Thoughts on thoughts.
Class 01- Reading reflections and research.
An interview with Achille Mbembe:
Upon reading the first question, I had to do a quick research into who Cecil Rhodes was so I would have a general context before continuing with the article. It was such an interesting contrast how he was described on the first page of the google search versus how Mbembe described him. Rhodes history of ruthlessness and brutality was painted over by his placement of power being a prime minister as well as a businessman man along with some questionable quotes. Even though his physical symbolism is down he still loves forever as an artifact within the depth of the internet, so is there anything to be gained from trying to erase the past? Keeping these stories alive is it a way to make other more empathic so the past will not repeat itself?
The Radical Foundation of Indian Technoscience:
I couldn't help but recall my own country's history under the British rule as well, it's almost scary how similar the events unraveled itself. From trying to obtain freedom, to the dividing social gaps, to resulting in an almost confusing loss of a cultural self identity. "Once a symbol of imperial repression, the site was reconstructed into a space for the production of an independent and technoscientific nation" In contrast of the interview with Mbembe, it's quite admirable that instead of demolishing the whole space it was transformed into a new use. A loud declaration how the history of this place is acknowledged with all it's pain learning from it and erasing it with the positive future that will take over that space. Maybe with that empathetic open mindness it might make a bigger difference down the line.
The Pitfalls of Liberalism
Thinking of how liberal really wants to impact change is hard to really work for those who are oppressed, it might work more for those who are already not because they carry the voice and power to bring into light their concerns without the severe repercussions. Kwame argues to do so one must "rid himself of those liberals in his rank" which a way to help not getting exploited, but maybe instead of completing getting rid of it maybe some sort of balance is needed. Is being slightly exploited for a greater cause bad if it will benefit the oppressed? or does it hurt more?
Mandalas or Raised Fists?
It's within human nature to put one's self interest first before others, some more than others. So to live with the hippe holisim sounds like a dream come true, but as the empathy level of people nowadays lowers more and more it seems we live nowadays of an age of angry raised fits clinching a smart phone with triggered feelings ready to be launched on twitter. Living within a small communal society that governs itself seems further away at times, but as technology advances maybe all the over fed information might drive people away into creating their own isolated life. A good example of that is the van living style that is all over Instagram living an isolated online life, which sounds contradictory within itself.
It's quite a challenge to pick just one notable movement that has happened in Egypt's long history. An easy choice would be to discuss the 25th January Tahrir revolution attempt, but that can turn into an essay with all it's complications. What I would like to bring focus more on is the feminism movement in Egypt which dates back to 1919 or even further. In the early twentieth century, women were vocal against colonial practices.
During the 1919 revolution they were active participants, alongside men, in the demands for the liberation of Egypt. However, even when political leadership was granted to their male comrades in 1922, women were not granted political rights.
This resulted in them resorting to informal networks of activism, such as Huda Sha’rawi’s founding of the Egyptian Feminist Union in 1923, Zaynab al-Ghazali’s founding of the Muslim Women’s Society in 1936, or Doria Shafiq’s founding of the Daughter’s of the Nile Union (Bint al-Nil) in 1948.
As years pass by government officials fail to listen and see the potential of all these feminist unions and just using female empowerment to benefit their own economic agenda which transformed all these free standing unions into state officials. Failing to hear women out has caused many repercussions that is now embedded in our culture of "well this is the way things are here", getting cat called in the street is just the norm. With the the tahrir revolution there were more than 80 sexual assault cases that were reported, in 4 days 91 some women were assaulted and others raped. Sadly that is the norm and in worst cases some won't speak up in fear that it is their fault or that they would be blamed.
Art work by Ganzer