“Antiquity Thieves” in the British Museum Collection

Unruly Art? Performances in the Public Square

“Project Speak2Tweet” featured in Süddeutsche Zeitung

Project Speak2Tweet” featured in Süddeutsche Zeitung 21/08/2016 (from the exhibition “Beton” at Kunsthalle Wien)

The Earth is an Imperfect Ellipsoid

Zilberman Gallery project space is pleased to announce Heba Y. Amin’s project exhibition “The Earth is an Imperfect Ellipsoid” which will take place between 18 May and 2 July 2016.

The Earth is an Imperfect Ellipsoid is a land surveillance project that utilizes Al-Bakri’s “Kitab al-Masalik wal-Mamalik” (Book of Roads and Kingdoms), an eleventh-century Arabic geography text describing major trade routes in West Africa under the Islamic Empire. Today, the original manuscript only exists in fragments. In 2014, Heba Amin embarked on a five-month journey along the same routes, starting in Nigeria. With a theodolite, she documented the contemporary geographies of villages and cities missing from the manuscript. Using “Kitab al-Masalik wal-Mamalik” as a guide, the project critiques the authored accounts of merchants, traders and travelers who describe geographies through sexually explicit descriptions of the women they encounter. She secretly recorded her interactions with border-patrol officers to relay the flirty negotiations and sexual dynamics of bureaucratic hierarchy. Amin flips the male gaze by surveying and surveilling, critiquing the predatory view of landscape and the exoticization of women’s bodies in relation to geography.


Exhibition Catalog here: http://galerizilberman.com/images/exhibitions/HA_foy_60x30.pdf
For more information, please contact Zeynep Temiz at zeynep@galerizilberman.com

Newsletter, February 2016

Newsletter, Feb 2016

I have had an incredibly busy start to the year! A lot of very exciting things are happening! But first and foremost, I am very happy to announce the big news: IT IS NOW OFFICIAL I have now joined and am being represented by the wonderful people at Galeri Zilberman in Istanbul. Stay tuned for upcoming exhibitions!

6_AsBirdsFlyingFilm still “As Birds Flying/Kama Tohalleq al Teyour” 2016


Jan 22: My short article “The Question of Artistic Freedom” posted on Doppiozero reflecting on my involvement (with my students) in the AtWork Cairo workshop at Darb 1718. Read it here: http://www.doppiozero.com/materiali/why-africa/question-artistic-freedom

Jan 22-26, Santa Barbara: I took part in the “After Tahrir: Egyptian Revolution Experience and Future Visions” conference with an incredible roster of people doing incredible work in and about Egypt. I gave my paper talk “Techno-Social Dreams: Digital Remembrance in the Egyptian Revolution” and screened select films from “Project Speak2Tweet” in the “Egyptian Insurgency Film Festival”. More information here: http://aftertahrir.net/

Jan 28, London: I was honored to have been invited by Serpentine Galleries and artist Simon Denny to take part in a panel on Culturehacking. We talked about networks, power, revolution and surveillance with Charlotte Higgins (moderator), Simon Denny (artist) Brett Scott (author), Ryan Gallagher (journalist, The Intercept), Heba Y. Amin (artist). See the full post-presentation discussion here: https://vimeo.com/155505775

Culturehacking: A Panel with Simon Denny, Heba Amin, Ryan Gallagher and Brett Scott, in conversation with Charlotte Higgins from Serpentine Galleries on Vimeo.

Jan 30 – Apr 10, Hamburg: Opening of the exhibition “Fluidity” curated by Bettina Steinbrügge (Kunstverein in Hamburg), Nina Möntmann (Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm) and Vanessa Joan Müller (Kunsthalle Vienna).

DEU, Hamburg, "Fluidity"-Ausstellung Kunstverein Hamburg, 2016, Copyright photo: Fred Dott

DEU, Hamburg, “Fluidity”-Ausstellung Kunstverein Hamburg, 2016, Copyright photo: Fred Dott

50 years later: The dematerialization of the art object from 1966 to 2016 is a cross-reference show on the permanent state of transformation which surrounds us, focused on the so-called conceptual art that questions the world we live in. A world in which the old forms—of work, of behavior, of art—no longer fit and new forms have yet to be outlined.

