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Architecture can help heal cultural and political divides

The modern architecture movement known as Brutalism has done a great deal to unite the world. In spite of its monumentality, some of its messages to history have been subtle.

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Contemporary events have made cultural dialogue between the Christian world, secular world and wider Islamic world, undeniably crucial. Although there ought to be many points of cultural contact between such societies, one of the most immovable and consequently noticeable art forms that ought to be considered as a primary source of contact, is architecture.

In particular, it is necessary to examine the case of Brutalism. In this context it is also necessary to understand the importance of Brutalism in the Communist world and non-communist post-colonial world.

Prior to the 20th century, architecture was typically a localised, regional or national phenomenon. Prior to the consecration of modernism, architecture denoted a combination of structural necessities preconditioned by local climates as well as the normative cultural imperatives of a particular society. This obviously evolved over time, but nevertheless, one could see a photograph of even a fairly generic piece of architecture and a moderately well-travelled individual could name the culture from whence such an edifice derived.

The dawning of modernism changed this not only in architecture, but in other art forms. Western orchestral music in particular lost its national characteristics which defined it in the 19th century. It became part of a wider international movement that replaced traditional harmonies with dissonant tones, but also one that replaced instrumental cultural poetry with either formalist experiments in sonic virtuosity or didactic works designed to propagate new internationally minded philosophies ranging from Communism to Futurism.

As architecture became internationalised (not that the ‘International Style’ was a giveaway), it held, as it still holds, the potential to offer cross-cultural symbiosis in ways that older styles of architecture determined by specific needs to reflect a particular culture, could not do.

Whilst Brutalism traces its origins to Western Europe, in many ways, it is less understood and appreciated in the west than it is outside of the west, in this case west is used to denote most of Western Europe and North America.

Much of classical European architecture was inspired by the idolatry of Roman Catholicism. This is most certainly true of the Baroque, elements of the Rococo and by the neo-classicism that was co-opted by the Catholic Church, most poignantly in the Vatican.

By contrast, Brutalism is monumental in its scope, its narrative and in its iconoclasm. Whereas neo-classical architecture is a kind of jigsaw puzzle of various didactic and illustrative pieces, Brutalist architecture explores the unitary notion of infinity by creating buildings whose heterodox angles intersect to form a singular monolithic piece of geometry; a singular statement.

On the one hand, the asymmetry of many Brutalist buildings reflects an age old concept that the hand of man is engaged in an exercise of arrogance when attempting to duplicate the symmetry that only a deity is capable of configuring. At the same time, the messages of communitarianism, of the inorganic interacting with the natural whilst clearly delineating the hand of humans vis-à-vis that of the organic, sends a message that man’s work can praise the divine without attempting to portray a godly figure nor copy the imagery implied in liturgical verses.

It is for this reason that Brutalist architecture has flourished most profoundly in revolutionary Communist countries, Islamic countries and countries looking to assert a post-colonial identity.

One of the most impressive brutalist buildings in the world is Louis Kahn’s National Assembly building in Dhaka. Although plans for the building begun when Bangladesh was known as East Pakistan, after independence was declared in 1971, the project became more radical in nature. The building became symbolic of the fact that not only was Bangladesh free of colonial rule from London, but also free of its regional overlord in Islamabad. Kahn’s bold statement was at once modern, unrelenting and mighty whilst it also subtly paid homage to ancient trends in Islamic architecture. Gone were the trappings of neo-colonial classicism, this was a modern building which shunned idolatry in the name of an emergent self-governing Islamic state in Asia.

Louis Khan: National Assembly Building, Dhaka

Turning back to Pakistan, the Habib Bank Plaza building in Karachi is another example of the spiritual monumentality of Brutalism. Once the tallest building in all of Asia, the building is a clear break from the past, totally rejecting the neo-classicism of the Bank of England building or American Federal Reserve. Interestingly, it was designed by American architect Leo A. Daly. Louis Khan likewise, worked for most of his career in the United States.

Leo Daly: Habib Bank Plaza, Karachi

Whilst Brutalism in the Islamic world is consistent with iconoclastic aesthetics demanded of believers by sacred texts, in the Communist world, Brutalism has come to represent a rejection of royalism, aristocracy and the old social order.

