I have mixed feelings about the film festival on Sunday. When I arrived, I was excited to see the good turnout and what these Egyptian youth have created to commemorate the 5 year anniversary in Egypt’s revolution. When the screening began, the first few clips were very interesting as it followed a camera on the ground during the protests in Tahrir square and I almost felt the emotions and the sort of chaos with people trying to gather together and at the same time the pressure with the military and police officers around. One clip I thought was well done was the Omar Robert Hamilton as he made comments in the clips and helped the viewers understand what was happening at what time. It sort of put a timeline and situation in all the b-roll footage on the ground. For me, the piece that stuck with me was the speaktotweet clips where different Egyptians spoke via audio messages and recited poems when the government shut down the internet. I really enjoyed the poem recited by the woman who was addressing it directly to Hosni Mubarak and underlying the idea that his name “mubarak” which means a combination of blessed and celebration and how he defied his people and country and his name to the horrible atrocities he committed. Another one that was well done was the hadith recited about the gecko and how Mubarak was the gecko that repeatedly attacked Egypt.
For me the other clips did little to send a message or capture the spirit of the revolution and the sort of sacrifices Egyptians made during the time and even after. I felt that the Linda Herrera documentary comparing the Egyptian revolution to the independence of India during Gandhi’s time was completely misrepresented and out of place for the whole festival. Not only are there few similarities between India’s problems and Egypt but it was poorly demonstrated and most the clips kept highlighting India more than Egypt.
Overall, I think that some of the clips I mentioned above really helped me identify and understand the emotional standpoint of the revolution on the people of Egypt. I think that some of the speakers did a very good job at describing such as Hamilton and allowed the audience to be engaged in what he was talking about.
I’m utterly speechless after reading the articles and learning about the sexual harassment cases in Egypt during the revolution in 2011. I think what struck me most was the fact that the extremity of the actions imposed on women activists at the time and how they was really little coverage of the atrocities in the Western media. I say this because at the time of the events, I did recall of attack on Anderson Cooper and the CBC female correspondent but there was never press on what was happening on the ground with the Egyptian women who had no representation. Female activism didn’t begin during the revolution but rather had a long history among the country’s historical framework and it was so surprising that the state endorsed the idea to arrest and systematically sexually harass women and label them as prostitutes to be tried in court. It being a tactic of the regime to halt the progress of the demonstrations it is disturbing that the state continues such measures in order to maintain power. However, it is not something new that things like this are happening against women in Egypt because women are already misrepresented and unequal to men in almost every aspect. The conservative society serves as an instigator of much behavior due to such a taboo on men and women interacting before marriage. In such an event, where there are thousands of men and women there are bound to be such cases of behavior because the law enforcement and temptations are set loose. Unfortunately, there is a serious moral situation that so many people around the world have turned a blind to. Women along with the gays/lesbians are wrongfully accused and convicted as criminals and they violated as a tactic to instill physical and psychological shame on the individuals and then portrayed to the public. These strategies are still used today in many other countries in the Middle East where the punishments are even more severe and in many cases is death. Currently, ISIL has been notorious for sex trafficking and keeping many girls as young as three years old to be slaves in many areas of Iraq and Syria. I think that the youth starting the social movements of change was such a triumphant moment for Egypt but now that the state has repressed everything it is difficult to say what happens to all the progress of human rights groups and activism. Perhaps one way to start the conversation again would be other parts of the world particularly the west to tackle these issues and aide the human rights efforts of the people across the Middle East.
Also, I’d like to add for the group projects I don’t really know what I want to do and I have an idea to either do a website or a short video. I’d like to see what others are thinking of creatively and I’ll possibly join with those who are doing something similar.
After reading both articles, I learned the social impact of the Khaled Said campaign. Although I had heard about Khaled Said and the facebook campaign during the revolution in 2011 I was intrigued to learn about his life before his untimely death. I now understand why the campaign was so compelling and popular because Khaled Said was a young man suffering from the same difficulties that more than half the country was facing. Not only was he young and seeking to make a better life but he was a living example of the hardships of the youth seeking an education, jobs, and security for a good life. What I found interesting was that his death at the hands of officers demonstrated the exact problem of the country who was willing to take the life of their children to attain power and regulate their ruthless regime. It was significant for Egypt because his death also proved to the country and protestors that the state was unwilling to comply with their demands and ultimately was another strategy to reinforce fear and order back into the people, particularly the youth. This then added on to the list of problems the country was dealing with, police brutality, and a grave violation of human rights. The revolution was essentially a human rights revolution and the youth were seeking an opportunity to attain something with their lives as the societies do in the West.
However, I believe it instead spread another revolution globally on social media that not only changed the way social media was used but it spread the horrors and realities of Egypt’s crises. As described in the article, “Social Media Revolutions” Wolfgang Danspeckgruber states “Social Media Networks operate via social networks, which means that we generally trust the information we see from friends and acquaintances online.” This is essential because the fact that people were trusting the social media reports more than the journalists and news coverage caused the social media campaign to be successful. Therefore, the Khaled Said campaign changed Egypt internally and even though many of the country’s traditions and conservative principles look down upon Said’s personality and life before he was killed, he impacted the majority group of Egypt’s young demographic.
What’s interests me about the Khaled Said campaign was the way it took off online. And I now I’m curious if something similar were to happen today for instance, another massive protest or revolution scenario, would social media provide an even bigger outlet or similar wave globally? Now that there are more popular forms of social media like Instagram would the response be bigger. I ask this because the response for the recent Paris attacks occurred very quickly and the hashtag #prayforparis took off among the youth and celebrities from all over the world. Not only am I astounded from the response from Khaled Said and the recent Paris attacks I’m interested to see if the world will respond the same for the Middle East as they did in Paris.