A workshop will be held for all those interested in participating in this research project at the Downtown Campus (off Hamdan Street) of NYU Abu Dhabi on Tuesday 25 February, from 18:00 to 20:30.
For details about the workshop and registration see the bottom of this page.
Introduction to the research subject
Stone Altar from Marib (5th – 4th Century BC) and Bronze Statuette of the warrior Ma’dikarib, South Arabia (6th century BC). These and all other photos and maps/diagrams on this page are reproduced from the book “Arabia and the Arabs from the Bronze Age to the Coming of Islam’ by Robert Hoyland, 2001. See below for ordering information
“Only a small proportion of the lore of the Arabs has come down to you. Had it reached you in its entirety, much scientific and literary knowledge would have been yours”
A few days ago I got my certificate for Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT) from the Carabinieri in Livorno. The Carabinieri are the Italian counterpart of the Gendarmerie, or Guardia Civil – the police force that depends from the Ministry of Defense. The training was given by the First Paratrooper Regiment (“Tuscania”), who engage in difficult operations abroad, like protecting VIPs in enemy territory or liberating hostages. They are strong, self-confident, good-looking and easy-going Italians, the real stuff, machos beyond posturing. Continue reading →
Afghan security in front of bombed restaurant in Kabul. Photo by Johannes Eisele for AFP/Getty Images
The news of the bombing of La Taverna du Liban, a Lebanese restaurant in Kabul, reached me while I was following a pre-deployment course for a EU mission in Libya. I think I knew Kamal, the owner of the restaurant, who died in the assault; if it was the same man who set up the restaurant somewhere in 2004-5 (and it seems so from this personal account), he was a hearty, generous man and I regret his death, especially for his children.
This attack was the most deadly one for the international civilian community in Afghanistan since the post-Taliban international involvement began. Afghan police reports 21 dead, of which 13 internationals and 8 Afghans (ABC news).
Several of the people following the EU-course, a group of seasoned international civilian experts, knew some of the victims, and we discussed the event at length, especially as security is a main item on the agenda of this course.
I’m about to start a FIND fellowship at New York University Abu Dhabi called ‘Searching for Ancient Arabia’ and I’m looking for artists, curators, critics and scholars to participate in this research project.
When we visited the mayor’s office during my last trip to Kabul, the deputy mayor, a great fan of Persian poetry, lamented the fact that all the houses currently being built in Kabul are of the ‘international’ (Western) type: a standalone house on a plot of land, surrounded by a bit of garden or walkways, with all windows facing outwards.
Today we first went to visit the new city of Omid-e Sabz. It is located improbably far from the city center, about 10 minutes drive West of Darulaman Palace, and close to the southeastern rim of Dasht-e Barchi.
In a way it’s lucky Kabul is surrounded by mountains, otherwise the city would never stop expanding.
Today I guided a Dutch architect researching urban developments in Kabul. After fixing the roaming internet connection on his Apple computer in a record time – praise be to the helpfulness and tech savviness of Afghan shopowners – we drove up TV mountain to take some pictures. He had the good camera, I my phone. The weather was heavily overcast with occasional sunbursts.
De Appel is the intellectual powerhouse of Amsterdam’s art world – or maybe it isn’t anymore, but it still has that reputation. It’s a non-commercial art space that offers a high-level (and world-renown) curatorial program, as well as a study program for gallery staff, it is the place to present contemporary art prizes and projects, and it organizes about 4-5 exhibitions a year.
Below is the full English version text of Dostum’s apology, read on 7 October 2013. I edited the translation, using the Dari original of the speech to ensure it corresponds closely.
The apology created a huge commotion, as it is the first of its kind. Dostum encourages other warlords to apologize too, noting he has taken the first step (pishqadami). Reactions from across the (social) media were very positive. Continue reading →