"I grew up in a small village in Liberia. Everyone was like family. I left when I was 19 to study in France. While I was gone, the civil war came, and everyone in the village fled. Suddenly I had nowhere to go home to."
It’s the holy month of Ramadan, and throughout the Muslim world people are socializing with friends and family, buying presents for loved ones and breaking a day long fast amid colourful night time street scenes that inject even more vigor into already busy urban centers.
But not in Gaza City, one of the world’s most densely populated cities. A ceaseless Israeli bombing campaign, with airstrikes every five minutes, has turned the frenetic hub of the Gaza Strip into a virtual ghost town, emptying streets, closing shops and keeping hundreds of thousands of people close to home where they feel safest from the bombs.
In Israel, hundreds of rockets fired by Gaza militants also send civilians running into bomb shelters and staying close to home. However, there have been no fatalities there, while the death toll in Gaza topped 120 on July 12, 2014 from the five-day offensive. [Meanwhile in Tel Aviv]
Photos taken by Khalil Hamra/AP on July 11, 2014.
"I met her when she was visiting New York for two-and-a-half weeks. Let’s just say ‘two weeks,’ to make it a little more exciting. So we spent a lot of time together, and the night before she left to go back to the Philippines, she asked me if I was serious about our relationship. And I said ‘I don’t know.’ Then I went home and laid awake all night. Her flight left at 9 AM. So at 4 AM, I texted her to wait for me outside of security. Then I got into a cab and rushed to the airport. I got there just in time. And before she went inside, I told her: ‘I am serious. We will be together.’ Now Brandon, I need you to make this sound very romantic. Choose a picture of me looking into the distance, and for the last line, say: ‘Now I am wondering when we will be together again.’ Because I am going to tag her in this."
"I’ve been a deep believer my whole life. 18 years as a Southern Baptist. More than 40 years as a mainline Protestant. I’m an ordained pastor. But it’s just stopped making sense to me. You see people doing terrible things in the name of religion, and you think: ‘Those people believe just as strongly as I do. They’re just as convinced as I am.’ And it just doesn’t make sense anymore. It doesn’t make sense to believe in a God that dabbles in people’s lives. If a plane crashes, and one person survives, everyone thanks God. They say: ‘God had a purpose for that person. God saved her for a reason!’ Do we not realize how cruel that is? Do we not realize how cruel it is to say that if God had a purpose for that person, he also had a purpose in killing everyone else on that plane? And a purpose in starving millions of children? A purpose in slavery and genocide? For every time you say that there’s a purpose behind one person’s success, you invalidate billions of people. You say there is a purpose to their suffering. And that’s just cruel."
—"Leonardo is the most incredible actor on the planet,.. I walked away from my audition and I couldn’t believe that I’d been acting with him…. At the audition, we had been acting out these scenes together. We did 15 takes of one scene. He didn’t really have much dialogue as Gatsby, and the camera was never on him, but he played three other characters. He’d say a line as Gatsby, and then he’d jump up and play Tom Buchanan. We were doing the scene with the cameras over my shoulder, and he was lighting a cigarette for me and looking at me. It was all me, and he didn’t have any words, and he was improvising stuff to say, just to help me. I was like, “Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t need to be helping me in this audition.” He was auditioning girls all day. I was so blown away by how generous he was, let alone being amazing to act with."