November 12, 2012

Besos, Frida: Letters From Great Artists to Their Friends and Family

Here’s what happened when 12 visual artists turned to the written word to express themselves.

[Images: not shaking the grass, Archives of American Art, Brain Pickings]

October 10, 2012
The Pakistani Taliban’s ‘Justification’ for Trying to Murder a 14-Year-Old Girl

In a letter issued following international condemnation of the shooting of Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat Valley, the Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan (TTP) states its case for the attack and threatens anyone who challenges its strict interpretation of Shari’a law. The letter, written in English, says a Taliban gunman “successfully targeted” Yousafzai “although she was young and a girl and the TTP does not believe in attacking women.” It says Yousafzai, who gained global recognition at the age of 11 through an online diary she wrote for the BBC about TTP influence in her hometown of Mingora, was shot because “whom so ever leads a campaign against Islam and Shariah is ordered to be killed by Shariah.”

Read more. [Image: Reuters/Stringer]

The Pakistani Taliban’s ‘Justification’ for Trying to Murder a 14-Year-Old Girl

In a letter issued following international condemnation of the shooting of Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat Valley, the Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan (TTP) states its case for the attack and threatens anyone who challenges its strict interpretation of Shari’a law. 

The letter, written in English, says a Taliban gunman “successfully targeted” Yousafzai “although she was young and a girl and the TTP does not believe in attacking women.” It says Yousafzai, who gained global recognition at the age of 11 through an online diary she wrote for the BBC about TTP influence in her hometown of Mingora, was shot because “whom so ever leads a campaign against Islam and Shariah is ordered to be killed by Shariah.”

Read more. [Image: Reuters/Stringer]

May 24, 2012
Love in the Time of Syrian Revolution

When Farah said goodnight to her boyfriend one evening in January 2007, she had every reason to expect to see him the next day. Though she’d only been dating Omar for a month, the two students at Syria’s Damascus University already shared a special connection. Their first date had been over coffee. Soon, they were wearing matching clothes. “See you tomorrow,” they told each other that evening. But that “tomorrow” would not come for five turbulent years.
When Farah called him the next day, Omar did not answer. She looked for him in the dormitory and asked his friends, but no one would tell her where he was. She began to suspect that Omar, who was several years older and claimed to occasionally “travel,” had been playing games with their relationship. “I was angry, hated him a lot, and did not forgive him,” she recalled.
What she only learned later was that, in the early hours of the morning, eight Kalashnikov-wielding mukhabarat state police had arrested Omar in an Internet café where he had been chatting on MSN with a Syrian opposition member outside the country and e-mailing reports on detained students to international human rights organizations and Western embassies. At the time, Farah didn’t know he was involved in opposition activities, which had gotten him arrested before. Omar had so internalized his awareness of the regime’s reach that he’d kept this part of his life even from her. […]
Five years later, peaceful protests calling for Assad’s ouster turned to an armed uprising, with at least nine thousand killed so far, according to United Nations estimates, and opposition leaders calling for international intervention. For better or worse, Syria’s uprising may never have become what it is without the dedication of activists like Omar, and later Farah, who sacrificed for years, putting everything on the line to resist one of the world’s cruelest regimes. But their story also shows the perseverance of common human bonds even in the most trying circumstances, and the ability of Farah and Omar to rediscover their love, despite the turmoil that has permeated every layer of Syrian society, in one small but symbolic victory over the regime that would keep them apart.
Read more. [Image: AFP/Getty]

This is a beautiful, excellent story: ”And yet, for all the force of their love, it had taken an uprising to bring them together.”

Love in the Time of Syrian Revolution

When Farah said goodnight to her boyfriend one evening in January 2007, she had every reason to expect to see him the next day. Though she’d only been dating Omar for a month, the two students at Syria’s Damascus University already shared a special connection. Their first date had been over coffee. Soon, they were wearing matching clothes. “See you tomorrow,” they told each other that evening. But that “tomorrow” would not come for five turbulent years.

When Farah called him the next day, Omar did not answer. She looked for him in the dormitory and asked his friends, but no one would tell her where he was. She began to suspect that Omar, who was several years older and claimed to occasionally “travel,” had been playing games with their relationship. “I was angry, hated him a lot, and did not forgive him,” she recalled.

What she only learned later was that, in the early hours of the morning, eight Kalashnikov-wielding mukhabarat state police had arrested Omar in an Internet café where he had been chatting on MSN with a Syrian opposition member outside the country and e-mailing reports on detained students to international human rights organizations and Western embassies. At the time, Farah didn’t know he was involved in opposition activities, which had gotten him arrested before. Omar had so internalized his awareness of the regime’s reach that he’d kept this part of his life even from her. […]

Five years later, peaceful protests calling for Assad’s ouster turned to an armed uprising, with at least nine thousand killed so far, according to United Nations estimates, and opposition leaders calling for international intervention. For better or worse, Syria’s uprising may never have become what it is without the dedication of activists like Omar, and later Farah, who sacrificed for years, putting everything on the line to resist one of the world’s cruelest regimes. But their story also shows the perseverance of common human bonds even in the most trying circumstances, and the ability of Farah and Omar to rediscover their love, despite the turmoil that has permeated every layer of Syrian society, in one small but symbolic victory over the regime that would keep them apart.