Sarah Abu Abdallah, Heba Amin, Eleanor Antin, Darren Bader, Tyler Coburn, Simon Denny, Jason Dodge, Maria Eichhorn, Dora Garcia, Liam Gillick, Melanie Gilligan, Goldin+Senneby, Pierre Huyghe, Roberto Jacoby, Hanne Lippard, Lee Lozano, Mathias Poledna, Mladen Stilinovic, UBERMORGEN, more info here: http://www.kunstverein.de/englisch/exhibitions/current/20160129.php

Jan 29, Rotterdam: “The Arabian Street Artists” screening “Homeland is Not a Series” at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam with Field of Vision. More info here: https://iffr.com/en/2016/films/field-of-vision


Feb 2-7, Berlin: I was invited to take part in Transmediale this year on various panels: “Panic Room Session: Post-Digital Anxiety” moderated by Clemens Apprich, Diana McCarty with: Heba Y. Amin, Bani Brusadin, Özge Çelikaslan, David Garcia, Brian Holmes, Eric Kluitenberg, Elizabeth Losh Pit Schultz, Alper Şen, Nishant Shah, Clemens Apprich, Diana McCarty; “Five Years After” with Esra’a Al Shafei, Heba Y. Amin, Lara Baladi, Özge Çelikaslan, Alper Şen, moderated by Oliver Lerone Schultz; “MediaActs” with Heba Y. Amin, David Garcia, Eric Kluitenberg, Simona Levi, moderated by Clemens Apprich. Listen to the “MediaActs” audio archive here: http://2016.transmediale.de/content/mediaacts
More info about Transmediale here: http://2016.transmediale.de/

Feb 9, Hamburg: Artist talk, Kunstverein in Hamburg, Heba Amin in conversation with Nadine Droste

Feb 12, Berlin: After Sara Fattahi’s film COMA, we talked about POWER at Woche der Kritik Berlin.
In the face of political power and its violence, digital imagery is in an asymmetric position. It does, however, challenge power relations within cinema. To what aim and how? Debate guests: Fadi Abdelnour (Artistic Director of Alfilm Film Festival), Heba Amin (Artist), Jay Weissberg (Variety film critic and Artistic Director of Pordenone Silent Film Festival). Moderator: Joseph Fahim (Woche der Kritik) Full discussion here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52QMhyTlpZs


Feb 14-15, Berlin: BERLINALE PREMIERE SCREENING of my new short film “As Birds Flying/Kama Tohalleq al Teyour”. More info here: https://www.berlinale.de/en/programm/berlinale_programm/datenblatt.php?film_id=201614559#tab=filmStills.
My film was also featured on artnet.com’s “The Ultimate Guide to All Things at the Berlin Film Festival” https://news.artnet.com/art-world/art-guide-berlin-film-festival-426239

hebaBerlinale     ArabianStreetArtists4
Left: Photo courtesy of Sally Tantawy Mansour
Right: “Homeland is Watermelon” courtesy of The Arabian Street Artists
Feb 19 – May 1, Warsaw: “The Arabian Street Artists” are taking part in the exhibition “Making Use: Life in Postartistic Times” at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw which addresses one of the fundamental postulates of twentieth-century avant-garde movements: the mutual penetration or even fusion of art and everyday life. More info here: http://makinguse.artmuseum.pl/en/

Feb 24 – May 8, Marrakech: I am very excited to share my new work “The Earth is an Imperfect Ellipsoid” at the Marrakech Biennale with the parallel projects. More info here: http://www.marrakechbiennale.org/parallel-projects/artists

MARCH 2016

March 19, Dubai: Screening of “As Birds Flying / Kama Tohalleq al Teyour” at Art Dubai Film

MAY 2016

May 3, Dakar: I will be among a roster of 65 stellar artists selected by curator Simon Njami for Dak’Art 2016. More info here: https://news.artnet.com/art-world/dakar-biennial-2016-415733. I was also selected as one of “seven of the artists to look forward to this May” by True Africa: http://trueafrica.co/lists/true-loves-look-7-artists-exhibiting-dakart-biennale-2016/#.VrKUGXljuLs.facebook

May 17, Istanbul: I will have my first project exhibition at Galeri Zilberman’s project space. More info soon.


