I attended the conference in the afternoon where I heard an amazing panel of speakers. the topic they were discussing was “radical democrats and legacies of combat: strategies and movements”. The first speaker Momen El Husseiny discussed the mobilization of neoliberal spaces and changing scales and how it currently affects Egypt’s cities particularly Cairo. Another speaker who spoke of similar ideas was Omnia Khalil who spoke about the gentrification and militarization. I found their speeches interesting because I never though about spaces in that context before. I never realized how important spaces and changes in the cities have changed the landscape of several cities. They explained through pictures the changes in landscape by the current regime as an effort to sort of reshape peoples idea of Cairo getting rid of cafes and parks and replacing them with parking lots. This is probably a strategy to get people to not gather and meet together as they did in 2011. I think another speaker that was very compelling was Ranwa Yehia and the differences in communities around expression mainly art. I thought it was fascinating that Egyptians were using art forms to express their ideas and feelings. I thought her speech was very heartfelt and emotional as well.
I think it was also interesting to mention in the speech about the position of football in Egypt and how it has changed with the most famous clubs in the country. I just was very impressed by the spaces idea and how it literally formulated the congregation of people in Tahrir Square and organized the protests during the revolution. I also liked one of questions regarding the phenomenon that Egypt created to be strictly an Arab idea but they discussed that it in fact was not only an Arab identity but for anyone in any regime fighting for basic rights and against totalitarianism.
I think overall each speaker demonstrated their love for their country and the people of their country and explained with great passion and respect the ideas they put forth about the country’s current dilemma’s as well as what can be done and how much work needs to be done.