Adonis Diaries

Archive for July 18th, 2014

Types of Bloggers: Global breed of authors?

There are two main categories of bloggers: Bloggers from the developed nations and those of the “developing” States (whether they form nations or incomplete UN recognized States)

The bloggers from developed nations have two critical advantages:

1. They can move freely withing their nation and outside their borders. All they need is landing a ticket to anywhere on earth: No humiliating lengthy visas requirement and no serious discrimination in the host countries they visit.

Contrary to “citizens” from developing countries who need to plan a year ahead of time to amass all the documents and requirements in order to “enjoy” a miserly 2 weeks vacation in a developed nation

2. They enjoy a wide range of opportunities for the subject of studies, continuing education, and facilities to improve their talents and performance.

I’ll focus on the types of bloggers in the developing countries, particularly in Lebanon:

1. One category is constituted of people who spent a couple of years abroad in their youth and attended schools before settling in their home country and are eeking out a living.

These bloggers claim to be “apolitical“: They refuse to keep up with “local politics” and cannot name the President of their country or know the difference among the political parties, as if refusing to admit their current condition.

Strangely, they are highly political on the global scene: gender discrimination, climate change, sustainable environment, equitable commerce, freedom of expression, life-style in food consumption and ever changing life-style as internet “research” suggest….and they are not aware that these issues are plainly political in nature.

2. A category who spent a few vacations abroad, not lasting a couple of months at a time, and are settled in their countries.

Two subcategories emerge:

Those well-off who attended private schools and university and managed to “learn” another language of either French or English, and not completely mastering any of the languages. These bloggers exhibit tendencies for cynicism in their abridged comments and share links pertaining to entertainment and outdoor events. Many join “cultural groups” as tribes.

And those who could not attend but public schools and barely comprehend another language to be used as medium of communication.

These bloggers are not able to expound on their opinion for lack of general knowledge and lack of reading.

3. A category who managed to settle in a developed nation and is earning its living in a “developed environment”.

These are valiant immigrants who made it against all kinds of barriers in discrimination and constricting laws and surmounted the nasty odds of earning a living in a foreign land.

Although they were apolitical before they immigrated, these bloggers become the main source of in-time follow up on the troubles facing their homeland. They are very active in sending links to articles, videos and pictures of foreign information related to their home state. And they do participate in organizing demonstrations and activities to unite their people abroad

4. A category who “know” the world from the imaginary reality of global inter-connectedness and formed a worldview that they have never experienced.

These bloggers resume their traditional life by attending religious social events and tending to stick so some kind of shallow customs. They are members of sectarian political parties and vote to their feudal leaders whether right or wrong.

Note: I am used to click on Top Posts  at WordPress. In the last couple of months, I have the impression that I am disconnected with the subject matters of almost all selected top posts.

I am under the impression that a new “selection team” is focused on selecting local US topics and disregarding the rest of the world concerns.

If the team does its due diligence of writing a short “in context” message or asking the bloggers to add a few paragraphs “in context” in order to inform the general reader of “what’s going on” and why the post was selected in the first place, may be we can get used to clicking on a few of them for curiosity reasons.

Actually, during this horror preemptive war of Israel on the huge concentration camp of Gaza, I didn’t stumble on a selected article on this topic. It is as if the team is revolving in a dual world.

 

Letter of Pink Floyd Roger Waters to Neil Young and Rolling Stones: Boycott concerts in Israel

