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The Siege: Palestinian play makes its London debut to a packed audience

the siege

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It's April 2002 and the Second Intifada has engulfed cities across the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In Bethlehem, a group of armed fighters have fled to one of the world's holiest places to seek sanctuary- the Church of Nativity, the birthplace of Jesus. Around 200 Palestinians are also sheltering inside, hiding from the Israeli incursion into the city. In response, Israeli soldiers place Bethlehem under siege and completely surround the Church.

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LIVE BLOG: Where now for Palestine: Abdelwahab Elmessiri's thoughts on Zionism

Abdelwahab Elmessiri Memorial Lecture

Annual lecture to honour the memory, scholarship and achievements of the late Egyptian thinker

Lecture to be delivered by Ronnie Kasrils, prominent South African anti-apartheid activist and politician. The event will be chaired by Victoria Brittain. Read their profiles.

Yasmina Allouche will be live blogging the event on May 19th, from 6.30pm BST.

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Monthly Media Digest - April 2013

One of this month's biggest pieces of news was the resignation of Western backed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. There were widespread hunger strikes in Israeli prisons in protest against the death of an inmate suffering from cancer who had also faced medical neglect by the Israeli authorities, while hunger striker, Samer Issawi, ended his hunger strike following a deal struck with the same authorities.

Writing about the resignation of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, NYT columnist Thomas L Friedman described it as "very bad news". Unelected Fayyad, you see, "was the 'Arab Spring' before there was an Arab Spring". This was a prime example of the conundrum facing Western liberals who want to export democracy but only if the right people win elections.

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The Mulberry House: ordinary family life in the midst of a revolution

The Mulberry House film series

The Mulberry House, which was screened over the weekend as part of the Barbican's "I/Eye in Conflict" film series, is an intimate account of daily life for the film maker Sara Ishaq's family during a tumultuous time in their immediate surroundings. It is 2011 in Sana'a, Yemen and protestors have poured onto the streets to demand an end to the 33 year regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's now ex-president. Sara films the everyday activities of the household during these tense and testing days, capturing ordinary family life as political turmoil and revolution slowly seeps into it.

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A window onto Israeli settlers’ gardens

Wounded installation at Ffotogallery (© Marc Arkless, 2015)

In ancient Mesopotamia kings would return from conquests with plants. They were trophies in the same way treasure was and there was a certain status attached to procuring them: "A garden represents wealth to acquire and buy the plants; wealth to have people to look after them and wealth of water especially in that region. They're a status symbol and a symbol of power," British artist Corinne Silva tells me.

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The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution

The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni RevolutionAuthor: Patrick Cockburn
Publisher: Verso Books
Published Date : 01 January 2015
Paperpack: 192 pages
ISBN:978-1784780401

Review by: Emmanuela Eposti

In the media haze of information and mis-information that proliferates about the conflicts that continue to rage throughout Iraq and Syria, there is one word that has emerged over the past year as a terrifying symptom of the Middle Eastern malaise: "Da'esh". The Arabic term for the self-proclaimed Islamic State (also known as ISIS and ISIL) that stretches across vast swathes of Syria and Iraq, it is a word that has struck fear into the heart of many, and precipitated a splurge of new reports, articles, books, analyses and lay speculation about the origins of the radical Islamist group and the likely ripple effects of its territorial and ideological takeover of the Middle East.

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Monthly Media Digest - March 2013

This month, the two and a half years of rocky diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel following the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010 appear to be coming to a close with Natanyahu finally offering an apology. Several NGO reports have revealed the systematic Israeli detention and abuse of Palestinian children. Obama's first visit to the Holy Land proves wholly underwhelming. And the long-time supporter of the Palestinians Cause, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, sadly loses his battle with cancer.

The month got off to a fiery start with the fall-out from Recep Tayyip Erdogan's remark equating Zionism with "a crime against humanity". He was duly rebuked by America's new Secretary of State, John Kerry who also had the task of "salvaging some chance of an improvement in ties between Turkey and Israel - the first a moderate Muslim-majority nation and important NATO ally and the other the principal United States ally in the Middle East". No mean task.

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