The perks of Cairo Drive

First off meeting Sherief Elkatsha was an amazing individual to meet in class. His advice for film majors as well as professional adults, (that we are soon going to be) was very inspirational. (Inspirational enough for me to write down and keep it in the post its I abide by)  His film, Cairo Drive, just added to his personality and the type of person he perceived to be! The mix of comedy and emotion is what attracted me most to the film. I really enjoyed seeing the streets of Cairo and getting an idea of what driving looks like in a very complicated routine most people in Cairo go through.

The humor in the film made Cairo relatable. Watching the simplicity of how people describe the way they communicate through honks and how they get road raged reminded me of me on the road. It was some sort of comedy relief because although driving can lead to death, it can also be funny because of how we can be perceived to others. This film also reminded me about how I use comedy relief to cope with my emotions and adversities. Although, I can empathize completely, it made me relate to the people in Egypt and understand them in a deeper sense.

Overall, the film made me want to visit the streets of Cairo. It made me intrigued to continue learning about these different details about the Egyptian culture.

 

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The perks of Cairo Drive

Constitutional Reformists & Saudi Arabia

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Most Arabs would agree that Saudi Arabia needed change without thinking the issues and drastic measurements that needed to be partaken. Before 2011, constitution reformist in Saudi Arabia have receive extreme punishments from the regime. A major penalty occurred in February 2007, during the release of a petition signed by many activists. The ten leading members of the movement were arrested. Many of them were important figures to the Sahwa’s intifada in the 1990s. This caused them to establish the first completely  independent Human Rights non-governmental organization (NGO) known as (SCPRA).

SCPRA was able reach out to others through the internet which was considered a huge mistake. The internet gave constitutional reformists the ability to connect with a wide range of other people, many who ranged in age and obtain different ideas. Through Facebook, many of the constitutional reformists reached out to the youth which cause them to become more active in their political thought. Many of the youth were ready to challenge the authority of others such as sheikhs, or Arab leaders.

Not only that, but this interconnectivity help sent the young Saudis abroad to impose believes and advocate for King Abdallah. Throughout this recruitment many young constitutional reformist emerged. Their ideas and actions actually contributed to the boot of Mubarak by publishing a provocative communique arguing that the only way Saudi Arabia can avoid revolution is by constitution reform. It can be assumed that the conversation of constitution reform influenced the Egyptians to desire a new form of government resulting in the protests after the realization of the need to dismiss Hosni Mubarak as an sort of authority.

The SCPRA led to forms of documentations such as the ” Towards a State of Right Institutions” petition which demanded an elected parliament with real powers and an appointment to a prime minister rather than a king. This petition was signed by many big names that made Saudi Arabia hopeful of changed. Eventually constitution reformists process in creating forms that demand change is the regime made a difference. More jobs were created and more funding for housing was provided.

However, not everything was rainbows and flowers. The police forces were more strict to those who protest about further call to action about reforming the regime. Communication outlets were destroyed such  websites including Facebook.This just comes show some of the situations constitutional reformists had to face in their attempt to make a change in Saudi Arabia.

Ultimately, was I have learned is that many difficult situations emerged  in order to reform Saudi Arabia and realized that SCPRA became an initial point to these events. From what I have read, I can conclude that some effective measurements of hope of change are the establishment of documentations that state what kind of change one is hoping for. I feel that if other areas of the Middle East took this approach they would be more successful. Yet again, this only sounds easier said than done and would determine on the extent of their system’s corruption.

Constitutional Reformists & Saudi Arabia

HarrassMap at Hand

HarrassMap has demonstrated to be a very constructive way of using digital technology. In my perspective, it comes to show how the evolution of technology embodies this generation nationally and globally. I’ve noticed in testimonial documentaries that focus on individuals from the Middle East, demonstrate how resourceful the usage of smartphones is to an individual. Some of the smartphone usage includes getting and delivering information as well as connecting with numerous amount of people.

I think HarrassMap exemplifies that same idea. It’s said that in Egypt “virtually” 100 percent of the population has access to a mobile phone, which  gives Egyptian individuals the opportunity to publicize their own experiences with sexual harassment.

Gathering that sort of data gives people the evidence of what kind of sexual harrassment is occurring in specific areas of Egypt. However, I do agree with Chelsea Young that since these claims of sexual harassment are anonymous, it is possible that what is being claim isn’t true. Personally, I don’t believe that their would be a huge amount of people who would lie about experiencing sexual harassment. However, I do explore the idea that maybe some people who are against this source of tool, want to defect it’s reliability and make it incompetent.This lead to question how reliable is HarrassMap’s method of  crowdsourcing?

At face value, crowdsourcing demonstrates to be a very efficient way to gather information, nevertheless, has it been essential to HarrassMap in gather statistics on when, who and how, individuals in Egypt are getting harassed. This type of digital technology has concluded even some of the most unexpected information that should be exposed to the Egyptian community. For instance, the instilled idea that most of the sexual harassment is performed by men was disproved.From what has been reported, majority is done by women and children. I think that discovering information like this is what can make HarrassMap a beginning point to reshape the misconceptions of sexual harassment and can bring awareness to the possibility of counting on new individuals, as oppose to officers or any authoritative figure, to take productive action and help eliminate such tragedies.

