Rana Sweis

Arts Review

The Art of Destruction

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YAFRAN, Libya In a country where creativity was stifled to ensure the pre-eminence of one man, art can be the best revenge. Inside the gutted shell of a building that once housed a Qaddafi-regime intelligence unit, the paint of a new mural of a tree whose roots are feeding on the blood of fallen rebel fighters is drying on the wall. The house was half-destroyed in fighting between Col. Muammar el-Qaddafis forces and the rebels who brought him down and thats exactly the way the artist Belgassem Grada hopes it will stay.The slight, wiry oil-field engineer never thought of himself as an artist at most he used to doodle in his spare time. But today Grada, 47, has turned a former outpost of intimidation and symbol of Qaddafis stranglehold over Libya into Freedom House, a museum devoted to memorializing Libyas civil war... Read more

Rana Sweis Articles

Mideast Blog

The Under-Examined Story of Fallujah

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Seven years after the U.S. invasion of Fallujah, there are reports of an alarming rise in the rates of birth defects and cancer. But the crisis, and its possible connection to weapons deployed by the United States during the war, remains woefully under-examined.On November 8, 2004, U.S. military forces launched Operation Phantom Fury 50 miles west of Baghdad in Fallujah, a city of 350,000 people known for its opposition to the Saddam regime...Read more

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