Saudi influence over the Arab Spring

This week’s reading covered the influence that the wealthy conservative nation of Saudi Arabia had over the Arab spring and how they effected the regime changes around the region to benefit their values and political agendas. The Muslim Brotherhood and other factional groups have been fighting for political influence of the entire region. It’s highlighting the support through funding different military groups in an attempt gain more political power over the surrounding nations. The struggle specifically between the Sunni and Shiite powers in the middle east continue and Saudi Arabia has been stirring the pot between the two factions for years now but since 2011 tensions and regime changes have been increasing over the years.

It’s really frustrating to witness the puppetry being done by the Saudi ruling class over some of the surrounding nations, profiting from the struggle in Syria and doing almost nothing to combat the wildfire like spread of ISIS over the war torn nations of Iraq and Syria. This article made me consider the possible reasoning for Saudi Arabia trying to stay out of the fight against ISIS and to some degree it’s not surprising that they aren’t involved considering that some of their law in place are very consistent with the same Sharia law that ISIS operates by.

Saudi Arabia seems to intervene in other countries struggles only when in benefits their political interest but when the Plague of ISIS is committing atrocities next door they stay silent. If the mid-east region is to see true change and progress towards peace the first step is by getting a response coalition that doesn’t just involve putting more US troops back in the front but rather a coalition of troops from the entire region and support from NATO nations.

Saudi influence over the Arab Spring

New Means of Sending the Message

In today’s instant information based world, many have begun to find a voice for themselves to which they didn’t have before. The internet is a free market of information exchange for anyone who has access to it and as we’ve seen in our studies some of the people that benefit from it the most are those who’s voices were silenced by oppressive governments. In the article by Kelly Garrett she discusses the new and different means in which these people find their voices. I thought the article was pretty informative on the ways that modern technology has given people a way to get their message widespread.

The Case-Study Harassmap is a classic example of Garrett’s article and how technology can bring awareness on an important topic like the crisis facing Egyptian women. I knew the situation for women in the middle east was already pretty bad but that infographic was able to clearly plot out statistical information regarding the ways in which women can have a safe environment without fears of sexual assault. It’s absolutely appalling that the Egyptian government doesn’t take this issue more seriously and represents the hegemonic acceptance of women’s abuse in the middle east. With the information for the project it brings a step by step process to which can help the victims find solace. This infographic is what Garrett was referring to when she discussed the potential the internet has to spread a message.

I believe the function of the internet is to allow the free flowing exchange of information and will continue to help those without a voice be heard. Within the 10 years of the internets evolution I have witnessed a culture develop where people gain a better understanding and perspective of worldly events and culture through the studies they can access online. One can hope this will lead us closer to a global consciousness allowing for peace and understanding between nations of very different cultural backgrounds.


New Means of Sending the Message

Fresh Prince of Richistahn Midterm

Pitch Proposal-165DA Project:

The script will be shared to you through google doc.

For our project we plan on making a two part satire parody video showcasing the corruption of the Royal family of Saudi Arabia. Our focus with be on an unnamed prince of Saudi Arabia who live in complete luxury in the posh neighborhood of the Hollywood hills.

The aesthetics of an MTV cribs style video in which the host, a prince of Richistahn, walks a camera crew through his alcohol, drug, prostitute, party house of a home. He’s rides up in his convertible slamming a bottle while sitting on the back of the car driven by two security The scene will open with protesters outside the house. When our prince opens the door the party in full rage mode then move on to several more subtle critiques of the corruption of the ruling class. Our Prince has also has a hot temper and gets pissed out by someone, threatens to kill people if he doesn’t get his way. These include a accidental reveal to a torture chamber, a hot tub made with money in it, a US government official giving the prince a fat check for oil money, and finally an awkward skype call between the prince and his father the King of Richistahn which showcases both the strained relationship between them but the hypocrisy that takes place between his father’s expectations of his son and what is actually taking place.

Challenges: The greatest obstacle we face with these series is production value. Fortunately we already have a house owned by a friend in the Hollywood hills that will serve the purpose for the home of our prince. The real challenge is dressing the set with enough props and extras to sell a party worthy of a Prince. We have a talented crew however with a lot of experience in production and the connections to fill our space convincingly.

2 day shoot.

Brandon-AC, edit

Alexa-Camera OP.

