Je ne suis pas Charlie

When I first heard the slogan „Je suis Charlie“ and read about what happened, it reminded me of كلنا خالد سعيد, „We are all Khaled Said“, the slogan that started or accompanied the first weeks of the Egyptian uprising. But the comparison of these two did not seem right on second thought. Whereas one actively fought against and tried to expose the corruption and arbitrariness of the police and was killed for his activism, the others were victims of a terrorist attack. Just because they held a dangerous opinion (although it is disputable wether or not humiliating and ridiculing people’s beliefs can be called an opinion), it does not mean that they are martyrs of human rights and freedom of speech. When I saw some of their caricatures last year I thought they were distasteful and inappropriate. Which obviously does not mean that the caricaturists should be killed. There is no justification ever to kill anyone. Period. 02-je-suis-charlie-demonstrationWhat I am criticizing is not that Charlie Hebdo printed images that I do not approve of, nor am I justifying that they were killed. And whatever my thoughts on the topic may be, at no point do I mean disrespect against the dead and their families. My criticism goes solely against the instrumentalization of those deaths. I find it very problematic and even dangerous to mobilize so many people to identify with a medium that they have never even looked into before, just because they are against terrorists killing people.

Yes, let us say „Je suis freedom of speech“ or „Je suis against terrorism“ or simply „Je suis for peace and against killing people“, but why „Je suis Charlie“? Continue reading

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Cultural Center for young people in Matariya

I have been sitting here for quite a while thinking about what to write in this post to present my new little documentary film. I could tell you some facts about the geographical position and the population of El Matariya, where it was filmed. I could tell you details about why I was there, how this roof project started and who organizes it. Or I could once again marvel at the young people from that neighbourhood, who have more creativity in their little group than I would have found in the whole area I grew up in.DSC01679 [800x600]

But somehow I think that the video is self-explanatory. The most important thing is that you really feel the positive atmosphere that I felt when I was on that roof… and that it gives you some hope for Egypt in times like these where all we see are two old systems battling eachother. Because there is not just that. There are also young people who hang out together, no matter how much of their hair or face they show. There are girls and boys joking around together debating society’s gender stereotypes. There are teenagers who are eager to express themselves as well as ready to listen to others.

The group in this video is like a microcosm of what Egyptian society should be like, if we really want to change the future of this country. And that is why they need space to unfold. If you like what you see, feel free to ask for more information, visit the website of Mayadin al Tahrir or sponsor some wood for the construction (:

Don’t choose sides, choose principles!

„The day on which the revolution began, 25 January 2011, was not just any old day; it was National Police Day. Of all the despotism that enraged Egyptians back then, it was the brutal despotism of the police that caused the most suffering. Yet in the summer of 2013, only two-and-a-half years later, demonstrators carried police officers on their shoulders around Tahrir Square, cheering them and singing their praises.“

-Jürgen Stryjak

This quote is from one of the very few pieces I read that actually grasped what is happening in Egypt right now. All the other opinions I read and heard were either pro Muslim Brotherhood or pro army. But the revolution is not about choosing sides, it is about choosing a principle. From the very start the revolution was about the principle of justice. It was not about economical problems but the fact that most people had nothing while few people were super-rich. It wasn’t about the police in general but about the fact that people were beaten to death by state security for performing their human rights. It wasn’t about Mubarak but about the whole unjust system that he represented and that has not changed since the military coup of 1952 – the exact same system that is back in charge right now. Continue reading