Recreating What’s Destroyed: How Displaced Syrians Rebuild the Past

Mahmoud Hariri recreates a model of Palmyra using clay and wooden kebab skewers. Photo: Christopher Herwig.
Mahmoud Hariri recreates a model of Palmyra using clay and wooden kebab skewers. Photo: Christopher Herwig.

Even before peace can even be imagined in Syria, there are already plans underway to renovate antiquities destroyed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levent when they took control of the central Syria in 2015. The United Nations and UNESCO have both pledged support to reconstruct Palmyra, an important site of ruins dating back to two thousand years BC. But while war rages on, Syrians in Za’atari refugee camp begin reconstruction on a much smaller scale. read more

Don’t Go to Iran, or Maybe Let’s Go

Okay, so Iran has a lot of work ahead in the realm of human rights, although many other countries do too. And even if this is a promotional video, we can agree that the greatness and beauty of Iran are its people, cities and countryside — and that beauty exists above and beyond its politics and shortcomings. Should we not go? read more

Ruins — Depicting the Results of War on Yemeni Walls

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Artist Murad Subay depicts the challenges and troubling results of Yemen’s civil war by creating murals and graffiti, drawing attention to the plight of fellow Yemenis and remembrance to thousands of lives lost. Motifs are placed among the bombed ruins underscoring the ongoing warfare and subsequent ravaged landscape. The project is Murad’s fifth undertaking titled Ruins. Choosing wall spaces bordering war zones, the painting and installation was often interrupted by fighting, loss of electricity, and resources. Sometimes supported by fellow artist Thi Yazen, Murad would also enlist the participation of the Yemini community to assist in painting images — thus making the graphical statements communal and not only his own. read more

Iranian Women and Their Robots

The women are on board for the RoboCup IranOpen 2016, an international research and educational initiative whose purpose is to increase exploration of artificial intelligence along with supporting technology and engineering. And of course, being Iran, the presiding themes are those of domination of one group over another — conquering those who oppose you — aggressively undermining opponents — or, as they like to call it, soccer. read more

Architecture as Weaponry: Devastation by Design

The documentary, Rebel Architecture — The Architecture of Violence, by journalist and filmmaker Ana Naomi de Sousa features Israeli architect Eyal Weizman who describes how architecture and urban planning are deployed as an instruments of violence and control. By examining how Israel divides land; installs roads, highways, walls, and fences; commands hilltops, and strategically designs homes and its settlements, we see how architecture and urban planning are used to enact ongoing and effective engulfing of the Occupied Territories and enacting chaos among Palestinian residents. read more