Die Bärliner - The Bard College Berlin Student Blog
Tag "Revolution"
on the Bard College Berlin Student Blog

Having been born and raised in Cairo by upper middle class Egyptian Muslim parents, gender issues and women’s rights weren’t topics typically dealt with in my family despite how “open-minded” my parents claim to be. A patriarchal culture filters through life’s many branches in Egypt, silencing the voices demanding the downfall of the patriarchy and the end of misogyny that has long infested the Egyptian culture. To try and understand such matters, one must avoid looking only at the similarities in the Arab countries’ attitudes towards gender and sexuality as they ultimately have defining differences in their historical contexts and the operation of their societies today. My intimate experience with Cairo compels me to make it the focus of my article.

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Kafranbel is a liberated town in Syria, i.e not under the influence of the regime. The town became famous for making banners and sharing them on Facebook in support of the revolution.

In our liberal age, the notion of freedom is sacred. Arguing the opposite amounts to liberal heresy. The so-called ‘Arab Spring’ as depicted by the media affirms the universal sanctity of freedom. Didn’t “Arabs” sacrifice their lives for freedom’s sake after all? Maybe. The media did not depict the illiberal version of the story. In Syria––as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter remind me everyday – part of the population hates freedom.

Is it possible for ‘rational’ human beings to hate freedom?

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Talk With Thomas Hasel

On May 15th, ECLA of Bard had the pleasure and privilege to host a talk on post-revolutionary Egypt with Thomas Hasel, co-producer of the Deutsche Welle documentary After the Storm: A New Beginning for Egypt’s Economy, which deals with Egypt’s economy after Mubarak’s fall. The event was organized by ECLA of Bard’s Politics and Ethics concentration seminar Democracy: Ancient and Modern, taught by Professor Ewa Atanassow. The discussion was moderated by our BA2 student from Egypt Aya Ibrahim, who actively contributed to its course with her firsthand knowledge.

The screening of the documentary preceded an insightful talk with Thomas Hasel. Mr. Hasel is a German journalist and political scientist. Since 1994 he has specialized in political and economic systems in the Arab world and published a number of press articles on the Arab states in North Africa. His evident expertise and interest in the Egyptian situation made the discussion very lively and fruitful from the very beginning. Mr. Hasel was patient enough to answer our every question, and his answers were informative at all times.

The documentary After the Storm: A New Beginning for Egypt’s Economy deals with the development of Egypt’s economy after Mubarak’s fall, arguing that the revolution in early 2011 was a protest not only against an authoritarian ruler, but also against the country’s economic misery, corruption and unemployment rate. The film gave the audience enough background information on the current situation and helped us to better understand its practical underpinnings, which later inspired some very thought-provoking questions addressed to Mr. Hasel.

One of the main points highlighted by the documentary and raised by the students is the division between lower and upper social classes in contemporary Egypt.

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