Garden Party, 1640: Iranian Lady entertains European Gentleman

Reference Article: Continue reading


Syrian Resilience, A Portrait. — John Wreford Photographer


This photo reminded me of those lovely trips we used to make in the spring from Baghdad to that land between the two rivers south of Mosul. I can picture the lovely flowers as in monet’s poppies. My Grand Father used to meet his team of shepherds who cared for his sheep. They used to follow the rain between Syria and Iraq. He had a large Bedouin tent, smoked Hubble-bubble and wear a hand made coat made from sheep skin. At dawn you hear the lambs calling their mums after the Bedouin milk them. We had a breakfast of a lovely fresh yogurt with a choice honey and date syrup.

Continue reading

One 1000 & one night

One Thousand and one Nights

Nabeel Ali – Iraqi Artist
Witty, poetic, erotic and brutal, One Thousand and One Nights are the never-ending stories told by the young Shahrazad under sentence of death to King Shahrayar. Maddened by the discovery of his wife’s orgies, King Shahrayar believes all women are unfaithful and vows to marry a virgin every night and kill her in the morning. To survive, his newest wife Shahrazad spins a web of tales night after night, leaving the King in suspense when morning comes, thus prolonging her life for another day. Written in Arabic from tales gathered in India, Persia and across the great Arab empire, these mesmerising stories tell of the real and the supernatural, love and marriage, power and punishment, wealth and poverty, and the endless trials and uncertainties of fate. Now adapted by Hanan al-Shaykh the One Thousand and One Nightsare revealed in an intoxicating new voice.

Cold War 2

Nowadays, our planet is much more kaleidoscopic and asymmetric in its violence than that, and the world is pretty much in flames already, should we care to look.

But a hot war would not mean Americans directly in hand-to-hand combat with Russians,


The Cry, Suad Al Attar, Iraqi Artist, 2004

conventionally or through nuclear weaponry. The doctrine of mutually assured destruction still applies. More probable, as in the last Cold War, is that they will try to stay out and allow their proxies to fight the wars for them

The Second Cold War will most likely take on that sort of character, as it is already, but in more places, with more deadly weapons, more terrorism, a greater death toll, less respect for national borders and, thus, with more dangers of escalation attached. Let’s hope Iceland manages to keep out of the way; few others will.

Extracts from

We are facing the possibility of a second Cold War – and if it happens, Isis will never be defeated
Every conflict during the Cold War was fought by armies or insurgents working on behalf of the Americans, Russians, or, occasionally the Chinese: Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Angola and the list goes on. These countries would use proxies again, but with a higher death count, in the 21st century

Sean O’Grady, Wednesday 12 October 2016 Continue reading