; I was a mess. I love Haiti, but every time I pass the port, I carry some of that fear.

Eric Bouvet, Chechnya, May 1995

It was unbearable. Two crazy weeks and the most unbelievable story I ever did. I was with a Russian special commando. They were torturing, killing and raping. I saw them do it, and I couldn't stop them. Someone of a normal constitution can't accept that. I was working on the edge.

This is the morning after a night that left four men dead and 10 wounded. It was heavy fighting, and I was very afraid. I discovered a dead Chechen four metres from me when I got up in the night. You see movies, you read books, you can imagine anything. But when you are in front of something, it's not like the movies. We started out as 60 and came back 30 – one in two people injured or killed. I was lucky.

As soon as it was light, I took pictures. This is the first thing I saw. The guy with the bandage on his head has lost his friends. He has fought all night long. I don't feel pity, but at the same time they took me with them and did everything to protect me. Without them, I couldn't have done the story. I was the only witness. It's very complicated.

Mads Nissen, Libya, February 2011

I got into Ajdabiya shortly after its fall. The rebels had just moved in and the locals were going crazy, shooting in the air. Bodies of pro-Gaddafi soldiers were lying around, beginning to stink as the sun got higher. The fire from the tank was incredibly strong and I was worried it might explode at any moment. Suddenly this guy jumped on to it. I'm not that interested in pictures of tanks burning – I'm interested in people. I had wanted to capture the sense of release that everyone had and suddenly this became the shot. I got as close as possible, within metres, and started shooting, counting to five in my head. Then I got out. I had seen corpses, torn apart, in the morgue and didn't want to end up like that. I took a chance – I had to; that was why I was there, to tell the story – but I made sure I wasn't too greedy.

Adam Dean, Pakistan, December 2007

I was very much a novice when I took this. I'd just finished a master's in photojournalism and thought I'd go to Pakistan to cover the elections. An attempt had been made on Bhutto's life two months earlier, so there was already a certain degree of risk.

I was about 15 metres away, photographing Bhutto, when there was a burst of gunfire followed by an explosion. I had a split-second decision to risk a secondary blast (as had happened in October) or start running with the crowd. I was panicking, trying to fight the urge to leave. I'd never seen a dead body before. It was almost like a test, to see if I had what I needed for this job.

As I approached the aftermath of the bomb, I struggled to compose myself. I was terrified and sickened, but kept telling myself just to concentrate and get it done so I could leave. I knew I had to frame the pictures so they weren't too graphic. The epicentre of the explosion was a pile of maybe a dozen limbless, charred, mangled bodies in pools of blood. This was one of the times I was most in danger, but there have been times in Afghanistan where I have felt more scared. This was over in seconds, but a firefight can go on for hours. The real worry is IUDs, though – when you go on patrol, every step could be your last. I'm 33 and I'm not sure I'd want to put myself in such risky situations when I'm older and perhaps have other people to consider.

John D McHugh, Afghanistan, May 2007

This is the last picture I took before I got shot. I'd been embedded with US troops in Nuristan for five weeks when we went to help a unit that had been ambushed nearby. There were bodies on the road, dead and dying. Taliban started shooting down on us from the mountains. I jumped behind a rock. I could hear bullets hitting it, and thought, "Oh fuck, oh fuck."

We ran behind a Humvee, but now we were being fired on from both sides. By that point I'd accepted that I was going to get shot. There were so many bullets in the air, it sounded like a swarm of bees. They had us pinned down and a sniper was picking people off one by one.

The bullet went through my ribs and out of my lower back. It felt as if I'd been punched. I fell to my knees, but managed to get behind another rock. The entry wound was the size of a penny; the exit bigger than the palm of my hand. The pain was overwhelming. I was convinced I was going to die and felt angry with myself. Then I started worrying that I might live but end up paralysed. Maybe I was better off dead? My mind refocused and I thought, "No, fuck that!"

It was 25 minutes before anybody could get to me. My cameras were on the ground, and as they grabbed me I had to lean down and pick them up. When we got to the local base, a medic said, "Hell, I can see right through you." As soon as I knew that I'd recover, I told my girlfriend I was going to go back out. The work I do is important and also, if I hadn't, it would mean I'd never really understood the risks in the first place.