‘The Arabian Street Artists’ press



“Arabian Street Artists” Bomb Homeland: Why we Hacked an Award-Winning Series
“Graffiti artists explain: Why ‘Homeland is watermelon’ went viral” (CNN)
‘Homeland is not a Series’ Film produced by Field of Vision


The Intercept, Eric Hynes “Interview With Heba Yehia Amin, Caram Kapp, and Don Karl of ‘Homeland is not a Series'” (US)
Slate, Willa Paskin “An Interview With the Graffiti Artist Who Snuck Anti-Homeland Graffiti Onto the Homeland Set” (US)
Huck Magazine, Alex King “Video: The street artists who bombed primetime with ‘Homeland is racist’ graffiti” (US)
Al Jazeera, Stephanie Abraham “Homeland hacker challenges media portrayals of Muslims” (QA)
Exberliner, Edmund Meinerts “Heba Amin: Graffiti, racism and watermelons” (DE)
Porkings Policy Review “Episode 42: The Homeland Hackers” (US)
CBC: “’Homeland is racist:’ Graffiti artists dupe show producers with Arabic tags (CA)
BBC: “Street artists explain ‘homeland is Racist’ graffiti” (UK)
Radio Columbia: “Heba Amin, la grafitera que se coló en Homeland” (CO)
AJ+: “‘Homeland Is Racist’ Graffiti Artists Sneak Messages on The Show” (QA)
Sky News: “Graffiti Branding Hit TV Show As ‘Racist’ Gets Past Producers” (UK)
CNN: “’Homeland is racist’: Artists hide subversive graffiti in hit TV show” (US)
RBB: Homeland und die arabischen Graffiti (DE)



**New York Times, James Poniewozik “’Homeland,’ Graffiti and the Problem of Only Seeing Squibbly” (US)**
**The Conversation, Simon Willmetts “Homeland, Snowden, and fictional defences of CIA” (UK)**
**The National, Michael Karam “Homeland’s portrayal of Lebanon is damagingly misleading” (UAE)**
**The Guardian, Marina Hyde “The latest twist in Homeland’s racist plot: the realistic graffiti episode” (UK)**
**The Washington Post, Kevin M. Jones “How protestors used Arabic to subvert Western influence – long before the ‘Homeland’ graffiti” (US)**
**Cracked, Tara Marie “6 Iconic Works of Art With Brutal Insults Hidden in Them” (US)**
**artist picks

