'Am I selfish for doing art?'

Published May 27th, 2016 - 04:18 GMT
A Yemeni artist paints a wall in the capital Sanaa with a message of peace.  (AFP/File)
A Yemeni artist paints a wall in the capital Sanaa with a message of peace. (AFP/File)

Doing art in the vacuum of war 

Art is not something that comes to mind for an average Yemeni. The current situation has pushed Yemenis into survival mode with more than half the nation living under the poverty line. Trying to explain to people that you are an artist is as strenuous as trying to explain to them that the economy of Yemen could be better than that of the UAE in the near future. It is hard for this generation of artists to succeed because somehow art died in Yemen, with the brainwashing of extreme religious leaders of the 90s. Our Islamic teachers have raised a generation which believes that music can influence us negatively and that drawing faces on objects will turn such images into sinister creatures like ghosts. Even worse, they have forced us to change our colourful traditional dresses for black ones. We only learn about a handful of artists, and when you hear about a well-known Yemeni artist, you assume that they are over 50. Where are the young artists, those in their 20s and 30s?

Continue reading on LSE Middle East Centre Blog 


The treaty of shame between Italy and Libya 

Last week, Reuters reported that the Italian Foreign Minister and his Libyan counterpart from the new national unity government were in talks to “renew[] a 2008 accord under which Italy pledged billions of dollars in investments in return for energy contracts and controlling illegal migration from North Africa.”

The 2008 Treaty of Friendship, Partnership, and Cooperation was signed in Benghazi on August 30, 2008, between former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and then Leader of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Muammar Gaddafi. The very first article of the treaty spoke of “respect for international law, under which the parties […] undertake to fulfill in good faith the obligations deriving from universally recognized principles and norms of international law.”

Continue reading on Muftah


No selfies with cats, says Saudi cleric 

A senior Saudi cleric has declared that posing for photographs with cats – or any other animal for that matter – is forbidden.

Speaking on a television broadcast, Sheikh Saleh bin Fawzan al-Fazwan, gave the religious opinion when he was asked about "a new trend of taking pictures with cats" that "has been spreading among people who want to be like Westerners".
Continue reading on The New Arab 



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