Middle East and North Africa The World

Israel is silently launching missile strikes in Syria while the world is preoccupied

Within the span of a few days, Israel has launched a number of missile strikes in different parts of Syria. According to the Syrian military, “missiles flying over the Golan Heights targeted several locations and air defenses downed several missiles.” Live coverage showed a multi-storey building on fire. Syria air defense responded to Israeli aerial aggression in the Southern region of the country. 

In the past year, there has been an increase in the Syrian targets hit by Israel where a large number of Iranian-backed militias have been able to regain control of the territory lost by Syrian President Bashar al Assad to insurgents in a decade-old civil war. The recent strikes hit the Kisswa region in the southern outskirts of Damascus. The area is used as a military base by the pro-Iranian, Lebanese Hezbollah. The bases hit by Israeli strikes in recent weeks are believed to have a strong presence of Iranian-backed militias. The strikes are believed to be a part of an anti-Iran policy to undermine Iran’s military power without triggering large-scale hostilities.

Israeli air raids increased in intensity this week. On Wednesday, Israeli air force carried out more than 18 attacks against multiple targets in an area stretching from the eastern town of Deir Az Zor to the al-Bukamal desert at the Syrian-Iraqi border. The recent raids have claimed to be the deadliest since 2018. At least 10 soldiers and 47 fighters have been killed. It is reported to be the second wave of Israeli air raids in less than a week.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that at least 15 people were killed and injured in the Israeli strike in southern Syria. The most tragic outcome of the Syrian conflict is that Syrian citizens have become a pawn in a bloody conflict between Syrian authorities, its allies, and the varying external actors involved in the conflict for personal gains. 

The Syrian conflict is one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world with the conflict still ravaging the country. Approximately, 5.6 million Syrians are refugees, and another 6.2 million are displaced within the country. Nearly 12 million Syrians require humanitarian assistance. In recent years, there have been increased calls by humanitarian and international organizations to address the conflict and provide immediate relief to the Syrian people. As a result of this, we have seen a number of petitions being circulated across social media to help the Syrians. Online petitions were rather rampant in the past year due to increased online presence because of COVID restrictions. Many however have argued that the petitions are rather performative than anything else. The aid almost never reaches the people who most need it. 

Certain threads that aim to “raise awareness about Syria” have received significant numbers of retweets. It has been contended, however, that such threads are feeding into Assadist propaganda more than anything else. 

Social media has allowed the rampant flow of information from varying sources, which is both a blessing and a curse. When it comes to Syria, there is little knowledge about the conflict due to a lack of media coverage, political censorship, and people’s inability to access platforms to voice their stories. This can explain the confusion many of us may face when reading up on the issue. As an outsider, it becomes difficult to differentiate between what is political propaganda and what’s the actual truth.

When signing a petition or retweeting a thread about something as sensitive as the Syrian civil war, it is best to do quick research instead of walking into oblivion. There are several credible pages across different platforms to give voice to the Syrians. One such Twitter page @100facesyrev is dedicated to spread awareness about the Syrian uprising and debunk Assadist propaganda.

Another platform worth checking out is @SyriaUntold. The website is available in both English and Arabic. It features Syrian profiles and stories including the Syrian LGBTQ+ community. The website does a remarkable job in amplifying Syrian voices and opinions on a diverse range of topics including but not limited to politics, gender, cinema, and etc.

Each time you come across a petition, carefully read through what it says instead of signing it hastily. Watch out for propagandist wording that could help the different political actors. Look for sources within the country or diaspora citizens to gain a better understanding of the conflict and how to effectively help the people.

The recent Israeli attacks further signify that the Syrian conflict is no longer a civil war but a much larger conflict. It serves as a catalyst for different political and non-political actors to advance their own agendas. It is the Syrian citizens that remain the most vulnerable because no one comes to their aid. Considering that we are living in an increasingly global world, it is as much on all of us to remain vigilant about the conflict when raising awareness and not give in to political propaganda.


Stay updated on our News and Social Justice coverage by following our brand new instagram account!

Activism The World Inequality

Your activism in SWANA countries cannot start and end with Palestine

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of my white, non-Middle Eastern friends posting about Palestine and Yemen on social media. Some of the content has been about protesting recent annexations in Palestine, or the Israeli government. Others are about the famine in Yemen, though with very little political context. This is a good start, but honestly, I wish these allies would step up their game. Activism for SWANA people does not start or end with Palestine and Yemen.

I think it’s great that people are protesting imperialism by the Israeli government. However, I never see any of these people standing up for other colonized or oppressed groups in the Middle East. How many of you are standing up for the Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, Yazidi, or the Druze? Listen, as a Middle-Eastern person, I get that the intricacies of ethnicity in the Middle East can be complicated. Still, there’s no excuse to not stand up for these minority groups. All of them are fighting for human rights, dignity, and autonomy. Do their struggles not matter as well? Or are their struggles just not as popular? 

I’ve seen few posts about the media crackdown in Iran or the financial crisis in Lebanon – that is at least until the Beirut explosion opened people’s eyes to what’s happening in the country. Is it because these issues don’t seem as clear cut? Because it’s harder to project a white savior complex onto them? I’m not so sure.

But I do know that white Americans prefer to center conflicts where they can be the saviour.

Part of me thinks that white allies aren’t willing to speak out on these issues because there’s no media coverage. Another part of me thinks it’s because white allies don’t understand them. When it comes to issues of oppression and imperialism, white Americans have trouble seeing things outside of a Western context.

Race, ethnicity, and religion function in different and complex ways in South West Asia, and so you can’t project Western notions of oppression onto the Middle East. Often, people of the same race or religion oppress each other. It’s easier for white allies to understand Israel and Palestine, in which they are seeing white, Jewish, colonizers versus brown, Muslim, indigenous people. They don’t bother to look at the multitudes more nuanced examples of oppression.

For example, the Kurds, a majority Muslim ethnicity, face repression and violence from the Turkish government. They are often made up of Turks, who are also from a majority Muslim ethnicity. Just because they are both Muslim and appear to be the same ethnicity to Western eyes, doesn’t mean that oppression can’t function in this way. In Palestine, right now, a government made up of Jewish people is oppressive. Still, in most other countries in the area, Jewish people, specifically indigenous Mizrahi or Sephardic Jews, are oppressed by majority ethnic groups.

I’d ask white Western allies to examine why they only pay attention to certain issues. It’s great if you’re passionate about these causes, but consider why you only care about the ones that are trending.