Ivan-production design

Sana-Project manager

Matt Hoge-Director/writer

Alex Amoit-Sound


Brandon’s Contribution:



Sana Sayedi


The Prince of Saudi Arabia fascinated our group; Prince Majid Al-Saud who is the son of the late King Abdullah and who frequently spends a lot of time in his home in Bel-Air. What attracted us to this idea was the irony between Saudi Arabia’s strong Islamic culture and opposition to the idea of Western lifestyle and the Prince’s actions and lifestyle as the exact opposite to the values imposed his country. After making headlines last year about bizarre and troubling accusations including forcing his staff to strip naked in front of his pool, the alleged rape of a housemaid, forcing a man into a gay encounter, threatening to kill certain individuals who refused his sexual demands, and the most recently the chaos of his house parties in Bel-Air that was the scene of many fights as well as significant amounts of cocaine and prostitutes. What made this story even more interesting, is that despite all these offenses and accusations the prince was arrested and acquitted every time because of his financial stature and some of the best representation in L.A.

After reading about many issues in class about digital activism, we sought to create a comedic version of activism by examining a Prince Majid Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia who lives in Bel-Air but we’re choosing to keep anonymous in the video. Our project will consist of one video, a satire comedy. We plan to use the theme song of the show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and use an actor to portray Prince as Will Smith and have our own lyrics to the theme song sung by the prince. We plan to use a home in L.A for most of the video as well as some shots outdoors to really capture the theme song and to make it as close to the Prince’s lifestyle as possible.

The video will be more of satire comedic spoof very similar to an SNL skit examining the Prince at his home in Bel-Air before and after one of his parties. We plan to use an actor to portray the prince and follow him throughout the video to show what he does during this parties and as well as bringing in some of his craziest behaviors he’s been arrested for.

The video will be around 5 minutes long. We expect the shooting days to last no longer than 3-4 days. We also plan to set up shooting sometime next week on February 27th and 28th.

Our group project has significant roles for each group member. Sana and Ivan will be project manager/producer and they are responsible for everything to be on time as far as project schedule and shooting days and finding actors and extras, and will help out in every aspect needed to be filled on the shoot day. Matt and Alexa will be taking on the job as directing, cinematography and camera. While and Brandon will be in charge of editing and sound. Again, our group plans to work together with every job possible to completing the project therefore there will be a lot of overlap and help with each member across the entire project.

We hope after our video is finished it will give students an opportunity to look at a prominent member of the gulf region monarchies and learn that his actions are entirely against the cultural and religious values of his country. It will also allow people to hopefully rethink their opinion about Saudi Arabia in general to know that the country’s laws and principles are very different to what the Saudi people want and addresses the corruption as well as the ironic hypocrisy from the ruling families in the gulf.


Ivan Palacio

Treatment: Production Design

For our Final project “The Fresh Prince of Saudi Arabia”, I will be taking the role of Production Design, which will consist of getting props, costume design for the actors involved, and extras for specific scenes. Since this project heavily relies on set design to make it look realistic in a rich and lavish environment, I will be getting props that match the tone of the story. For example according the script, the Prince will own a variety of objects that are covered in gold such as a gold phone, gold toaster and many more household items that will be spray painted in gold in order to make the setting appear luxurious. Additionally, one scene that consists of a bathtub filled with money will be done by buying fake money online. Since we do not have a real budget for this project, we will all pitch in a small amount of money to buy these props which should not cost much since we will make the props and objects look luxurious without actually buying these items at full price; we will bring spray paint, fake money, props that we each own that could help the set design.

In costume design, we will be purchasing an Arabic Sheik costume from Amazon which is around $20 and the crew will split the cost. After principal photography, we will return the costume and refund everyone that pitched in. The sheik costume resembles that of a Saudi Arabian prince with it being mostly black with some streaks of gold that will match all of the golden props in the lavish “palace”.

Extras will be required for a couple of scenes such as the torture scene, the party guests and maid scene. We will most likely be using our own friends that we will drive down to LA so it will make it easier for us to film the project. These are the duties that I will be performing for this project as Production Design.



As for my overall role for the final project, I’ll be handling the sound aspect of it overall. I have a good amount of experience working with sound. I have been on several short film projects as one of the Sound Mixers. As well as sound mixing, editing and overall maintenance for almost three years at my last job Also having basic level skills in all different areas of production (scriptwriting, logistics, lighting, camerawork, etc.). Anyways I’ll discuss the duties and responsibilities in my role for the final project.

