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A Trailblazing Arts Festival Changing Global Perceptions of Turkey

How Alphan Eseli and his wife Demet are shifting the paradigm with the Istanbul Arts & Culture Festival.

Courtesy of Istanbul '74

For centuries, Istanbul, Turkey has been a cosmopolitan port attracting global citizens from all walks of life, and an incubator for thought-provoking discourse, inspiring everyone from Rumi to Rimbaud. Despite this legacy of sophistication, many evening-news watchers tend to lump Istanbul, and, for that matter, all of Turkey, under the misleading title of “conflict area” due to its proximity to several embattled neighbor-nations. Situated perfectly between Europe and Asia, with Syria to the South and Iran to the East, many in the West, particularly those unfamiliar with the region, are worried that the country will be next in line to fall prey to ISIS, which in the last year has grown from fringe movement to formidable force.

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Activist Groups Launch StuckInYemen.com to Rescue Americans

They also filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government for its failure to rescue American citizens.

Bay Area resident Mokhtar Alkhanshali made a harrowing escape from the war-torn country.

Although the violence in Yemen has rapidly escalated in the past several months as Houthi rebels battle for control of the government and a Saudi Arabia-led coalition of Arab governments bombard the country with airstrikes, the U.S. State Department announced that it does not currently have any evacuations plans in place for Americans trapped in the embattled country. In reponse, three activist groups—the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee , Council on American-Islamic Relations, and the Asian Americans Advancing Justice Asian Law Caucus—launched a site to aid those Americans who are looking for a way out. The site, called StuckInYemen, features a form where American citizens can report themselves and recieve assistance for evacuation. Already, more than 200 entries have been made.

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Morocco’s Biker Girl Gangs Featured In Colorful New Doc

Artist Hassan Hajjaj’s “’Kesh Angels” film showcases the badass women that are breaking gender stereotypes in the Middle East.

Kesh Angels, by Hassan Hajjaj. Courtesy of Taymor Grahne Gallery

Images of Middle Eastern women in the media from the last few decades fall into two stereotypes, either dutiful housewives or victims. This cramped worldview, however, leaves very little room for the reality of their rich and vibrant lives. Moroccan photographer and filmmaker Hassan Hajjaj set out to shatter these misconceptions with his celebrated Kesh Angels series, which debuted in 2014 at the Taymor Grahne Gallery in NYC. Through stunning, technicolor images of Marrakesh’s “girl bike gangs,” he paints a more complex vision of contemporary Islamic gender roles. Now, after spending two more years on an accompanying documentary project, Hajjaj will unveil A Day In The Life Of Karima: A Henna Girl at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), as a major feature of LACMA’s ongoing Islamic Art Now programming. In it he follows one of his favorite “angels” Karima, who is known for breezing through Marrakesh on her bike with her vibrant veils and textile abayas and djabellas fluttering in her wake. In addition to being a local icon, Karima is also a normal woman who works eight or ten hours a day. She is also an artist, wife, mother, and graduate of what Hajjaj calls “Jamaa Fena: the university of street life.”

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Who in the Middle East Would Jesus Bomb?

Neither side in Syria has refrained from waging a brutal war on men, women, and children.

This week on the eve of September 11, President Obama made his case for striking at Syria—largely on humanitarian grounds—and reached into United States history to make his plan persuasive. The U.S., he stated, has been "the anchor of global security" for "seven decades." It is hard to believe a man as well educated as President Obama could make such a claim, since it whitewashes U.S. interventions and invasions across the globe following World War II.

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Palestinians May Not Have a Home, But Now They'll Have a Museum

The Palestinian Museum will be a "home of voices," with their purpose, they say, to "raise Palestine's voice high for all to hear."

The Palestinian people don't have an official homeland yet, despite decades of being displaced, but at least, as of this year, they will have their own museum. The Palestinian Museum, set to break ground in Birzeit outside of Ramallah, will be a "home of voices," with their purpose, they say, to "raise Palestine's voice high for all to hear."

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Designing Defense: Israel's Iron Dome and the Aesthetics of Conflict

Despite the image of a simple protective bubble, the Iron Dome in fact represents Israel's move toward a more active defense.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMBSWGYlnF0

Fighting between Israel and Gaza intensified over the past week, with several deaths and injuries reported. The violence began when an Israeli airstrike killed the commander of a militant group involved with the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, marking Israel’s first offensive attack in months. In response, dozens of rockets hurtled from Gaza to southern Israel. As Israeli residents ran for cover, the country's new missile defense system kicked into high gear. After nearly six years of development and testing, the Iron Dome finally proved its mettle.

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