Speak Up Syria Final Project

Group Members: Sara Grab, Maria Manzanares, Lizette Pina, Stephanie Mata

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Our final video; “Not Fallen”

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Speak Up Syria Final Project

Media Activism in Saudi Arabia

It was interesting to read how different groups within a nation can influence groups of power such as the regime and inspire others to rise. Media, specifically social media, has allowed a population of young activists to rise. These activists range from 20`s to early 30`s and stand with different groups within Saudi Arabia. Although the article contained a lot of details that broke down the political perspective of Saudi Arabia I was surprised there wasn’t more details that directly addressed the Women2Drive issue although they did tie in women briefly, but it mainly focused on the pressure put on the regime to change. The use of media has allowed not only for these groups of protestors to exchange ideologies, but also as a communication device to gather together and essentially keep their “campaigns” alive and updated to the public. Although the groups had different individual goals they all had the similar goal of getting the regime to do something for the people of Saudi Arabia.

Media Activism in Saudi Arabia

Harass Map for Women

I like how HarassMaps is able to use media as a medium to spread their message throughout Egypt. Not only do they advocate their message regarding sexual harassment, but they are able to educate the public about what it is, who it affects, and who are the perpetrators. It also allows for volunteers how have experienced sexual harassment to help others understand what it is and prevent it from happening to others. I like how they emphasize that a certain type of woman isn’t the target; instead it can happen to anyone. Same with the people who perform the sexual harassment, like the stat that says only 45% of adult men do it while the rest are women or children which most people do not realize.  It is true that using media as a medium is an advantage when it comes to advocating because as HarassMap has stated it is accessible to a larger population, broadens who it reaches, and it is able to be used as an immediate source. It`s interesting to see how projects like these take off to actually help the cause they are advocating for, similar to the projects we are creating in class.

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Harass Map for Women

Bloggers in the Middle East

It was interesting to see how bloggers in the Middle East are in a way more motivated than other parts of the world. The people trust bloggers than they do the journalist. Even though the government is doing what they can to stop the bloggers they are more reliable because they voice their true positions regardless of government ideologies and threats. They know that they can be punished for doing so, but they do it anyway; this allows them to become a reliable source of information for the people. They are seen as activist rather than journalist and use that power to advocate their cause local and internationally as well as bring people together.

An example of a blogger would be Bassel. He is praised for his activism through technology but was taken away. The article takes about his own personal build up to become an activist through media. He developed a skill and shared it with the Arab world, but the government saw that as a threat, just like they see large gatherings as a threat. Even though his intentions weren’t to directly attack the government, the service he provided for the public was enough for a red flag to go up.

Bloggers in the Middle East

You Stink

The YouStink campaign targets removing the garbage that the Lebanon government refuses to acknowledge. The movement has an active website that is published in two languages to accommodate both the locals facing the issue and those who are interested in learning more. Not only does it provide their mission and what they stand for as a group but also have direct links to social media accounts that provide even more opinions and information. What amazed me were the pictures in the article written by Taylor. It was powerful to see not only the amount of trash just there in the open, but how the protesters are dealt with. They are hosed down, beaten, shot at, and injured fighting for sanitation in their homes. You think that the government would take action to help the people. They are asking for a simple thing, which is to pick up the trash. Without following through the spread of disease as a problem arises. I put myself in their situation and it sounds horrible: the thought that trash would just pile up in the streets.

You Stink

Ultras in Egypt

At the After Tahir Conference the topic of a group known as the Ultras was brought up. It was interesting to hear how a fan-based group was being harassed by police and seen as a political threat. I personally found it hard to understand why because to me, they sounded like a group of men that share a passion for the sport of football. I compared them to the fans that tailgate at the Super Bowl or the passionate fans of the World Cup. There are instead seen as hooligans, even though they aren’t an actual threat. The Ultras perform chants, dances, and light flairs to show their support of their team. The police will often beat them and confiscate their banners and other things that show their support.

I see it as a healthy way for people, specifically men to come together in a positive way. There aren’t fraternities or sororities like there are here, so these groups help young men socialize in a healthy way. The only way I see the Ultras as a possible threat to the government are the large masses of people. If needed these people could easily rally to protest against the government.

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Ultra White Knights
Ultras in Egypt

Women in the Battle

It is interesting to see how Egypt struggles to gain human rights for their youth, but then you have intersectionality playing a role when it includes between men and women. Women, just like men go out on the ground to protest and spread information on the media. The media uses this trait as a way to either twist the story to seem more appealing or catch the attention of the viewers. Sexual harassment is a common obstacle that the young women face while protesting, but also receive the physical beatings that the men receive. International media is able to mold the concepts that common viewers have of Egyptians and their “intentions” given the attack of a journalist, especially the blonde woman. They don`t focus on the fact that it could have been state officials sent to create a bad public image for those fighting for their human rights. Although there is all this effort for promotion and advocacy of these movements, the outside sources will affect the support gained towards their causes.  Women have to fight not only for the general human rights wanted by the youth but to be heard as individuals and not treated differently based on their gender.

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I would like to focus my project on a feminist issue. I would be open to any kind of media frame because I would like to expand my knowledge on how to create different types of media. I would like to do the readings on women`s rights provided on the website to pinpoint which movement/campaign I would like to focus on.

Women in the Battle