Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The square-Fathia

The Square is a documentary centered on the 2011 revolutions that occurred in Egypt. This film shows an inside look into all of the things that were not publicizd for the world to witness. This film was told from the video camera of 6 individuals who believed that the Egyptian government should have the people's intrest at heart, rather than the politics. One important theme that continuously came up was perseverance. The revoultionaries were able to take down Mubarak, the military forces,then the Brotherhood. Throughout that time, they believed in their cause and didn't stray from the idea of having a government surrounded in the demands of the people. This documentary was very enlightening in that it showed the struggle that people were living with on a day to day basis. The revolution was not easy, and this film highlighted that by showing the brutality. In the first few minutes, there's pictures from the Facebook page of people who were beaten so badly that they look unrecognizable. One weakness I think was that the film didn't show what happened during that 6 month gap. It left me wondering why they didn't show anything, and what the people thought during that time.
I think that social media played an enormous role in the uprisings. During that time many people around the world didn't really know what was going on. I know that before the YouTube videos startated, it didn't seem like Egypt was such a mess, but once those videos were out it forced people to take a look and pay attention. All the negative attention that the Egyptian government was receiving was probably the catalyst that made them shut down the Internet. I think social media plays a big role because it gives people to show what's going on with it being filtered. In China, the government shut down the Internet after the riots that occurred in Hong Kong.
In The Square, there was a song that Ahmad was singing after the army came and kicked them out of the square. In it he sang " Egypt mother of the world, land of mine". It made me think of all the protests that are going on all over the world, and it made me realize that the protests in Egypt helped people see the injustice that was going on in their own country and want to change it.

The Square-Madison

The Square was a very inspiring film, one that draws the viewers in as if they were in it. This film is about Egypt protesting against a dictatorship type government with its first battle against Egypt's leader Mubarak. The first time that the people of Egypt couldn't be silenced and had reclaimed there freedom was after Mubarak stepped down on February eleventh of 2011. This was just the beginning of their revolution. The Egyptians next protests were against it's own military and Muslim Brotherhood. The people of Egypt who filled the streets to fight for their rights of freedom and dignity used many different mechanisms to do so, the main one being there voice, "We will fill the world with our poetry. Our words will stand in the square. And they will be like bullets in this world." These people who filled the square knew that they were possibly going to die but they didn't care because they said, "It's for the future." The Tahir square was an ongoing battle for over two years and by the fall of the last so-called leader...many Egyptians still weren't quite sure if this is how the revolution is supposed to end.

Ahmed said, "Revolution means total change, a government accountable to the people," and they still didn't have that by the end of their film. 

A lot of the attacks were filmed showing very ugly and graphic footage of Egypt's military shooting, bombing, gassing, stoning and even running their civilians over with tanks. All of this tragedy was covered and posted on the media to inform and make Egypt's ware-abouts globally known. Media played a big role in getting Egypt's conditions global. 

It's hard to find examples that expose weaknesses in the way this film was portrayed, because I have never really taken the time to be this aware of a real protest and cause. I thought this was amazing, in that it educated me to see people trying to move in protest and also inspiring to see people fight for freedom. There are so many strengths to this film, mostly, it was very personable. The dialogue that the viewer gets between families, my favorite example of this, was the scene where it was a conversation between Khalid, Magdy and his son. Khalid was questioning Magdy's son's stance in the revolution and whether or not he thought it was the right one. This scene was very intense, making viewers want to know these same questions Khalid was proposing. There are many powerful quotes and saying's throughout this film too that help establish the different themes that come from this revolution. 

Here are some of the quotes and sayings that I took away from this film and established what I thought the main ideas/themes were during this revolution:

"Tahir Square is a symbol, if you have control of it, you have power. It pulls people to you." To me this quote states that for the protester's, the square was a place where they felt they had some power and it was a place to get the attention they were begging for to start their revolution. 

"The battle just isn't in the rocks and the stones, it's in the images, the stories." This quote I thought was a major theme throughout this film because that's exactly what this film exposes, images and stories of the people who lived through this revolution.