I love my job but getting shot made me think about life beyond work. I proposed to my girlfriend two months later, and we had a baby last year.

Marco di Lauro, Iraq, November 2004

This photograph was the most dangerous moment in my career. I was with two marines trying to get into this house. The first marine knocked down the door and the guy that you see in the image threw a grenade at him – the dust is from the explosion. Being behind the wall at the side of the front door saved me.The second marine entered the room and shot the Iraqi dead. I was the third person in the room and I took this picture.

I started when I was 28. I'm 40 now, and a lot has changed in the risks I'm prepared to take. When you're younger, you're immortal. Three days into my first assignment, I was photographing between two lines of people shooting at each other in Kosovo. I'm more scared now, more aware of the risks. I've lost a lot of friends and colleagues – two of them very recently. I'll keep doing the job I do but I'll be more careful.

John Stanmeyer, East Timor, August 1999

There were numerous firefights going on between the pro-Timorese Aitarak and the Indonesian militia, so I just ran. A bullet went right by my ear, moving my hair. It was fate that my head was tilted to the right, otherwise I wouldn't be here today.

Within minutes of nearly being killed, I came across pro-East Timorese independence supporter Joaquim Bernardino Guterres. The military turned their guns on him, and as he started to run they grabbed him and kicked him. Moments later he was lying in a 20ft stream of blood. The military were very unhappy with the pictures afterwards.

I don't think about the risk to myself, as I probably should. While I was out in Afghanistan, my wife had a miscarriage and she equated it to my being away. That was pretty dreadful, but she's a writer and understands why I do this. We've been to Sudan together, we've been ambushed, we've been in lots of nutty situations.

Ashley Gilbertson, Iraq, 2004

It was one of the most intense experiences I've ever had. I was with a lead unit of marines, and we received a triple ambush from the insurgents. I'd just run across a street with 40 marines to take shelter in an Islamic cultural centre, with bullets whizzing past my face. I thought, if I'm going to die right now, I might as well be working. I was in so much shock. It was a wake-up call to how violent it was going to be.

The guy in the photo is shouting, "Don't take my fucking picture!" Sometimes, you look at images of war, and they're like a Hollywood producer's vision of what war is supposed to look like. There are very few pictures where you get a feel for how fucking awful it is, how desperate and urgent. I like that it's not a clean picture, that it's not well composed and you can't see everything that's happening. That's part of it. It's so messy. It's the closest I've come to capturing the chaos of combat.

Ron Haviv, Bosnia, 1992

These are the Serbian warlord Arkan's men. They've just executed these Muslim civilians – a butcher, his wife and sister-in-law; the start of what became known as ethnic cleansing.

I had taken a photograph of Arkan with a baby tiger, which he'd liked, and he'd agreed for me to travel with his troops to photograph his "mission". The soliders were yelling at me not to shoot, but I'd promised myself I'd come out of this with an image to prove what was happening.

I was shaking when I took this shot. None of them was looking at me so I lifted my camera, just trying to get them in frame. When I put it down, they looked over. They didn't realise I'd taken photos.

Later, Arkan caught me photographing another execution and said he'd process my film and keep the ones he didn't like. I'd hidden the film from earlier in the day in my pocket and figured that if I fought hard enough for the film in my camera, he wouldn't search me.

When the pictures were published not long after, Arkan said in an interview, "I look forward to the day I can drink his blood." He put me on a death list, and I spent the next eight years trying to avoid him. Eventually, these images were used to indict him at The Hague.

Julie Jacobson, Afghanistan, August 2009

We were hiding from Taliban gunfire, when there was this explosion. Afterwards, I saw [Lance Corporal Joshua M] Bernard – one of his legs was blown off and the other was barely there. He'd suffered a direct hit from an RPG [rocket-propelled grenade]. The media ground rule was that you couldn't photograph a military casualty in a way that they could be identified, but I could see Bernard's hand reach out to his weapon, his face turned to me. So I shot nine frames over two and a half minutes.

Making that decision was a public act. I got a lot of flak. Bernard later died, and people said that I didn't give him dignity, that I should have helped him. But I couldn't help him. For me to turn my back, that's disrespectful.

