Syrian Artist Diala Brisly, Painting for the Future of Syria’s Children

Syrian artist Diala Brisly have been working from Beirut, Lebanon, painting mainly for and with Syria’s children, inside and outside of Syria, to provide them some hope for the future.

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All images copyright Diala Brisly

Diala’s Facebook page: Diala Brisly

Beiruti Graffiti in a Time of Turbulence

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Beiruti graffiti, captured with someone’s smartphone and posted online.

Is it maybe a comment to the ongoing protests against the uncollected garbage in the city, the so called Garbage Crisis? Or is it a comment to the terrorist groups in the region, pretending to commit crimes in the name of God? Or maybe it’s just the people being fed up with not being listened to by anyone in power?

The graffiti reads, in translation:

“There is no God but the people.”

Did you get the reference?

“There is no God but God.”

Photo credit: Charbel Maydaa’s Facebook page

A Kurdish Comedian’s Support for the Peshmerga Troops

Kurdish-American comedian Kurdish Vines is supporting the Kurdish security forces in Iraqi Kurdistan, in their battles with Islamic State, by recording a rap video in support of the Peshmerga troops back home. Have a look.

“Dream of Dawn” – Music Video from Gaza

To all music lovers: the Gaza group Typo Band’s song “Dream of Dawn”, in Arabic with subtitles in English. Watch the beautiful footage in the video, hear the song and in case you don’t speak Arabic, read the poetic lyrics as you listen.

Change the common concept of love and freedom

Don’t leave it the way it is

Write on people’s hearts: ‘I exist’

Tear the fear out of their souls with your kind look

Write on people’s hearts: ‘I exist’

Workshop for Young Female Filmmakers from Egypt and Sweden

MAFF

Malmö Arab Film Festival, (MAFF) that I have previously blogged about, is now launching a workshop for young female filmmakers from Sweden and Egypt on the theme “Women in Egypt During and After the Revolution“. During September 2-8 the workshop is held in Malmö, Sweden for the ten chosen film makers; five from each country.

The mix of film makers from both country will be a very special opportunity – both countries has a tradition of theatre and movie making and in Egypt young women has made their way onto the international stage through movies such as “Cairo Six, Seven, Eight“, a controversial movie about sexual harassments of women in Egypt, who’s lead actor Nelly Karim presented the movie at last year’s MAFF.

Are you interested or do you know anyone that is? Apply or share the information! For more information on criterias to apply click here.

What Iraqis Think About Sweden

Irakier i sverigeSince the American invasion and the following gradual collapse of Iraq, many Iraqis has applied for asylum in Sweden and in 2007 constituted the largest group of asylumseekers among the many different nationalities that applied.

In my city Malmö, sometimes called “Little Baghdad”, many Iraqis have settled and formed their own communities. In small shops in the middle of our city you can now find things like halal meat, wonderful carrot-marmelade with 80% sugar (that Swedish health freaks would report to the police if they could) and other products that I would find in my local baqala in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. Globalization is a great thing when you can find your favourite marmelade from another part of the world in your own hometown.

Host communities usually has opinions about newcomers, but I think the other way around can be more interesting. Iraq I dare to say is quite the antithesis of Sweden: a large country with a weak central state, where religion plays a major role for many, hospitality is highly valued and your family is the main social network to rely on. The clash is quite big for some – Sweden being very secular with a strong legal system where many people can feel controlled by the authorities; from the housing market to the humiliating procedures at the unemployment agency. If I ask though I might not receive the true answer – critizicing someone’s home country being such a taboo for most people. But what does Iraqis really think about Sweden?

A while ago I joined this interesting Facebook page, “Iraqis in Sweden“, to see what was going on. The group is nicely illustrated by a Swedish and an Iraqi flag intertwined, with updates in both languages. On the page news about Sweden and Iraq are posted, often in an informative way about Sweden. One of managers of the page, Mohammad, tells me that the aim of the page was to create a meeting point for Iraqis in Sweden/Europe and that the group aims to serve people who might need help in Sweden, for example legal assistance or to rent a flat. Quite a nice idea, isn’t it, especially if you think about the many hate groups online, dedicated to bring down other people?

Checking the updates, one post caught my attention: “What advantages/disadvantages are there in the Swedish culture/society do you think?” The answers to this post arrived quickly.

“That everyone pretends to be PERFECT while they’re worth nothing!” one man writes, the comment getting three likes.

Someone replies:

“There is no disadvantages everyone goes his own way, and there’s nothing better than the Swedish society!!” Two exclamation marks, 15 likes.

Other people add upp to the bad list: the politicans, the wheather, there is no summer, it’s hard to find a job. Then another one, the profile picture showing the face of a young woman in a hijab, comes up with a long, reflective post:

“There are both advantages and disadvantages in each society and this is the case for the Swedish society. But I think that the advantages in the Swedish society are more than the disadvantages (…) The RESPECT, FREEDOM, EQUALITY (social), HELPFUL etc… The disadvantages are that parents have some problems raising their children here since the parents wants to raise them according to their traditions/religion. This often leads to a big problem that in its turn is a big disadvantage!! Me myself I have all love and respect for SWEDEN”

Who knew that such a subject could bring on such strong feelings? I wouldn’t, if Ihadn’t found this page. Or as a post reads when scrolling up to another heated discussion: “Do you think you can say anything just because now you’re in Sweden?”

Well on this page, obviously yes. And what better is, everyone gets to share their views without censorship or feeling held back. How I love the dynamics of the diversity sometimes. In Iraq or in Sweden.

Photo credit: Irakier i Sverige