What We Are Reading Today: No Turning Back by Rania Abouzeid

Updated 10 April 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: No Turning Back by Rania Abouzeid

  • There is no better way to refocus on Syria than to read Abouzeid’s book

In this book, Rania Abouzeid describes the people who suffer and endure in the Syrian civil war.

“There is no better way to refocus on Syria than to read Abouzeid’s book. A freelance journalist who has covered the war since its inception, Abouzeid tells the story of the conflict through the life stories of individuals,” Gideon Rachman said in a review published in FT.com. 

Christopher Dickey said in his review in The York Times that Abouzeid’s narrative of the unending Syrian war from 2011 through 2016 and into 2017 offers an extraordinary reporting and many flashes of exquisitely descriptive prose. But it is the characters around whom the story is built who make the book unforgettable, as Abouzeid threads together their stories of hope and loss in a country where “the dead are not merely nameless, reduced to figures. They are not even numbers.” 

Dexter Filkins, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Forever War, said that Abouzeid has produced a work of stunning reportage from the very heart of the conflict.”


Gwyneth Paltrow, Karen Gillan wear Arab jewelry to LA premiere

Gwyneth Paltrow showed off earrings by Beirut-based brand Yvan Tufenkjian. AFP
Updated 24 April 2019
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Gwyneth Paltrow, Karen Gillan wear Arab jewelry to LA premiere

DUBAI: Hollywood actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Karen Gillan both showed off Arab jewelry brands at this week’s world premiere of “Avengers: Endgame.”

Paltrow showed off statement earrings by Beirut-based jewelry brand Yvan Tufenkjian, which featured teardrop-shaped stones and resembled ear cuffs.

Meanwhile. British actress Gillan boasted a pair of diamond drop earrings by UAE-based label Amwaj at Monday’s Hollywood premiere.

After nearly two dozen films and billions of dollars in ticket sales around the globe, the Avengers are gearing up for a final time — and their last adventure could shatter all box office records, AFP reported.

“Avengers: Endgame” is the final installment of a wildly ambitious 22-film arc featuring the beloved superheroes of the Marvel universe, many of them the creations of late comic book legend Stan Lee.

It hits theaters this week and pundits are predicting a debut weekend that could break records with the first billion-dollar opening in history.

Karen Gillan wore earrings by UAE-based label Amwaj. AFP

That would easily beat out the previous record holder, “Avengers: Infinity War,” the first part of the “Infinity Saga” — as it was dubbed by Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, who has produced every single movie in the franchise — which opened in 2018 with $640.5 million.

After Monday’s star-studded world premiere in Hollywood, the six original Avengers celebrated the end of the road Tuesday at the iconic TCL Chinese Theatre.

Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) assembled for a final time with Feige at the TCL Chinese Theatre, where they signed blocks of cement and marked them with handprints.

“It’s been an amazing ride,” Ruffalo — who attempted a handstand while waiting for the cement to set — said of the 10-year project.

The 21 preceding films have earned about $19 billion globally, and though “Endgame” marks the end of the current narrative arc, Marvel Studios is far from through.

Even as they mark the end of what Johansson called a “wonderful” experience, Marvel Studios has already announced several new projects: in addition to sequels for “Spider-Man,” “Black Panther” and “Doctor Strange,” there will also be “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” “The Eternals” and “Black Widow,” the second Marvel universe film to give a female character solo top billing.

“The fun thing about an ending is that you eventually get to do a new beginning,” Feige told AFP.

“So yes, there will be a new beginning, but right now, it’s about this combination of 22 movies. That’s what we’re most excited for.”

In preparation for the marvelous cinematic conclusion, “Endgame” directors Joe and Anthony Russo took to Twitter to post a letter to “the greatest fans in the world.”

“This is it,” they wrote. “This is the end. The end of an unprecedented narrative mosaic spanning eleven years and eleven franchises.”