One of the hardest battles the people of Egypt had to face was against their own government, the army wanted to divide the Muslims and the Christians because their battle tactic was to "divide and conquer... which turned into a war in the square, not a revolution." 
"Our army is killing us, they can't be Egyptians, they forgot Egypt."

June 30th 2013
Ahmed, "revolution is not simply replacing a regime. Revolution is a culture of people. We've introduced a culture of protesting. Revolution's weapon is our voices." I think Ahmed's words our wise and true in the last couple of things he says during this film. The Square portrays the voices of Egyptian civilians in order to spread there stories of this movement.

Egypt, a highly populated country, had militant attacks this year in October in North Sinai that was described as the deadliest since Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi’s overthrow in July of 2013. The news in Egypt doesn’t stop there. Recently, journalists trying to report on the country have been the targets of harassment and abuse. A decision of seventeen editors to give President Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi’s government their unconditional support, has caused much criticism and outcry. More than five-hundred journalists have used online media to communicate their opposition to this decision. Media personnel are among the leading victims of these authoritarian policies with independent journalists/reporters prompting arrests. The hopes for families and those sentenced will rest in the political consideration of the political “popular” vote. Will the President interfere with the judicial system? The President will have to issue a pardon, which is the only way to find an appropriate solution. The power of this social media outcry has sparked international outrage with human rights and media groups. Social Media plays many roles with giving voice to defiance. Ai Weiwei, known as  a”fearless” tweeter, understands the effects of social media and has raised political awareness on freedom of speech in China. Although he has suffered brain injury and legal battles, his virtual political stance has organized volunteers, exposed names of those killed in earthquakes, and delivered his opinion of the Chinese government that resembles that of his middle finger. The internet can’t be contained, it can’t be controlled (yet), and as long as that is the case, freedom will win.

I really enjoyed this film.

"The Square" Extra Credit

This documentary lives up to its winning of the Academy Awards, and so much more. What I loved about this film is the courage and willingness the people of Cairo and Egypt were able to put out there; and not just them but also the people who made this documentary possible. We get to see the Egyptians turbulent and dramatic course they took through the eyes of several Egyptian activists. Seeing the protests in this film was so inspiring and courageous, I felt so deeply their sense of idealism and sacrifice that the early protestors must have felt. The crackdowns from the military that followed the downfall of President Mubarack was horrifying and shocking to witness, it even gave me chills at some points. The actor did a marvelous job portraying the troubles and serious consequences the people of Egypt were to face if something wasn't to be done about this issue. 

I liked very much how the film also portrayed the failures of the protests, giving great insight into the ongoing troubles and determination it took to get across their message of  wanting freedom. The documentary had deeply compelling characters which is also why I think it was so alluring and captivating to watch. It was powerful to watch these activists and protestors trying to make a change despite the attacks and struggles the had to face along the way. It was also very compelling to see the different men and woman of all social backgrounds having discussions and conversations in the square talking about the future, the hope for change. 

The use of social media played a major role in this documentary. Because of the courage the cast and actors had, we were all able to understand the hardships the Egyptian people were facing every day. The cast and characters who were involved risked their lives to have us see this and this is why this documentary is so important and relevant to us then and even today. The footage invited us into the lives of various individuals, all fighting for the same purpose. It was very interesting to see the different perspectives of these people. 

This documentary greatly reminds me of the "Umbrella Revolution" that started in September in Hong Kong. Both the people of Egypt and of Hong Kong were fighting for the same thing, freedom. Joshua Wong was a major voice of this revolution, leading the demonstrators to breach a security barrier and enter the forecourt of the Central Government Complex. Joshua reminds me of Khalid in this documentary, both being a voice for a great cause. Khalid realized the powerful effect that social media could play in his effort for people to know what was happening outside of their world, which is why he was smart enough to start his own Youtube videos. This documentary was overall extremely well done and overwhelmingly powerful with people putting their lives on the line to share their struggles in hopes for a brighter future. 

