When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

In Colorful Bogota, New Mayor Shakes Up Debate On Graffiti

Graffiti artists at work in Bogota
Graffiti artists at work in Bogota
Catalina Erazo

BOGOTA Bogotá"s new mayor, the technocratic Enrique Peñalosa, wants to remove some of the Colombian capital's abundant graffiti — those deemed to be "non-artistic." But the move is being perceived by some as a reversal of the socially oriented policies of his predecessor, leftist Gustavo Petro, who essentially considered all such street art socially valid.

Some have called Bogotá the continent's premier graffiti city, and even Petro regulated it to some extent, most recently banning it on public infrastructure such as pedestrian overpasses. Social networks recently lit up about reports that city agents were painting over graffiti on one of the city's main roads and popular graffiti canvasses — the downtown part of 26th Street, not far from hotels and tourist spots. But Daniel Mejía, a security official at city hall, said the sections were actually being prepared for new street art commissioned by the city's arts council, Idartes.

[rebelmouse-image 27089572 alt="""" original_size="1024x683" expand=1]

Bogota mayor Enrique Peñalosa — Photo: Dodo

Peñalosa recently said that "some graffiti" created a threatening environment, and deputy Miguel Uribe Turbay agreed, saying that any graffiti damaging public property would be removed. "Graffiti done ... in an authorized zone is one thing," Turbay said, but "vandalism that ... destroys public infrastructure is quite another. We're going to act with that order in mind."

One graffiti artist, Antrax, is calling such declarations "absurd," while Petro himself reflects ponderously, "Who decides what art is? The state? A censor?"

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

NYC Postcard: My Arab-American Friends And The Shame Of India's Foreign Policy

The author's native country, India, is both a burgeoning world power and part of the Global South. And yet, its ambitious Prime Minister Narendra Modi hasn't dared to say a single word against Israel's actions in Gaza and the West Bank, even when countries in South America and Africa have severed their diplomatic relationships with Israel.

Photo of pro-Palestinian protesters marching in New York on Oct. 8

Pro-Palestinian protest in New York on Oct. 8

Shikhar Goel


NEW YORK — The three years since coming to New York as a graduate student have been the most demanding and stimulating period of my academic life. One of the most exciting and joyous accidents of this journey has been my close friendship with Arab students in this city.

I have shared a house with a Syrian and a Palestinian here in Brooklyn, which I have grown to call home. I now make makloubeh with lal mirch and garam masala. Pita bread with zaatar and olive oil has become my go-to midnight snack. I have gotten drunk on arak and unsuccessfully danced dabke at parties. The Delhi boy in me has also now learned to cuss in Arabic.

These friendships have made me realize how similar we are to each other as people. My best friend in the city happens to be a Palestinian Christian whose family was displaced from Jerusalem in 1948 and has lived in exile ever since.

My roommate is from the West Bank, where she and her family have to face the everyday humiliation of crossing Israeli checkpoints to travel in their own country.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest