Cairo Drive

“Traffic equalizes the plain field; everyone is at the same stage”

After seeing Cairo Drive I have to say now I consider myself somewhat more knowledgeably towards the driving in Cairo.

The direction Sherief Elkatsha took in the movie was different but at the same time one of the best ways to do it. As he mentioned on the Q&A after the film, doing the film from the car was much easier because people would talk about everything behind a wheel. They were hesitant to begin with and only wanted to talk about driving, but once they were on the road, the stress and anger got them talking about all different topics. In my opinion this is a very tactical way to do it which allowed Sherief Elkatsha to obtain much more information than if he would have just placed a camera in front of the interviewees.

When you see the way people drove before and after the Revolution you can notice a big change, especially because before the driving in Cairo was ruled by corruption; as the government prohibited trucks in certain areas during some hours, but the truck drivers would bribe the police to let them in. Another common action was using bribe to get the driving license.

This all kind of changed when the revolution came as a great amount of regulation was enforced and the driving license were checked at every corner. However, as I mentioned, it only kind of changes because not all rules where adapted to this new way of living and if you don’t change the rules from the top of the hierarchy then the change won’t be successful throughout the society.

Now I understand why the film was made in Cairo, as Sherief Elkatsha said; “there is no bubble”, everyone shares everything, it is a very communal environment and collectivistic culture where everyone passes everything around. In the film there are a few shots which show this, as you can see how two people are on the motorbike riding side by side talking and how people pass things from one car to another. In the Q&A he also mentioned how he had filmed how a man passed a cup of tea to another man in a different car.

Cairo Drive

The rise of activism: Women2Drive

“Sunni Islamist is the force with the biggest mobilizing potential in the Kingdom and the only force theoretically able to threaten the system”

Although people had been arrested the activist wanted to keep doing their work, but the ideas of how to do that varied. There were various groups; one which thought the priority was to focus on the society to stop the growing trend of the social liberalization. What they wanted is to give equality to the women, an issue that was growing in the wrong direction. However, the other group thought that the most important thing to talk about was the political change, as some thought that Saudi Arabia was being converted into a “True Islamic state”. Finally there is a third group which tried to advocate a “civil jihad” using peaceful means aiming to transform Saudi Arabia into an Islamic constitutional monarchy.

However they were all in favor of the revolution and they got together which alarmed the outside countries and culminated by receiving donations, which they still are through Sahwa networks. The revolutions that happened were peaceful and they only reclaimed freedom and dignity, but with this revolution social media also increased in Saudi and people began to communicate their ideas this way.

Personally I think that having the opportunity for young people and women, along with everyone else, to reclaim and speak their minds throughout the social media is a very good decision, as no one should be banned to speak their mind and everyone should have the right to ask for whatever they want, without giving importance if afterwards that’s actually going to happen or not.


About the campaign Women2Drive, women should have the right to drive because nothing makes them less able to do it than men, and having the ability to use the social media to express themselves and prove to the society they are wrong and the women are able to drive or do many other things which they are prohibited throughout their lives is a very good start. We are in the 21st Century and I don’t think we should be still dealing with these type of problems, as men are no better than women or vice versa. Everyone has their own ability and everyone should be able to practice it.

The rise of activism: Women2Drive

HarassMap: Using Crowdsourced Data to Map Sexual Harrasment in Egypt

The first data presented to us in this reading is shocking enough as 99.3% of women in Egypt report being sexually harassed and 49.2% report that this harassment occurs on a daily basis. The problem is that they feel ashamed and scared therefore they don’t report it. It should be out there, people should know what’s happening and there should be a big change.

However there has been a first movement called HarassMap created by Rebecca Chiao and which in my opinion is very effective as it is an easy way to make people aware in a visual and more eye-catching manner. This has happened as it initiated being run by volunteers and then in 2012 it received a 2-year grant from Canada’s International Development Research Centre. It is a crowdsourcing-based advocacy, prevention and response tool for all the harassment that is happening in Egypt.

HarassMap collects the information for a posterior use throughout the society on offline mobilizations to try and make people aware and more conscious that accepting this type of behavior isn’t the right one. I will mention again that this idea is a very positive one for the problem we are facing as being unable to tell the World or even someone that you know will help that problems you are facing such as sexual harassment is denigrating and unacceptable, that’s why HarassMap allows the victims to anonymously report their sexual harassment stories.

Women in Egypt are seen as inferior and sexual harassment only makes this situation worse as it has a negative impact on the way they act and participate in the public sphere. They are coerced to act in certain ways, avoid eye contact, and basically be repressed in their own country every time they walk down the street or even worse, every time of the day no matter where they are. This new tool will benefit in many levels; personal, community, national and global as it will, in some way or another, create awareness throughout the population.

I don’t think one application will make a change, but surely it will open the eyes of the population and more awareness will appear. Hopefully with this increase in awareness the number of application as well will increase. Many people don’t see what’s happening so they just prefer not to think about it but this affects everyone even if you haven’t been through it.

