In Dire Dawa, the day starts early with the call to prayer rising from uncounted minarets. Usually, it gathers the faithful in the different mosques or calls them to pray in their homes. But today is Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. Morning prayers on this day are supposed to demonstrate the unity of the Muslim community, so everybody is invited to the large open ground on the outskirts of town. In some countries, this open-air mosque is artfully designed and constructed, in Dire Dawa, it is a simple field surrounded by the natural beauty of trees and hills. On this morning, there are speakers set up to broadcast the call to prayer from early dawn till sunrise, when the imam gets on stage to lead the prayer. People arrive by the thousands, both men and women. This feeling of being part of a large community of faith, praying the same words in unison with so many others is one of the highlights of the day.
Sign Paintings of Hargeisa;a book about walls and their stories in Somaliland
Hand-painted signs in Somaliland’s capital, Harigesa, are beautiful, unique and everywhere. “I never took pictures of billboards back in the US but here that’s pretty much all I photograph,” says a returning diaspora Somali in a tea house in downtown Hargeisa. He has lived in the West for decades and, as an outsider, is more sensitive to the mastery in the hand-painted artwork.
"In the avalanche of modern developments, will the cultures of northeast Turkey suffocate?"
As social and economic forces encroach upon traditional culture in Turkey's Kachkar mountain highlands, many distinctive practices have vanished or are facing extinction. Among the three generations now straddling the not-yet-forgotten past and the globalized tomorrow, some are finding hope in one tradition that could stand alone as the primary catalyst for ongoing cultural identity, communal peace, and the celebration of life.