I thought the film by Sherief Elkatsha, was a great documentary that really allowed us to see a difference side of Cairo, Egypt. The film showed the chaotic, but harmonious way driving is in Cairo. Many Egyptians expressed anger and frustration, when it comes to the disorder they face in Egypt. Throughout the film, I was surprised to see the way people drove in Egypt and how crazy it can get. I personally would like to visit Cairo and experience it for myself. Although, the main focus of the film was not targeted towards the accidents that occur from driving, I was really touched by the one brief interview Elkatsha had with the father who lost his daughter. His daughter passed away when she was struck by a car, while she was crossing the street. The film also made me see how Egypt wants there to be a change, but it is hard when things have been the same way for many years.
I am a reporter for KCSB radio at UCSB, I was able to interview Elkatsha after the film. He was great to interview and gave me his inside on how he decided to go about making this film. I will be posting the interview soon.. down below
In the reading by Stephanie Lacroix, we learn about a variety of social activist groups and how they continuously reformed, even though the Regime would shut them down. Some of the earlier movements started in the 1970’s and defied the royal families. One of the larger, well known movements was the of the Sunnic Islamic movement, also known as the Sahwa. They protested and lead many of them to be imprisoned. The movement eventually split into two different groups, one which focused on “society” issues and the other on “political change”.
If we look at movements in more current times, it is easy to see how much technology advancements have impacted social media movements. Lacroix explains in her journal, “the young themselves were becoming more actively politicized” through the new media platforms such a Twitter and Facebook. Thus, opposing a new threat to the Regime and demonstrating the ongoing issues in Saudi Arabia. A number of Sahwa activists were able to establish the Kingdoms first political party, known as the Islamic Umma Party. As a result of, allows people to question the royal families power and the government system they have in their State.
Throughout the piece, I am able to see how social movements create a new threat to the Regime. Not just by it being virtually available, but because it was easier to get people together to protest. The more people are able to see the problems they have in Saudi Arabia, the more effective their movements will be. I feel there are still too many things left to be acknowledged and gradually changed but these changes have been embedded since the 1970’s. There will be a change, if not know, there is hope for tomorrow. As Lacroix states towards the end of her article,”Though the royal family has undoubtedly won the first round of the game, it could therefore experience more challenges to its authority in the not-so- distance future.”
This weeks reading focus on Women’s rights and the social movements that are being made to help women out. One of the movements that I found interesting was the HarassMap because it is beneficial and has been able to make an impact to help reduce harassment in Egypt. The Project helps people through a online system which you can send alerts about an incident via phone or computer. This makes it readily available and easy to be use by many people. The movement was made by Rebecca Chiao, Engy Ghozlan, Amel Fahmy, and Sawsan Gad. They wanted to find a way to help spread awareness and in power people to not be afraid to speak up about sexual harassment. HarassMap does not just help people share there harassment encounter but it teaches people about what sexual harassment is and all of the the people it affects.
Throughout the slides, I was able to learn extensive information about how the project works and how it helps people. Within the slides, I learned that about 20% of people are harassed by touch and 18% by sexual comments. It also provided us with a shocking percentage of 75% of victims are not helped when they are being harassed. I think the movement is also important because people are normally ashamed of reporting being sexually harassed which enables the harassment to continue. With this movement it aids people to see the wrong in sexual harassment, especially because it is hard when you live in a society where it is so common.
I think this movement is very effective and with the use of social media platforms, it allows the movement to spread and reach out to many people. Not just in Egypt but throughout the world. I hope that there will be many more movements that help protect women’s rights and start a new movement to change wrongs in a society.
The first reading addresses the issue many countries in the Middle East are facing with their government and how social media affects this. The web site article mentions how many bloggers would much rather be activists through social media platforms than becoming journalist. Bloggers mention if they were to become journals it would take away the freedom to say what they want and would hinder their ability to push boundaries. They see journalist as simply “reporting” what is going on which takes away from using specific street language or event starting movements. The internet platform is a very important tool for example, bloggers in Tunisia posted testimonials videos of former political figures that ended up in prison. These videos allow movements to spark and help people see what really is happening in their country. The article also discusses how the government will prohibit the use of certain cites because they know how impactful they can be and fear the power they can have.
The second reading is about Bassel Khartabil who developed a free software which granted access to the internet to help his country start free culture movements. He wanted people to be able to “gain new tools to express themselves and communicate.” In Syria the internet is censored and Bassel went against the law so he was detained. Like his friend Joi Ito says, ” It is a reminder that community members do work that is dangerous.” I think it is important to see how far people will go to be able to do the right things even though it is seen as wrong through the governments eyes. The more I learn about other countries the more I see how truly free we are in America. Imagine living somewhere where they censor something we use everyday, for example, like Facebook?
The first article called “New Paradigms of Popular Sovereignty in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings” by Paul Amar explains all the different forms of sovereignty that were happening in the Arab world. They look at a variety of paradigms which focused on authority, imperialism, history, repression, etc. One of the articles mentions the feminist organization and how they continuously fought back against the state to change moralism regardless of consequences.