IMG_6768-1024x383                                                                             Volunteers of HarrassMap assisting women in Egypt
HarrassMap at Hand

The Controversy of Activism

In the blog post “New Media, New Civics? My Bellwether lecture at the Oxford Internet Institute” Ethan exercises the question whether social media was an essential platform that extruded Mubarak. It’s evident that some social media did cover important events that others mediums did not, for example, the protests in Gezi Square in Turkey. But is the internet given too much credit?

This question goes back to the role of anonymity that I discussed in my first blog about the effects of social media in the We are all Khaled Said” post. Can people really be activist without face to face interaction?

It’s a controversial topic because many of the social movement where assisted by online planning such as #FUCKSCAF and #YOUSTINK. If it wasn’t for the anonymity, people would not be bold enough to question their human rights as much as people do online. Is it fair it to distinguish this type of action from the original meaning of activism and categorize it as “slacktivism”?

According to the online dictionary, activism is defined as “the policy of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political and social change. It technically still is activism.

Ethan compares the Arabs’ activism to the Hispanics’ activism. Hispanics have similar ways of campaigning for political and social change but they also approach their contest a little different. For example, a group of undocumented Hispanics went back to their home country in order to receive trial in a different court, where their legal status was more likely to be granted. The group did this not only for themselves but for a bigger group of undocumented individuals. In a sense, Hispanics have demonstrated to have a more strategic way of activism. Yet again, you have to look at what this indigenous groups are picketing against; sovereignty and a presidential system.

The Controversy of Activism

Personal Expressions after the “After Tahrir” Seminar & Film Festival

I always thought I was well rounded with what was going on in the world. I thought I was updated on a good range of topics.

“Trump is running for president. He’s a joke.Clinton is running as well, and I should vote for Bernie because it seems like all college students are. ”

 

“Leonardo DiCaprio hasn’t won an Oscar.”

 

“We are currently in a war with ISIS.”

 

“There are Syrian refugees migrating to Europe.”

 

I converse with my colleagues, giving my opinion on what I think about these issues, assuming I am “well-informed” about what I am talking about. I read it all over the net: Google, New York Times, Huffington Post. Shouldn’t that be enough? But I always felt there was more to being “well-informed”. When I attended the “After Tahrir” events, I finally realized why I  had a notion to believe that the Internet is not all there is to feel well aware of what occurs on this planet.

I have learned about the crisis going on in Egypt in class but never did the information feel so real when hearing enlightening individuals share their perspectives about it. During the panel on Monday, it amazed me how many people went through the same thing under different circumstances. Mohammad Yahia shared his experience on being “coloured and queer” in Egypt and in Sweden. Ranwa Yehia talked about building communities after the Egyptian events of 2011. She explained the emotions she went through and her lose, that she still has trouble talking about till  this day. They each seemed to play their own part after the Egyptian revolutionary events. It amazed me to even have them their in the flesh, in front of me, as if what they were saying was just an article I read on Huffington Post or New York Times. Them being their made it real to me, made the events concrete with no controversy about it. Hearing it from real people who lived to say what they experienced made it valid for me. It wasn’t something I was reading but experiencing. That is where I felt “well-informed” not necessarily on all that has happened in Egypt but on what impacts it caused on individuals.

 

“The Egyptian Insurgency Short Film Festival” hosted a great number of individuals to express their perspective of the whole revolution in Egypt in a visual manner. It helped me understand some of the feelings that Egyptians felt during the demonstrations in Tahrir Square. Within that visual experience, I could explain to others some of what went on in Tahrir Square. I can’t say that about the elections, I can’t say that about the war with ISIS, I can’t say that about the refugees in Syria, but I can say that for the Egyptian Revolution outcomes and say I am “well –informed” in a little piece of what type of individuals were cultivated in Egypt after 2011.

 

 

Personal Expressions after the “After Tahrir” Seminar & Film Festival

Intellectuals from the Uprising of the Arabs & the #YOUSTINK protest

Intellectuals from the Uprising of the Arabs 

According to Paul Amar, the Arabs’ uprising which includes Algeria, Egypt,  Syria, Iran, Marocco , Libya, Bahrain, Tunsia and Yemen, led to a generation of social movements and public intellectuals that documented many of the Arab crises and their backstory. Some of these individuals tend to form this piece of history as a models of sovereignty. These paradigms include absolutism and oligarchy, and Ecocentric topics like the theories of the Middle East. Individuals from the uprising generation is constructing their own a201192693113511734_20.jpgrray of researched based on the past and current events within the Middle East and some of North America. These models become framework for hopes of a more fair and organized system that might serve as resources to moments that a country might never want to go mack to.

#YOUSTINK

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#YOUSTINK  is a antigovernment protest in Beirut,Lebanon that raised awareness of the dangers of the misplacement of garbage in Lebanon. Protesters and residents of Lebanon are concerned of the health problems that can be caused because of this essential garbage issue. The organizers of the #YOUSTINK campaign implemented to demonstrate a peaceful protest down the streets of Beirut, until riot police responded in violent actions such as firing tear gas, rubber bullets and spraying protestors with water cannons. As the days of protesting continued, the violence took an increase as riot police began to beat protestors with batons. Such violence demonstrated the corruption of the system that called for protesters to encourage others to revolt against it. 439868_img650x420_img650x420_crop.jpg

Yet after long days of violence and protest, the system hasn’t implemented an organized process on how to deal with the inefficiency of the garbage management in Lebanon. Due to the numerous people that were injured the days of the protests, protesters postponed any further demonstration.

Intellectuals from the Uprising of the Arabs & the #YOUSTINK protest