Tunisian musicians perform on Mount Sammama. (AFP / RZOUGA KHLIFI)
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A rustic theater where performers wear masks carved from cactus aims to win over young Tunisians in a long-neglected mountain district that has become a cradle of jihadism. Welcome to the "Jabal (mountain) Theater" of music and dance on an open-air stage flattened from bare earth on Mount Sammama, in a range of hills that is a favored hideout of loyalists of Al-Qaeda and Daesh (ISIS).Since its 2011 revolution, Tunisia has faced militant attacks that have killed more than 100 security force personnel as well as 59 foreign tourists and 20 Tunisian civilians. "Culture is the best weapon against backwardness, darkness and terrorism," said Maalia, who was among the audience at the Jabal Theater.Her voice choking with emotion, Maalia vowed never to leave her native mountain.
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