Reflecting on our recent panel ‘Gender, Wars and Chadors’ we discuss issues of censorship in the Middle East and while our website is censored in Iran at the moment, this issue features two of the country’s most prolific artists: the extraordinary Haerizadeh brothers. In contrast, Turkey currently boasts its 11th Istanbul Biennial filled with morbid, hard-hitting artworks which give an artistic narration of human suffering and the ravages of war. On our visit, we also experienced the Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art and met with artist Haluk Akakçe. A review of Frieze shows that we found hardly any Middle Eastern art this year but the team looks forward to Abu Dhabi Art. In the spirit of Chistmas, we highlight St Catherine’s Monastery and last but not least the restoration of St Nicholas Church in Sidon.