Read more. [Image: AFP/Getty]

This is a beautiful, excellent story: ”And yet, for all the force of their love, it had taken an uprising to bring them together.”

May 11, 2012
Live Chat With James Fallows at 3 p.m. EST

On Friday, May 11, at 3 p.m. EST, longtime Atlantic national correspondent James Fallows will be online to chat with readers about China and aviation, two topics at the heart of his new book, China Airborne. Bookmark this page and return then to join the discussion.


Fallows did a great Reddit AMA a few months back, and today is sure to be a repeat. Join us!

March 28, 2012
In Death, Jamphel Yeshi Has Become the Face of Tibetan Dissent

Jamphel Yeshi, a Tibetan exile who set himself on fire to protest Chinese rule, died from his burns in  New Delhi on Wednesday — and has now become the symbol and a martyr for Tibetan suffering.  ”In the early evening, more than 200 people walked through the town center waving Tibetan flags and carrying banners that proclaimed Jamphel Yeshi, who died on Wednesday, a martyr,” reports The New York Times' Edward Wong in Dharamasala, India.
Yeshi set himself on fire in New Delhi on Monday, making a statement right before Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to the BRIC summit. His death on Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reports, came just hours before Hu landed in the city.  As both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal confirm, Yeshi isn’t the first Tibetan exile to set himself on fire in India — The Wall Street Journal reports that at least 30 have taken place in China’s Tibetan regions.  What makes Yeshi’s different, as The New York Times details, is that Chinese forces strangled coverage of these immolations — with only a few showing up as grainy video or cell phone images. Yeshi’s self-immolation was caught by international photographers. (WARNING: Very graphic.)
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

In Death, Jamphel Yeshi Has Become the Face of Tibetan Dissent

Jamphel Yeshi, a Tibetan exile who set himself on fire to protest Chinese rule, died from his burns in  New Delhi on Wednesday  and has now become the symbol and a martyr for Tibetan suffering.  ”In the early evening, more than 200 people walked through the town center waving Tibetan flags and carrying banners that proclaimed Jamphel Yeshi, who died on Wednesday, a martyr,” reports The New York Times' Edward Wong in Dharamasala, India.

Yeshi set himself on fire in New Delhi on Monday, making a statement right before Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to the BRIC summit. His death on Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reports, came just hours before Hu landed in the city.  As both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal confirm, Yeshi isn’t the first Tibetan exile to set himself on fire in India  The Wall Street Journal reports that at least 30 have taken place in China’s Tibetan regions.  What makes Yeshi’s different, as The New York Times details, is that Chinese forces strangled coverage of these immolations  with only a few showing up as grainy video or cell phone images. Yeshi’s self-immolation was caught by international photographers. (WARNING: Very graphic.)

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

March 28, 2012
Born in the Gulag: Why a North Korean Boy Sent His Own Mother to Her Death

Nine years after watching his mother’s hanging, Shin In Geun squirmed through the electric fence that surrounds Camp 14 and ran off through the snow into the North Korean wilderness. It was January 2, 2005. Before then, no one born in a North Korean political prison camp had ever escaped. As far as can be determined, Shin is still the only one to do it.He was 23 years old and knew no one outside the fence.Within a month, he had walked into China. Within two years, he was living in South Korea. Four years later, he was living in Southern California.
Stunted by malnutrition, he is short and slight — five feet six inches, about 120 pounds. His arms are bowed from childhood labor. His lower back and buttocks are scarred with burns from the torturer’s fire. The skin over his pubis bears a puncture scar from the hook used to hold him in place over the fire. His ankles are scarred by shackles, from which he was hung upside down in solitary confinement. His right middle finger is cut off at the first knuckle, a guard’s punishment for dropping a sewing machine in a camp garment factory. His shins, from ankle to knee on both legs, are mutilated and scarred by burns from the electrified barbed-wire fence that failed to keep him inside Camp 14.
Shin is roughly the same age as Kim Jong Un, the chubby third son of Kim Jong Il who took over as leader after his father’s death in 2011.
Shin was born a slave and raised behind a high-voltage barbed-wire fence. His mother beat him, and he viewed her as a competitor for food. His father, who was allowed by guards to sleep with his mother just five nights a year, ignored him. His older brother was a stranger. Children in the camp were untrustworthy and abusive. Before he learned anything else, Shin learned to survive by snitching on all of them.
Love and mercy and family were words without meaning.
Read more. [Image: AP]

A chilling account of the only person born into a North Korean prison camp and escape. It’ll leave you speechless.

Born in the Gulag: Why a North Korean Boy Sent His Own Mother to Her Death

Nine years after watching his mother’s hanging, Shin In Geun squirmed through the electric fence that surrounds Camp 14 and ran off through the snow into the North Korean wilderness. It was January 2, 2005. Before then, no one born in a North Korean political prison camp had ever escaped. As far as can be determined, Shin is still the only one to do it.