Brutalism, in rejecting unnecessary ornate accoutrements and replacing them with a style where form, shape, texture and purpose are united, symbolises the collective values of Marxist-Leninist communism. Brutalism’s optimistic view of a future is guided by reason and a Marxist understanding of materialism, rather than a blind adherence to the superstitions and opulence of the past. Soviet government buildings like the George Chakhava and Zurab Jalaghania designed Ministry of Highways in Tbilisi reflect this optimistic spirit.

George Chakhava and Zurab Jalaghania: Ministry of Highways Building, Tbilisi

In Leningrad, now St. Petersburg (again), the Russian State Scientific Centre for Robotics and Technical Cybernetics is unambiguous in its desire to portray the scientific achievements of Communism. In this sense, the cosmos plays an important social role in Brutalism whether in the context of religious interpretations of the heavens or in secular/atheistic interpretations.
Russian State Scientific Centre, St. Petersburg

But it wasn’t only functional buildings in the communist world that employed Brutalism. In The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito commissioned a series of monuments or Spomenik throughout the republics of Yugoslavia. The brutalist inspired sculptures were designed to symbolise both the triumph of Yugoslav partisans against fascist forces during the 1940s and commemorate the triumph of socialism over nationalism and the independence of Yugoslavia and her ‘third way’ interpretation of socialism.

The fact that many of the Spomenik stand in disrepair, is analogous to the destruction of Yugoslavia and the dream of socialist unity that it came to represent for the region.

Spomenik of the former Yugoslavia

One doesn’t need, however to turn to the Communist world to see Brutalist inspired architecture symbolising a break from the past. In Brasilia, Oscar Niemeyer’s buildings represented a modern Brazilian renaissance in a new city designed to break fully with a colonial past which has caused many an identity crisis throughout Latin America. Niemeyer’s works in Brasilia are best described as a syncretic style blending elements of Brutalism with those of Neo-Formalism. By choosing to build a new capital city, incorporating Niemeyer’s architectural designs, Brazil has successfully created a global image and indeed brand whereby, the buildings of Niemeyer have come to encapsulate the modern Brazilian identity that is unmistakable in both the region and the world.

Oscar Niemeyer's Brasilia

Brutalism and its offshoots remain an important line of communication between western modernism and the contemporary culture requirements of non-western societies. Brutalism is a style which helps communicate social solidarity, respectful iconoclastic reverence for the divine and the assertion of cultural autonomy from old masters.

If this message could be more widely understood and promulgated, perhaps fewer buildings would be destroyed by war and more could be erected in a spirit of mutual understanding and respect.

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World War I Homage – A Triumph of Lies and Platitudes

The unilateral, lawless imperialism that engendered World War I and 20 years later World War II is still alive and dangerously vigorous.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via Strategic Culture:


World leaders gathered in Paris on Sunday under the Arc de Triomphe to mark the centennial anniversary ending World War I. In an absurd way, the Napoleon-era arc was a fitting venue – because the ceremony and the rhetoric from President Emmanuel Macron was a “triumph” of lies and platitudes.

Among the estimated 70 international leaders were US President Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, each sitting on either side of Macron and his wife. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also given pride of place beside the French president.

Macron’s address to the dignitaries was supposed to be a call for international multilateralism. He urged a “brotherhood” for the cause of world peace. He also made a pointed rebuke of “nationalism” as posing a danger to peace – a remark which seemed aimed at Donald Trump who recently boasted of his politics with that very word.

But, ironically, everything about the ceremony and Macron’s speech resonated with jingoistic French nationalism, not his avowed multinationalism. As the politicians sat under the Arc de Triomphe, Macron walked around its circular esplanade in a salute to assembled French military forces bearing assault rifles and bayonets. The French anthem – The Marseillaise – was played twice, once by an army brass band, the second time sung by an army choir. There was also a military plane flyover displaying the blue, red and white tricolor of the French national flag.

In his speech, Macron talked about soldiers coming from all over the world to “die for France” during the 1914-18 Great War. He even said at one point that the war was fought for “the vision of France” and its “universal values”.

