Jessica Kahawaty ends 2018 with an environmental wake-up call

Updated 30 December 2018
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Jessica Kahawaty ends 2018 with an environmental wake-up call

  • Kahawaty is a keen supporter of a number of humanitarian and environmental causes
  • Kahawaty urged fans to donate a portion of their salaries to end child violence

DUBAI: Lebanese-Australian model and humanitarian Jessica Kahawaty is set to ring in the new year Down Under and took to Instagram this week to share an important message about the environment in one of her last posts of the year.

The influencer took to the social media platform with a photo of herself in a multi-colored, tie-dye shirt — a fashion trend she predicted would make a comeback in 2019 — and captioned it with a note on the state of coral reef ecosystems.

“I love that @pantone announced ‘Living Coral’ as 2019 color of the year,” she said, referring to the Pantone Color Institute’s yearly pick of an annual favorite color. “It’s also an important environmental message calling for attention (to) the state of coral reef ecosystems,” she added.

It is a message that is particularly important in Australia, where the coral along large swathes of the 2,300-kilometer Great Barrier Reef has been killed by rising sea temperatures linked to climate change, leaving behind skeletal remains in a process known as coral bleaching.

The northern reaches of the reef suffered an unprecedented two successive years of severe bleaching in 2016 and 2017, raising fears it may have suffered irreparable damage, AFP reported in November.

And that is why Kahawaty is so pleased that the much-reported-on color of the year is “Living Coral.”

Laurie Pressman, Pantone Color Institute’s vice president, told the Associated Press in December that she considers this saturated orange base with a golden undertone not only warm and welcoming but versatile and life-affirming. It energizes with a softer edge than, say, its pastel and neon color cousins.

“With everything that’s going on today, we’re looking for those humanizing qualities because we’re seeing online life dehumanizing a lot of things,” Pressman said. “We’re looking toward those colors that bring nourishment and the comfort and familiarity that make us feel good. It’s not too heavy. We want to play. We want to be uplifted.”

Kahawaty is a keen supporter of a number of humanitarian and environmental causes, including UNICEF and the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR)


Last year, fashion house Louis Vuitton selected Kahawaty to work with UNICEF at the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan to help children affected by the Syrian crisis, which has seen millions of people (including more than two million children) displaced.
Kahawaty also urged fans to donate a minute of their salaries to end child violence as part of the UNICEF Australia initiative, “A Minute of Your Time.”


Book Review: Sinan Antoon pays tribute to war’s forgotten losses

Updated 4 min 5 sec ago
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Book Review: Sinan Antoon pays tribute to war’s forgotten losses

  • The story follows the life of introspective academic Nameer Al-Baghdadi, an Iraqi living in the US
  • It was written by internationally celebrated author Sinan Antoon

CHICAGO: Out of Baghdad comes “The Book of Collateral Damage” by internationally celebrated author Sinan Antoon, whose fourth novel follows the life of introspective academic Nameer Al-Baghdadi, an Iraqi living in the US. An encounter in Baghdad with an eccentric bookseller while travelling with documentary filmmakers as a translator leads Nameer to a manuscript that forces him to explore memories of the past, the loss of his home and the destruction caused by war.

The year is 2003 and Nameer is moving from Massachusetts to New Hampshire to teach at Dartmouth. Before moving, he travels back to Iraq for the first time since 1993. Encountering his old home, his relatives and the streets he used to travel, Nameer finds himself at a bookseller’s shop on Al-Mutannabi Street. The stall owner, Wadood, hands him a manuscript in which he has documented everything destroyed by war, from inanimate objects, to people to the flora and fauna. Intrigued by Wadood’s book, he takes it back to the US with him and finds himself suddenly consumed by it.

Through Nameer, Antoon takes his readers on a journey that is profound and deeply rooted in Iraq and its culture. From classical poetry collections and the last days of Abbasid-era caliph Harun Al-Rashid, to the Kashan rugs made in Iraq and sold as if from Iran to the Ziziphus tree — all have witnessed the destruction caused by war. Wadood’s cataloging of “the losses that are never mentioned or seen. Not just people. Animals and plants and inanimate things and anything that can be destroyed” are painfully explored.

The first-person narrative allows Antoon to bring to life an intense sense of heartbreak that inevitably follows political turmoil and devastation. There is a back and forth in his novel between Nameer and Wadood’s manuscript — narratives that parallel to one another. And there is a magical realism as he personifies inanimate objects who feel love and sorrow, who feel their own deaths when bombs fall down on them and fires engulf them. Tragedy befalls the lives of people who are victims of power, but also befalls objects that are the collateral damage of powerful people’s wars.