Matt Alexander Hanson is a writer in Istanbul. He produces weekly and monthly features from across Turkey, Europe, the Middle East and the U.S., covering art, books, history, travel, and food. His work with various international newspapers and magazines is translated into Turkish, Arabic, Hebrew and Ladino for El Amaneser, the last publication in the world entirely in the endangered Judeo-Spanish dialect.
Among many tragic examples, the murder of South Sudanese national, Lost Boy and Canadian citizen Richard Lokeya, and the abduction of journalist Clement Lochio Lomornana (whose whereabouts are still unknown) by state actors, testify to the life-threatening risks implied in refugee justice work in South Sudan today.
“It’s often Terrorist 1, Terrorist 2, Terrorist 3, and for women it’s even worse.” Matt Hanson talks to Dr. Ruth Priscilla Kirstein, the founder of The Middle East Film Initiative in NYC, about discriminatory practices towards and lack of representation of Middle Eastern cultural practitioners, and about some new community-based methods offered by MEFI for addressing them.
"Köfte Airlines retraced a trail uncannily similar to that of its subject, from Germany to Turkey and back along a zigzag of uprooted expectations." Matt Hanson writes about Halil Altindere's work in the context of the refugee crisis, as well as the effects of the current oppressive political climate in Turkey on artists and cultural practitioners.
Visiting the Ameen Rihani Museum in Freike, Lebanon has started Matt Hanson on a path to trace the Hebrew translation of the well-known author’s Kings of Arabia, which came out only two years after the first Arabic edition. What were the motivations behind this translation and how did its impact evolve over the years?