Skip to main content

Avoiding the Media

In an attempt to avoid all media on Friday, I stayed at home and worked on a website. The day after, in spite of rather pressing social commitments, a friend kidnapped me and took me to a Schumann (Bert? I may have the wrong Shu here), mostly to keep me from going crazy from watching the current round of violence in Egypt. 

Having missed an office party, clashes in Egypt, a Tsunami in the Philippines and dire warnings for the Eurozone, some festivities in Wedding, I woke up one morning feeling the world was, in its own weird way, alright. My parents have flown to Cairo and are happily on holiday there.

Except, as it turns out, during my self-imposed media blackout, civil war seems to have erupted in Egypt. My only indication of this was a comment by a friend "Why is Goldfish posting so many horrible pics on Facebook?" This morning, scanning my feeds, I read of "clashes", "fires", "military attacks protesters", "Prime Minister denies violence". What happened in the interim of 24 hours?

24 hours after that, the picture is murky and apart from those dear to me in Egypt, I now can worry about those dear to me who have travelled to Egypt for Christmas, or work. On Facebook, the rumor mill has started again, news of killings, burnings and violence towards women is being posted by the second. The Egyptian Scientific Institute is in flames, no-one quite sure who started the fire. Demonstrators rushing in seem to indicate that the fire was laid deliberately by forces rumored to be soldiers. 

The best advice for demonstrators I have heard in the last few hours is that, as the military is protecting the Property of Egyptians, Protesters should act like Property to escape violence. The admin of the SCAF site, in an act of amazing verbal bravery (and command of the Arabic keyboard) just posted this on the official SCAF page. Whether it's a hoax, hack or it really happened, the message is clear :
أدمن الصفحة : يَسْقُطْ يَسْقُطْ حُكّمْ العَسْكًر

to which I would like to add this snippet from globaltahrir (A very idealistic name, yes):

Seldom have people felt more connected to events while watching the from afar. About any conversation I've had today was about what we can do. From afar, in the heat of events, all that can be done is lend what support can be given and make sure the voices are heard. The echo may be as important as the origin, the warm bodies risking their lives. It is important, once in a while, to be reminded, amidst the rapid and unceasing developments that there is a goal to all this.

What from here lies before? 

A call with Cairo reassures me that normal life continues, yet that the anger, expressed in smoke and death on Tahrir and other places. What exactly is happening is difficult to understand from afar. Apart from protests, numbers and violence, not much is being reported in the media.

Amidst all of this, the picture of a girl in a blue bikini. Bikinis are very much in fashion these days. 

The message that is being broadcast is very much one of violent protesters being confronted by an overpowering mass of violent security forces. It does not help to say that they are exceeding their orders, or that all this is not intended. This is a discouraging narrative, but one that has to be overcome, maybe by a return to a more light-hearted and creative approach to a civil uprising.

It is, amongst all the chaos, important to know that even though we are seeing brutal images, many people are all right, and active, each in their own way. Lack of trust, disbelief fact and rumor seem to have created an atmosphere in which anything can and will happen. So wait. And demonstrate your support. 

PS: The media blackout was imposed in order to generate some media of my and our own. Click!


Popular posts from this blog

IGAF: Lying on Camera // Astounding Armaments

Nizar Qabbani wrote his epic poem "When Will They Announce the Death of Arabs" in 1994.

He was living in London at the time, far from his native Syria, watching the world he had grown up in and represented as a diplomat from afar. America had launched operation Desert Storm- a storm that lasts to this day- two years prior, and marked 1993 with the launch of 23 cruise missiles on Iraq. Qabbani will die of a heart attack in 1998.

In 18 stanzas, he explores the wishes and dreams he once carried, describes, however tribes and nations at war, that believe that secret services (like a cold, or a headache) are part of some heavenly order. He bemoans that the idea of the "Arab Nation" (possibly derived from the Pan-Arabist ideology that was crystallised during the Nasser years) has never come into being. He has been trying to draw a picture all his life, but his crayons have been taken away. He has watched wars- on TV, he has tried to imagine the idea of a peaceful Arab unio…

In Taheyya we Trust - How an Egyptian bellydancer found her posthumous stage in Berlin

“You should have winked at her,” Aida said dismissively, as if such a possibility had been imaginable for someone as timid as I was. Tahia Carioca was the most stunning and long-lived of the Arab world’s Eastern dancers (belly-dancers, as they are called today).
Edward Said, Farewell to Taheyya

My story with Taheyya begins in the summer of 2016, at Bulbuls Caféin Görlitzer Str. in Berlin. It ends two blocks down on Wiener Str 17. 

Bulbuls is a café and art space around my corner that I have grown to like to sit in and drink smoothies (1). He had commissiond us- a crew of Syrian and Egyptian artists, as well as myself, to paint the walls inside the café. El Tenneen (the Dragon) is the one who ended up drawing Sheikh Imam, with the help of Salam Alhassan (known as Salahef/ Turtles) and Sulafa Hijazis (whom we call El Hayya/The Snake’s) beamers’ illumination. The Sheikh sits happily in the place to this day and Crew El-Zoo was born.

Tenneen had the advantage of knowing immediately what he wa…

Two minutes: Addiction is Life is Yellow.

Addiction is a much-maligned, muddy word. Until (ca.) the 18th century, it connoted tendency and drive, rather than (self-) affliction. Opium changed that- reportedly. 
Lives described as addiction: to the approval and company of peers, to power and its accumulation, to enjoyment and personal satisfaction (to some people, this may be suffering) and to basics such as air, food, water… and possibly even living. When framed this way, and defined in reference to this word, life suddenly becomes a selfish pursuit in which the living will do anything to get their fix, devoted addicts all. 
On that note: Marylin Manson - I Don't Like the Drugs, But the Drugs Like Me. 
Also: Addiction is apparently yellow.