Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thoughts about Egypt

The city I was just in about 6 months ago - which owns more than a million years of human history - is now hearing a desperate, angry, and fearless roar of reform from its people, whose voice is reverberating across several Arabic-speaking countries.

Egypt is an extremely valuable player on the global playing field. It's ancestors are known to have built one of the first far-reaching ordered civilizations the world has known. Medieval Egypt significantly advanced scholarship in the sciences and philosophy. In contemporary times, it has been looked at as a model of modernization amongst Arab states. Even more recently, Egypt has provided strong support in brokering peace in the Middle East, and negotiating as well as facilitating the transfer of resources from and to the Western world.

The people of Egypt, therefore, have witnessed many, many changes in leadership. Moreover, they have experienced diversity in the most deepest historical aspect of the word. Surely, a people with such rich a past learn important lessons about tolerance, patience, and hard work.

Surely, then, we can place our bets on Egyptians' being right when they march out in the thousands to Tahrir Square, demanding that Hosni Mubarak step down from a 30+ -year-old regime, and for their rights to free expression, employment, and ultimately, a better quality of life.

So I can understand why Egypt - as well as Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen and other Arab states experiencing similar uprisings - is as it is today.

What I find difficult to comprehend is how significant a role Western powers have in influencing the position of Egypt's governance. It makes no sense to me that a political, international relationship is forged for personal interests; but as it seems, Egypt's relationships are coming back with the wrong kind of support. Where before policy mattered first, today policy matters second after people's voices.

Should we not be leaving it up to people in the first place? Is that not what we call ourselves "modern" for? And where we do call ourselves modern, are we basing those indicators on ourselves, or on someone else on the field?

Some images from BBC News

Some images from Al Jazeera News

Monday, January 24, 2011


What's happening? On your end (the world), quite a bit it seems. As the global north has begun to ease out of financial liability over the last 2 years, the global south continues to experience acute economic issues in and amonst civil society institutions.

That's one way to look at what's happening on your end.

Another way to look at it would be this: The possibilities of mobile technology show strong potential to make life a little easier globally, north and south. Though with highly individualized tools to access this technology, the question arises - in the end, is this helping us interact with one another, or interact with an object?

Strangely, that's roughly the same as what's happening on my end.

I'll soon be planning my field project for GPISH, and it currently looks as though Dar-es-Salaam would provide the most useful base for research. I am interested in examining what factors influence the interaction of information between community-based institutions and youth. Do they share educative data, presentations, reports, and events between each other? If they do, is there a way to track everything? etc.

In the longer run, I'm interested in how the media can mediate platforms where information specific to youth is shared across society.

All that sounds cool with me, but the devil speaks: How do digital platforms help with social interaction, or technological object-based interaction? That's my question of the day.

Otherwise, life is bliss, and I should be more thankful.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Ever get the feeling you're stationary? No, not like in the picture above, but stationary as in you're not moving? It seems that when we define goals for ourselves, they need to substantiate daily actions, because otherwise, it seems we lack purpose. And when we lack purpose, anything we do seems to go to nothing.

Why did we start calling stationary (like in the above photo) "stationary", anyway?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Tags cleanup

Unlike Wordress, Blogger only has dynamic tags, whereas Wordpress has both dynamic tags (ie: "tags") and statis tags (ie: "categories").

So when I was reviewing all the tags I had used over the last 4 years for this blog, I realized that they were all over the place. So I spent some time in the last two days cleaning up my tag, thus the much smaller tag cloud on the sidebar. Makes it easier to browse the subjects I talk about :)

That is, if anyone is out there...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hello 2011

A tree near Al-Azhar park, Cairo.