It’s also important for white Westerns to not hold double standards for South West Asian countries. Go ahead and criticize the imperialism and ethno-nationalism present in the Israeli government. It’s justified. But don’t you dare ignore the settler colonialism that created countries such as America, South Africa, Australia, or the ethno-nationalism responsible for the formation of almost every European country.

Speak out for the treatment of ethnic minorities in Turkey, by all means. But you still must ask yourself how your own country treats ethnic minorities as well. If you’re upset over the media crackdown in Iran, make sure you also criticize secret police arrests in Portland.

Many white Western allies are making an effort, but they need to do better. I understand that Middle Eastern politics can be confusing, but it’s not helpful to anyone to reduce these issues to a singular “endless war” that only Westerners can solve. Palestine and Yemen are great starting points, but we need more consistent allyship. I want to see white Western allies show up even when it’s not trendy.

So stand with us even when you don’t hear about it in the news, even when you don’t gain “woke pains,” and even when it’s complex and not easy to understand. If you’re a real ally, it shouldn’t be an issue.


Get The Tempest in your inbox. Read more exclusives like this in our weekly newsletter!


Meet the 23 most badass goddesses ever

If your high school education was anything like mine, you learned a whole lot about Zeus and Poseidon somewhere between reading The Lightning Thief and Oedipus Rex. You probably caught on to a couple of the awesome goddesses in these myths (Hera, Aphrodite, Athena, we all had our favorite), but might not have known that there were more where they came from.
Il capo farmaceutico difende l’aumento del prezzo dei farmaci del 400% come un “requisito morale” | Financial Times boldenone doppia blusa katori in carta taglio farmaceutico 38size
It turns out that there’s a whole pantheon of incredibly cool and world-changing female figures in world mythology. We’ve found twenty-three that struck us as the most amazing examples of women in religion and legend. Without further ado, here are our favorite goddesses.

1. Tiamat

If you’re a fan of creation myths, Tiamat has got to be one of your favorite goddesses.

In the Babylonian Enuma Elish, Tiamat gives birth to the world’s gods and creates the earth–then she gets into a major battle with the other gods. Plus, her nickname is “chaos monster,” so that’s pretty legit.

2. Hel

We get our name for the underworld from this crazy cool Norse goddess. When the ancient Norse told each other to “Go to Hel” it literally meant “To go to the underworld” or “To go to see the goddess Hel.”

Did we mention that she leads an army of the dead during Ragnarok (the Norse apocalypse)?

3. Bast/Bastet/Basthet

All cat-ladies probably should have lived in Ancient Egypt. Then, they could have prayed to the cat goddess Bast for sensual pleasure, fertility, and health.

Goddess by day, Bast transformed into a cat at night to fend of serpents that sought to attack her father Ra.


4. Mazu/Tin Hau

Born Lin Moniang in 960, the goddess Mazu was said to have guided ships to harbor during her childhood. She continues to be worshipped across China and South Taiwan as a goddess of seafarers (pirates and storms beware!).

5. Atalanta

Raised by bears and hunters after her father abandoned her on a mountaintop, Atalanta became a feared virgin huntress. She eventually married Hippomenes after he beat her in a footrace (only because he distracted her with golden apples) and they had one son (but were turned into lions after disappointing Zeus).

Weird, right?

6. Mami Wata

African goddess of water Mami Wata represents and controls the spirits of the water. She’s often depicted as a mermaid and seen with snakes, and she’s as important to African diaspora communities.

If she isn’t badass, I don’t know who is.

7. Ixchel

We could tell you that there are goddesses more badass than Ixchel, but then we’d be lying. After all, her nickname is “the aged jaguar goddess of midwifery.” Wow.

She’s the goddess of both war and childbirth, so that’s more than a little cool in our book.

8. Princess Liễu Hạnh

If someone tells you that you’re definitely not allowed to worship a god or goddess, you know there must be something cool about them. Turns out, worship of Princess Liễu Hạnh was totally prohibited during the first years of the North Vietnamese Communist regime (but women have started worshipping her again since the 1980s).

Goddess of female emancipation and female power, Princess Liễu Hạnh was the daughter of the Jade Emperor, one of the four immortals, and a central figure in Taoism and other East Asian religions.

9. Ixcacao

Goddess of chocolate. Need we say more?

Ixcacao (or, Cacao Woman) was a Mayan and Meso-American goddess of fertility and agriculture (and, of course, chocolate).

10. Gaea/Gaia

Gaea is not just the earth goddess in Greek mythology, but the actual Earth as well. In Greek myth, she gives birth to the sky and sea, as well as all of the Titans and Giants.

11. Parvati

Wife of Shiva and mother of Ganesha, Pavarti is the Hindu goddess of love and devotion. Her love for her son Ganesha forced her husband, Shiva god of war, to find her son a new head when his was lost – leading to Ganesha’s appearance as a human god with an elephant head.

12. Pele

We have three words for you: Goddess. Of. Volcanoes. Pele’s creative and destructive powers allowed her to form the volcanoes that would eventually create the Hawaiian islands.

13. Tara

In Buddhism, the goddess Tara is not only a deity but also a Bodhisattva ( person who has reached enlightenment).

She’s often depicted as either the White Tara (goddess of health and peace) or the Green Tara (goddess of fertility and protection).

14. Yemaya

In Ancient Nigeria, Yemaya was the goddess of the river among the Yoruba people. But, when Africans were taken as slaves to the Americas, she became the goddess of the ocean and followed in their stories.

When you hold a seashell to your ear and listen to the roaring noises it produces, that is said to be the voice of Yemaya speaking to you.

15. White Buffalo Calf Woman

Among certain Native American tribes, White Buffalo Calf Woman taught her people to live in harmony with the natural world. Not only did she teach children to love and care for wild animals, but she also taught the people of the earth that they all came from the same beginnings.

16. Freya

Get excited again, cat-ladies, the Norse goddess Freya rode a chariot driven by cats according to ancient myth. Freya, goddess of love, sex, beauty, fertility, war, and death, also governed the afterlife in Fólkvangr (not Hel nor Valhalla, but a kind of in-between).

17. Isis

Goddess of nature and magic, Isis was the Ancient Egyptian goddess of children and the dead. With her brother Osiris, Isis gave birth to the falcon god Horus.

The annual floods of the Nile river are even tied to her: Ancient Egyptians believed that her tears flowed heavily in memory of the time when the god Set dismembered her brother.

