We have fine and talented artists in the Arab world but circumstances are not in their favour. We reside in a spiritual part of the world and the soil of our region breathes culture. Culture is ingrained in us. Old Damascus is an accumulation of culture and civilisation throughout the ages. How do you expect artists not to emerge from this land? Our artists are committed to their humanitarian causes and those of their countries. They are mirrors of their societies.
Razan Chatti, a set designer and scenographer, is cultivating young talent under the auspices of the Afak (Horizons) foundation, which she launched in 2011.
Through Afak, she organises traveling exhibitions for artists from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, whose works carry powerful humanitarian messages.
Sorrow fills my heart that the Arab Spring has skipped Iraq.The wind of change that toppled regimes and rulers didn’t reach the country… Americans allowed a sectarian-based political system due to their beliefs that Iraqis are divided by their sectarian and ethnic background and that the political assembly must represent this truth. At least the majority of well-educated people in Iraq are not sectarian, nor do they believe in such a divide.
Excerpt from “Adnan al-Pachachi in the Eye of the Storm,” former Iraqi foreign minister and representative to the United Nations
These women are especially at risk in a health care system in which overworked doctors like me focus only on saving their lives; healing their invisible wounds is another story. Even though Iraqis have been living in a violent, unstable environment for years, there is still no culture of mental health care here. It has little to no support from the state or health authorities, and people who do seek psychiatric help are stigmatized by their families and society: these two truths reinforce each other. Even blast victims, if they recover, don’t get counselling.