This was fluent drivel, French-style. No wonder Russia’s Putin momentarily gave a look of boredom as Macron waxed lyrical.

The speechifying and commemoration was completely detached from current realities of conflict and international tensions.

Among the “brotherhood” whom Macron was appealing to were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose military forces continue to bomb and slaughter Palestinian civilians in illegally occupied territory. Also present was Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko whose armed militias continue to terrorize the people of eastern Ukraine with the blatant objective of instigating a war between the US-led NATO alliance and Russia.

Listening to Macron one would think that World War I erupted mysteriously from no specific cause and that an estimated 10 million soldiers were all killed in heroic battles for noble principles.

There was, of course, no mention by Macron of imperialist warmongering and the barbaric sacrifice of humans as slaves in the service of national capitalist power interests.

Grotesquely, as the world leaders donned solemn faces and mouthed pious platitudes for peace, the whole occasion was a triumph in burying reality and the ongoing causes of wars, as well as whitewashing the very culprits responsible for wars. Among the war criminals wearing a mournful black suit was former French President Nicolas Sarkozy who launched the NATO blitzkrieg on Libya in 2011.

While the empty, self-indulgent rhetoric was ringing out, one couldn’t help but recall some of the most glaring contemporary contradictions that were blocked out with awesome Orwellian efficiency.

Just this week, reports emerged of the horrific civilian death toll from the American air force bombing the Syrian city of Raqqa. The city was razed to the ground by US air strikes last year – supposedly to defeat the ISIS terror group. Some 8,000 bodies of civilians, mainly women and children, have now been recovered by Syrian government forces. And that’s only from clearing away a tiny area of rubble for the whole city.

What the Americans did in Raqqa was a monumental war crime, all the more criminal because US forces, along with their NATO partners Britain and France, are illegally present in and assaulting sovereign Syrian territory.

As Macron was telling world leaders about “the vision of France”, hundreds were being killed in Yemen in a battle to strangle the entire population by taking the port city of Hodeida. The genocidal war on that country – which is putting up to 16 million people at risk from starvation – has been fully backed by France, the US and Britain, from their supply of warplanes and bombs to the Saudi and Emirati aggressive forces.

We could mention other specific conflicts where the culprits are clearly identified. For example, the multi-million-dollar support from Washington for the Azov Battalion and other Neo-Nazi militias in Ukraine, which openly emulate the genocidal conduct of Hitler’s Third Reich to exterminate ethnic Russians.

We could mention how US-led NATO forces continue to expand towards Russian territory with outrageous provocation. The mounting earlier this month of the biggest-ever NATO war drills since the Cold War in the Arctic region adjacent to Russia’s northern border was a brazen threat of rehearsing invasion. The announced tearing up of yet another nuclear arms control treaty unilaterally by Washington is a reckless undermining of global security.

Washington threatens China with naval forces marauding near Beijing’s maritime territory in the South China Sea. Washington blockades Iran with illegal economic warfare and openly agitates for regime change. Washington declares Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba a “troika of tyranny” and reserves the right to threaten each of these countries with military invasion at any time.

Meanwhile, this weekend, Russia hosted peace talks in Moscow between the warring parties of Afghanistan. It was seen as a major breakthrough in trying to bring peace to the Central Asia country which has been wracked by 17 years of violence since US forces began their ongoing military occupation – allegedly to defeat terrorism.

Elsewhere, Russia has engaged with Turkey, Germany and France to convene a summit for peaceful reconstruction of Syria. The latest summit held in Ankara at the end of last month follows several other such meetings in Astana and Sochi, largely at the behest of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, to find a political settlement to the nearly eight-year war in Syria – a war that was fomented covertly by Washington and its allies for regime change.

France’s Macron talks about “multilateralism” for world peace, yet the two countries which have arguably supported and implemented multilateralism in practice are Russia and China in their calls and policies for global partnership and economic development.

And yet it is Russia and China that are being harassed with American and European sanctions, and US military provocations.

The unilateral, lawless imperialism that engendered World War I and 20 years later World War II is still alive and dangerously vigorous. We only have to look around the present world to realize that. But when the culprits indulge in a triumph of bullshit then we also know that the world is once again in very grave danger.