As already mentioned by my peers, we will be making a detailed parody video from the popular MTV show called Cribs/Music video of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. My general responsibilities for sound would be some of the following: to get clear audio levels overall in each scene and maintain it, correctly mic the actors when needed, move and keep the sound equipment organized. As well as help with sound mixing post-production to make sure all the audio is edited and matches the video being played on screen. As for my secondary objectives I will discuss with my fellow crew members about the logistics of it: How many microphones do we need? Do we need to use only boom mics or a lapel mics or both? How many potential outsides sounds can be reduced or eliminated altogether? These are some of the many questions that will have to answer before production happens.

Lastly will discuss all the other duties that I will be contributing to the group project besides just solely working on sound. Some of my other responsibilities towards the completion of the group project is whatever aspect of the project (lights, production, editing) I will give equal amount of attention and assist as much as possible. Furthermore will also contribute will other general objectives to make the transitions of pre-production, production and post-production as fluid as possible. That could include some or all of the following: Transportation of myself, crewmates and equipment to production location(s), help with building/tear down the set for each scene, general upkeep of equipment when needed. As well as being flexible in trying fix any problem or potential obstacles that could come up during production. In conclusion I feel I’m perfectly qualified with the role I have been given and the large collection of skills and experience that my crewmates can fill any potential gaps in knowledge that I don’t currently process.


For this project we will be filming on Matt’s DSLR camera and using his Glidecam rig in order to pull off the look that we need. We also have access to a tripod, various lenses, and all other necessary accessories and equipment in order to pull off this project. Collectively, we have the gear that we need in order to film the project, and we have access to lighting equipment through our group members. We have a set of fluorescent lights, 5-in-1s, as well as access to soundstage lighting equipment should we need to rent from the department. We don’t plan on heavily lighting the space that we are filming, so a small handful of lights should suffice for this project. The house that we plan on filming in is one where many of us have filmed before, so we are already familiar with both the layout of the space as well as with what does and doesn’t work, lighting-wise, in each room.




Fresh Prince of Richistahn Midterm

Lebanon’s Trash crisis.

This weeks reading I found informative towards the recent trends of middle eastern revolutions against totalitarian regimes but ultimately not focused enough in regards to the what we have been discussing in class. It was slightly informative to hear about the comparison of Beirut’s perspective on the Arab spring however I personally felt it was an interesting choice topic in comparison to many other more heavily weighted topics in the region. I understand that the trash crisis is a serious issue and nobody wants to live in their own filth and as a nation Lebanon should continue to protest until this is solved but I felt the article didn’t do it justice on a grand scale of what else is taking place just next door, whether it be the continuing civil war in Syria, increased aggression between Palestinians and Israelis, or the spread of ISIS across the entire region.

Lebanon’s trash crisis represents also a cry for the people to have a higher standard of living at the most basic level. As the people of Lebanon continue to demand a better life for themselves one would hope the officials within the government would respond to the pleas of the people. Sanitation, and basic waste disposal should be one of the simplest forms of human right that the government can offer to its people and its clear things need to change. With the conflicts and riots between the people of Lebanon and the police increasing it’s clear that the government as spent way to much of the budget on militarization of their police force in order to keep their people in line rather than give its citizens a decent standard of living.

It’s 2016 folks, and to me what is taking place in Lebanon, Egypt, and in many of nations in the regions and around the globe is a consciousness of a standard of living for all people and through the internet we see how people are able to live across the planet without having to live in their own shit.

Lebanon’s Trash crisis.

After Tahrir: A lesson of revolution

First of all, I want to mention that the organization of the festival of film and intellectuals in this event taking place over a few days was really amazing to witness. The fact that as a student in Santa Barbara California I am able to hear, listen, and witness to the events that took place early 2011 and after from the people and filmmakers that were there is truly an eye opening experience. So much of our lives in the bubble of Santa Barbara is futile compared to the daily struggle endure by the people of Egypt and their daily struggle from an oppressive regime.

This became incredibly apparent in the videos shown in the festival, “The Maspero Massacre”, which displayed the horrifying reality of what takes place under a government completely ruled by a militaristic state. It was a gut wrenching experience watching these videos and the atrocities by the ruling state of Egypt that go almost completely ignored by the international community. Furthermore the militaristic power in place showcase there dominance in the discussion of military trials for citizens. There is so much corruption in the system that unjusticely puts people behind bars, or worse, simply for speaking out or protesting against the military state.