HarassMap: Using Crowdsourced Data to Map Sexual Harrasment in Egypt

Internet revolutionizing the Middle East

Arabic translation for Creative Commons licenses

As Jessica Dheere states, there is no reason why having more bloggers involved in stories means they are going to get further and more population will actually listen. But what the digital media really does is spread the word quickly and effectively. We have all lived it in a certain way or format. People have posted comments or photos that have gone viral and reached unexpected distances all around the World. This is what’s happening with the digital activism in the Arab countries. They reclaim for free speech and during this they get sent to prison or vastly punished for it, however they don’t give up and the word spread all around the World to the point that we have become conscious of what’s happening.

The most shocking part is that the government tries to stop it by blocking social networks like Facebook in Tunisia, or the vast censorship that is happening around these countries. However the population is so keen on finding a solution that they find various tactics to pass these limitations and reach far as they are doing right now.

I completely agree with Jessica’s article as the main right that everyone should have no matter what their occupation is should be the right to speak freely about whatever you want, giving opinions. There shouldn’t be a specific way to write or specific topics to comment on, the idea of being a blogger is to be able to express your thoughts and feeling to the whole World.

I don’t think being a journalist is something negative; however I just see them as two different jobs. Many people criticize the bloggers as they think that they are taking over the journalism, however in my opinion this is completely a wrong idea as it is two very different ways to see reality. Journalism is meant to be done in an objective way so the reader can be presented with the issue and the solution to that issue. On the other hand, the bloggers just give opinions which are also helpful for the reader but it is only from one point of view.

Internet revolutionizing the Middle East

Consensus instead of violence

Uprising in the Middle East has generated high controversies. They created models to fight against the social polarization of the political-economic contexts. Basically what they wanted was the down of the regime and in a way I can understand this because being young, trying to go into the “real world” working and becoming independent and at the same time facing what they see as absolutism and oligarchy. The only option they have is to go out on the streets and join each other as a group based on the trends and beliefs they share, to try and change their countries.

To this you can add the “#YouStink” campaign which activists participated complaining to the Lebanese government and accusing them of infecting the country with too much garbage. Activism happens everywhere and in Spain a year ago a crisis like this also happened and the garbage men stopped collecting all the garbage on the streets and these accumulated all over the cities of Spain. Activists ran out to the streets to complain however it never got as degrading as it did in Beirut in 2015. This is very shocking as people are not allowed to complain and speak their minds. It’s a two way thing but if the population would manifest in a peaceful way and the authorities would allow this then everyone will at least be free to say what they wish and at least feel like someone hears them. The way that it’s done in these countries just infuriates the citizens even more. Getting shot sprayed with a powerful water jet or even being beaten up by the police is not acceptable in any way what so ever. Reaching an agreement with the population where they don’t start a fire with anything and the police act more peacefully then maybe some solutions will be taken into consideration.

Consensus instead of violence

After Tahrir

After attending the After Tahrir panel conference at 1:30 pm about the Radical Democrats and Legacies of Combat with Momen El Husseiny, Omnia Khalil, Linda Herrera, Mozn Hasan and Ranwa Yehia, I realized that in many different aspects of the Egyptians lives they are controlled directly by the government or the powerful forces.

The speech that impacted me the most was the one of the Ultras on the Egyptian football teams. I know for sure that they also exist in the Spanish football teams and people are advised not to sit next to them because they can get very furious, but nothing more than that. However with the uprising in 2011 the Ultras in Egypt were beaten, they were also prevented from wearing the group banner or t-shirts and the leader of the group would be arrested before the game to prevent any type of revolt during these events.

The Egyptian uprising ended up banning the right to protest and occupy civic space, therefore anything the Ultras did would be against the law. Even though they tried to hide the protests by building the chants by voice and performance and creating sound based songs to get back their place in the stadium and the streets, they would still have a great opposition. For example, when they said swearwords this would be seen as much worse than if any other person would say a swearword in a football match.

 “Revolutionist is and act on everyday bases. The idea of silence is a strategic movement of wait. The waiting culture.” – Momen. This comment really made me think that if the Ultras just waited and listened to what was going on maybe the campaign would have been more efficient. Many times we just start saying things without previously investigating about them and that is what takes us to commit errors. In this case I have to say that the Ultras were very brave to stand up on their beliefs no matter what was going on. The stadiums where very politicized and they just wanted a change.

After Tahrir

R-Shief workshop

After the R-Shief 4.0 workshop I realized how important the language is to be able to understand what you are researching about. I agree on the fact that if you are going to be working and investigating the problems of a country, it is very important for you to emerge in that country. Apart from living in it and experiencing what the natives are you should learn the language, because with the translation many expressions and particular words are lost this is due to the lack of an exact translation of the information or specific words. Reading about the problem, in this case, of the Middle East in Arab will enrich the researcher on his field and will make him become twice as aware as if the information had been translated to another language.