Rock Against Racism

“Enough is enough”.
In January this year I wrote a private letter to Neil Young, it was sent via his manager Elliot Roberts‘ email, I never received a reply of any kind.
More recently I spoke openly about The Rolling Stones performing in Tel Aviv.
In light of the appalling recent events in Israel and Gaza and my dismay at the the lack of any response from our governments and in a final appeal to Neil’s possible attachment to the rights of all human beings, not just the disenfranchised natives of North America, but all human beings all over the world, I am publishing that letter now.
Here it Is.
Dear Neil Young.
There are rumors flying about that you are considering doing shows in Tel Aviv this year.
The picket lines have been crossed in this last year by one or two lightweights from our community but no one of your stature. Woody Guthrie would turn in his grave. Neil Young! You are one of my biggest heroes, you are one of a very short list, you, John Lennon, Woody Guthrie, Huddy Ledbetter, Harry Belafonte, Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday and, like some others, but not many, your songs have always been redolent of love and humanity and compassion for your fellow man and woman.
I find it hard to believe that you would turn your back on the indigenous people of Palestine. That you would lend support to, and encourage and legitimize, with your presence, a colonial apartheid regime, largely settled from Europe, that seeks to confine the native people of the land, either in exile or in second class status in reservations and ghettos.
Please, brother, tell me it ain’t so.
As I recall, back in the day, along with the rest of us (Stevie van Zandt, Bruce, Led Zep etc etc etc etc)  you would not “Play In Sun City”.  I am asking you to stand on the same moral ground now.
The late, great, Nelson Mandela lives on in us, we cannot let him down. He was explicit in his position and I quote, ” We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”.
It is time for “Rock Against Racism” to show some of it’s muscle by refusing to lend our names to the whitewashing of the illegal colonization of Palestinian land and the systematic oppression of its indigenous people.
Unfortunately the opposition lobby has a lot of muscle too. They spend millions on their “Hasbara”(If like me you have no Hebrew)”Explaining” or to you and me “Propaganda”.
The propaganda machine is well oiled and ruthless. We, on the other hand, have only our commitment to non-violent resistance to lie down in front of the IDF caterpillar tractors that would raze the native people from the land of Palestine.
We stand with those people, and with all the brave people of Israel and Palestine, Jewish and Arab alike who oppose The Israeli Governments brutal policies. We stand with Rachel Corrie, the young American woman who gave her life under the caterpillar’s tracks. Please join me and countless other artists all over the world in solidarity with the oppressed and the disenfranchised.

It is time to heed the peoples call.
People like The Bedouin, the nomadic people of the Negev in the arid south of Israel, please research their plight, one village, Al-Araqib has been destroyed 63 times by IDF Bulldozers.
If you are in doubt about any of this, I will go with you to Palestine, and Israel, if they’ll let me in, you will see what I have seen, and then let us figure out the right thing to do.
By the way I watched your Bridge School concert on YouTube last year, it was very moving, you were, of course magnificent. You had asked me to perform, and as I explained to your management, I would have gladly done so had I not already been committed to The Wall Tour in Europe and Stand Up For Heroes in New York. This year I will be pleased and proud to come and support you if you call.
With respect, and love.
Roger Waters.
PS.
Fyi. Nice Christmas present.
Bedouin Village Demolished For 63rd Time
Thursday December 26, 2013 18:18 by Chris Carlson – 1 of International Middle East Media Center Editorial Group

For the 63rd time, Israeli forces have demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib, in the Negev, Thursday morning.
A Ma’an reporter in Beersheba said that bulldozers, escorted by 25 police patrols, raided the village at 9 a.m. and demolished all of its steel houses.
“Forces of demolition and destruction raided our village in the morning and demolished our houses, for the 63rd time. This is a barbarian assault, as they left residents homeless during wintry weather,” local resident Aziz Sayyah al-Touri told Ma’an.
He highlighted that the assault has come following the Israeli annoncement to abandon the Prawer Plan in displacing Negev Bedouins. Bedouins claim the are as their ancestral lands, while Israel considers al-Araqib and all Bedouin villages in the Negev illegal.
There are about 260,000 Bedouin in Israel, mostly living in and around the Negev, in the arid south. More than half live in unrecognized villages without utilities, with many living in extreme poverty.
PPS
Google “Prawer plan” and follow a few links, you may catch a glimpse of the tip of an extremely large and terrifying iceberg.
Neil, we’re talking about the occupation, subjugation, dispossession, eviction, ghettoization and possible eventual eradication of a nation.
You, more than most should find this, taboo, story, more than a little disquieting.

 

Photo

 

posted this July 10, 2014

When the people of Cairo took to Tahrir Square in January 2011 to oust Egypt’s longtime ruler, Hosni Mubarak, the streets exploded with murals and graffiti that both mirrored the revolutionary spirit of the movement and propelled it forward.

A young graphic designer joined the fray, working under the pseudonym Ganzeer, or “bicycle chain.”

Ganzeer distributed questionnaires, stickers, posters and, most notably, one mural of a massive tank gunning down a lone bicyclist. He called it his “alternative media campaign” to counteract propaganda from official news outlets.

Over the past three years, Ganzeer, 32, emerged as a star of the anarchic movement, finding fresh targets as leadership in Egypt repeatedly changed hands. His participation now in the revolution will have to proceed at a distance.