18. Ostara/Oestre

Saxon goddess of dawn and spring-time, Ostara is often depicted with a hare, or rabbit, alongside her.

According to myth, when spring arrived late one year, Ostara felt guilty at the sight of a shivering bird and took that bird as her companion (giving him legs to avoid hunters and naming him Lepus).

19.  Gordafarid/Gurdāfarīd

In the Persian epic poem The Book of KingsGordafarid is a heroine who defeats Sohrab, the commander of the Turanian army, to protect her homeland.

In modern Iranian culture, Gordafarid continues to represent female bravery and wisdom.

20. Durga

Durga takes many forms as the mother goddess of Shakti mythology but is most well-known as the goddess of victory of good over evil. In some traditions, she’s even thought to be the basis for the goddess Pavarti: Durga is the warrior goddess version of the earth mother goddess Adishakti, and Pavarti is the earthly-version of Adishakti.

21. Ishtar

Ancient Sumerian goddess of love, war, sex, power, and fertility, Ishtar also appears in Aramean mythology as the goddess Astarte.

If you’ve seen photographs of the Ishtar Gate, then you know how influential Ishtar was across Ancient Near Eastern religions.

22. Banu Goshasp

Another favorite of Persian poetry, Banu Goshasp appeared in many Iranian epics like the Banu Goshasp Nama. In fact, the Banu Goshasp Nama is thought to be one of the oldest Persian epics about a warrior woman, and tells the story of Banu Goshasp’s journeys through Turan and India.

23. Itzpapalotl/Ītzpāpālōtl

It’s hard to find a goddess worthy of closing-out all these other incredibly female goddesses, but Itzpapalotl fits the occasion. After all, she was the Aztec skeletal warrior goddess who ruled Tamoanchan, home of human creation and infant mortality victims. Her nickname was even “Obsidian Butterfly”–pretty cool if you ask us.
Online PHP Sandbox on Steroids! dimethazine alarming number of pharma executive login credentials available on the dark web

Even though we’ve all grown up in a patriarchal society where Jupiter and Shiva, Hercules and Ba’al come to mind before any female goddesses, there are plenty of rocking ladies in the land of mythology. Here’s to these literal goddesses!

Culture Family Life

Being part Middle Eastern made me feel like an imposter

I was walking back with some classmates one day after a study session, using the time to express my annoyance at how people treat all Middle Eastern people like terrorists. My other classmates agreed with me, but then one of them, a white male conservative, said something that shocked me. He told me he understood why people were so scared of Middle Eastern people because he was a little scared himself.

There was only one catch. I’m Middle Eastern.

I’ll admit, I don’t look stereotypically Middle Eastern. I have light hair, blue eyes, and an itty bitty nose, like the whitest of white American socialites. I have a very white American name, Camilla, courtesy of my WASPy father. However, I am still proudly and genuinely Middle Eastern.

My mother’s side of the family is Armenian, primarily from Turkey and Iran. Our family also hails from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, and Azerbaijan. We come from Istanbul, Isfahan, Jerusalem, and Beirut. We’ve lived in the Middle East for thousands of years, so we consider ourselves indigenous to the region. Our ancestral tongue is Armenian, as well as Turkish, Arabic, and Farsi. Many of my family members still speak these languages. We eat shish kebab, pilaf, hummus, baklava, tabbouleh, and other delicious Middle Eastern foods that aren’t as well known. My family members have names like Krikor, Arousiak, Satenik, and Armen, that other people think are difficult to pronounce. My grandmother’s house is full of doilies, embroidery, and soorj (coffee) pots from the old country. And trust me, you don’t want to get caught between my family members when they fight over who pays the check. 

I still look white, and I consider myself white. My name, religion, and appearance are all familiar to other white Americans. But being Middle Eastern and not looking it can be a strange and painful experience – sometimes I feel like an imposter. 

Family gatherings are the worst. My family always comments on my appearance, telling me that I’m pretty because I don’t look Armenian. I always hear how much I look like my father, how lucky I am to have a small nose, and how nobody would ever know I was Middle Eastern. I know they mean to compliment me, but it makes me feel as if I don’t belong – like I’m invisible

My non-Middle Eastern peers are also not particularly understanding. When I tell people where I’m from, several people have asked if I’ve had a nose job. Oftentimes, I talk about my culture, only to hear some snarky remark like “well, you don’t look like it,” or “you’re only part Middle-Eastern.” I get it, I have never and will never experience the profiling and racism that so many other Middle Eastern people experience. However, my appearance will never erase my cultural and familial roots. It is not up to non-Middle Eastern people to determine how I identify and how I express my culture.

The worst part is that when I’m in white spaces, I hear a lot of racism against Middle Eastern people. Because other white people assume I’m not Middle Eastern, they seem to think they can say terrible things about my culture with no consequences. I’ve heard white boys say they wanted to bomb Iran, without realizing that my family lived in Iran for hundreds of years. I’ve heard white people say that Middle Easterners have sex with goats (we don’t), are all terrorists (also not true), and are all oil tycoons (I do have a relative who was an oil tycoon, but still, that’s not the point).

All of these comments have hurt me deeply. It especially hurts to know that if these people knew that I was Middle Eastern, they wouldn’t have said a thing. These kinds of cowardly racists like to test the waters around other white people, to see how far they can push it. It’s a covert and secret form of racism that I would have never known existed if I didn’t look the way I do.

It’s difficult at times. I almost feel like two people. In one word, I’m a spy in white America who’s there to ruin the fun when someone makes a racist comment. In the other, I’m an assimilated family member who doesn’t understand the traditions and doesn’t look like anyone else. So many times, I feel stuck, torn. I know I could blend into white American culture seamlessly. Still, I don’t want to give up my Middle Eastern heritage.

In the end, as hard as it is, I am grateful for my complexity. It allows me to see the world through multiple lenses, to experience different cultures, and to look past my assumptions of other people. Regardless of how others perceive me, I am immeasurably proud to be Middle Eastern, and I will carry that pride with me all my life.

Fashion Lookbook

Why Tehran and Istanbul are the fashion capitals of the future

When you hear the phrase ‘fashion capital’, you might immediately think of Milan, London, Paris, or New York. After all, some of the most iconic fashion designers of recent times – Coco Chanel, Tommy Hilfiger, Alexander McQueen, and Gianni Versace, to name a few – have emerged from or are strongly affiliated with these cities. 

