Tag Archives: egypt

#endSH

 

 

Today, June 20th, marks a day of blogging and tweeting against sexual harassment. Follow #endSH on Twitter to see more pieces (Arabic and English) against sexual harassment. Here are some relevant Canonball pieces that I have taken part in.

I wish we could #EndSH so I could end the violent fantasies I envision against all the gropers, leerers, catcallers & harassers of the world -@lissiejaquette

To all those men- young, old, religious, secular, rich, poor- who think that your words convey flattery, that your actions are excused, I dedicate the following.

When you say, “Hello, Beautiful,” I think about taking my half-empty can of Coke and dumping it on your head.

When you hiss at me, I think about shooting at you with a squirt-gun full of bleach and ruining your brand new shirt. I think about “accidentally” getting bleach in your eye.

When you say, “Suck my dick,” [or, more accurately, “Sick my duck.”] I think about having my taller friend hold you down while I cut your face.

When you grab my ass, I think about grabbing your hand and breaking your index finger. I think about smashing a glass bottle over your head.

When you rub your crotch, I think about jamming my blunt keys into your junk. I think about throat-punching you, and I think about taking off my shoe and breaking your nose with it.

I think about watching you get hit by a car. I think about pulling the hair out of your head and making your scalp bleed. I think about breaking your knees with a large stick. I think about buying a gun in Ataba and aiming it at your left temple. I think about poking out your eyes with a rusty spoon. I think about castrating you.

I never thought I’d think about taking a human life, much less as a fucked-up coping mechanism. I never thought I’d literally hate men, that I’d resent my own brothers, my own father, my best friends. But, here we are.

You, on the other hand, have gotten your kicks from humiliating a woman who you don’t know. I will continue to carry my burden of rage. Congratulations. You’re the man now, dawg.

(Image by Ayman Farag; Cross-posted to my Tumblr)

Advertisements

SOME THOUGHTS RE: HUMANS & VIOLENCE & UPRISING

This is a really graphic video, but I’m posting it because I think there’s a kind of discourse emerging about violence and the way we consume it. Obviously I won’t use this venue go into great detail about violence and Hollywood and what-have-you, but I think that the way we distinguish Hollywood violence with real-life violence is notable, and wasn’t something I thought about actively until the video of Neda from Tehran’s 2009 protests surfaced. It is, in essence, a snuff film (which they all are, I guess). Following, there have been moments since- Khaled Said’s murder, for one, photos of children in hospitals in Bahrain, things that I’m reluctant to surf the net for because of their disturbing content- that ask for a consideration of violence and what it actually means in a popular uprising, in toppling a dictator.

And while this isn’t addressed outright in these graphic firsthand accounts, I think that the discourses of martyrdom that have become so prevalent in the past month or so are really under-addressed when it comes to How Revolution Works. I think, given a predilection for Islamophobia these days, the West (I don’t like that term but I will use it, anyway) tiptoes around this idea of martyrdom because of its (misguided) associations of martyrdom with fundamentalism (and I heard we are a Christian Nation, Deist forefathers be damned and, consarnit, we all know the Only Martyrs Ever were Christian ones! Soooooooooo.), but I think it’s a concept that’s really important in grasping Revolution and How It Happens. While I personally did not lose anyone during the uprising, the mass funerals and wall of martyrs in Tahrir, as well as virtual memorials, i.e. this, come up constantly as actual, human examples of what dictatorship (and U.S complicity. Don’t forget that!) hath wrought, and why it can’t sustain itself.

I am going to write more about this after I finish reading this.

EGYPT’S INTIFADA: A LEXICON

Now that my eyeballs have all but dried up and fallen out as a result of staring at TV and computer screens for approximately 20 hours a day, in the vein of Sarthanapalos’ excellent piece, A Guide: How Not To Say Stupid Stuff About Egypt, I’d like to provide a handy companion to the language and discourses surrounding the uprising. Not afraid to be servicey!

REVOLUTION & UPRISING

Calling this a revolution is all well-meaning and good, but I need to emphasize that this will not be a revolution unless radical change is implemented, and facts on the ground suggest that the Mubarak security apparatus is allergic to radical change for the time being. The United States’ commitment to “stability” and “orderly transition” further establishes that a likelihood of radical change is small, at this point. (Have I mentioned how much I hate my administration right now? Radical change in Egypt, and radical change everywhere.)

“PROTESTERS CLASH” & “PEACEFUL PROTESTERS”

I’m aware that the horrific events that occurred yesterday (and that are still occurring, as I write this) have largely been broadcast as clashes, but it seems a little bit (a lot bit!) unseemly to conflate peaceful (peaceful. Do you know what that means? PEACEFUL. Rinse. Repeat.) demonstrators’ attempts at self-defense (never forget that these thugs are out for blood. Seven died in Cairo alone in the past 24 hours) with “clashes”. If someone was coming at you with tear gas, on a camel brandishing a sword, or with chains, or  knives, perhaps you would pick up a rock too?

TURMOIL & CHAOS

Al Jazeera English, lord love ’em, has finally ceased its headlines of “turmoil” and “chaos.” Again, make no mistake: Even in the absence of police on the streets, Cairo did not see anything resembling chaos or turmoil until their return. Neighborhoods self-organized and localized defense teams against thug looters. Communities cooperated and fed each other, sheltered each other. It was not chaotic until Wednesday 2nd February, when paid thugs went out in full force.