On May 9, he was denounced by a television broadcaster, Osama Kamal, on the program “Al-Raees Wel Nas” (“The President and the People”). He singled out Ganzeer by his real name — Mohamed Fahmy — accompanied by his photograph, making him easily identifiable;

Osama Kamal labeled Ganzeer a “recruit of the Muslim Brotherhood”; and demanded that the government take action against him. This accusation, which Ganzeer and several curators denied, has been widely used against journalists and activists in Egypt in recent weeks, leading to sweeping arrests resulting in prison terms.

Two days later, Ganzeer left Egypt for a long-planned trip to the United States.

Photo

Ganzeer, one of Egypt’s most famous street artists, is in the United States temporarily.Credit James Estrin/The New York Times

“No one stopped me at the airport, because I am not on any official list,” Ganzeer said in a recent interview in his temporary sublet in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “But it is quite typical of the Egyptian government to start a campaign in the media, so when the time comes to crack down, their action is supported by the masses, because they had read about it in the papers.”

From Cairo to Beirut to Dubai, Arab artists have mounted a vigorous creative response to the political upheavals of the past few years, exploring a range of art-making strategies, including the street-art agitprop of Ganzeer and others, who draw from ancient hieroglyphics and teach themselves stenciling to put their cause on the walls.

A glimpse into the diverse and vital art scene arrives on July 16 at the New Museum with “Here and Elsewhere,” a survey of 45 artists from 12 countries in the Arab world who take a more nuanced approach to bearing witness, often questioning the veracity of storytelling and news accounts.

Carlo McCormick, a critic and author of “Trespass: A History of Uncommissioned Urban Art” (Taschen, 2010), puts Ganzeer in a tradition that includes notable street artists like Shepard Fairey and Banksy. “They have a defining style, but Ganzeer is working more as an activist than a muralist,” he said. “He’s more of a chameleon and adapts his visuals to the content.”

Ganzeer has had high visibility, arriving with the United States premiere of a documentary in which he is featured, “Art War,” by the German filmmaker Marco Wilms, that traces the development of street art in Egypt since 2011. His projects are also prominent in a new book, “Walls of Freedom: Street Art of the Egyptian Revolution,” by Basma Hamdy and Don Karl a.k.a. Stone (published by From Here to Fame).

Dressed in T-shirt, jeans and flip-flops with black curls and a short beard framing his youthful face, he said he misses his home in Cairo, a spacious 5-bedroom apartment overlooking the Nile that he shares with two artist-friends.

Here, he is making do with a spare room in a stranger’s apartment and survives by producing new prints that he sells for a modest $500 to $1,000 through Booklyn Artists Alliance, an alternative space in Greenpoint.

Ganzeer was introduced to Booklyn by members of the collective Interference Archive, a political study center near the Gowanus Canal, where he will be speaking on July 23 about the new breed of protest art that alarms Egypt’s leaders.

Photo

Ganzeer working on a new piece in Brooklyn. Credit James Estrin/The New York Times

Ganzeer said he calls himself “bicycle chain” because he likes to think of artists as the mechanism that pushes change forward. “We are not the driving force,” he said. “We are not the people pedaling, but we can connect ideas and by doing this we allow the thing to move.”

This young artist-designer may have been singled out for his most recent street art project in Cairo: a mammoth mural depicting a zombie soldier standing atop a pile of skulls. Or, as he suspects, it was a reaction to an interview in The Guardian on May 8 in which he called for international condemnation of the soon-to-be president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. 

Ganzeer has always been quite outspoken with the foreign press and has thousands of supporters on the web.

In response to the news announcer’s accusations, he posted a refutation on his blog, titled “Who’s Afraid of Art?,” demanding a public apology.

“Ganzeer is a really great, smart intelligent brain and he has a very modern exciting view of the world,” said Mr. Wilms, who first met him in Tahrir Square in 2011, when Ganzeer was engaged in his first public project, distributing a questionnaire asking citizens what they wanted from a revolution. The scene, captured in the film, shows a much younger looking Ganzeer enthusiastically recruiting participants.

“All the artists in my film have been targeted,” Mr. Wilms said. “These young people are willing to sacrifice their lives. They are really dying in the streets. It’s very difficult to understand from a Western point of view, but they are really not afraid.”

On July 4, Ganzeer emailed that a young street artist and activist named Hisham Rizk, who had gone missing a week earlier, had been found. He had drowned in the Nile. Mr. Rizk was 19.

Photo

Ganzeer’s “Of Course #2.” The text is an ironic reference to the military as the protector of the revolution. CreditGanzeer

Born in Giza, Egypt, in 1982, Ganzeer attended business school when he failed to pass an art school entrance exam. “I grew up reading comic books, and I saw myself as someone who would make comic books someday,” he said, only later discovering graphic design while attending college. He ran his own graphic design firm for eight years, developing skills that prepared him to participate in the creative efforts at Tahrir Square.