But there are two cities that are strikingly fashion forward, yet rarely recognized for being so: Tehran and Istanbul. Seemingly different, yet similar, these two cities have one pursuit in common: the breaking of stereotypes through self-expression. 

[Image description: A woman wears a red headscarf and stares into the camera.] Via Milad Shams on Unsplash.
When I traveled to Tehran for the first time, my trip gave me a brand new perspective on what the words ‘fashion statement’ really meant. In Iran, what you wear is more than just the brand name. Your style is a gateway of self-expression and individuality, an attitude that allowed me to embrace my truest self through my wardrobe.

Islamic dress code has in many ways inspired Iranians to create newer, more intricate ideas that fit into this framework for women and men alike. Iranians have mastered the idea of turning a simple look into a unique, chic style tailored to one’s individual personality. Many shop owners travel abroad to different countries, finding the newest, most fashion-forward trends to bring back home. In some cases, sellers open boutiques, called mezon or maison, in their own homes, where they sell only the latest trends. Here, you will find styles that are not yet on the market in many countries, but have been introduced only in cities like Paris or Milan.

Iran has its own set of designers and taste-makers that are redefining street style and Islamic or modest fashion.  For modest, yet fashion-forward styles, designers like Naghmeh Kiumarsi are setting the standards. Breaking free of the traditional black or blue chador, Naghmeh incorporates rich colors, like deep maroons and emerald greens, to pull off a sophisticated look. 

Another designer, Shadi Parand, ensures that her customers have a one-of-a-kind outfit, as she never makes the same design twice. Shadi incorporates traditional Iranian prints and integrates them into more modern styles. She also designs looks that are to be worn both indoors and outdoors.

Recently, Tehran has revamped the tried-and-true trend of pleated skirts paired with traditional loose coats by adding patterned head scarves with just the right pop of color that are tied or arranged in a number of different styles. It should be noted that these styles are complementary for both Muslims and non-Muslims, such as myself, and allow us to access the fashion world and the latest trends on our own terms.

[Image description: Two women in pink and blue coats and sparkling heels walk along a street in Istanbul.] Via negativespace.
Istanbul is equally unique, but for a different reason. Istanbul is on the cusp of the Middle East and Europe. Because of this, it has become noted for its unique take on fashion that is influenced by both East and West. 

In 2018, one of the more prominent fashion shows, MAGIC, held its annual show in Las Vegas, where Istanbul was named as a fashion capital for the first time. There, prominent Turkish designers showcased their newest designs for the American public. Designers from the most notable fashion capitals, like Milan, London, and Paris, have implemented Turkish designs and ideas into their own collections.

Designers like Zeynep Guntas moved to Milan to pursue her fashion line. Zeynep hand-paints all of her clothing, which has grown in popularity in Milan, especially as streetwear. Turkish designer Bora Aksu has grown rapidly popular in London, where he incorporates designs tailored to a more European style. Another Turkish designer, ERDEM, is based in Canada. He creates chic evening wear that is elegant and unique with intricate patterns.

[Image description: A girl in a red sweater and black headscarf is seated on a bench with her back to the camera.] Via Erfan Amiri on Unsplash.
As of late, Istanbul has shifted from mostly purely European styles to integrating more modest looks that incorporate Islamic values and Turkish culture. One notable modest fashion line is  Modanisa, which aims to produce more modest interpretations of the latest fashion trends. 

These designs not only have an ‘East meets West’ element, but also recapture a global discourse that has historically been dominated by the Western world. In a day and age when there are many misconceptions about the Middle East and Islam, designers in both Tehran and Istanbul have been working to break free of stereotypes. They also give new meaning to what it means to be fashionable or on-trend.

Not only are both cities fashion forward, the designs they produce appeal to a large, previously uncatered-to audience. This has allowed them to practice self-expression without compromising their values or preferences. This open-mindedness, creativity and innovation make both cities worthy of being the future fashion capitals of the world.


10 of the most heartwarming wedding traditions from around the world

Wedding season is here again, and with it comes non-stop action and excitement for brides, grooms, and everyone else that’s a part of such a momentous occasion – not to mention many wedding traditions!  If you’re a bride to be, you’ve probably glanced over many a wedding magazine, and Pinterest is probably your new best friend.

However, wedding planning is often as exciting as it is draining. One thing that might help when it feels like you’re running out of ideas is exploring wedding traditions from other cultures. Random as it may seem, cultural traditions can help give you inspiration for your own wedding, especially regarding what meaning and mood you’d like it to embody.

The cross-cultural wedding traditions on this list will make any girl swoon – from sweet well-wishes to the couple from guests to a literal knife dance (yes, really), there’s a little bit of inspiration here for every kind of couple. 

1.  Henna night, Turkey

[Image description: Bride is celebrated during henna night.] via Shutterstock
[Image description: Bride is celebrated during henna night.] via Shutterstock
During a Turkish henna night, known as Kina Ginesi, the bride has henna placed on her hands prior to leaving her mother. The bride wears a velvet dress and a veil and is surrounded by her female friends and family members.

While the bride sits and has her henna done, the other women sing sad songs around her. The idea is to make the bride cry before she leaves home, and once the women succeed, they each put henna on the bride’s hands and then on the hands of the bride’s mother and other guests.

While this tradition may be seen as sad to some, it commemorates the beautiful bond between a mother and a daughter.  As someone who is super close to her mom, this one gives me the feels for sure!

2. The couple’s entrance, Assyrians

[Image description: Assyrian wedding entry with woman and man seated on chairs.] Via Unsplash
[Image description: Assyrian wedding entry with woman and man seated on chairs.] Via Unsplash
I might be biased when I say this, but Assyrians really know how to throw a wedding. My favorite part of an Assyrian wedding has always been the entrance by the couple – not only is it a beautiful site to see, but it’s so much fun!

Prior to the couple entering the hall, families, and friends gather near the entrance doors. As the couple proceeds into the hall, family members and friends dance and sing in front of the newlyweds. Women often wave their yalikhta or dancing veil around the happy couple, and the touching moment displays the happiness of the couple’s family and friends for their union.

3. Zaffe, Lebanon

[Image description: Man and woman dance in the Lebanese wedding tradition.] via visualizepictures
[Image description: Man and woman dance in the Lebanese wedding tradition.] via visualizepictures
I’m not even Lebanese, but I don’t have to be to love this tradition. Typically, the zaffe takes place at the respective homes of the couple. Drums are played, zaffe dancers perform, and friends and family partake in the celebrations.

