Stories about France

Remembering Vincent Van Gogh on his 162nd birthday

Vincent Van Gogh once said,  “I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say ‘he feels deeply, he feels tenderly’.” Today, his name needs no formal introduction. Everyone has heard of the 19th century iconic Dutch painter who established two significant artistic movements – Fauvism and Expressionism. He was the mastermind behind unrivalled, stunning masterworks such as The Potato Eaters (1885), The Red Vineyard (1888), Irises (1889), The Starry Night, and Wheat-field With Crows (1890). The Potato Eaters. Source: Van Gogh Gallery The Red Vineyard. Source: Van Gogh Gallery Irises. Source: Van Gogh Gallery Starry Night. Source: Van ...

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Unless your name is Muslim or Jew, why does Nutella’s ban matter to you?

My kids love Nutella as do I. It is one of my favourite late night indulgences. Open a jar, dip the index finger in, or maybe a cracker, and forget all the worries of the world. Yes, creamy chocolate hazelnut goodness can do just that; it has the power to make you forget the mundane everyday worries. While we are on this subject, do try my all-time favourite, fresh bread Nutella banana sandwich. This may sound cheesy, but it is definitely a match made in heaven. Being a Nutella addict household, we obviously know a little more about the product than your average ...

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10 great foreign language films that we should all watch

While all of us have seen classic Hollywood, Bollywood and Lollywood blockbusters, many of us are unaware of a lot of amazing movies that have been directed by foreign film industries which are equally worthy of our attention. Therefore, I have come up with a list of 10 such foreign movies which I believe everyone should watch in order to appreciate cinematic finesse and art of other regions as well. Seven Samurai – Japan, 1954 Photo: IMDb Akira Kurosawa is an auteur in the broadest sense. His work has influenced many people including the likes of Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and ...

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How can Muslims fare with the #ChapelHillShooting and #CharlieHebdo?

January 7, 2015 – Paris, France Two deranged men walk into an unsuspecting newsroom and turn the workspace into a warzone. “Allahu Akbar!” The men chant during their attack, scapegoating Islam and Allah in the process. The numbers start piling up: 50 shots fired, 11 injured, 11 dead and one religion to blame. Cherif and Said Kouachi’s act of insanity will now be added to the steadily growing list of horrific deeds committed by a select few individuals that have come to define a community of over 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. January 7, 2015 – London, United Kingdom I’m sitting at home, reading about the Charlie Hebdo shooting online. My thoughts ...

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Over 2000 people have been massacred in Nigeria, but do you care?

As world leaders gathered at the French capital to march in solidarity with France following a brutal attack on its citizens by terrorists, something far more atrocious and horrifying in scale and severity unfolded in north-east Nigeria. Boko Haram militants massacred over 2000 persons, mainly women, children and elderly people. While in France, the militants attacked to avenge the publication of the cartoon of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), in Nigeria, Boko Haram militants have a different agenda: to implement Sharia law and turn the country into an Islamic state. For the latter, the motive is much stronger and hence, much more vicious. But this campaign is not ...

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Why #IAmNotCharlie

There is no “but” about what happened at Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015. Some people published some cartoons, and some other people killed them for it. Words and pictures can be beautiful or vile, pleasing or enraging, inspiring or offensive; but they exist on a different plane from physical violence, whether you want to call that plane spirit or imagination or culture, and to meet them with violence is an offence against the spirit and imagination and culture that distinguish humans. Nothing mitigates this monstrosity. There will be time to analyse why the killers did it, time to parse their backgrounds, their ideologies, their beliefs, time for sociologists ...

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Satiating your wanderlust with the top 10 places to visit in 2015

It is undisputable that travel broadens horizons. The more we travel, the more we see so-called ‘different’, the more we realise that we are all alike. We learn to accept people as they are and not try to change them into ‘our’ mould. I mean, even in the so-called ‘exotic’ places, parents frown upon their children for coming home late and spouses squabble over the monthly housekeeping budget and life goes on as usual. This is when you discover that people are all alike underneath. I pride on having visited many places but wanderlust is something that can never be satiated. ...

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Here is why Paris is always a good idea

Having lived in Paris (well, not in the heart of the city but in the suburbs) for over eight years, I can safely and confidently say that I know this city and its off shoots quite well. This is not exactly a tourist guide but my humble attempt to write a few lines about this city for those who are not in-the-know. I came here in 2007 when I hardly spoke more than a few basic lines in French. I had simply taken a crash course in French from Alliance Française, in London, before starting for France. I had been ...

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Davis Cup 2014: There is no beating Roger Federer

On Sunday, November 23, 2014, history was made for Switzerland by their most prolific and magnanimous sportsman Roger Federer, when he beat Richard Gasquet to give his team an unassailable lead of 3-1 in the tie, guaranteeing their maiden Davis Cup title. Federer’s reaction after his sublime drop shot was telling of how desperately he wanted to win this for his country and teammates. He had been criticised over the years, at times even by his compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka, of not committing enough to the Davis Cup. But all that was in the past and on the day of the win, they were primed to ...

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Noor Inayat Khan: The Muslim WWII heroine who helped Jews

Noorunnisa Inayat Khan, also known as Madeleine or Nora Baker, a Muslim woman who is known for her valour and fearlessness during the World War II, was introduced to the world in the recent docudrama, Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story, played by an Indian-American actress, Grace Srinivasan. It is based on the chronicles of Khan as a British secret spy in Nazi occupied Paris, France. The year 2014 has been chosen for the release because it marks Khan’s 100th birthday and 70th anniversary of the D-Day. Filmed in Baltimore, the 60-minutes-long biographical docudrama is produced by ...

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