He was 23 years old and knew no one outside the fence.

Within a month, he had walked into China. Within two years, he was living in South Korea. Four years later, he was living in Southern California.

Stunted by malnutrition, he is short and slight — five feet six inches, about 120 pounds. His arms are bowed from childhood labor. His lower back and buttocks are scarred with burns from the torturer’s fire. The skin over his pubis bears a puncture scar from the hook used to hold him in place over the fire. His ankles are scarred by shackles, from which he was hung upside down in solitary confinement. His right middle finger is cut off at the first knuckle, a guard’s punishment for dropping a sewing machine in a camp garment factory. His shins, from ankle to knee on both legs, are mutilated and scarred by burns from the electrified barbed-wire fence that failed to keep him inside Camp 14.

Shin is roughly the same age as Kim Jong Un, the chubby third son of Kim Jong Il who took over as leader after his father’s death in 2011.

Shin was born a slave and raised behind a high-voltage barbed-wire fence. His mother beat him, and he viewed her as a competitor for food. His father, who was allowed by guards to sleep with his mother just five nights a year, ignored him. His older brother was a stranger. Children in the camp were untrustworthy and abusive. Before he learned anything else, Shin learned to survive by snitching on all of them.

Love and mercy and family were words without meaning.

Read more. [Image: AP]

A chilling account of the only person born into a North Korean prison camp and escape. It’ll leave you speechless.

March 27, 2012

Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been charged with “aggravated pimping" in connection with an alleged prostitution ring in the so-called Carlton Affair in France.

Read more at The Atlantic Wire
[Image: Reuters]

Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been charged with “aggravated pimping" in connection with an alleged prostitution ring in the so-called Carlton Affair in France.

Read more at The Atlantic Wire


[Image: Reuters]

9:15am
  
Filed under: news international 
March 27, 2012
Executions on the Rise Around the World

The latest annual report from Amnesty International says that the number of judicial executions worldwide has gone way up, even as the number of countries that still perform them is going down. According to the study, there were least 676 known executions around the globe in 2011, an increase of more than 150 deaths over the year before. 

Read more at The Atlantic Wire
[Image: Reuters]

Executions on the Rise Around the World

The latest annual report from Amnesty International says that the number of judicial executions worldwide has gone way up, even as the number of countries that still perform them is going down. According to the study, there were least 676 known executions around the globe in 2011, an increase of more than 150 deaths over the year before. 

Read more at The Atlantic Wire


[Image: Reuters]

February 15, 2012
World Press Photo Contest 2012

World Press Photo, a non-profit organization based in the Netherlands, recently announced the winners of its 2012 photojournalism contest. More than 5,000 photographers from 124 countries submitted over 100,000 pictures to the competition. Top honors this year went to Samuel Aranda for his image of a woman holding a wounded relative during protests in Yemen. The prize-winning photographs will be assembled into an exhibition that will travel to 45 countries over the next year. Below is just a sample of this year’s group of winners — please visit the World Press Photo website to see them all
Above: Jenny E. Ross was the first prize winner in the Nature Singles category of the 2012 World Press Photo contest, for her photograph of a male polar bear climbing precariously on the face of a cliff above the ocean at Ostrova Oranskie in northern Novaya Zemlya, Russia, attempting to feed on seabird eggs. (AP Photo/Jenny E. Ross) 

See more fantastic photos at The Atlantic

World Press Photo Contest 2012

World Press Photo, a non-profit organization based in the Netherlands, recently announced the winners of its 2012 photojournalism contest. More than 5,000 photographers from 124 countries submitted over 100,000 pictures to the competition. Top honors this year went to Samuel Aranda for his image of a woman holding a wounded relative during protests in Yemen. The prize-winning photographs will be assembled into an exhibition that will travel to 45 countries over the next year. Below is just a sample of this year’s group of winners — please visit the World Press Photo website to see them all

Above: Jenny E. Ross was the first prize winner in the Nature Singles category of the 2012 World Press Photo contest, for her photograph of a male polar bear climbing precariously on the face of a cliff above the ocean at Ostrova Oranskie in northern Novaya Zemlya, Russia, attempting to feed on seabird eggs. (AP Photo/Jenny E. Ross) 

See more fantastic photos at The Atlantic

January 25, 2012
How the U.S. and Iran Keep Failing To Find a Peace They Both Want

A grand bargain would serve everyone, which is why both countries have tried to put aside tensions and strike a deal. So why are the U.S. and Iran perpetually stuck in confrontation? Read more. [Images: Reuters]

How the U.S. and Iran Keep Failing To Find a Peace They Both Want

A grand bargain would serve everyone, which is why both countries have tried to put aside tensions and strike a deal. So why are the U.S. and Iran perpetually stuck in confrontation? Read more. [Images: Reuters]

1:13pm
  
Filed under: Iran Politics International News 
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