The New York Times, Michael Rock  “The Ever-Evolving Typographic Life of the Arabic Language” (US)
New York Times, Dan Bilefsky and Mona Boshnaq “Streets Artists Infiltrat ‘Homeland’ With Subversive Graffiti” (US)
Washington Post, Elahe Izadi “Artists got ‘Homeland is racist’ Arabic graffiti into the latest episode of ‘Homeland'” (US)
Buzzfeed, Sarah Yasin “Graffiti Artists Write “Homeland Is Racist” In Arabic on The Show’s Set in Berlin” (US)
Time, Denver Nicks “Arab Artists Sneak Anti-Homeland Graffiti Onto the Show” (US)
NBC, Emmanuelle Saliba “’Homeland is Racist’: Artists Plant Messages in Hit Cable Series” (US)
MPR News, Bob Collins “Former Minnesota student pulls off ‘Homeland is racist’ protest” (US)
Gawker, Brendan O’Connor “Arabian Street Artists Got “Homeland Is Racist” Graffiti onto Show’s Latest Episode” (US)
The Pool, Rachel Shabi “Homeland *is* racist. And it has a problem with women” (US)
Vulture, E. Alex Jung “How Artists Hacked Into ‘Homeland’ Set and Graffitied ‘Homeland is racist’” (US)
Reuters “Artists who made ‘racist’ graffiti on ‘Homeland’ seek changes” (PK)
Hyperallergic, Claire Voon “Street Artists Hack ‘Homeland’ With Arabic Graffiti” (US)
Huffington Post, Stephennie Mulder “Subverting the Script:’Homeland’ Graffiti Artists Use Same Techniques as Native Americans” (US)
Artforum “Egyptian Street Artists Sneak Messages of Protest onto Showtime’s ‘Homeland’” (US)
NPR, Laura Wagner “Street Artists Hired By ‘Homeland’ Hide Accusations of Show’s Racism in Plain Sight” (US)
Global Post “Artists sneak ‘Homeland is racist’ jibe on to hit TV show set (US)
The Atlantic, Krishnadev Calamur “A Subversive Act on the Set of ‘Homeland’” (US)
Common Dreams, Sarah Lazare “Set Artists Hack ‘Homeland’ to Expose Show’s Racist Narrative” (US)
Deadline, Nancy Tartaglione “’Homeland’ is Racist’ Graffiti Airs on Showtime Series; Showrunner Alex Gansa Admires Act of “Artistic Sabotage””
Zeit Online, Felix Stephan “Das grenzt an Propaganda” (DE)
Deutsche Welle, Elizabeth Grenier “Artists plug ‘Homeland is racist’ graffiti in the show” (DE)
Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Ramy Shoeib “Graffit – Kuenstler verhoehnen “Homeland” –Serie” (DE)
evangelisch.de “Datenschutz ist eine Wassermelone” (DE)
Bento, Ole Reissmann “Graffiti-Kuenstler legen “Homeland” rein” (DE)
Egypt Independent “’Homeland is racist’: Artists hide subversive graffiti in hit TV show” (EG)
Egypt Streets, Ester Meerman “‘Homeland is Racist’: Graffiti Artists ‘Bomb’ Award-Winning TV Show” (EG)
http://www.dotmsr.com/ (EG)
The Guardian, Claire Phipps “‘Homeland is racist’: artists sneak subversive graffiti on to TV show” (UK)
BBC “Artists write ‘Homeland is racist’ graffiti on set” (UK)
Independent, Rose Troup Buchanan “‘Homeland is racist’: Artists ‘hack’ latest episode with Arabic Slogans” (UK)
The National, Rob Long “How Homeland fell into the graffiti trap” (UAE)
Repubblica, Francesca Caferri “Quei nostril graffiti che hanno hackerato la serie tv Homeland” (IT)
Internazionale “La serie tv Homeland trasmette per sbaglio graffiti che la accusano di razzismo” (IT)
France 24, Marc Daou “’Homeland est raciste’: des artistes piegent la production de la serie americaine” (FR)
El Mundo, Fatima Elidrissi “Grafiteros arabes sabotean la serie ‘Homeland’” (ES)
La Vanguardi “Homeland es racista” (ES)
El Diario, Leila Nachawati “Homeland, hackeada: “Hicimos grafitis en el set de rodaje criticando el racism de la serie” (ES)
Aftonbladet “Kuppade in kritik mot “Homeland” – i serien” (SWE)
Svenska Dagbladet ““Homeland” utsatt foer graffitikupp” (SWE)
Berlingske, Anders Holmgaard “Skriften på væggen virkede”(DK)
Heba Amin interview with Ekaterina Petrova (BG)
Middle East Eye “How ‘Homeland is racist’ graffiti appeared on the set of Homeland” (UK)
Politika.rs “Grafiti umetnici kritikovali seriju “Domovina” subverzivnim porukama” (RS)
http://plusinfo.mk/vest/43777/avtorite-na-serijata-ne-gi-proverile-natpisite-na-arapski-koga-sfatile-shto-pishuvalo (MK)
wyborcza.pl “’Homeland jst rasistowski; – napisy na murach na planie hitowego serial” (PL)
T24 “Homeland’e sanatçı protestosu” (TU)
nrc.nl, Gert van Langendonck “Waarom graffitispuiters wraak namen op Homeland” (NL)
Joop “Graffitikunstenaars zetten Homeland voor schut in het Arabisch” (NL)
http://m.lifo.gr/articles/tv_articles/78166 (GR)
http://assafir.com/article/450604 (LB)
BBC: http://www.bbc.com/persian/arts/2015/10/151015_l41_tv_graffitti_homeland (IS)
E-International Relations, Robert A. Saunders “Homeland’s Popular Geopolitics Gets Punked” (US)
Der Tagesspiegel, Mohamed Amjahid “”Boom”, sagt der Dschihadist” (DE)
statement in French: “Le Street Art Arabe Bombe (en aerosol) la serie TV US Homeland”
Milk, Chris Thomas “Breaking Down the Criticism against ‘Homeland’: is it Islamophobic?” (US)
The Huffington Post, Cynthia P. Schneider “Islamophobia, ISIS, and Authentic Muslim Narratives: Television’s Potential Role” (US)
The Nomos of Images, Toni Pape “Anonymity/Stealth” (DE)