Both the bride and groom dance around the drummers, with family and friends joining in. It’s a fun and celebratory tradition that’s guaranteed to get the party started at any wedding.

4. Knife dance, Iran

[Image description: An Iranian knife dance takes place] via Fiona Hall Photography
[Image description: An Iranian knife dance takes place] via Fiona Hall Photography
There’s everybody else’s version of cutting the wedding cake, and then there’s the Iranian version. Known as raghseh chagoo, this tradition begins when a female family member or friend begins dancing to a Persian tune whilst holding the cake knife in her hand.

In true Iranian fashion, the women dance gracefully despite having to hold a knife in their hands throughout the routine. The couple then has to give her money in the hopes of earning the knife.

The woman may accept the money and then proceed to give the knife to another woman. This continues until a female relative or friend feels the bride and groom have earned the knife. It’s a unique way of celebrating the cutting of the cake and is super fun to watch.

5. Kanyadaan, India

[Image description: A bride’s hand is seen being placed on top of the groom’s hand.] via Giphy.
As a daughter, the thought of being given away is an emotional one. In Indian culture, the Kanyadaan is the process of the father giving away his daughter. During the Kanyadaan, the father of the bride takes her right hand and places it on top of the groom’s right hand. This act is the way the father asks the groom to treat his daughter as an equal partner.

After the hands are placed on top of one another, the mother of the bride pours holy water on top of both hands. As people chant during the ceremony, the water soaks through the bride’s hands and into the groom’s, signifying unity.

6. The wishing tree, the Netherlands

[Image description: A Dutch wedding tree, filled with wishes] via Shutterstock
[Image description: A Dutch wedding tree, filled with wishes] via Shutterstock
Some cultures have a wedding guestbook signed by well-wishers that couples can have as a keepsake, but the Dutch go above and beyond in this respect. In the Netherlands, there is no wedding book. Instead, there is a tree that guests adorn with well-wishes for the bride and groom.

Friends and family of the couple write down their well-wishes on small note cards or leaflets, while the tree is typically placed adjacent to the couple’s table.

After the notes are written and collected, they are given to the couple to read aloud, after which the couple ties the notes onto the tree with colorful ribbons. It’s a lovely way of wishing the couple a lifetime of happiness from the people that matter most to them.

7. Releasing doves, Philippines

[Image description: A couple holds a pair of doves.] via Shutterstock
[Image description: A couple holds a pair of doves.] via Shutterstock
Throughout history, doves have been symbols of peace, so it should be no surprise that they are often released during weddings. In Filipino tradition, the bride and groom release a pair of doves, one male, and one female.

This is seen to symbolize unity, prosperity, love, and peace within the marriage.

8. Giving the bride a pair of lovespoons, Wales

[Image description: A pair of lovespoons for a Welsh  couple] via Shutterstock
[Image description: A pair of lovespoons for a Welsh couple] via Shutterstock
The history of lovespoons alone is enough to make you swoon. Historically, lovespoons were carved out by a man and given to the woman he loved, and the spoons would usually be decorated with intricate designs symbolizing the love between the couple. The woodwork was also important to the father of the bride as it symbolized the groom’s capability to provide for their daughter.

Today, Welsh couples are gifted lovespoons by friends and family. The grooms may also gift these spoons to their brides-to-be before the wedding or in some cases after the marriage. The token of love is not just a display of creativity, but also a beautiful way to express one’s love.

9. Unity bowls of rocks, Australia

[Image description: An Australian wedding ceremony might feature the tradition of a unity bowl.] via Pinterest
[Image description: An Australian wedding ceremony might feature the tradition of a unity bowl.] via Pinterest
Prepare yourself for the waterworks. In Australia, the friends and family of the happy couple fill a bowl with various stones. At first glance, this may seem a bit strange, but the meaning behind the tradition is genuinely touching. The stones vary in color, with each symbolizing the color each family member or friend brings to the lives of the couple.

At the end of the wedding, the couple is given the bowl full of stones. The bowl serves as a symbol of the love and support that the couple has from their friends and family. It’s a lovely way to include your friends and family in one of the most important days of your life and serves as an important reminder of their love and support.

10. Bringing the flames, South Africa

[Image description: A display of a South African fire ceremony] via Shutterstock
[Image description: A display of a South African fire ceremony] via Shutterstock
This tradition is incredibly beautiful and touching. In South Africa, the parents of the bride and the groom carry firewood from their own homes to the home of the couple. There, they begin burning the wood in the hopes of igniting the flames of the new home.

What is important about this tradition is that the firewood that is brought over by the parents is a symbol of the flames from the couples’ childhood homes and the continuation of that warmth and light into their new homes and lives.

In other words, this touching tradition reminds newlyweds that home is not too far away and that the feelings of comfort and security from their childhood homes are with them always.


Understanding labor of love through the life of Maryam Mirzakhani

“Life is not fair. I was born in a loving family. I was born with a smart head and had good people around me. I didn’t complain about how fair it is. Many people in this world don’t have these things. Why should I complain now?”

These are the words of the renowned mathematician, Maryam Mirzakhani, who passed away at the young age of 40 of recurrent cancer. Maryam is the first and the only woman mathematician, to have won the Fields Medal, considered an equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

The Fields Medal is awarded every four years, to persons who have made distinguished contributions to Mathematics. Maryam was honored for her groundbreaking work in studying the dynamics and geometries of curved surfaces. Born and raised in Tehran, Iran; Maryam showed exceptional brilliance in the subject during her middle school years, going on to complete a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

In terms of her achievements and her caliber as a mathematician, her life is nothing but exemplary. However, the more I read about Maryam, the more I see her as an artist, who simply loved what she did. To me, Maryam’s life is the definition of the labor of love, a quality that every creator must possess in order to produce the best work possible.

Through her values, she metamorphosed the idea of leading life with passion, becoming an example for the rest of the world to follow.

Maryam showed the world the value of enjoying the process. In her own words, she described herself as a “slow thinker”, who had the patience and the optimism to tackle the most challenging issues of theoretical mathematics.

Like a dreamer, she doodled over large white charts laid out onto the floor, scribbling formulae on the margins of her mathematical drawings.

The chart acted as her canvas and her ‘painting’ represented the beauty that she saw in solving a complex and time-consuming problem. Her drawings gave her a window to the possibilities that the geometric complexities represented, and with it the drive to find answers through them.

Another aspect of Maryam was her remarkable quality of being optimistically ambitious. She was undeterred in the face of tough mathematical problems, and found answers not just through sheer grit but also uncomplicated hope.

