Emma Graham-Harrison

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Women queue to receive cash at a distribution point organised by the World Food Programme in Kabul on 20 November. Photograph: Petros Giannakouris/AP

In the days after the Taliban took Kabul, more than one correspondent shared clips from its streets, marvelling at how fast the city had returned to “surprisingly normal”, with shoppers back out and a sudden sense of quiet in a place that had been constantly braced for the next suicide bombing.

The correspondents were men, who apparently didn’t register one stark difference; it was also largely men in their videos. Most of the city’s women had vanished into their homes, terrified of what Taliban rule would mean for them.

It could have been a momentary slip of attention, at a time of intense pressure.…  Seguir leyendo »

Bezalel Smotrich wants the Israeli military to be allowed to kill children who throw stones. Photograph: Youtube

Bezalel Smotrich has backed segregated maternity wards separating Jewish and Arab mothers, called for government reprisal attacks on Palestinians and once organised a homophobic “Beast Parade” protest against Gay Pride. He is also a member of Israel’s Knesset, a confident polemicist and increasingly prominent political figurehead for the country’s ascendant far-right.

Like the far-right European and American politicians who have upended the political order further west, his stock in trade is drawing fringe beliefs into the political mainstream, shifting the centre of debate.

A commitment to defending settlements on Palestinian land, deemed illegal under international law, runs through his personal and political life.…  Seguir leyendo »

Arab Idol winner Yaqoub Shaheen is welcomed in Bethlehem yesterday. Photograph: Abed Al Hashlamoun/EPA

Two excited crowds gathered in Bethlehem yesterday afternoon, one outside Banksy’s new hotel by the barrier wall, hoping for a glimpse of the internationally famous artist’s latest venture. The much larger, louder group was waiting beside the Church of the Nativity, to welcome a returning local hero, winner of the regional talent competition Arab Idol.

Hundreds of mostly young men and women roared when 23-year-old Yaqoub Shaheen was carried on to the stage in Manger Square. “He’s a Palestinian who shows we have talent regardless of the pressure on us,” said Yasmin el-Ramahi, a classmate of Shaheen’s, from primary school to graduation, and thrilled at seeing him again.…  Seguir leyendo »