The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: “’Homeland’ Suffered A Major Intelligence Failure” (US)

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (US)
Sky News: “Graffiti Branding Hit TV Show As ‘Racist’ Gets Past Producers” (UK)
RBB: Homeland und die arabischen Graffiti (DE)
CNN: “’Homeland is racist’: Artists hide subversive graffiti in hit TV show” (US)
CNN: “Hidden graffiti messages accuse Homeland of racism” (US)
The Verge: “Homeland is racist” graffiti airs on show (US)
AJ+: “‘Homeland Is Racist’ Graffiti Artists Sneak Messages on The Show” (QA)
Future TV: “Bala Toul Sire” with Zaven (LB)


uprisingradio.org: “Anti-Arab Racism and Orientalism in Homeland and Quantico”
Yo, Is This Racist?: 719 Reverse Racism Is Not A Thing (w/ Christina Lee) (US)
KCRW: “American Graffiti- Martini Shot” (US)
Porkins Policy Review “Episode 39 Homeland Season 5 ep. 3” (US)
Porkins Policy Review “Episode 40 Homeland Season 5 ep. 5” (US)
Porkings Policy Review “Episode 42: The Homeland Hackers” (US)
CBC: “’Homeland is racist:’ Graffiti artists dupe show producers with Arabic tags (CA)
BBC: “Street artists explain ‘homeland is Racist’ graffiti” (UK)
Radio Columbia: “Heba Amin, la grafitera que se coló en Homeland” (CO)

“Arabian Street Artists” Bomb Homeland: Why We Hacked an Award-Winning Series

Homeland is NOT a series

What’s wrong with Homeland’s political message? The very first season of “Homeland” explained to the American public that Al Qaida is actually an Iranian venture. According to the storyline, they are not only closely tied to Hezbollah, but Al Qaida even sought revenge against the US on behalf of Iran. This dangerous phantasm has become mainstream ‘knowledge’ in the US and has been repeated as fact by many mass media outlets. Five seasons later, the plot has come a long way, but the thinly veiled propaganda is no less blatant. Now the target is freedom of information and privacy neatly packaged as the threat posed by Whistleblowers, the Islamic State and the rest of Shia Islam.

In the summer of 2015, the American television serial “Homeland” was shot in Berlin. June and July saw parts of the city dedicated to capturing the doings of former CIA Agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) in her new role as security advisor to a German humanitarian oligarch, Otto Düring (Sebastian Koch). Amidst hints of a hacker conspiracy and secret agreements between the US and Germany, the show attempts to mirror real-life events with an Edward Snowden-style leak revealing a joint project by the CIA and the BND (German Federal Intelligence Service) illegally spying on German citizens. But unlike real life, this leak forced Germany to release all arrested ISIS terrorists.

The series has garnered the reputation of being the most bigoted show on television for its inaccurate, undifferentiated and highly biased depiction of Arabs, Pakistanis, and Afghans, as well as its gross misrepresentations of the cities of Beirut, Islamabad- and the so-called Muslim world in general. For four seasons, and entering its fifth, “Homeland” has maintained the dichotomy of the photogenic, mainly white, mostly American protector versus the evil and backwards Muslim threat. The Washington Post reacts to the racist horror of their season four promotional poster by describing it as “white Red Riding Hood lost in a forest of faceless Muslim wolves”. In this forest, Red Riding Hood is permitted to display many shades of grey – bribery, drone strikes, torture, and covert assassination- to achieve her targets. She points her weapon of choice at the monochrome bad guys, who do all the things that the good guys do, but with nefarious intent.

It cannot be disputed that the show looks good and is well acted and produced, as its many awards prove. But you would think that a series dealing so intensively with contemporary topics including the war on terrorism, ISIS, and ideological clashes between the US and the Middle East would not, for example, name a key terrorist character after the former real-life Pakistani ambassador to the United States. Granted, the show gets high praise from the American audience for its criticism of American government ethics, but not without dangerously feeding into the racism of the hysterical moment we find ourselves in today. Joseph Massad, Associate Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University, addresses this deep-seeded racism of American media towards the Middle East: “‘Homeland’ hardly deviates from this formula [of racist programming], except to add that Arabs are so dangerous that even all-American White men can be corrupted by them and become equally dangerous to America”.