Ami Vitale, Gaza, October 2000

I was photographing a funeral, and having spent most of the day with the women, I went to see the body being taken in. A man in the procession started screaming, "CIA agent" and pointing at me. I was surrounded by hundreds of angry men, screaming in my face, grabbing me. I was terrified, and thought, "This is it. I am going to die." Suddenly I understood a mob. There's no thinking, just passion.

A woman I'd spent the day with managed to pull me away. When I got home, I sat and cried and cried – she had saved my life. I stayed on in Palestine, but was much more cautious after that; have been ever since. That moment changed my perspective. No picture is worth it. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

June 10 2011

Isfahan Movie Vimeo

Isfahan title

Muqarnas sind ein Stilelement der islamischen Architektur. Sie bestehen aus einer großen Anzahl spitzbogenartiger Elemente, die in- und übereinander gesetzt sind und einen Übergang zwischen einer Nische oder einer Kuppel und der Wand bilden. Komplexe, kunstvoll ausgebildete Muquarnas erinnern an Tropfsteinhöhlen, man nennt sie daher auch Stalaktitendekoration.


via Glaserei entry - at oAnth on
Reposted byiranelection iranelection

June 07 2011

Muqarnas in der Alhambra

Muqarnas sind ein Stilelement der islamischen Architektur. Sie bestehen aus einer großen Anzahl spitzbogenartiger Elemente, die in- und übereinander gesetzt sind und einen Übergang zwischen einer Nische oder einer Kuppel und der Wand bilden. Komplexe, kunstvoll ausgebildete Muquarnas erinnern an Tropfsteinhöhlen, man nennt sie daher auch Stalaktitendekoration.

Die Alhambra im spanischen Granada ist eines der beeindruckendsten Beispiele des maurischen Stils der islamischen Kunst.

Aus dem Flickr-Photostream von Marcomorphosis:

(Gefunden bei tonguedepressors | via booksnbuildings)

Eine grandiose Animation: Isfahan von Cristóbal Vila und seiner Firma Etérea. Die virtuelle arabische Architektur ist größtenteils inspiriert von Bauwerken in der iranischen Stadt Isfahan. | Das Making of.

Reposted fromglaserei glaserei

May 16 2011

Saif Gaddafi: dictator's son who mingled with British high society

Libyan leader's second son, named as a war crimes suspect, built a network of powerful contacts in London

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, named as a war crimes suspect by the chief prosecutor at The Hague on Monday, was a magnetic presence for British politicians, bankers and business people who wanted to deal with oil-rich Libya but not with the international pariah his father had become.

He built powerful establishment links from university education and politics to high finance, architecture and publishing. The billionaire hedge fund investor Nat Rothschild, the Labour peer Lord Mandelson, and the architect Lord Foster were among his contacts, while Oxford University Press was going to publish his book, Manifesto, which called for civil society and participatory democracy in Libya. In it, Saif wrote: "I believe it is the duty of the people to rebel against tyranny." OUP cancelled publication in February "because of recent events in Libya".

To some who knew him in London he seemed more like an international playboy than the powerful son and likely heir to one of Africa's longest-standing dictatorships. Two years ago he moved into a £10m house complete with a suede-lined indoor cinema not far from an area of north London known as Billionaire's Row.

He would dine at China Tang, Sir David Tang's restaurant at the Dorchester hotel, and mix in a jet-set world of dinner at the Cipriani and drinks at Annabel's, according to Luca del Bono, an Anglo-Italian businessman who had dealings with Saif on plans, which never bore fruit, to take Italian fashion brands to Libya.

"He used to be quite social in London," Del Bono said. "If you went to the clubs he would be there. Last time I saw him he said he had just been to Downing Street. He was obviously connected."

The London School of Economics accepted a £1.5m donation from the Gaddafi international charity and development foundation chaired by Saif, of which the LSE said it had received £300,000.

The LSE, where Saif studied for a PhD gained in 2008 from the university's centre for the study of global governance, also agreed a £2.2m contract with the regime to train Libyan civil servants and professionals, of which £1.5m has been received. Lord Woolf, the former lord chief justice, is now investigating the deals, as well as the award from Gaddafi's charity of £22,857 to cover costs for academic speakers to travel to Libya. Prof David Held, an academic adviser to Saif at the LSE, was invited to join the board of the foundation but he later stepped down over concerns about a potential conflict of interest.