Extra Credit Jill Reed

“The Square” is a personal, emotional, and extremely ambitious documentation of the Egyptian people between 2011-2013, when crowds of protestors gathered in Taheir Square. The movie chronicles the personal path of three characters, young revolutionary Ahmed Hassan, his friend Magdy Ashour a devout member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and actor Khalid Abdallah, who returned to Egypt from London at the beginning of the revolution. The Square is the gathering place throughout the entire film where protesters demand first the removal of President Hosni Mubarak, and his successor Mohamed Morsi.

           The movie, “The Square” covers the most significant parts of the uprising with a personal and intimate look at the struggles a group of young activists have and how their stories intertwine. Young Ahmed is extremely charismatic, and the viewers are naturally drawn to his charming smile throughout the film. Magdy is the older gentleman of the group, and is extremely passionate. You feel the family pain when his daughter states “our father can still not get health insurance,” and then the camera cuts to the littlest Ashour son who clearly needs eye surgery. Khalid Abdallah is an actor who comes from two generations of political revolutionaries, he stays in a small apartment near The Square where filmmaker Aida El Kashef and others may sleep and seek refuge from The Square,

            “The Square” tells the story of the uprising of the Egyptian people against it’s corrupted government. The film played a large part in depicting the emotional revolution, but I also felt the movie was a bit “stripped down” to make it more accessible to its audience. Framing and editing should also be considered when watching the movie, filmmakers have the power to manipulate their story one way or another, shaping their truth if they see fit. The process of shaping and bending a film depends on the editing but you hope the process is about the truth, especially on a historical documentary, like this one.

            While watching “The Square” I could not help but compare the movie to the recent events that have taken place right here in the United States. “Fight the powers that be, we have been given no justice,” the crowd shouts across the nation in the Michael Brown, grand jury decision. Bridges have been blocked, highways also blocked and cars set on fire, as protesters struggle with dealing with a very complicated and challenging problem right here in our own country, “racial profiling”.

            According to an article written by David Boaz in USA Today, the violent death of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia, who was just a simple street vendor selling fruits and vegetables from his cart mimics that of Eric Garner. Bouzizi wanted to buy a trust but was harasses daily by “government inspectors” making his life miserable. They shook him down from bribes, took his wares and humiliated him until he finally took his own life. Eric Garner too was a street vendor selling his untaxed cigarettes. Because New York has the country’s highest cigarette taxes for a pack of cigarettes made street vendors sell them on the black market. Eric Garner was a part of this small business world; he sold individual cigarettes on the streets of New York City. He had a long record of arrests; several people on the street had over heard him that day “stop messing with me.” “I am tired of it.” Then, “I cant breath.” An officer of the police department killed him.

            Eric Garner’s death as well as Mohamed Bouaziz’z death has set off waves of protests in the Arab country of Tunisia, and here in the United States. Does the [public have the right to police the police? When the public is viewing the news events that are taking place around the country, are theses events the “social truth?” Or have they been edited to serve the purpose of the storyteller. This could be a very dangerous tool “the camera” if not used truthfully.

            Today, Egyptian demonstrators protest across the country the courts decision to drop all criminal charges against Hosni Mubarak, the president who was removed from power in 2011. On Saturday 2014, the Egyptian court system dropped all charges in “The Square.” The struggle seems to continue for the country and its people.

Works Cited

        Boaz, David. "Eric Garner Could Spark American Spring: Column." USA Today. Gannett, 08 Dec. 2014. Web. 09 Dec. 2014.

Expo 8- Fathia

I chose to share  the last paragraph from my second essay.
“I believe in death. I believe that deep inside, we are all afraid of death. I realize now that I was not afraid of the dark, I was afraid of death. I believed that if I as in a dark room, then death would soon arrive. I believed that if I shut my eyes for very long, death would come after me. It’s amazing to know that at such a young age I realized this.  My sister’s death showed me that no matter how old or young you are, death will always come. Death is inevitable. There is no one who too good for death. I believe that death shapes us to be who we are. To this very day, I am still afraid of death. Not because of the darkness but all it represents”.
I wanted to share this passage because I think its something that effects all of us. In some weird way, death is one of the few things that everyone all around the world have in common.
One thing I want to share with everyone is on the National Children's Cancer Association. I think its an important understanding because its one of the saddest things in the world. I know there are lots of horrible things in the world, but knowing a little child who has cancer is extremely heartbreaking. I think its important because this organization is helping create a chance for families to stay together, and that's a remarkable