The second article explains the issues that arises due many places being regulated and privatized by the mayor. One of the cities largest park was even closed due to it being believed it would cause unwanted “political violence”. While reading the article I also learned how most of the state has regulation throughout the state by “privatization” of land. There are many places that have been closed to the general public and made private for example the Corniche which is a historical urban city is now commercialized and the marina called Zaytuna Bay as well. Putting so much restrictions on land that was public at one point puts a sense of sovereignty in the State and helps keep the citizens under control.
The third reading we had to look at was on the trash issue in Lebanon. Before looking into the #YouStink campaign I never had heard of the movement and uprising that occurred in Lebanon during August 2015. The images that were taken and shown in the article really put into perspective the crisis the country was facing and how the government controlled its people. It is awful learning how other countries allow things like this to get so out of hand. The images showed how the police was shooting water out of canons and beating people them because they were rebelling against the trash issue. They wanted it removed because it represented the government failure and was causing health illnesses. Imagine if you lived in a country that would deny you basic rights?
After I left the Tahir conference, I felt as if I had stepped into a new world. The world I have heard of many times but never really got to hear about it first hand. I was so moved by all the of powerful energy I felt projected throughout the room, by people who had a close relationship to Egypt or lived there at some point. There was pride, pain, hope, and memories spoken by people in the conference. I was given the privilege to attend two panels one titled, Morbid Symptoms of Rule:the Invincible State, the Vulnerable State and another titled Bodies and Spaces: Moral Panics, Revolution, and Counterrevolution.
My favorite speakers from the first panel I listened to was Lina Attalah and Omar Robert Hamiltons. Lina really emphasized on how the Regime and State were different and if they could truly be seen as separate. Separate meaning if you could rule the state without owning it or own the state without ruling it. She also mentioned how Muslim Brothers failed to be guardians of the State. Omar Robert focused more on the economic aspect within Egypt. He brings up the importance the oil trade between Italy and Egypt and how it helped sustain their economy. This trade enabled the use of being able to make crude, petroleum, and refined oils. Robert also mentions how it was not just Italy that traded resources with them but Israel had a great influence as throughout many years. Recently there was an oil discovery in Egypt with the net cost of around 50 billion euro dollars which can help Egypt come to a stable state. The talks were both very intricate and detailed within the Regime and knowing the economical stance Egypt is in.
The second panel I heard from was Yahia Mohammad and Magda Boutrous both spoke about different issues in Egypt. Yahia Mohammad talked about queerness, skin color, and ethnicity affected him in Egypt. He addresses how difficult it is for him to be able to identify where people wanted him to belong. Mohammad was an activist in the queer movement and brought about issues in the political field. Even though these ethnicity and queer issues were an ongoing problem it was hard to talk about them because there were bigger issues like the revolution with the State. A great example he uses to explain his speech was, “Do I define identity? or Does identity define me?” This was a continuous thought he had and something that really got me thinking as well. Magda Boutrous was by far one of the most interesting and deep talks I heard from the two panels. She explains the research field study she was conducting which he ultimately decided to stop doing. Boutrous talks about her personal experience working in an physically and mentally draining environment with people who are prisoners. She wanted to get a firsthand experience and comments from people who were in captivity and know what lead them to be prisoners. People explained doing nothing, some defied the rules, and others were activists. The main reason which lead her to stop her field study was really moving and she was able to explain to others that it is okay to stop doing a research study when it is putting you messing with your sanity.
After reading this article I was able to better understand the process new generations undergo to come to the decision to up rise against repeated issues. Last week we learned about Khaled Said movement and how that aided in the revolution in Egypt. One of this week’s article focused on how the new generation uses social media as a method of protesting at a global scale. Social media allows the new generation to establish a global presence while staying connected in their present environment.
In Egypt the new generation conducted sit ins and civil protests against the regime that existed in Egypt. Social media played a large role in spreading the horrors that were occurring in the country at the time. For example, a sit in that was conducted could be uploaded to Facebook and shared with millions of people world wide. This is the worlds current method of mass communication and mass exploitation. In comparison to previous generations, the newer generations must assert their rights in a digital sense. This means that from a young age they understand that the world is connected through the web and therefore expression is obtained in the form of social media.
Protesting to the newer generations come in the form of social media exploitation. Long forgotten are the times of physical pretests and mass gatherings to express ideas. The socially connected world has allowed people to express themselves that does not involve traveling, coordination, or courage. It is much easier to post a rant on social media than to physically attend a rally where physical harm might linger. So do you believe that the Revolution would of or would not have happen if social media was not involved? Like Raggal stated, “Revolutions take place first of all in our minds.”
I am still trying to figure out what exact to do for the project. I think doing extensive research on a current issue in the Middle East is something that interests me and following it by creating a video addressing the issue. I would also like to see my peers ideas and work with people with similar interests.