culture

Experts rally to save Egypt’s heritage amid unrest

 
In late January, a car bomb targeting the Cairo police headquarters damaged a number of antiquities housed across the street at the Museum of Islamic Art. This is far from the first time that Egypt’s cultural heritage has suffered from the security problems plaguing the country since the revolution. This time around, however, a volunteer brigade of antiquities experts was standing ready to jump in. Read more...
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Rwandan women drum up hope in the Great Lakes region

 
Music soothes the soul and brings people together. This idea is the driving force behind Ingoma Nshya, a drum ensemble that has been challenging stereotypes. The group, which is composed entirely of Rwandan women even though drums are traditionally reserved for men, is made up of both Hutu and Tutsi women. Their music spreads the message of reconciliation in Rwanda, a country still affected by the 1994 genocide, as well as in the conflict-racked Kivu region of the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, where they recently played a concert. Read more...

Concerts cancelled in Iran for “inciting debauchery”

 
In Iran, obtaining a permit to hold a concert is no easy feat. But even when musicians do get their hands on this precious document, the concerts can still be forcibly cancelled at the last minute. That’s what recently happened to two bands in the southwestern city of Abadan, after religious hardliners launched a campaign labelling their music as “debauched”. Read more...
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Egyptian artists rally against 'Islamisation' of culture

 
For days now, dozens of Egyptian artists and intellectuals have been occupying the headquarters of the Ministry of Culture in Cairo to demand the resignation of the new culture minister, whom the protesters accuse of “Islamising” the sector. Read more...
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Is Tunisian culture under threat from Islamists?

 
On April 26, the main cinema in Tunisia’s capital Tunis was vandalised by a group of armed religious fundamentalists, who threatened audience members at the screening. Our Observers on the ground tell us that Tunisia’s cultural scene is increasingly coming under attack. Read more...

Hardliners ejected from Saudi book fair following shock outburst

 
At the Riyad Book Fair, the Saudi Culture Minister was taken to task by hardliners who denounced the ‘heretical’ books featured. According to our Observer, this incident highlights the growing anti-government sentiment in the country. Read more...
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Traditional coca leaf: medicine or menace?

 
Bolivia is appealing to lift a worldwide ban on coca leaf production and consumption, claiming that it violates the right of indigenous peoples to practice the ancient custom of coca chewing. But not everyone is happy with the appeal, notably the United States, which has concerns centering around the cocaine derivative of the plant. Read more...
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Maymand, the prehistoric Iranian village

A small village in the south of Iran has been suspended in time for thousands of years. Read more and see the photos...

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What remains of old Beirut

Most of Beirut's old buildings have already been lost to war. But today, the Lebanese capital's remaining architectural heritage is up against a new enemy: developers. Read more...

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