Culture

Protest rally in Istanbul, one year after the Gezi demonstrations. Photo: Ali Yildirim

A literary anthology of the Gezi protests

Gezi lives!

In "Gezi – A Literary Anthology", a volume of essays that was recently published in German, 19 Turkish authors and a photographer reflect on the motivation and dynamics of the Gezi movement. By Astrid KaminskiMore

Emrah Serbes. Photo: Iletisim Yayinlari

Portrait of the Turkish writer Emrah Serbes

"Politics is made on the street by the people"

The young author Emrah Serbes is regarded as the "enfant terrible" of Turkish literature. Not only is he one of the most popular authors in Turkey: since the protests in Gezi Park last summer and his active participation in the resistance, many now seen him as the "writer and voice of the people". Ceyda Nurtsch met him at a reading in BerlinMore

Thomas Ostermeier. Photo: Ali Güler. © Thomas Ostermeier

Interview with Thomas Ostermeier

"An Enemy of the People" in Istanbul

Thomas Ostermeier is the artistic director of the Berlin Schaubühne and one of the most creative figures among the younger generation of German theatre directors. His productions are incisive and provocative – something he demonstrated again recently at this year's theatre festival in Istanbul with Henrik Ibsen's play "An Enemy of the People". He spoke to Anna EsserMore

Cover of "I Remember Beirut" by Zeina Abirached, published by Graphic Universe

Lebanese comic artist Zeina Abirached

Seeing war through the eyes of a child

The Lebanese artist Zeina Abirached grew up during the country’s 15-year civil war. In her comic books, she describes how her family experienced the horror of this brutal conflict. Juliane Metzker talked to herMore

The exterior of the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization (photo: sharjamuseums.ae)

Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization

Vatican treasures in the Gulf

The Vatican is pursuing a new policy of openness towards other faiths and co-operation between religions, a policy that is reflected in a very special exhibition in the Emirate of Sharjah, the neighbouring emirate to Dubai. This exhibition shows the full breadth and reach of Islam. By Werner BlochMore

Cover of the book Alev Cukurkavakli by Sabahattin Ali

Sabahattin Ali's novel "Yusuf"

A modern-day Odysseus

The works of Sabahattin Ali are widely read classics in Turkey. The author suffered throughout his life from censorship and repression, yet his novels, with their modern multi-perspective narrative style and skilled social criticism, still hold up a mirror to the powers that be. Now, his novel "Yusuf" has been translated into German and published. By Volker KaminskiMore

Mohamed Choukri in Casablanca on 5 November 2000 (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Tenth anniversary of the death of Mohamed Choukri

The "White Nightingale" of Tangier

The Moroccan writer Mohamed Choukri may have died over a decade ago, but the debate surrounding his controversial work continues in conservative Morocco to this day. Aziz Dariouchi on the discourse surrounding Choukri's literary legacyMore

Joumana Haddad (photo: Ceyda Nurtsch)

Interview with Joumana Haddad

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"I don't believe in female solidarity"

The Lebanese journalist and writer Joumana Haddad is considered one of the most courageous women's rights activists in the Arab world. In this interview with Ceyda Nurtsch, she talks about the erotic magazine "Jasad", feminist stereotypes and why the "Arab Spring" was just another winterMore

Jubilant mujahideen on a captured Russian armoured personnel carrier during the war between Afghanistan and the USSR (photo: Getty Images)

Book review: Fadia Faqir's "Willow Trees Don't Weep"

Abandoned for the sake of jihad

Since the 9/11 attacks in the USA, many novels have been written about aspects of Islamist radicalism and the "war on terror". The Jordanian–British writer Fadia Faqir brings fresh perspectives to the subject in her fourth novel "Willow Trees Don't Weep". Susannah Tarbush read the bookMore

Diala Brisly (photo: Diala Brisly)

Interview with the Syrian artist Diala Brisly

Art is a luxury in Syria

Civil war has ravaged Syria and many of its ancient cultural treasures. Syrian artist Diala Brisly, who left Syria about a year ago and now lives and works in Istanbul, says that although very few artists are still working in Syria, the country's art scene is flourishing abroad. Interview by Susanne DicklMore

