Posts tagged with "Syria"

absentation by Kostas Salomidis via 360 Magazine

ABSENTATION – Death Metal

Fifth full-length album from Death Metal act ABSENTATION is out now!

Watch ABSTENTION-Reflections (Official Stream Album) Death Metal by clicking HERE

ABSENTATION was formed in 2003 in Damascus/Syria and released their debut EP, Death Chapter in 2005. The band entered the studio in 2007 and released their first full length, Mental Battle Resurrection, via ADP Records. In 2008 ABSENTATION prepared to record a follow up full length, but only released two singles as Syria was torn apart by war (The black rite & La Pacta Daemonum) the black rite song got Killer lyrics in Noisecreep. After a long time suffering from the war, Salah relocated to Germany and decided to continue making music. He entered the studio to record a new full length Titled (Ascending to Desolate) the album finished and released in February 2018, it was a pure old school death metal.

Then ABSENTATION wrote a new album (the Intellectual Darkness) and released in January 2019 via Darzamadicus records, the album gained good reviews and end up on one of best 15 death metal albums in 2019 on one of lists, then Salah decided to shift the music into more complexity and to use 7 string for the next album, he wrote (Antimatter Rites) which released in 1st March 2020 via Darzamadicus records. The album is technical brutal death metal and gained until now good reviews like 9/10 on metal temple reviews and others. In 2022 Salah collaborated with the Drummer Marco Pitruzzella aka (Lord Marco) the drummer of (Rings of Saturn-Six Feet Under-Sleep Terror) to release the upcoming album Reflections on 9-9-2022

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Film illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Unforgettable Foreign Films

10 Foreign Films with the Most Unforgettable Love Stories

By Roberta Seret, PhD

I have two loves – literature and film. The most powerful love stories jump off the pages or off the screen, narrating different types of love turmoil, journeying through danger and obstacles to find love. The best love stories occur when love triumphs over evil. 

In the past twenty years, I have taught film through my NGO at the United Nations and at New York University. It is a love story that captures my students the most. Their 10 favorite love stories in foreign films deceit different ways of loving, but they all try to overcome these obstacles to find it. Although they may not always get their happy ending, it’s always worth the risk:

1.     JOJO RABBIT – (New Zealand) 2019, director Taika Waititi. During World War ll, ten-year-old Jojo is being brainwashed as a Hitler Youth. Strangely, his mother allows this, for it is her only way to protect him. We see how deeply a mother loves her son as she prepares him to be independent. Simultaneously, the director expresses his love for the future of children to do what’s right.

2.     HONEYLAND – (Republic of Northern Macedonia) 2019, directors Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary and Best Feature Film, this story recreates a Paradise Lost and its destruction by a greedy man. Love for beauty and nature, and the desire to recapture it, is represented by honey – becoming extinct – and man’s inhumanity to lose it.

3.     NEVER LOOK AWAY – (Germany) 2018, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. Based on the life of the famous painter, Gerhard Richter, the director recreates the artist’s search for Truth. It is only through love for Art that the artist can find peace. It is this tumultuous search that pushes him/her to create.

4.     CAPERNAUM – (Lebanon) 2018, director Nadine Labaki. Lost children, abandoned, hungry, and forced to go against their conscience, are victims of war-torn Lebanon and Syria. The director opens her heart by using her hand-held camera to capture how children suffer in their struggle to survive. It is through her love for these children that we understand and want to help. 

5.     FACES PLACES – (France) 2017, directors Agnes Varda and JR. At 89-years-old and one year before her death, famed filmmaker, Agnes Varda embarks on a road trip to show her appreciation to the people of France. As a token of her deep love, she offers them a new type of art – photos of themselves – while she is making a film of their acceptance. Photography mixes with cinematography, the moving image fuses with still art, to show the director’s love for people and give them Art. 

6.     LION – (India/ Australia) 2016, director Garth Davis. The true story of 5-year-old Saroo, who gets lost on a train in India and cannot communicate in a different dialect to return home. He is placed in an orphanage and adopted by a couple from Tasmania, Australia. Twenty-five years later, his obsession to find his biological mother is proof of his filial love.

7.     TONI ERDMANN – (Germany / Romania) 2016, director Maren Ade. A father loves his ambitious, modern daughter and wants to help her understand what happiness and love are. But the generational gap proves to be stronger than his quest. Despite his struggles and sacrifices, she answers when she sings Whitney Houston’s song, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.”

8.     PHOENIX – (Germany) 2014, director Christian Petzold. Nelly survives World War II because she is obsessed at Auschwitz to be loved again by the man she loves. She does return to him but disfigured, and he does not recognize her. Deceitfully, he schemes to help her survive the traumas of her past. But as she learns the truth, will her love forgive him?

9.     IDA – (Poland) 2013, director Pawel Pawlikowski. Ida embarks on a spiritual journey to choose between a life of love and family, or God and religion. As she voyages toward the answer, she learns about her history and what the material world can offer. But she keeps repeating, “And then?” She realizes it is love for God and the spirit that can offer her the truest love.

10.  CASABLANCA – (USA/ Morocco) 1942, director Michael Curtiz. This is the best love story of all. For those who will see this film for the first time, I am jealous. This is an American movie made in Morocco with an anti-Hollywood ending. It shows and answers what is true love? What we see on the screen is a love that hurts – for all of us. And yet, love must be experienced, and this film must be seen!

Roberta Seret, Ph.D., is the director of Advanced English and Film at the United Nations for the Hospitality Committee and Founder of the NGO at the United Nations, International Cinema Education. She is the author of the Transylvanian Trilogy, with Love Odyssey releasing March 23, 2021. Visit her website for more information.

Syria illustration

Lebanese Crisis: How it Happened

By Rita Azar

Lebanon today can be summed up to bread lines, a devalued currency, no clear system for clean water, and a garbage crisis. To understand how the country that was called “Paris of the East” for nearly 40 years in the 20th century has now became widely known as a failed state, one must understand how post-civil war Lebanon was built.

During the 1990’s through the early 2000’s the countries leaders notably Rafic el Hariri stared privatizing previously government owned facilities for his own companies. These leaders did this by creating systems that were made to fail by being a burden on the state. Where this proved successful for politicians was when Rafic el Hariri privatized Lebanon’s internet department. In other words, Hariri made the internet department his own company, free of the state, named “Ogero.” With “Ogero,” politicians would be able to buy failed government facilities for cheap and benefit financially whilst the country only would soon after claim debt.

Of course, not all of these government facilities were privatized and stolen. Due to opposition forces that came after the Syrian withdrawal of 2005, the states had some protection to protect their assets from being stolen. These facilities include: the electricity sector, which only provides 8 hours of electricity daily and costs the government billions of dollars in yearly debt, and the Ministry of Water and Environment, which, despite also costing the government billions in debt, is unable to supple citizens with clean water. Despite all of these characteristics of a failed state, Lebanon has been able to survive with generous amounts of foreign aid. But now, due to the more recent politicians, Lebanon has been stripped of its American and Saudi financial aid. Some of these politicians include the new prime minister, Hassan Diab, and leader of the largest political bloc fpm, Gebran Bassil, and the president, Michel Aoun. All this has led to complete economic collapse.

This economic collapse caused the currency being inflated and around half of Lebanese citizens being under the poverty line. This collapse hasn’t been unfelt by the Lebanese people. Senior citizens have seen their savings destroyed. Young adults, adults, and older adults have all came up with one solution, the solution being emigration.

An important fact to consider is that more than 15 million Lebanese that live outside and only 5 million inside the country, so immigration is nothing new, but the fact that millions of young Lebanese people will leave their country, their home, their families and their friends is not being celebrated or ignored. As the economy crumbles in the once celebrated city, Lebanon’s fate is more blurry than ever.

More sources about the Lebanon Crisis:

NC state University- “Why Did They Leave”

Al Jazeera- “Plotting Our Escape”

Al Jazeera- Who is the One to blame for Lebanon’s crisis

Annahar- Lebanon crisis brings mixed legacy for central bank governor

BBC- Lebanon protests escalate as currency dives

CNN- Michele Aoun’s presidency ends 29-month leadership vacuum in
Lebanon

Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East

A consistent strand of Margaret Thatcher’s Middle East policy was preserving regional stability as this was vital to ensuring that Moscow could not expand its influence and become a threat to Western interests.
 
Thirty-six years on and a resurgent Russia is once again dominant in the Middle East. Unfortunately, while Margaret Thatcher has been proved right on this score, Azriel Bermant – the author of a new book (Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East, Cambridge University Press, October 12th) – warns that Theresa May is in danger of undermining that Prime Ministerial & Conservative Party legacy due to Brexit and also the strategic misstep of her immediate public support of and supplicant friendship with President Trump.

Today with Brexit, Britain is increasingly dependent upon the United States, and therefore has even less influence than it did during the Thatcher period.

Ultimately, Thatcher sought to save the moderates of the region, and though publicly in lock step with US Middle East policy, she was privately furious yet influential with the Reagan administration. However, there are now worrying signs that the Trump administration is making the same mistake in the Middle East without Theresa May having any status or influence to temper wilder decision making. Now that Islamic State appears to be defeated, there is a danger that Washington could retreat from the region and leave a dangerous vacuum that the Russians and Iranians will be quick to exploit.

While the conflict in Syria demonstrates that the Arab-Israel conflict is peripheral to the present turmoil afflicting the region, various ideological forces, like the Soviet Union in an earlier era, are exploiting the unresolved conflict with the potential for further mayhem in the region.

If Theresa May is to become any kind of heir to Margaret Thatcher, when it comes to Middle East diplomacy, she urgently needs to learn the lessons of history to articulate and assert a distinctive British foreign policy, free of Brexit dependencies.