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Showing posts from February, 2011

Type research diary part 9: Revolution

One of the more design- related topics of the Egyptian revolution is of course the placards and signs that were carriad to the worldwide demonstrations.

While placards and slogans do usualy not rank that high on a designers' list of designed objects, a bit of exploration is warranted in the context of bi- lingual type. The more typical Arab demonstrator will carry a calligraphic placard with eleganty writ arabic proclaiming the slogan of the day. In Egypt, land of the quick and humourous tounge and a 40% illitracy rate, it may also take the shape of a poignant caricature which reflects the demonstrators opinion.

At any rate, the differnece between the quality of the Arabic slogans and the English is noticable: while the arabic is an elegant, humourous construction, the same hand that wrote it will usualy produce workable, but inelegant latin. An elegant placard pun is easily lost in translation. Favoured latin fonts, if any are used tend towards the sans- serif variety, with sim…

After the revolution is before the revolution — only better.

Egypt, this morning we all woke up to freedom. After a night of the greatest and possibly largest party on Earth, the hangover must be excruciating. But after seventeen days of sitting on streets, marching, chanting, organising and brooding, we deserve this, at the very least. 

We can pat ourselves and each other on the back, collectively, and take a short moment to savour this victory of people over government. Take a breather, cure that hangover, meet family and friends, celebrate with them. 

This is where things get tricky. The dictator has fallen, the people have gained their freedom, through mainly peaceful demonstration and unity against a crumbling regime. Those that were hurt or killed deserve our respect and condolences. But as death tolls go, this revolution can be called nearly bloodless. Maybe this is a template the world can adopt for popular uprisings? Or maybe this combination of patriotism and national friendship in hardship is particular to
the Egyptian people? 

Time …

Egypt: I am happy where I am

Yes, we have a revolution on our hands. 

As I sit here and listen to Ayaman Mohyeldeen making me cry with pictures from Cairo, I wish vehemently that I had not partaken in what I like to call the Laughing Revolution in the form of Soap Opera. A big part of me wants to be on Tahreer, chanting with the masses and taking pictures of them as they wait for our non-president to come on air and announce… something.

This is a moment of terpidation, in which history is being, as we are constantly reminded, is going to happen in a big way. Bells and all. The masses have amassed en masse, for their is no other way to describe what I am seeing on a tiny screen, awaiting a presidential announcement. This is the moment which will decide wether this uprising, which has been the tenor of most conversations I have had in the last couple of weeks, has succeeded or must turn into something prolonged.

They are singing. Millions of people are singing a single song in a single voice. Will it be a song of r…

In other news: the book of Fear(some characters)

Its a book. of characters. Now with icons. More to come…

To the news network of terror: We love you!

… maybe a bit too much that is.

Finally, I am home, reinstalling my OS. This means that for a few minutes, I shall not be watching Al- Jazeera, whose Arabic logo I love and Latin logo I loathe.

Thats the rant part of the thing.

We have had some extremely good media recently. Those of us who know Egypt by family ties, residence or friends have recently been glued to our multiform screens over the course of the last two weeks, watching events unfold at home. Lives were put on hold, work left undone, meals unmade, friends untended to. A lot of time was spent on landlines, demonstrations and concerned wringing of appendages.

In front of one fixed camera of a massive square filled one day with an angry mob of people gathered to air their rage at their government. Then through many cameras we then saw them battle it out for the country. We watched, on little screens, the big stars of international politics act out the parts they play in the downfall of a well- established and surprising…

Dear Egypt

Dear Egypt and Egyptians,

Let me say a couple of things. After yesterdays' rant, I felt somewhat unsatisfied, as even though I accused, somewhat incoherently, everyone and their dog down in Egypt and around the world, I find myself, upon rereading that rant that I offered little in the way of solution.

I am not a politician, nor do I technically qualify as more than half Egyptian. But I have been watching your uprising, with pride, suspense, fear and perplexion until I drop dead every day. I did this from the comfort of mine and other peoples homes.  I have demonstrated with those that would in Berlin. We have taken to the streets with you. No-one tried to subvert us, in fact, the Berlin police has become quite good at dealing with demonstrations and demonstrators over the years.

I have stated before that how the regime and/or it's cronies have dealt with this reprehensible, despicable and irresponsible. You, dear Egypt, have been brave and courageous and honorable and peacefu…

Rant: Hot air on Egypt

I am seething with rage. And as I am seething with rage I will rant.

While it is nice to seethe with justified rage for a while, I am now merely perplexed

Over the last few days, the people in my home country of Egypt have finally found the guts to rise up against a governor that has been in power since I was born.


This is a good thing.  It is heartening to see a people, quieted for so long by a repressive regime, rise up and claim their voice. In addition to that, Al-Jazeera is once again covering a major development in an Arab country 24 hours a day, ensuring that this new- found voice is heard. In addition, cameras ensure that violence will not escalate on the side of a govenrnment  known for it's heavy-handed way of dealing with dissent.

Eight days have passed since then. The world's reaction seems to be "If you want it, you can have it."


This indicates the hippocracy of politics: we support democracy, freedom of speech and your right to participate in determing th…