However a bit of controversy will rise because no translation will mean that people who are just interested to know about what is happening throughout the world, won’t have the privilege to get informed and therefore the ignorance will increase drastically as people will just know things that happen in their county or the countries that speak the same language. It’s impossible to learn every language in the world, therefore having information translated will allow creating a change as more people would be aware and willing to take part of the development.

R-Shief overall has many interesting ideas that will allow media to become more accessible and the users to search for what they want and the way they want that information.

R-Shief workshop

Are the new technologies the end of books?

The youth is called the wired generation because they are constantly connected throughout the world coming up with ideas to revolutionize the era they are living in. They talk about a monumental generational rupture that is driven by the new media and I strongly agree as with this new wave of social technological media the ways of learning have varied in a radical way. Now-a-days people use this media to learn about what is happening throughout the world, the idea of books is beginning to disappear, everything is on the internet so why spend money on purchasing those books?

However it is not only the bad aspects which we should concentrate on, as like Aly El Raggal explains these generations possess patterns of sociability, cognition, and values distinct from the generations before the digital era. They start to think more as a whole, leaving aside their own personal problems and concentrating on the ones everyone has, they become a “we generation” something that has never happened before or at least it has never been so strong. It’s a new way of thinking that will allow, in the long run, solving more basic problems which is what has to be done to be able to solve the more specific ones. This is why they contact everyone through the on-line media and then they meet off-line to create the movement, it has been happening all over the world and the Arab youth, in the recent years, have been joining these types of actions.

Another aspect to mention are the eight features identified by Tapscott; freedom, customization, scrutiny, integrity, collaboration, entertainment, speed, and innovation. The youth interacts with the media, and this way getting more information out of it and being able to analyze it from different points of views. This era will have broader information which is beneficial until a certain point, as it also makes the youth be more visual and leave aside the academic aspects. They read so much about many things, that at the end that causes them to not know in depth any aspect of the world.

The Arab youth are sick to being left aside, they know that there is a high level of classism and the rich are always seen as better people and are helped in every inch to fulfil their needs whistle the poor are always left aside. This has created many insecurities and a high level of anger throughout the population which due to the new media it has spread and the movements have been created.  As the reading of Linda Herrara states, “58% of Egyptians between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five have access to computers, and among them 52% are Internet literate.”

Overall Internet is not only used to make movement, it also allows people to grow and expand their social characters. It is good for people who don’t have many social abilities, a way of growing and reaching further in life. However I still question myself; is this better than books? Are they doing right leaving the more academic readings aside?

Some ideas for the projects:

  • I thought this subject was very interesting and I would like to create a website which related the amount of activism uprising in the Middle East and how that actually effects the population and if it actually created changes. It will contain graphs, videos and very visual analysis for people to be able to understand what actually the increase in media is doing to the young population.
Are the new technologies the end of books?

The rising of the youth

“Social movements can generally be defined as a collective or joint action with change-oriented goals that require some degree of organization and carry some degree of temporal continuity”. (Snoe, Soule, & Kriesi, 2004, p.6).

The youth have always been set aside in the Arab world, however it’s the young who that are going to make a change in the world. due to this, this way of thinking is beginning to change in Egypt. Since the independence of Egypt from the colonial rule, the youth have become a pillar of the nation. As Amro Ali and Dina El-Sharnouby state in their reading, it’s the youth that have created an economic advancement in Egypt since the start of the Mubarak era in 1981.

This is when one of the problems rises, as young people are the ones that are beginning to have the power which at the same time increases with the use of social media. However they do not have sufficient jobs that allow them to live independently and create their own lives. The only thing that this creates is radicalism and movements against the greater forces and that’s one of the main reasons the young are the ones that mobilize the Egyptian population into different protests such as the one that led to the fall of Mubarak or movements like “We are all Khaled Said”. The strength of the youth scare police forces, so that’s why these forces do anything to try and put the most powerful down,  until the point of being killed brutally to death like the 28 year old Alexandrian Khaled Said.

Said’s campaign was chosen because of him, as they could have chosen many more but he was from a middle socio-economic class and he had absence of any obvious ideological background. To this we add a bit of sensationalism because the picture they had of his face after the police attack was so brutal they knew it would reach very far. He wasn’t a saint or from another planet, but he was the product of Egypt’s contemporary society and a member of the troubled youth.

The next generation that will have to take over the working force is suffering from both socio-economic and political-cultural problems and that is something worth considering. It’s unacceptable to have such a great amount of disappointment and at the same time not even allow them to express their feelings. This is why movements like “We are all Khaled Said” have appeared. It allows young people to express their ideas and explore new ways to get to their citizens with a faster approach than anyone else. Moreover we should not leave this aside, as with one campaign it is not enough. There are many young people whose stories we don’t know and are the same or worse than Said’s.

The rising of the youth