Anthony Giddens, a Labour peer and former director of the LSE, twice met Muammar Gaddafi on trips in 2006 and 2007 organised by Monitor Group, a US lobbying firm.

"The political class in this country have courted him," said Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski, chairman of the parliamentary all-party group on Libya. "Lord Mandelson and others have seen him as the main interlocutor with the Libyan regime. Saif has branded himself as the caring face of the Libyan regime and they have added to that branding.

"That was inaccurate and, as events have shown, the man was as gung ho as his father when it comes to suppressing the Libyan people. A lot of people who have supported him and interacted with him will have to explain themselves."

Rothschild is said to have been invited to Saif's 37th birthday party in Montenegro, and Saif has been to the Rothschild family villa in Corfu, once meeting Mandelson there while he was in government as business secretary.

"He has a close relationship with Nat Rothschild," said a Libyan source in London familiar with Saif, who asked not to be named. "I know about a dinner in early 2010 that was organised in New York in Saif's honour where Rothschild was one of the principal organisers.

"There must have been a dozen to 20 mainly American-Jewish business families. Saif spent the evening talking about what his father will and won't allow in Libya, the business opportunities in Libya and how they wanted to encourage influential business people to be involved."

A spokesman for Rothschild said there was no business relationship between the two men and said they knew each other socially.

The Libyan source said that one reason why Saif had so carefully cultivated his contacts in the UK was because he had persuaded his father to adopt a strategy for Libya that involved manufacturing the impression of a difference of opinion between them. Saif would be seen by the outside world as a reformer and his father could be seen to be taking a ceremonial role. "The truth is they were never intending to develop the country," the source said. "They were only interested in maintaining power, and the plan was to keep people poor."

Saif commissioned Foster to oversee the development of the Green Mountain area of Libya, in the north-east of the country. He also invited Robert Adam, one of Prince Charles's favourite architects, to attend the launch in 2007.

"This was supposed to be their entry into Mediterranean tourism, and they were buying global PR," Adam said. "They laid on a dinner, a tented hotel, flights in private jets, the works. I was paid for by the Libyan state. I knew this wasn't the nicest government but I didn't do any work for them. I turned up and looked at it rather cynically."

Foster spoke alongside Gaddafi and talked about the area's enormous promise. "This is one of the most beautiful and little-known landscapes on earth," he said. "We've been given a unique challenge: to establish a sustainable blueprint for future development which will be sensitive to the history of the Green Mountain and to its conservation."

Saif said: "We share a determination to build for our children a future full of opportunity and fulfilment and a dedication to the protection of their heritage."

Foster was also asked to draw up a masterplan for part of Tripoli. A spokeswoman for Lord Foster said "We are not going to comment."

Saif also hired British PR advisers. The firm Brown Lloyd James was retained to handle the management of Saif's reputation.

Peter Brown, one of the company's founding partners, is a friend of Mandelson. He was unavailable for comment.

"BLJ New York did provide some PR services to Libya but have not done so since 2009," said Oliver Lloyd, executive vice-president of BLJ in London. "The UK office has never had a contract with the Libyans or received any payments from the Libyan government or either Muammar or Saif Gaddafi."

Judges to decide

The international criminal court's chief prosecutor has asked a panel of ICC judges to approve his request for arrest warrants against Muammar Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and his brother-in-law, Abdullah Senussi.

That panel will consider the application and can accept it, reject it, or ask for more evidence, a process that could take weeks or months.

If the arrest warrants are approved, there is no guarantee they will be enforced. The ICC has no police force of its own.

It has the option of asking the UN security council to empower others to carry out the arrests, but the prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, made it clear he would not be seeking the help of outsiders like Nato. Instead, he said it would be up to Libya  to hand over the suspects.

"My office has not requested the intervention of international forces to implement the arrest warrants. Should the court issue them and the three individuals remain in Libya, Libyan authorities have the primary responsibility to arrest them," he said.

A second batch of indictments is expected in September. Moreno-Ocampo indicated that this time allegations of mass rape will be looked into, as will attacks against immigrants by the Gaddafi regime's opponents.

Julian Borger © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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