Her colleague, Alex Eskin, remembers, “She is very optimistic, and that’s infectious. When you work with her, you feel you have a much better chance of solving problems that at first seem hopeless.”

However, most importantly, Maryam held the simplest values in the highest regard as her way of life. She valued her family and her work, without caring much for distractions.

Her husband, Jan Vondrák reminisced this quality of hers, stating, “She didn’t worry about what people said. People criticized her. She really didn’t care. She knew what she wanted to do.”

Like a dreamer, she doodled over large white charts laid out onto the floor, scribbling formulae on the margins of her mathematical drawings.

Maryam’s fortitude and strong character were the reasons she continued working despite suffering from critical illness in her last years. She did not have answers when she began, but she had the uncompromising belief that she would figure them out eventually.

And that is the kind of force that can move mountains. As I discover more about Maryam, I believe that each one of us driven by a passion, can derive hope and strength from her life, and forge our way ahead.

Just the way Maryam did.

USA Politics The World

The “Muslim ban” will forever leave a stain on the Supreme Court’s legacy

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the United States decided on the case of Trump v. Hawaii, which challenged the third iteration of Trump’s controversial travel ban – also known as the “Muslim ban.” It was called out by civil rights campaigners for targeting predominantly-Muslim countries, including Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. In fact, of the eight countries Trump targeted for the ban, five of them were Muslim-majority countries.

The argument against the travel ban was two-pronged.

First, that Trump had no executive authority to issue the order to put the ban into place; and two, that Trump’s anti-Muslim statements meant that the banning citizens from Muslim countries had less to do with “protecting national security” as the government claimed, and was instead primarily focused on preventing Muslim immigration into the US.

The Court determined that the ban fell within Trump’s executive authority and that his anti-Muslim statements and actions had no bearing on the case.

“The [order] is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices…The text says nothing about religion,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion, which was cosigned by the Court’s more conservative justices.

[bctt tweet=”The Court claims the travel ban has nothing to do with religion, but we can see right past that.” username=”wearethetempest”]

In a scathing dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, slammed the majority’s argument. She cites several instances during President Trump’s election campaign where he made anti-Muslim statements and referenced anti-Muslim videos. Trump’s biases are so severe, she argued, that they shouldn’t be overlooked in determining his true motives for the ban.

“The majority here completely sets aside the President’s charged statements against Muslims as irrelevant. That holding erodes the fundamental principles of religious tolerance that the court elsewhere has so emphatically protected, and it tells members of minority religions in our country ‘that they are outsiders, not full members of our political community,'” Sotomayor charged.

Although it’s too soon to completely tell what the Court’s ruling will mean in the long-term, Trump’s travel ban has technically been in effect since December, which means there is some evidence of its effect on immigration patterns.

Although the travel ban has different restrictions for each country on the list, all citizens who are still eligible to apply for visas to come to the USA from their home countries will be required to undergo a more extended and thorough vetting process. Unsurprisingly, the number of visas that have actually been issued to applicants have been significantly reduced since the introduction of the ban. Only two of the roughly 16,500 visa candidates who fit the travel ban’s vetting requirements were admitted in the month following the ban, and the number of asylum seekers and refugees from the countries affected by the ban has been admitted in 2018.

[bctt tweet=”Unsurprisingly, the number of visas that have actually been issued to applicants have been significantly reduced since the introduction of the ban.” username=”wearethetempest”]

The lack of ability to travel into the United States is more than likely going to have an impact on the capability of students from affected countries to come to the US to study, even if they’ve already received a student visa in the past. Some universities have even recommended that their students from impacted areas seriously consider if they need to go home, especially if the students are from Syria. No visas for any purpose will be granted to Syrians, and so students who are in the States from Syria would definitely be denied a return to the US if they went back home for any purpose.

[bctt tweet=”Some universities have even recommended that their students from impacted areas seriously consider if they need to go home” username=”wearethetempest”]

Women’s advocacy groups in the Middle East have also noted that the travel ban will impact the ability of organizations to meet with human rights organizations based in the United States. For example, the Global Fund for Women noted several instances of women’s groups having difficulties gaining the visas that the needed to attend meetings for the United Nations, which means that the GFW has been unable to best advocate for the women it serves.

Even though the ban has only been in place for six months, it has already damaged the ability of students, refugees and women’s groups to access aid they need from the United States. The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the ban has solidified this dangerous policy.

Politics The World

Trump just proved just how dedicated he is to white supremacy, and it’s disturbing

President Trump was the first sitting president to address the 2017 Values Voter Summit, a conservative political conference held annually in Washington, D.C. The Values Voter Summit is a space for conservative and white nationalists to rail against LGBTQ+ equality, abortion and women’s rights, and Islam.

It’s a gathering also dedicated to the promotion of church over state, reiterating the false claim that the “war on Christianity” is somehow damaging America.

The conference is hosted by the Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled as a hate group in 2010. The Family Research Council promotes “family values,” and opposes LGBTQ+ rights, abortion, and comprehensive same-sex education. The group champions abstinence-only sex education, prayer in public schools, and a federal conscience clause which allows medical workers to deny some treatments (such as abortion or blood transfusions) base.

Additionally, Josh Duggar, part of the infamous Duggar clan and the sexual predator who molested several of his sisters, is the former executive director of FRC Action, the legislative branch of the Family Research Council.

It’s easy to see how Trump’s validation of and involvement with this conference is a train wreck.

In what resembles a madman’s incoherent gibberish, Trump addressed the crowd dozens of problematic and tyrannical-like statements. He insisted that “in America, we don’t worship the government, we worship God.” Several times, he promised that under his administration, religious liberty would not be threatened and condemned the attacks on “Judeo-Christian values.” He lauded his decision to reinstate the global gag rule.

He assured the crowd that “Merry Christmas” is a phrase that will be freely used instead of more inclusive statements, such as “Happy Holidays,” because, you know, the war on Christians.

He announced his decision to make Sept. 3, 2017, as a National Day of Prayer; but we all know that this is really a day of prayer specifically created for white evangelical Christians, not Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, or any other followers of different faiths. His National Day of Prayer is also detrimental because it is a way for him – and his administration – to duck any real financial responsibility and avoid doing the difficult labor of rebuilding communities devastated by the recent hurricanes. Trump’s promises and remarks at the Values Voter Summit reek of converging church and state, and indeed, positing the church and its followers over the government.

