Turmoil in the Middle East is not new; this region has always been the battleground of superpowers’ proxy wars, as shown in this issue’s cover artwork, which I made in 2008. It consists of an old French mortar shell from the time of the French occupation of Syria (1920–46), lined up with a knife, fork, and spoon. I wanted to demonstrate that war has always been hidden in our people’s daily lives, meals, and conversations; we were born in the midst of neighboring war zones; we currently live it day by day; and we will have to suffer its consequences for a long time to come.

Reading history is crucial, but witnessing it is something else. Witnessing demands a response—in my case, a creative one. We are experiencing a return to the dark ages everywhere, with slavery and...

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