ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (Default)
Yesterday was a major political event in Egypt; millions of people turned out on the streets to demand the resignation of the president, Muhammad Morsi. The "Tamarod" (Rebellion) campaign is an interesting case of social mobilization, and a powerful rebuke to the behavior of the Muslim Brotherhood-led government of the past year; it also raises important questions about the limits and strengths of electoral democracy for determining what counts as representing "the people." That said, I don't think I, in particular, have anything to add to this conversation; I'm following Mada, the new news website from the team that used to run Egypt Independent, as well as the new Egypt Independent, and journalists on twitter like [twitter.com profile] bassem_sabry and [twitter.com profile] ghazalairshad. If people want me to do a links roundup, I'm happy to put one together.

Although I spent yesterday glued to my twitter feed following what was happening on the ground, my deepest focus was on protests by Egyptians outside of Egypt in solidarity with Tamarod. Egyptians abroad have been highly political mobilized by Egyptian politics over the past two years; the hashtag #egyabroad on Twitter is always active, presidential candidates campaigned in diaspora communities, and activists from Egypt have traveled to diaspora communities to present their work. None of my writing on these actions has come to print yet, but I generally argue that demonstrations and actions by Egyptians abroad serve to figuratively transport the diasporites participating back into their homeland, and to extend the political ground of the homeland fully into diaspora. Yesterday's protests fall into this category; the Egyptians around the world who joined in objecting to Morsi's rule were a part of the demos of Egypt, and were engaged in claiming the right to judge his policies.

Here's the list of protests I was able to count yesterday, based on what I saw on social media. I'm also including links to some of the tweets/posts with best photos of the protests.

cut for length; protests in North America, Europe, and Australia, with links to photos )

For the record, this gives me a count of at least 22 cities worldwide. I may be missing some--if you know of one I missed, leave me a comment or send me an email or tweet! But here are some preliminary analytical thoughts:

  • I had the passing thought as I looked at these of "but are there any protests in the Gulf?" And then the immediate answer, "Duh, of course not." Public protest is, if not banned, highly restricted in the Gulf states where Egyptians emigrate, and Qatar and Saudi, in particular, have been major supporters of Egypt under Brotherhood rule, which makes the possibilities for protest even smaller. But this actually is a conflicting effect. Something that my interviewees mentioned when I was in Cairo is that people who emigrate to the Gulf are different than people who emigrate to Europe or North America--they tend to care more about money and financial safety, and less about freedom and rights. They are also less highly educated and less political. Now, this might be a stereotype (and people I heard it from, who identified themselves against the type of people who go to the Gulf, themselves talked about the possibility of moving there, so obviously the idea is not exactly like the practice), but it probably also has some interesting implications for what the political engagement of Egyptians in the Gulf might be like. Another truism, this one in policy circles, is that Egyptians in the Gulf voted for Morsi, while Egyptians elsewhere voted for Shafiq (his secular but Mubarak-allied opponent). So how can we untangle suppressive protest environment, possibly different social attributes, and different political views in understanding the position of Gulf Egyptians during moments like these? If your answer is, "[personal profile] ajnabieh, that sounds like an excellent grant proposal for a research trip," you read my mind.

  • The protests that got the biggest circulation (that I saw--I obviously might be wrong) on social media were London and New York. My networks are New York-centric, though.

  • New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles are all in the top five largest cities for Arab population [eta: in the US--I don't know about largest cities for Arab diaspora population outside the US]. The ones that are missing are Detroit and Chicago. Without going deeply into the Census data, a glace at the AAI profiles tells me neither of those cities have large Egyptian populations. That suggests this isn't a pan-Arab mobilization--it's an Egyptian mobilization, and it's only happening where there's a critical mass of Egyptians. (Even though there aren't a lot of Egyptians in either Chicago or Detroit, there are still *some.*)

  • Again, something else I've noticed in my research: Egyptians in Egypt who are themselves a part of the transnational class are promoting and circulating images of protests abroad. That picture montage I linked above the cut was posted by Bassam Youssef, the satirist, and both Egyptian Streets and Cairo Gossip had posts about protests. So Egyptians in Egypt who are politically engaged don't differentiate between diaspora action and action at home, at least not in the aggregate.

In any case, watch this space for more info as it happens...
ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (awda times square)
My Gender and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa class (GPMENA for short, because I'm cool like that) is concluding the semester with a unit on the way the politics of gender are shifting and transforming in this moment of intense transition. Because it's only been a year since these transitions started (where does the time go?), there isn't a scholarly literature yet--there are news stories, and blog posts, and tweets, and YouTube videos, and Facebook pages, and all sorts of half-written ephemera.

Now, I think learning to comb through half-written ephemera to understand the present moment is a crucial skill that I'm happy to teach my students. (And, if they do well at this, you'll all be seeing the product of their work in a month and a half; they're writing research dossiers which I hope to publish on this blog.) But that does mean that the work of collecting data is more than a little complicated.

To that end, I've started compiling a Google Document (chosen instead of a page on here because it'll be easier to update) of all the articles/etc I'm finding on Twitter, Facebook, and my RSS feeds relevant to gender, feminism, and women in the Arab revolutions. I've decided to make the document publicly readable (although I'm not allowing public editing), because I'm hoping it can be a resource to others.

If you want to read the document, it's here. At the moment, it's got two sections--the syllabus for the rest of our classes, and "other" links. Most of the data on it is in English, but I've left images and some links to videos with only Arabic text/audio, in part because I'm planning on translating them for my classes. None of it is annotated right now, simply because I don't have time to do that. Some of this stuff is fascinating--some of it is perplexing--some of it is enraging. And some of it is hilarious if you're in the right mood (I'm thinking of the Noor Party campaign posters--go check them out.) Take your pick, and have fun.

If you come across an article in English (or French or Spanish, those being the other two languages I read easily) about a woman, a group of women, or the politics of gender, sexuality, and feminism in the Arab world in this transitional period, PLEASE send it along! Probably I should set up a Google Alert for this stuff, but I find all I do is archive the ones I get now for later data processing...


ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (Default)
Ajnabieh - The Foreigner

March 2016

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