We are raising funds for our project "Heroes of the Middle East & North Africa." This initiative proposes to create a large mural depicting cultural icons such as Rumi, Khalil Gibran, Fairuz, Naguib Mahfouz and other poets, writers, filmmakers, musicians and artists who are symbols of peace through the arts.
The "Heroes" mural is an educational experience and an anti-war statement that intends to humanize the Middle East and North Africa, following on the heels of the Arab Spring. The mural will be completed early in 2014 and will grace the wall of the Levantine Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
By Nile El Wardani
Today marked the second anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution that continues to wage on with the same chants "Leave Leave"- this time directed against the new undemocratically elected President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Undemocratic, because the political system was rigged from the first round of elections, which was never reported by CNN.
CNN's coverage of Egypt has been and continues to be misleading, insufficient and biased. This does not allow the millions of CNN audiences worldwide to understand fully the true picture of what is going on in Egypt.
My review of The General's Son, by Miko Peled, cannot be separated from what I've come to know about the author. After all, this book is about Peled's own life, and his journey to a new understanding of the conflict that has defined so many of our lives. It is a narrative of the author's transformation from an ardent Zionist, born into a revered military Israeli family, to a human rights activist and advocate of a single binational state.
The celebrated choreographer Akram Khan (London-born, Bangladeshi-bred) brought his 2010 production Vertical Road to UCLA's Royce Hall in October. Featuring eight dancers and extremely minimal production design, the piece is inspired by Rumi's worldview, particularly the following passage (which appears in the press materials):
"I died from minerality and became vegetable
And from vegetativeness I died and became animal
Then why fear disappearance through death?
Next time I shall die, bringing forth wings and feathers like angels
After that, I'll soar higher than angels -
What you cannot imagine,
I shall be that."
Kudos are due to Mr. Khan for taking on the task of illustrating, through the medium of dance, an idea as grand and complex as the evolution of spirit - even if the resulting work is only partially successful.
By Sheana Ochoa
The motif of home and more specifically "the Return" (Al-Awda in Arabic) recurs throughout world literature. Home as a place (as opposed to a state of mind or of being) comprises the central conflict in Salma Abdelnour's memoir, Jasmine and Fire, a Bittersweet Year in Beirut. Abdelnour was born in the United States of Lebanese parents, but returned to Lebanon when she was two, the summer before the 15-year Lebanese civil war ignited. After six years of war, the family decided to move back to America. However, Abdelnour's conscious memories of childhood, her sense of home, remained in Beirut.