Normalizing extreme violence: the Israeli case
On February 15, 2016, Amitai Etzioni, sociologist and professor at George Washington University, published an op-ed in Israel’s Ha’aretz titled “Should Israel Consider Using Devastating Weapons Against Hezbollah Missiles?” Quoting, first, an unnamed Israeli official who claimed that Hezbollah has 100,000 missiles which pose a major security threat, Etzioni asserts that most of these missiles are located in private homes, citing Israel’s chief of staff. Sending Israeli ground forces to destroy the missiles “would very likely result in many Israeli casualties – as well as Lebanese civilians,” Etzioni suggests; another option he discusses involves using Fuel-Air Explosives (FAE) to “disperse an aerosol cloud of fuel which is ignited by a detonator, producing massive explosions…[capable of flattening] all buildings within a considerable range.” He concedes that even if people living in targeted areas were forewarned, civilian casualties would be inevitable.
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Contemporary Arabic art figures you need to know
Is contemporary art Eurocentric or a product of “Western civilization”? The answer to this provocative question is certainly negative – it’s not; contemporary art goes far beyond imaginary borders of the so-called “Western civilization”. The fact that the vast majority of contemporary art movements were born in Europe or the US does not implicate that contemporary art should be defined as a cultural product of the “West”. But, one might ask: what about Arabic art or African art – why don’t “we” (“Westerners”) see the works of Arabic or African artists on auction sales, in exhibitions, art fairs?
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Becoming a post-Soviet city
It is impossible to walk around Yerevan today and not notice the melancholic presence of one building typology across this rapidly changing urban landscape: The Soviet social housing block. Far from being a clean break from the past, the Soviet housing legacy remains highly present and influential in the daily experience of Yerevan. These grey and often crumbling buildings constitute the largest share of housing in Armenia. Unlike some countries with longer capitalist heritages where social housing has become marginalized as a place for the poor, in Yerevan and in many other post-socialist Eurasian cities like Baku, Tbilisi and Tashkent, these housing blocks still provide the most common and accessible living conditions for average citizens.
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