“You don’t have to get my permission; go destroy them.”
Nader Haj Kadour, a classically-trained painter, always wanted to paint animals, landscapes and spoke to the Times at one point while painting a butterfly.
But for decades, the main subjects of his art were the late President Hafez Assad and his son Bashar, who is currently embroiled in the bloody Syrian civil war.
Their faces have dominated walls, storefronts and car windows all over Syria, a visual declaration of loyalty to the dictators. Their images — sometimes partially hidden behind sunglasses, other times in military uniform but always stern and slightly foreboding — were the ubiquitous reminders that Big Brother was watching.
Now, with the country in the midst of a longstanding civil war, and Kadour no longer under the thumb of the government, he works with rebels to paint caricatures of the Assads, and welcomes rebel fighters to tear down his representations of the brutal Syrian president and his family.
Read the full story in our latest Column One feature.
Photos: Raja Abdulrahim / Los Angeles Times
2013 Pulitzer Prize Photos
It’s been a incredibly busy week in news, so in case you missed the announcement a few days ago, the above photos are this year’s Pulitzer Prize winners for photography.
From top to bottom, the photos, and the photographers behind them, are:
- Javier Manzano’s winning shot for best feature photography, taken Oct. 18, 2012. It shows rebel Syrian soldiers guarding a sniper’s nest, with light streaming through holes made by gunfire and shrapnel.
- Manu Brabo’s photo for best breaking news photography, showing Syrian refugees crossing into Turkey Dec. 8, 2012 - and this photo is just one of 20 from Associated Press photographers that comprised the prize-winning set.
- Beside Brabo’s photo is a shot by Narciso Contreras, showing a Syrian rebel fighter gesturing after firing upon troops fighting for President Bashar Assad Nov. 4, 2012.
- Another entry in AP’s Syria set is a photo by Rodrigo Abd, showing a woman, named Aida, recovering from injuries after her home was shelled by government troops March 10, 2012.
Head over to Framework for more details on the winners, and other finalists.
Oscar Pistorius, continued bloodshed in Syria, gas explosions in Missouri and an international yoga conference.
All of this an more in today’s top photos, via our Framework blog.
Photos: AFP, Orlin Wagner / Associated Press, Strdel / AFP
From law student to bride to rebel in Syria: Law student Hanadi, 19, is eager to see action on the front lines. Her ticket? A marriage of convenience to a militia commander fighting to oust Bashar Assad.
“We were raised in a conservative society where a girl has to heed her mother and father, but I no longer recognize their authority,” she said, underscoring what some describe as not only an uprising against the government but also a revolution that has upset the balance between generations. Many of the activists and fighters have joined the fight against their parents’ wishes.
Photo: Hanadi, a member of the Free Syrian Army, gave up law school to join protests against Syrian President Bashar Assad. Credit: Los Angeles Times
Ousted priest committed to peace in Syria: The Rome-born Jesuit is infuriated by the perception among many Christians that an Assad ouster would lead to an Islamist takeover and ill-treatment of minorities.
Resplendent in black cassock and matching skullcap, the bearded Jesuit appears in a YouTube video breaking bread with opposition activists and donating blood at a makeshift rebel clinic, highlighting his solidarity with the Syrian rebellion.
But Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, a brawny bear of a man who enunciates each word with a theatrical sense of certitude, scoffs at the “jihad priest” label. He says he remains committed to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in his adopted homeland — a “jihad of the spirit, not a jihad of arms,” as he declared during a recent stay in the rebel-occupied Syrian town of Qusair.
Still, the Italian-born priest warns: “If nonviolence becomes another name for a lack of responsibility, then I am not with nonviolence anymore. I am with the right to defend people.”
Photo: Father Paolo Dall’Oglio talks to a visitor in the courtyard of the restored Byzantine Monastery Deir Mar Musa al Habashi (St. Moses the Abyssinian). Credit: Louai Beshara / AFP/Getty Images
Former detainees and defectors have identified the locations, agencies responsible, torture methods used, and, in many cases, the commanders in charge of 27 detention facilities run by Syrian intelligence agencies.
The systematic patterns of ill-treatment and torture that Human Rights Watch documented clearly point to a state policy of torture and ill-treatment and therefore constitute a crime against humanity.
Check out the interactive map here.
test reblogged from humanrightswatch
Historic tales unfolding in Syria: Amid violence and paranoia, powerful scenes play out on both sides of the conflict in an increasingly polarized Damascus.
Neighborhood kids are sent out on bicycles to see whether it is safe to gather. When they give the all-clear, the streets come alive with marchers chanting for Assad’s downfall. Within minutes, word spreads: Security forces are closing in. Gunfire rings out. The protesters scatter.
Photo: Syrians watch a broadcast of Syrian President Bashar Assad at a coffee shop in Damascus last month. Credit: Muzaffar Salman / Associated Press
Samira Hammado, a mother of five and one of the few Syrian Americans in Orange County willing to go to anti-government rallies and show her face, says, “I don’t know why the fear is still in our hearts, even with the distance.” Worries of reprisal lead many to shy away from taking part in local solidarity rallies.
Photo credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times
It’s been 96 days since Tunisian fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in protest after his cart was seized by authorities. The Guardian has an interactive timeline tracking the protests, which have since spread throughout the Middle East and north Africa.
The coalition enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya is beginning to fray, as members continue to negotiate over the leadership of the campaign, despite the fact that missile and air strikes began on Saturday. Britain and Italy want NATO command, France and Turkey feel NATO sends the wrong message to the Muslim world and the U.S. just wants to scale back its involvement as quickly as possible.
Airstrikes continue against Kadafi’s forces, most recently in Misurata where his forces have reportedly pulled back while keeping snipers on rooftops, according to residents. Kadafi also made his first public appearance since airstrikes began in an address in Tripoli on Tuesday night.
At least four and as many as six people were killed when Syrian special forces launched an early-morning raid on a mosque in the city of Daraa, the center of anti-government protests. At least 10 have died following a government crackdown on protests for more political freedom and the release of dissidents. The Assad family has been in control of Syria since 1971.
Israel / West Bank / Gaza
A bomb exploded at a bus stop in central Jerusalem Wednesday morning, wounding at least 25 people. It was the city’s first bus bombing in several years. In Gaza, militants fired rockets into southern Israel, continuing an ongoing exchange of rocket and mortar fire at the border, which killed four in Gaza a day earlier.
Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Tuesday he would step down before his term ends in 2013. He originally rejected the same offer two weeks earlier, before at least 50 demonstrators were killed and hundreds injured when security forces closed in on protesters Friday. This follows the sacking of the president’s cabinet on Sunday, members of which were already expected to resign over the violent crackdown. If Saleh resigns, however, some, including the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, worry about what would come next.
The government announced that it would hold municipal elections — the second ever in the country — on April 23. Women will not be allowed to vote.
The Bahraini government tore down the central monument of Pearl Square on Friday, after a crackdown on protesters and arrest of opposition figures. The protesters had used the square as a rallying point.
Map reblogged via soupsoup:
Really impressive work here by the Guardian
test reblogged from soupsoup