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It’s impossible to avoid politics in discussing This Is Not a Film. But this study of director Jafar Panahi, who was sentenced by the Iranian government both to prison and the purgatory of not being able to pursue his profession for two decades, is far more than your typical protest documentary. Indeed, the restrictions under which this project was conducted demonstrates what makes Iranian cinema so great. (More…)

By now, you may have heard about the “racist art cake” incident  at an event celebrating the 75th birthday of the Swedish Artists Organization at the Moderna Museet. During the event, Swedish Culture Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth was invited to cut the first piece of a cake designed by biracial African-Swedish artist Makode Aj Linde that was part of a five-cake installation. (More…)

It’s a refrain that has been heard for many years. It usually comes from supporters of draconian Israeli policies, a cynical question which lays blame for the occupation at the feet of Palestinians.The irony of the question lies in an ignorant view of who Nelson Mandela is, and how he became the face of post-apartheid South Africa. (More…)

If you think you’re in New York, no one will disagree with you. So heavily overladen with graffiti, at times, Berlin resembles an American city in the mid-1980s. The fact that internationals are heavily responsible for the art (including a heavy dose of New Yorkers) does little to dissuade such comparisons. However, push a little deeper into the German capitol, and you’ll begin to notice some serious differences. (More…)

Protestations against individual instances of violence ignore their origins. Tellingly, they often indulge hypocrisy: this is an outrage against the norm, or so the logic goes. But, as long as it remains unnoticed, the norm remains violence. Israeli government denunciations of ex-IDF officer Shalom Eisner are a perfect case in point. (More…)

It was a golden opportunity. Four Jews had just been killed by a Muslim gunman. Accused of inciting ethnic conflict, the French President’s reelection campaign had been given the chance to repair the damage. All it had to do was recast the ex-Minister of the Interior as a tough cop who prioritized the security of the Jewish community. (More…)

I don’t share my compatriots’ technological instincts. Fortunately, the AT & T store on Burbank’s San Fernando Boulevard is staffed by Armenians who swiftly diagnose my phone’s problem. Garen and I conclude our business, and talk about ourselves. “I already realised you don’t speak Armenian,” he says. (More…)

In an increasingly globalised world, linguistic diversity provides one of the most potent reminders of difference. A perennial resource for conflict, language barriers are an inevitable test of tolerance. As the world’s largest nation, Russia’s multitude of languages – from Abaza to Itlemen, Kabarda to Yukagir – is a veritable Babel. Yet, it would appear, an increasingly reluctant one. (More…)

Until the Arab Spring, few Middle Eastern states were less in public consciousness than Syria. If you knew anything about the country, chances are it was in relation to Israel, or, if you followed the War on Terror, Iraq. Otherwise, it was a blank. (More…)

Jews, rejoice! It’s a miracle! Israel has been saved once again from the menace of those who rise up in every generation to annihilate us! Over 1,000 activists were planning to fly to Israel and protest the occupation. Imagine the terror that would have wrought! Luckily, Benjamin Netanyahu saved us from another Holocaust! (More…)

We Iranians have a lot on our plates these days: the looming shadow of war, crippling international sanctions that are starving our economy and making life miserable, a despotic theocratic regime that controls every aspect of our lives. And, to add insult to injury, American reality shows that ridicule our culture and make us look like idiots. (More…)

As the first wave of punk evolved into hardcore, no wave, postpunk, and a variety of other subgenres, a singular strand of the punk explosion developed in Southern California: deathrock. (More…)