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Creepy Porn Lawyers’ disgusting assault on Tucker Carlson and his 19 year old daughter (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 14.

Alex Christoforou

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Days after ANTIFA targeted Fox News’ Tucker Carlson’s home, trying to intimidate and scare the TV host into curbing his free speech against totalitarian mob rule propagated by ANTIFA and their paymasters, it appears that the SJW establishment swamp is going after Tucker with everything they got…sending in the expendable, and always eager to get publicity, Creepy Porn Lawyer, Michael Avenatti, to try and ensnare Carlson in some sort of racist assault scandal.

The entire event appears to be a staged, purposefully hitting upon all the right identity politics buttons…so as to maximize full SJW pressure on Tucker and Fox News.

The Gateway Pundit reports that Tucker Carlson has denied Michael Avenatti’s charges of assault, and explains that his actions were prompted by an unhinged gay man calling his daughter a wh*re and a c**t…

Creepy porn star Michael Avenatti made headlines again this weekend with trumped up charges of assault against FOX News host Tucker Carlson.

On Saturday Avenatti released video of Tucker Carlson in an argument with a crowd of people at a country club in Virginia.

Avenatti claims Tucker assaulted a gay Latino immigrant for no reason.

Avenatti posted this video made the allegations on Saturday.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at the SJW swamps’ latest attempt to smear Tucker Carlson, by going after his 19-year old daughter, in a disgusting display of misogyny and hate towards the very women that establishment liberal claims to defend.

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Here’s Carlson’s full statement about the incident:

“On October 13, I had dinner with two of my children and some family friends at the Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, Virginia. Toward the end of the meal, my 19-year-old daughter went to the bathroom with a friend. On their way back through the bar, a middle aged man stopped my daughter and asked if she was sitting with Tucker Carlson. My daughter had never seen the man before. She answered: ‘That’s my dad,’ and pointed to me. The man responded, ‘Are you Tucker’s whore?’ He then called her a ‘f—— c—.’

“My daughter returned to the table in tears. She soon left the table and the club. My son, who is also a student, went into the bar to confront the man. I followed. My son asked the man if he’d called his sister a ‘whore’ and a ‘cunt.’ The man admitted he had, and again become profane. My son threw a glass of red wine in the man’s face and told him to leave the bar, which he soon did.

“Immediately after the incident, I described these events to the management of the Farmington Country Club. The club spent more than three weeks investigating the incident. Last week, they revoked the man’s membership and threw him out of the club.

“I love my children. It took enormous self-control not to beat the man with a chair, which is what I wanted to do. I think any father can understand the overwhelming rage and shock that I felt seeing my teenage daughter attacked by a stranger. But I restrained myself. I did not assault this man, and neither did my son. That is a lie. Nor did I know the man was gay or Latino, not that it would have mattered. What happened on October 13 has nothing to do with identity politics. It was a grotesque violation of decency. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

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Former Hillary Clinton Advisor: She’s Running Again in 2020

Clinton admitted that while she doesn’t want to run again — she would “like to be president.”

The Duran

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Via The Gateway Pundit…


Hillary Clinton’s former adviser Mark Penn is warning the public that we should brace ourselves for another run from the power hungry sore loser in 2020.

Penn co-wrote in a Sunday op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that she “won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.”

“True to her name, Mrs. Clinton will fight this out until the last dog dies,” the op-ed that Penn authored with Andrew Stein claims. “She won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.”

Like a cockroach that just won’t die, or the final boss in a video game that keeps obnoxiously coming back after each defeat — Clinton just won’t go away.

Penn said that by “reinventing herself as a liberal firebrand, Mrs. Clinton will easily capture the 2020 nomination.”

“You can expect her to run for president once again,” he said. “Maybe not at first, when the legions of Senate Democrats make their announcements, but definitely by the time the primaries are in full swing.”

Last month, Clinton admitted that while she doesn’t want to run again — she would “like to be president.”

Even some of her closest allies want her to give it a rest though.

“She’s more likely to win Powerball,” Philippe Reines, Clinton’s longtime adviser, told The Hill.

While nobody really wants to hear that woman’s voice ever again — at least the right can recycle all their best memes from 2016.

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