This is a violation of the Constitution’s First Amendment, and excludes and discriminates against anyone who isn’t white and Christian.


He’s concerned with “Christian values” being attacked, but what about the burning and vandalism of mosques in the United States?

He’s worried about the celebration of Christmas, but what about the multiple religious holidays practiced by people around the world of different faiths that fall in December and January?

If you want more proof that he was using his position at the Summit to pander to his white, so-called Christian base, consider the fact that he called Iran a “terrorist nation” and alleged that Pakistan has been “taking advantage of the U.S. for years.”

Additionally, he riled up the crowd by reaffirming that the American flag deserves respect, an obvious dig at all the African-American athletes who have recently been taking a knee during the national anthem to protest inequality and police brutality.

Trump’s remarks were disturbing, but not completely surprising, given he was attending a conference created for people who condone and encourage transphobia, homophobia and Islamophobia.

Once again, President Trump made it clear in no uncertain terms what direction he plans on taking this country in, and who he views as worthy of his time, praise, and support.

He is dedicated to his bigoted, cult-like white Christian following and refuses to address the concerns of immigrants, African-Americans, gays, lesbians, transgender individuals, people of color, women, or any oppressed group.

The promises he made at the Values Voter Summit are so terrifying because they are soaked in white supremacy and white nationalism. They narrow the gap between church and state and actively trample on the freedoms of others.

Tech The World Now + Beyond

Why is Apple banning people in Iran from getting an iPhone?

Over 20 million Iranians are tech-savvy smartphone users; a majority of these smartphones are Androids, with Samsung being the most popular smartphone amongst Iranians.

Many people would love to try an iPhone but sanctions between the United States and Iran that complicate the relationship between Apple and the average Iranian.

“We don’t have international payment in Iran yet, that means no credit cards or any other method of international payment. So if a startup wants to sell its app or uses In-App Purchase, it has basically no choice in Iran. There are a few startups in the country that have In-App Purchase feature or are selling their apps on App Store, but they’ve registered their companies outside of Iran to be able to do this. So both Apple and these apps are losing money in the absence of the international payment. But in the recent cases, the problem doesn’t lie within the international payment but with the sanctions.” – MohammadReza Azali of Techrasa

Many Iran-based citizens were registering themselves outside of Iran to innovate around these issues, but it seems Apple has caught on recently.

If you were a startup trying to get your app on the App Store in Iran, this what you will see:

“Unfortunately, there is no App Store available for the territory of Iran. Additionally, apps facilitating transactions for businesses or entities based in Iran may not comply with the Iranian Transactions Sanctions Regulations (31CFR Part 560) when hosted on the App Store. For these reasons, we are unable to accept your application at this time. We encourage you to resubmit your application once international trade laws are revised to allow this functionality.“

Thanks, Iranian Transactions and Sanction Regulations (31 CFR Part 360).

Just a few days ago, Digikala, one of the biggest Iranian e-commerce company, was removed from the Apple store without warning.

Digikala uses the Shaparak payment system, an isolated system that is described as being similar to Muqarnas, instead of using an international system. (Muqarnas is a form of three-dimensional Islamic architectural art.) Sharparak systems do not violate Apple’s terms and conditions since they are not linked internationally.

The only way an Iranian can get an iPhone in Iran is to get one smuggled in.

However, when a country has a thriving system of Apple product smuggling, it comes at a steep price.

Anonymous sources reported to The Tempest how they’ve first-hand witnessed iPhones being sold in Iran, just a day after the official iPhone release in the U.S.

Even though these phones reach Iran quickly, they are quite expensive for the first few months.  It is not uncommon for Iranians to pay 5-6 times the full price of the iPhone to have the newest technology.

“All of my wife’s friends have iPhones. Why can’t she have one?” asked one source, in frustration.

“Nothing can stop Iranians from getting what they want. We have complete fake Apple stores in Iran. They look just like Apple stores since they sell Macs, Apple watches, iPhones, etc.” said another source.

Apple has reportedly tried to open a store in Iran, but nothing came out of the deals in 2015.

It’s only natural for Iranians to want more choices between phones. If they want to decide between buying an Android and an iPhone, they shouldn’t have to pay a crazy amount of money for it.

Politics The World

How attending an airport rally helped me regain hope

In the two weeks since Donald Trump officially became president, Trump has signed multiple executive orders that have already had severe political ramifications across the globe.

On Friday, President Trump issued an executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. After Trump introduced the idea of a Muslim ban in December 2015, Republicans went on television and said the proposal would not happen. Vice President Mike Pence even tweeted that a Muslim ban is “offensive” and “unconstitional.”

It’s undeniable that Muslims were frequently targeted and attacked over the course of the 2016 election. Not only did Trump tell CNN’s Anderson Cooper that “Islam hates us,” he also falsely stated that he saw thousands of Muslims cheering as the Twin Towers fell in September 2001.

Even Hillary Clinton frequently talked about Muslims in the context of terrorism, saying that America needs “to work with American Muslim communities who are on the front lines to identify and prevent attacks.”

Many American Muslims, including myself, have grown tired of being singled out by politicians. We are tired of the anti-Islamic rhetoric used to instill fear in people gain their votes. We are sick of constantly being correlated with terrorism when we have nothing to do with violent extremists halfway across the world.

When television networks, politicians and internet trolls facilitate Islamophobia, it’s easy to feel hopeless that people will ever see or understand the beauty of Islam.

When you hear about mosques being set on fire, it’s difficult to stay positive.

When you hear about Muslims being shot dead as they prayed in a Quebec City mosque, it’s easy to lose hope.
When you hear about Syrian refugees being denied entry into the United States, it’s hard to remain optimistic.

But after I saw how thousands of Americans voluntarily went to airports to protest the immigration ban, I was deeply moved. My fellow Americans showed they will not remain silent about President Trump’s unjust and discriminatory executive order.

I attended a rally at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut and saw people holding a signs saying “Muslims wanted” and “Fuck Islamophobia.” People came up to me and complemented my American flag hijab and asked to take pictures with me. I had conversations with some of the friendliest strangers.

On television, I watched national news coverage of non-Muslims forming protective circles around Muslims as they prayed in airports.

Never in my life have I seen large groups of Muslims praying so comfortably in American airports.

I even saw a video of an Arab using a tabla during an airport protest as others chanted and danced along to the beat. You would have thought it was the scene from an Arab wedding–not a gathering near baggage claim.

