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In Somalia, The Show Must Go On

In Mogadishu, artists have been forced to work underground for the past 21 years. Now as the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab warlords lose their grip on the city, Somalian culture rises from its ashes, as symbolized by the reopening of the once bombed Mogadish

The bombed roof of the Somali National Theater in Mogadishu hasn't been repaired yet (Reuters)
The bombed roof of the Somali National Theater in Mogadishu hasn't been repaired yet (Reuters)
Christian Putsch

MOGADISHU - Jabril Abdulle had a seat in the VIP section at the Somali National Theater in Mogadishu. Rightly so, if you consider that for nearly six months the 42-year-old lived for the theater, collecting more than $100,000 in donations. Abdulle, the director of a peace organization called the Center for Research and Dialogue in Somalia (CRD), also dedicated countless hours to helping musicians, painters and actors overcome their fears, all so the building – which during 21 years went unused for its true purpose – could be reborn.

Culture was an early victim of the country's Civil War. Music was forbidden until the al-Shabaab terror organization lost its merciless grip on the capital nine months ago. Until then, the theater had been used as an arms depot. Now the idea is for it to become a lasting symbol of peace in a nation that has known war since 1991. The bombed roof hasn't been repaired yet. Only a generator provides electrical current. And the theater is dusty through and through. But that's not important – because where there's culture, there's life. There's freedom. Those are the things that matter.

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Ideas

Yes, Her Too: A Feminist Reading Of The Depp Vs. Heard Case

The Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation suit has become a Hollywood media (sh*t) storm, but there are troubling real consequences in the way domestic violence is being portrayed, when the victim is less-than-perfect.

Fans welcome Johnny Depp with "Justice For Johnny" signs at the defamation trial against Amber Heard.

Catalina Ruiz-Navarro*

First the background: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard met in 2012. They started a relationship when Depp was still with Vanessa Paradis, and eventually married in 2015. Fifteen months later, Heard filed for divorce, accusing Depp of domestic violence and asking for a restraining order.

In the lawsuit, Heard said, ”I endured excessive emotional, verbal and physical abuse from Johnny, which has included angry, hostile, humiliating and threatening assaults to me whenever I questioned his authority or disagreed with him.” They then made a million-dollar settlement, and soon after, Heard asked for the restraining order to be dropped.

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