In the third week of the course, there was a multiple day conference where many activists and artists came from Egypt among other places to the speak about the 5 year anniversary of the Egyptian revolution. The speakers came from different backgrounds but all shared one common idea about the prosperity of Egypt and how much the country has changed in the last five years. The panel I attended was in the afternoon, and included many ideas about how the spaces in Cairo have changed and how the current state of the city has been altered by the Military leaders in an effort to get rid of the idea of the mass demonstrations and eliminate any traces of the revolution.
After hearing each speaker, I found that the overlying theme of space means that the city is losing its value of tradition, history, and culture. One of the speakers mentioned how there was a park in Cairo near Tahrir Square which used to be a place where people would bring their kids and enjoy picnics. Now, the entire area has been developed into a parking lot and has lost a vital cultural place in the city. Another speaker described the effects of the revolution on Egpyt’s favorite pastime, Soccer and how the clubs in the country have changed and are under the influence of the occupation.
The last speaker who was an artist showed many pictures mainly of street art and how that was expressive of the country’s emotions. I found her ideas about current state of Egypt and the way it was shut down on expression and speech to be the most disheartening.
All the speakers portrayed their love of Egypt and Cairo and were all passionate about their country and how it has changed and how they are trying to contain the unique and historical importance of their country. Their work and research is impressive and they will undoubtedly continue to research and speak about their country and how they can improve it over time.