I also was able to attend the Radical Democrats and Legacies of Combat: Strategies and Movement panel, which provided addition insight into some of the cultural and social context of the Egyptian revolution. Hearing from Yahia Saleh, and Ahmad Adwadallah about the struggle from queer citizens and the consciousness they were able to raise in this revolutionary time was very intriguing. The fact that these topics are even being discussed within the extremely anti-gay religion context of the middle east shows the first steps for the protected rights of all citizens to be able to live the way they like, where as in some countries you can still be put to death for being homosexual.

Overall I’ve learned that from the Egyptian revolution sparked a greater thought and consciousness about many different social, cultural, political, and economic movements that relates to more than just Egypt but to many oppressed nations within the region, which later sparked the Arab Spring. Even though not much progress has been made in Egypt now, it still gives hope that the people have grown more aware to the oppression they face from a totalitarian government and are willing to fight for their freedom.

After Tahrir: A lesson of revolution

Youth Digital Citizenship

I continue to find the youth uprising movement of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution fascinating as I read more about some of the generation social context in Linda Herrera’s article. The four phases of becoming a wired generation is particular interesting to consider from a US citizen’s perspective in which technology and the internet has always been a large part of my life. When I was in grade school I remember being amazing at the ability that the internet gave for man’s ability to communicate instantly across any border from around the world. Being surrounded by it most of my life it’s difficult to understand what living in a state like Egypt without these technologies. Watching the rise of the internet in Egypt as they only had 300,000 in 2000 which in 2011 increased in 15 million is absolutely mind-blowing to put into context.

Another portion of the article that struck accord with me was the attention to what the internet can be as global source of education for the Arab world, whose authoritarian states have traditional has inhibited it’s citizens ability and access to quality education. I’ve always had a strong belief that knowledge and sound logic allows for a more peaceful and prosperous society, and looking to the middle east which is dominated by religious wars and a lack of basic education for many residents. The internet has given the people of the middle east that access to knowledge that its dictatorship governments have been suppressing for years. Growing up in conservative house hold here in the US, I can relate somewhat to the Egyptian’s revelation that many of its people had when becoming exposed to the vast source of knowledge the internet contains. For most of my life I was told that scientists couldn’t be trusted and had an agenda in regards to issues like the creationist vs. the evolutionist argument and even climate change. For a time I “believed” what I was told by family, private Christian school, and the church I attended that the Earth was only a few thousand years old and that man isn’t powerful enough to effect God’s creation planet Earth in the way liberal scientists where describing. Welp, after a quick few google searches and a few hours of basic research into these topics I learned pretty much everything I was told as a child was false. It was quite a revelation I had come to and it was all because of the access that internet had given me to basic information. The Egyptian people had a similar revelation when its young digital generation realized the corruption that Mubarak had been responsible for decades. The internet allows access to power that exposes falsehoods and lies told by those who hold power over us. It’s lead to a revolution that I hope to continue in the minds of many who deal with that same internal conflicts as I did, and the Egyptian people continue to struggle with.

Youth Digital Citizenship

Revolutionary Mindset

While Khale Said served to give a reason for Egypt’s growing unsatisfied youth, it’s important to notice the use in unfortunate death as a means to spread the wildfire of rebellion against the military you’ll through social media outlets like Facebook and twitter. Said’s martyrdom and representation on social media is a phenomenon scene throughout history when social order begins to shift. It allows the people a singular reason to rally and focus their hatred and disapproval over the governing forces. Learning more about Khale and his spotted past however was interesting to see, and the painting of his image as an outstanding citizen in my opinion and dishonest but necessary tool for revolutions to do in order to get the people to rally to their cause. Egypt still remains a frustrated and suppressed nation in regards to economics, religion, sexuality, and social issues. It doesn’t surprise me that Said wasn’t the perfect individual, but that also could be blamed as a product of his environment. The nation still has a large among of poverty and it is understanding that in that environment, young men might turn to drugs and gangs as their only means to find empowerment and freedom in a state that has none.

While reading the article, I couldn’t help but to think and compare that of Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders and his appeal to the youth. In Egypt and in the US today we face a similar demographic shift as the baby boomer generation gets older and the millennial become the majority. While Egypt still might have a larger number of youth at 65% under 30, both have similar goals of representation from a corrupt government that doesn’t seem to represent its people but rather is fueled by the corruption of wealth and power. While the US is obviously allowed much more social freedoms it is still inspiring to see the population of Egypt rise against a repressive government and fight for a rally cause for change.

-Matt Hoge

Revolutionary Mindset