At first, he made items easy to distribute on the streets and in the subway. But in March 2011, he undertook an ambitious mural project, a larger-than-life portrait of a 16-year-old boy killed by police gunfire, printed about 13 feet high on a wall near the Supreme Court in Cairo.

Using Twitter, he gathered a troupe of volunteers to help him paint the tribute to a martyr with stencils, a 20th-century tradition that originated with Italian propagandists under Fascism but was later used by contemporary artists, Mr. McCormick said.

“Ganzeer was quite courageous carrying out his activities,” said William Wells, director of Townhouse Gallery, a contemporary art space in Cairo. “He knew people were going to stop him when he worked on the street and threaten him, and he always encouraged them to take part in what he was doing.”

Mr. Wells allowed Ganzeer to use his gallery as a base, but became particularly frightened for him in the past year. “The whole dynamics of the city has changed, and everybody was nervous about what Ganzeer was doing,” he said. “I think if he were arrested, nobody would have been surprised.”

Surfing the web for source material, and posting his graphics for anyone to use, he advanced the method of printing images, encouraging other activists to make street art.

In the chaotic early days of the uprising, Ganzeer mostly escaped police scrutiny until May 2011, when he distributed stickers of his Mask of Freedom, now globally known. Posted on the Internet, the image depicts a superhero-style visage, blindfolded and gagged, as a symbol of military repression.

Photo

“Face the Vitrine,” Ganzeer’s collaboration with Yasmin Elayat, in Cairo. CreditGanzeer

This time, civilians were not so friendly, and when one of his volunteers got into an argument with a man attacking them as “spies,” the civilian police arrested Ganzeer, who tweeted to his followers. Caught off guard by the outpouring of support by protesters, the police released him without charges. When he showed up in Tahrir Square the next morning, his Mask of Freedom could be seen everywhere: on T-shirts, posters and stickers.

Ganzeer refuses to label himself a street artist. He has had art residencies in Finland, Poland and Switzerland and has shown in Cairo’s vibrant gallery scene. In 2012, his solo show at the Safar Khan Gallery focused on the military’s involvement in rape and sexual harassment.

He is adamant that he is not going into exile or seeking political asylum in the United States. “That’s what the government would like me to do,” he said, revealing a sudden flash of anger at the suggestion. “I would never be able to vote again. I would never be able to go back. After getting rid of Mubarak, I am not going to give up now on getting rid of this guy,” he said of President Sisi.

Alexandra Stock, a Swiss-American curator who lived in Cairo from 2007 to 2012 and who recently worked with Ganzeer on a mural in Bahrain, noted the mass exodus of intellectuals in recent weeks. “It’s very sad to see this whole wave of people who have left Cairo,” she said. “But I think for Ganzeer, seeing things unfold from a distance might help.”

When asked if he can have a role in the revolution from the shores of Brooklyn, Ganzeer gave an emphatic “Yes.” “In the United States,” he said, “I can make people aware of the situation, so at least the American people can pressure their government to not support our war criminal turned president Sisi or sell weapons that are used against the Egyptian people.”

While Secretary of State John Kerry has urged Egypt to support a transition to democracy, easing restrictions on freedom of expression, the administration recently announced that it would like to resume military and counterterrorism aid.

Neither this announcement nor his current status has dimmed Ganzeer’s optimism or determination to go back.

“Egypt has had a schizophrenic relationship with its street artists,” said Soraya Morayef, a Cairo writer who has made Ganzeer a topic of her blog, Suzee in the City. “It’s been a case where we love you, we hate you, we’ll jail you, we’ll free you, we’ll celebrate you, and, now, we’ll force you to leave the country.”

Correction: July 11, 2014
Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misspelled the name of an alternative space in Greenpoint through which Ganzeer sells his work. It is the Booklyn Artists Alliance, not the Brooklyn Artists Alliance.
Correction: July 11, 2014
An earlier version of a picture credit with this article, based on information from a publicist, misidentified who took the photograph of Ganzeer painting the mural “Foundations.” It was Eva Frapeccini, not Ganzeer himself.
Correction: July 11, 2014
An earlier version of this article misidentified the nationality of a curator who recently worked with Ganzeer on a mural in Bahrain. Alexandra Stock is Swiss-American, not Egyptian, though she worked in Cairo from 2007-2012 and is currently based in Bahrain.

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