Performance of the Kurdish play "The Pains of Language" in Berlin (photo: Jillian Hoppe)

The Kurdish theatre company Teatra Si

Out of the cellars and onto the stage

The Kurdish-language theatre scene has been developing in Turkey since the 1990s. One group committed to promoting Kurdish language and art is Teatra Si, a theatre company from Istanbul. Ceyda Nurtsch met with its members in Berlin at the start of their European tourMore

Max von Oppenheim in his tent in Djebelet el-Beda, Syria, 1929 (photo: Max Freiherr von Oppenheim-Stiftung)

The German archaeologist and explorer Max von Oppenheim

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Enchanted by the Myth of the Orient

Max von Oppenheim was an astute observer of the Near East. He was also captivated by its history, culture and way of life. In fact, Oppenheim's entire adult life is an illustration of how difficult it is to reconcile the captivating dream of the Orient with the sober political reality of the region – a difficulty that remains to this day. By Kersten KnippMore

Abdellah Taïa (photo: Abderrahim Annag)

Abdellah Taïa's "Letters to a Young Moroccan"

"Listen to the chaos of life around you"

Roughly 80 years on from Rainer Maria Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet", the Moroccan writer Abdellah Taïa compiled an anthology of letters that plays on Rilke's title. Originally published five years ago in French and Arabic, Taïa's book has now been published in German translation. It brings together 18 Moroccan authors, all addressing the country's young generation in urgent, powerful words. By Christoph LeistenMore

Aziza Brahim at the 15th Malaga Spanish Film Festival, in Malaga, Spain, 24 April 2012 (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Aziza Brahim's CD "Soutak"

Music of beauty from a barren land

Relatively few people will have been familiar with the music, culture and history of the Sahrawi people of north-western Africa before Aziza Brahim arrived on the music scene. Brahim has not only won an award for her original soundtrack to the film "Wilaya", she has also released three albums. Her latest album, "Soutak", spent three months at the top of the World Music Charts Europe in 2014. A review by Richard MarcusMore

German pianist Davide Martello is surrounded by anti-government protesters as he performs in Istanbul's Taksim Square on 13 June 2013 (photo: Reuters)

Tahrir and Taksim – Part II

Soundtrack of two revolutions

Tahrir and Taksim: two squares, one new culture of protest? In the second part of this two-part report, Amin Farzanefar looks at the how street art, music and film became essential parts of the new protest cultureMore

Revolutionary graffiti on Mohammed Mahmoud St in Cairo (photo: Arian Fariborz)

Tahrir and Taksim – Part I

A New Culture of Protest

In 2011 and 2013, two major cities in the Islamic world were rocked by popular unrest. The extended demonstrations seemed to usher in a new culture of protest. In this two-part report, Amin Farzanefar looks at how the art and music scenes changed in Cairo and Istanbul as a result of these protestsMore

Rosa Yassin Hassan (photo: DW)

Book review: Rosa Yassin Hassan's "Guardians of the Air"

Nine months of suffering, hope and fear

While Assad's regime seems more firmly ensconced than ever, and Syria seems to have descended into an apparently endless and brutal civil war, the novel "Guardians of the Air" by Rosa Yassin Hassan, a Damascus-based writer, provides an insight into the difficult lives of those directly affected by violence and displacement. By Volker KaminskiMore

Performance of Marc Sinan's "Dede Korkut" (photo: Thomas Aurin)

Interview with the composer Marc Sinan

A modern-day Bartók of Turkic music

Dede Korkut, the best-known of the epic stories of the Oghuz Turks, and the music that goes with it form the basis of Marc Sinan's new docu-fictional musical theatre production, "Dede Korkut – The Story of Tepegoz". Astrid Kaminski spoke to the composerMore

Mohammad-Reza Shajarian (centre) performing on stage with the Shahnaz Ensemble in Dubai in February 2011 (photo: AP)

Music and power in Iran

An instrument of propaganda and control

In her essay, Maria Koomen examines the important role played by music in the history of Iran, in particular since the Islamic revolution of 1979More

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