At the beginning of June 2015, we received a phone call from a friend who has been active in the Graffiti and Street art scene in Germany for the past 30 years and has researched graffiti in the Middle East extensively. He had been contacted by “Homeland’s” set production company who were looking for “Arabian street artists” to lend graffiti authenticity to a film set of a Syrian refugee camp on the Lebanese/Syrian border for their new season. Given the series’ reputation we were not easily convinced, until we considered what a moment of intervention could relay about our own and many others’ political discontent with the series. It was our moment to make our point by subverting the message using the show itself.

ArabianStreetArtists1 ArabianStreetArtists2
Left: Homeland is NOT a series (al watan mesh mosalsal)
Right: Top: we didn’t resist, so he conquered us riding on a donkey; bottom: The situation is not to be trusted; left: This show does not represent the views of the artists (photos courtesy of the artists)

ArabianStreetArtists3 ArabianStreetArtists4
Left: Freedom (horeya)..now in 3-D!
Right: Homeland is watermelon (al watan bateekh) (watermelon is a word often used to indicate that something is a sham or not to be taken seriously) (photos courtesy of the artists)

ArabianStreetArtists5 ArabianStreetArtists6
Left: There is no Homeland (mafeesh Homeland)
Right: #blacklivesmatter (photos courtesy of the artists)

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Left: Falafel and Alcohol: from the hands of Faiza
The falafel stand belongs to an elderly lady named Faiza, a Syrian Christian who has seen a lot of life, and lived in a multicultural society for much of it. She has understood that good food and an occasional drop of Arak solve many problems, and although she sells only falafel and hummus, she added alcohol as a visual reminder of the better times, an act of resistance to her current circumstances and a premonition of a return to the life she once knew and enjoyed, even through hardships. She is well-liked in the neighbourhood, and although her sign does mention Alcohol, it also brings smiles to the residents of the camp.

Right: right: against the red, blue and purple devil (A Muslim Brotherhood reference made by an Egyptian general on Television in 2013)
left: Homeland is a joke, and it didn’t make us laugh
(photos courtesy of the artists)

Homeland is racist
#gasewsew (a reference to the Egyptian Abla Fahita puppet on spying) (photos courtesy of the artists)

In our initial meeting, we were given a set of images of pro-Assad graffiti- apparently natural in a Syrian refugee camp. Our instructions were: (1) the graffiti has to be apolitical (2) you cannot copy the images because of copyright infringement (3) writing “Mohamed is the greatest, is okay of course”. We would arm ourselves with slogans, with proverbs allowing for critical interpretation, and, if the chance presented itself, blatant criticism directed at the show. And so, it came to be.

The set decoration had to be completed in two days, for filming on the third. Set designers were too frantic to pay any attention to us; they were busy constructing a hyper-realistic set that addressed everything from the plastic laundry pins to the frayed edges of outdoor plastic curtains. It looked very Middle Eastern and the summer sun and heat helped heighten that illusion. The content of what was written on the walls, however, was of no concern. In their eyes, Arabic script is merely a supplementary visual that completes the horror-fantasy of the Middle East, a poster image dehumanizing an entire region to human-less figures in black burkas and moreover, this season, to refugees. The show has thus created a chain of causality with Arabs at its beginning and as its outcome- their own victims and executioners at the same time. As was briefly written on the walls of a make-believe Syrian refugee camp in a former Futterphosphatfabrik (animal feed plant) in the outskirts of Berlin, the situation is not to be trusted- الموضوع فيه أن.

The Arabian Street Artists //
Heba Amin @hebamin
Caram Kapp @dot_seekay
Don Karl a.k.a Stone @Donrok

* Our intervention was broadcast on October 11, 2015, “Homeland” Season 5, Episode 2.

1001 calamities (Alf nila w’ nila)

Repetition teaches Bashar (A play on Repetition teaches the Donkey, homar, which rhymes with Bashar)

Ready to die (nemoot)

Homeland is racist

Homeland is racist (photo courtesy of Showtime)