• Goran Tomasevic/Reuters Photo

    Afghanistan

    How I’ll End the War

    An officer in Afghanistan volunteers to help teach English to Afghan students and ends up making art with them.

    In a clean, well-lit classroom within a modern building on NATO’s largest base in Afghanistan, young Afghans learn trades and hone their English skills.

    “For next time, bring pictures you can put together to say something about your hopes for the future,” said an American English teacher to 20 Afghan students. “We’re making collages.”

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  • The Daily Beast/Elena Scotti, traffic_analyzer

    Creating Art After War

    Art isn’t only a form of therapy for veterans; some just want to express themselves. Expanding opportunities for veterans in creative fields would benefit them and the art world.

    There are many stigmas associated with veterans returning from combat. We are all presumed to suffer from some form of post-traumatic stress, and many believe we simply don’t have the capacity to properly assimilate back into society. This assumption can be especially difficult for those of us who enlisted in the military to be part of something larger than ourselves—and who consider art-making and creative expression a continuation of, rather than a release from, service.

    Because most people see the military and the arts as two very different worlds, they assume I am pursuing the arts because it serves as a kind of therapy, preparing me for reintegration or allowing me to express years of traumatic experiences. While those realities surely exist for many veterans, that very assumption creates a bias that is incredibly difficult to overcome. The truth is that many military service members are creative individuals who continue to innovate, serve in their communities and use the arts to communicate a unique veteran perspective.

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  • Russia's Pussy Riot preform in their first music video since three members went to prison last year for a prank denouncing Vladimir Putin, July 16, 2013. Three members were sentenced to two years for an anti-Putin "punk prayer" in Moscow's main cathedral. One was later released on probation. (Pussy Riot/AP)

    Antiheroes

    Pussy Riot, Punk and War

    There’s nothing more punk rock than joining the U.S. Army, writes Colby Buzzell.

    Early last year members of the female Russian punk group Pussy Riot stormed into Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior to protest the church’s support of President Vladimir Putin, donning masks, picking up instruments, and dancing and singing from the pulpit, all of it recorded on a low-budget video they shot and put on YouTube, “Punk Prayer: Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!” Three members of the group were arrested, charged with “hooliganism,” and imprisoned; two of them have 5-year-old children. The world was inflamed by this rough treatment.

    But a year after the verdicts came down, a day of solidarity in New York, Washington, Oslo, Paris, and Manchester passed with hardly a whimper, judging from the sparse turnout and lack of press coverage. What happened?

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