Non-Muslims have shown an incredible amount of support for Muslims, immigrants and refugees.By coming together and standing for justice, I believe that we can tackle xenophobia and Islamophobia. I’ve learned not to underestimate the power of people united together.

When you’re used to hearing so much negativity about Islam and refugees, it’s easy to start feeling touch of hopelessness. The amount of kindness, compassion and support that I saw at the airport showed me that losing hope is not an option. We need to channel that frustration into action to invoke change with the help and support of others.

After all, Islam teaches believers to never lose hope. I am reminded of a verse in the third chapter of the Quran in which Allah says, “Do not lose hope, nor be sad. You will surely be victorious if you are true believers.”

USA World News The World

Golden Globes, Bumblebees, and Jeff Sessions: The Week in Review

We get it, Wednesdays can be tough to get through. In an effort to keep up with the world’s ever-changing news landscape, we’ve put together the top 10 headlines so you can stay on top of things.

1. Gunman opens fire at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport


A gunman opened fire in the baggage claim of Fort Lauderdale International, killing 5 and wounding 6 last Friday afternoon. 26-year-old Iraq war veteran Esteban Santiago was charged with carrying out a violent attack on an international airport resulting in death – a charge that could result in the death penalty.  The gun Santiago used in the attack had been confiscated late last year when he entered an Anchorage FBI office and told the officers that his mind was being controlled by a US Intelligence agency and that he was being influenced by ISIS. The gun was returned to him in December after a mental health evaluation found him to be not to be mentally ill despite that incident. 

FBI & Anchorage Police Department held a press conference to clarify and provide details on the shooting.

2. Dutch trains now run 100% on wind power

Image Source

Dutch trains will be the first in the world to carry around 600,000 passengers per day exclusively using wind, according to a joint statement by the national railway (NS)  and their private energy partner, Eneco. Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) announced the good news in late December with a video which featured the CEO of NS strapped to a traditional dutch windmill. The project was started two years ago and the original goal for 100% wind power was planned for 2018.

3. For the first time, a bumblebee is added to the endangered species list

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

US Fish and Wildlife announced on Tuesday, Jan 10th that the Rusty Patched Bumblebee would be protected under the Endangered Species Act. The bumblebee was once common throughout the contiguous 48 states, but its abundance has fallen by 87% since the early nineties, according to the official USFWS announcement. Bumblebees are part of a group of pollinators responsible for $3 Billion in pollination services, the loss of which would cripple American agriculture.

4. Apple’s iPhone turns 10

Image source

People around the world are paying tribute to the 10th anniversary of the launch of the iPhone, which changed the telecommunications landscape when it was released in early 2007. At the time of its release, it was unlike any other phone on the market. Today smartphones are ubiquitous – more than a quarter of the earth’s population owns one. Nearly all of those devices look like that first iPhone – a rectangular device with a glass multi-touch screen.

The iPhone and the smartphones that followed created an environment of constant information that has defined a generation, from the live transmission of Arab Spring revolutions to the election of a US President best known for sharing his every thought via the Twitter app on his smartphone.

5. HarperCollins pulls Monica Crowley’s book over plagiarism 

CNN Money

Publisher HarperCollins decided this week to pull Monica Crowley’s book from digital sales after finding evidence of plagiarism. Crowley, who is Trump’s pick for a top communications role in the National Security Council, is a Fox News commentator and talk radio personality. She holds a PhD in International Relations from Columbia University. The 2012 book, What the (Bleep) Just Happened, which is highly critical of the Obama administration, seems to have borrowed generously from Wikipedia and published articles. HarperCollins’s statement says that while it is no longer publishing this book because it has already reached the end of its natural print cycle, it will no longer be offering it online because of the plagiarism concerns.

In the wake of this scandal, investigative reporters now looking into Crowley’s other published works are now speculating that she plagiarized sections of her PhD dissertation as well.

6. Former Iranian President Rafsanjani passes away

Image source

On Sunday, Iran’s former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died at 82 from a heart attack. He left a legacy of being ruthless, some say, under the guise of progress. During his eight year term as president between 1989 and 1997, Rafsanjani was a powerful figure and commander-in-chief during the Iran-Iraq War. He is considered a founder of the revolution in his country. Those who opposed him say he imprisoned those who publicly criticized him. Since leaving office, he remained politically active and sided with the Green party, causing two of his children to be imprisoned. The mourning of this political figure has turned into a public display of dissent in the streets of Tehran. As millions gather, many are using the occasion to express support for opposition leaders.

7. Jeff Sessions is grilled in the Senate

Boston Globe

In a ten hour hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama (R) was grilled by the Senate as President-elect Trump’s pick for attorney general. The hearing was interrupted several times by protestors, some of whom were wearing Ku Klux Klan outfits and yelling “white power” before being escorted from the room.

Sessions has been highly criticized for previous statements he has made on sexual assault and his record on civil rights, which prevented him from becoming a judge in the eighties. He changed his tune from what was said on the campaign trail during the hearing, maintaining that he would uphold the Supreme Court’s rulings on same-sex marriage, torture, and abortion. Sessions also promised he would not support a ban on Muslims and that he would recuse himself on any investigation involving Hillary Clinton.

8. History is made at the Golden Globes 


On Sunday, January 8, the 74th Golden Globe Awards ceremony took place in Beverly Hills, California. La La Land won seven awards, making it  the most successful movie in Golden Globe Awards history. Ryan Gosling, who starred in La La Land, won the award for best actor in comedy or a musical. Meryl Streep won the Cecile B. DeMille Award, a prestigious lifetime achievement award. She also called out Donald Trump for making fun of a disabled reporter and defended journalists in a moving acceptance speech.

9. Blasts in Kabul kill at least 30 people 

Wakil Kohsar for Getty Images via NPR

Two suicide bombings went off in the Afghan capital, killing at least 30 people. The blasts occurred near Afghanistan’s parliament building and the Taliban claimed responsibility, according to Al Jazeera. President Ashraf Ghani promised to bring those who perpetrated the attack to justice. At least 70 other people were injured in the attacks.

10. International journalist Clare Hollingworth passes away


Clare Hollingworth, a British reporter who broke the news of World War II, died on Tuesday at the age of 105. According to The New York Times, Hollingworth was in Katowice, Poland in 1939 when she saw troops and tanks and knew the war had begun. She phoned her editor at The Daily Telegraph and her story was published the next day on September 1. Over the course of her life, she covered stories on World War II, the Vietnam War, Palestine, Iraq and many other places.

Until next week: