Most recent article by: Marian Brehmer

A road leading into Harban Valley (photo: Reuters)

Book review: Jürgen Wasim Frembgen on Kohistan

With the wild men of Kohistan

Very few foreigners have ever ventured into Kohistan in the north of Pakistan, where the locals have a reputation of being barbarians. In his book "Das verschlossene Tal" (The Sealed Valley), the German ethnologist Jürgen Wasim Frembgen paints an exhilarating portrait of this mountain region. By Marian BrehmerMore

Akram at the Morgenland Festival in Osnabrück (photo: Morgenland-Festival)

Oriental Music Festival in Germany

The Silenced Sounds of Baghdad

Osnabrück's Morgenland Festival in Germany has been setting standards in the eastern music world since 2005. This year, the event focused on Baghdad, once the cradle of Oriental cultural life. Marian Brehmer reportsMore

Aynur Doğan (photo: aynurdogan.net)

Interview with the Kurdish Singer Aynur Doğan

Resisting the Wind

Aynur Doğan sings in Turkish and Kurdish, the political tone of her songs is deliberately provocative. Her last album "Rewend" focuses on itinerancy and connection to the homeland. Marian Brehmer spoke to herMore

Youssra El Hawary and her band members Sedky Sakhr and Shady el Hosseiny (photo: Bashir Wagih)

Interview with Youssra El Hawary

Music of a Quiet Revolution

In the wake of Egypt's Revolution, Youssra El Hawary suddenly came to fame with her song about a wall, "El Soor". Despite her insistence that she is non-political, her music is – in a quiet and unobtrusive way – unique and revolutionary. Marian Brehmer met the artist in BerlinMore

The organisers of the Bliss Festival (from left to right): Salar Aghili, Benedikt Fuhrmann and Ali Abdolazimi (photo: kampnagel.de)

Images of Iran in the West

Unpicking the Negatives

A German, an exiled Iranian and a Persian singer – at the "Bliss Festival", the clichés are roundly challenged and turned on their heads. If we look beyond the stereotypical images of Iran, we find a culture that has the power to touch our hearts. By Marian BrehmerMore

View of part of Istanbul (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Protests against Construction Projects in Istanbul

A Government Addicted to Superlatives

The unrest in Istanbul is not only an expression of resistance to a misguided urban development policy, it is also a protest against a government that seems to be determined to construct monuments to itself. By Marian BrehmerMore

Image from the poster for the film 'In the Bazaar of Sexes'

The Documentary Film ''In the Bazaar of Sexes''

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Temporary Marriage in Iran

The phenomenon of temporary marriage in the Islamic Republic of Iran is explored in the documentary In the Bazaar of Sexes. The film's female director, Sudabeh Morterzai, gives viewers a rare insight into a very complex society. Marian Brehmer watched the filmMore

People taking part in an Iranian-Israeli Circle demonstration (photo: Jakob Huber)

The Iranian-Israeli Circle

''We Should Hate Each Other''

Israeli and Iranian students in Berlin have forged an anti-war alliance to express their opposition to war, sanctions and occupation. They regard the nuclear conflict between their two countries as an artificially created issue that serves to keep both governments in power. By Marian BrehmerMore

Stone figures of humans dating from the fourth millennium BCE on display at the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin (photo: dpa)

The ''Roads of Arabia'' Exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Art

Saudi Arabia's Surprising Treasures

An exhibition entitled "Roads of Arabia", which runs at the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin from 26 January to 9 April, is showcasing the archaeological heritage of Saudi Arabia. This striking collection contains some surprising and sensational treasures and reveals a desert kingdom in transition. By Marian BrehmerMore

Image from the graphic novel "Zahra's Paradise" by Amir and Khalil (source: Knesebeck, München)

The Iranian Graphic Novel "Zahra's Paradise"

An Artistic Insight into a Sinister World

More than two years after the Green Movement's protests, a graphic novel has captured the political and social state of the Islamic Republic in graphic images. The book's anonymous authors, Amir and Khalil, portray Iran as a sinister country full of darkness and contradictions. Marian Brehmer read the bookMore

Afghan boy and an array of satellite dishes in Kabul (photo: AP)

Journalism in Afghanistan

Warlord TV

Journalism in Afghanistan has been reborn, rising from the ashes of the Taliban regime. The country currently boasts 150 radio stations and 30 television channels. But how free is its journalism? And how much independence do the journalists have? By Marian BrehmerMore

The Iranian Tombak virtuoso Mohammad Reza Mortazavi in Isfahan (photo: Wikipedia)

Iranian Tombak Virtuoso Mohammad Reza Mortazavi

Flying Fingers

There are very good reasons why Mohammad Reza Mortazavi is known as the drummer with the "fastest hands in the world"; listening to him perform, one gets the impression that one is listening to an ensemble of drummers playing a variety of instruments. Marian Brehmer reportsMore

Mohammad Reza Shajarian (photo: AP)

Interview with Mohammad Reza Shajarian

''Humanity Is What Art Is All About''

For Iranians around the world Mohammad Reza Shajarian is the embodiment of classical Persian culture. In the summer of 2009 his support of the Iranian reform movement made him vastly popular among the young generation. An interview by Marian BrehmerMore

US helicopter in Afghanistan (photo: AP)

Ten Years after the Start of the War in Afghanistan

The Spirits They Invoked

The US-led "War on Terror" began on 7 October, 2001. Afghanistan quickly developed into a military nightmare, and its neighbour Pakistan is today viewed as a "failed state". But the historical responsibility of the West for the state of the "AfPak" region is often overlooked. By Marian BrehmerMore

Green ribbon as a symbol for the Iranian Green Movement (photo: AP)

Iran's Green Movement Two Years after the Protests

Simmering beneath the Surface

While Iran's revolutionary leader Ali Khamenei reinterpreted the toppling of the Mubarak regime as an Islamic rebellion, the protagonists in the Green Movement of 2009 looked to Cairo in frustration. Some of them may well have asked themselves the question: Why was there no Tahrir Square phenomenon in Tehran? By Marian BrehmerMore