PRO-MUBARAK PROTESTERS & THUGS

All of the “pro-government counter-protesters” detained and handled by anti-government demonstrators yesterday held state security ID’s. These are men who have been paid by the government to enact the government’s wishes to silence the opposition. Calling them protesters illegitimates the word itself. These were orchestrated demonstrations not-so-coincidentally timed with the return of the Internet to divide opposition movements. Unfortunately, it might be working.

Do your best to not let this 82-year-old curmudgeon and his goons win. Do what you can to hold the regime accountable, do what you can to hold the international community accountable.

CAIRO POTTER & THE CULTURE OF RUMORS

One of the most simultaneously annoying and endearing things about Egypt is its prevalent CULTURE OF RUMORS. Egypt’s Minister of Information works way, way over-time ensuring that RUMORS don’t get too out-of-hand. This guy is on TV at least once a week dispelling some myth. When I was eight, no one was going NEAR the tap water because EVERYONE was scared of cholera (hey, Moom, remember that?). When I was here three years ago, no one was eating chicken because EVERYONE was scared of bird flu. THUS, it follows that this year’s Top Rumor is our beloved H1N1¹. Upon arrival to the airport back in August, everyone had to fill out a card ensuring that none of us were carrying it (don’t worry, Egypt, I’m clean!) in addition to all that “nothing-to-declare” schtick.

“Oh, this H1N1 hype will die down soon enough,” I chuckled to myself as I pranced through customs². Three weeks later, I received an email from AUC:

AUC will be suspending classes beginning Thursday, September 17 until Saturday, October 3. The decision follows a request by the Egyptian government that the university suspend its classes in line with government universities, which have suspended classes due to concerns relating to the H1N1 flu.

Uh, what? I’d been in class for two weeks and was already going on holiday for ‘Eid, and now my vacation’s being EXTENDED? I scarcely know whether to be angry or utterly DELIGHTED!

So, it’s with some regret that I have to apologize for a lack of content re: THINGS I AM LEARNING. I haven’t had class long enough to tell you (though I assure you that I am learning lots about myself and promise to return a stable, self-actualized young woman). I will inform my readership that, in addition to my ‘Eid el-Fitr journey to Dahab, I’ll be taking a quick trip to Istanbul prior to resumption of classes. I figure that I’m here already, I might as well take advantage of Cheap Tickets and Close Proximity³. When I return from Istanbul, I’ll be in the thick of things: classes, kitten adoption, late night discussions at Odeon and Huriyya, eating Koshari everyday, planning for Halloween, etc.

¹of which I am a Proud Survivor.

²I DID prance! I always prance when I get to that airport. You can only contain your nostalgic joy for so long, y’know?

³I should note as well that at least Turkey has some semblance of relevance to themes I want to explore in my thesis, e.g. National Identity and Migrant Identity! &c.

But while the rumors persist and enable me to jetset round-the-region (no desire to jetset round the globe, really. too much to do here!), allow me to grace you with a very few pictures from my time in beautiful Dahab (in Sinai). The bulk of our time was spent lounging, breathing clean air, and scraping our legs on the reef while snorkeling.

Red Sea

Reveling in the fact that I don't have to wear sleeves

LOUNGIN'

My roommate Kelsy loungin' seaside

Adorable kitties abound

Adorable kitties abound

lovely sunset horseride

lovely sunset horseride

WHAT I WILL BE DOING WHILE I AM IN CAIRO

Many of those in my peer group travel abroad to either a) have ludicrous adventures or b) commit acts of altruism. While I am certain there will be no shortage of “a)” and my present field of study will inevitably lead to “b)”, I cannot really paint myself as either adventurer or altruist; a) I am too lazy and b) I am too cynical. This is not to say that I don’t care about a) or b), necessarily, it’s just that, while I don’t have any certainty as to What I Want To Do With My Life 24-Year-Old Life just yet* I do have this vague goal of making The Academy more accessible to The Public, and what necessarily follows is that I move what I study in Academia from dusty old books to dusty old streets. Do you follow**? I guess, than, that I am traveling to pursue a third option, c) Research (and what an ugly word that is!), with an attempt to sprinkle in a little a) (for fun) and b) (for sanity).

I am not really sure yet how Migration & Refugee Studies will fit into this. My intention for a Master’s Thesis is to examine notions of National Identity and how it fits into both the Egyptian experience and the Migrant experience. I can tell you, semi-enthusiastically, even, that if there is one thematic that I’d like to continue to explore in my academic future, it is Nationalism (Masculinity and Whiteness come in close second and third, respectively, but that is ANOTHER day) and how it affects the immigrant/refugee/migrant experience. Nationality as a concept holds a lot of power in determining whether or not a subaltern community (say, refugees) legitimately has agency. Eventually, I would like to pursue a doctoral degree and so really, these two years are determining whether I want to continue in this region/topic or not, while also leaving me an option to potentially do more hands-on work with refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities worldwide.

While my primary occupation will be as a student, I am also looking forward to interacting with the Cairo community-at-large and examining the varying things I come in contact with as an expatriate, as a woman, and as someone who really loves this place. I am hoping to hone my writing skills as well, in hopes that this can help me both scholastically and on a personal level, so any and all commentary and observations from the diaspora that is my extended community of friends and family worldwide is wholly welcome.

*Well. I have ruled out some things that I Don’t Want To Do and some of these things are Work in an Administrative Office, Pursue a Career in Business, Be a Housewife, &c.

**Bear with me. In spite of having the best intentions, I am a product of my surroundings and yes, this sometimes means Great Critical Thinkers who use the most obtuse and inaccesible language. This language got me A’s on papers but really won’t get me anywhere else very quickly, and it’s something that I am still learning to harness and combat.