Extra Credit- Alexis Evans

The documentary, The Square, directed by Jehance Nojaim, is a very educational drama released in 2013. This film was not only powerful for the viewers, but very evident. While viewing this documentary, it brought me to become sorrowful to seeing the real value of what has ever gone around us. One thing that really stuck with me in this film was all the violence throughout it. We are lucky enough as Americans to never actually experience this rather then just seeing it on national television. This documentary did a good job of showing the real stuff of what was going on in the streets of Cairo. 

The strengths to this documentary would have to be the realness of it. Not only could the viewer get involved by taking part in watching some of the actions of people in the streets, but having the chance to listen to actual people speak about this issue was very personal and made the film even more satisfying. The weakness in this document would be the lack of english translation. At points during the film it was hard to keep up with the subtitles and sometimes you need the movie to just speak to you without having to read. The most important theme I believe is in the film, The Square, would be brotherhood and companionship. People stuck together throughout this time and with all the difficult things that would occur. 

Social media is a huge issue when dealing with protests and the attacks on people of the world. The character in the film, Khaild, wanted to make known of what was happening over in Egypt and that is when he started making videos for YouTube. These videos were instantly viewed and publicly shown by news stations across the world. It really shows you that we would rarely have any idea whats going on in some parts of countries if social media wasn't around. Now anyone in this world can hop on a computer and see what is going on 1,000 miles from them. 

We see social media playing a prominent role for mostly people in China with all the stuff that they have going on. Ai WeiWei whom is a popular Chinese contemporary activist, played a large role with using social media to get in contact to show people various things going on in his country. Ai has been highly and openly critical of Chinas government stance on democracy and the human rights. He has investigated a variety of government corruption and cover-ups which social media has helped him reach out to many individuals. I learned from reading about him that it is crazy how powerful the internet is and how many people he could reach out to just when he wanted too. 

Through different news casts, we only get to see a glimpse of one of the bloodiest battle, an election, and or a million man march. This film did a great job at showing the real life stuff going on the streets of Cairo. The stories of the many individuals made the film not only inspiring, but very educational. I recommend this documentary to anyone liking to know the different events that have taken place in the world around us. 

Extra credit Cameron Watson

  This documentary was by far the most moving and inspirational documentaries that I have truly ever seen.  This is a documentary shaped through the eyes of six Egyptian protestors that are armed with nothing more than a camera.  The Egyptian revolution has been an on going process over the past two and a half yeas.  Many people have risen to the occasion and made a valiant attempt to protest for freedoms that have mpg been granted but this time, through this documentary comes the most outstanding protest of them all.  A whole nation against the almost tyrannical leader Hosni Mubarak formed in the center of Tahrir Square hence the documentary title "The Sqaure".  Through this uprising, came the downfall of two governments and without the protest and persistent effort to sustain the violence, hatred, and cruel and unusual punishment, Egypt would have been the same. 
With an overall review of this documentary, if I were a film critic I would give this film an 8 out of 10.  It is very difficult for a film to be shot and for it to actually turn out visible and streamable to the public.  I think that is what I liked the most was that it was a street-level documentary.  This means that it was shot from a perspective of people who were actually there at the time of of the uprising.  Obviously it was shot by the six different characters and people present throughout the film.  My favorite character was Ahmed Hassan.  Ahmed is seen at the beginning of the film and plays a very important role.  He if first seen in his home on Facebook watching a video posted by someone he knows, a girl who lives in Egypt close to him.  She is going on about how tomorrow she will present a sign and protest for equal rights and that if you are seeing this video, to please come and join in the uprising.  The nest day, Ahmed joins the uprising and realizes that there is an entire nation that feels the same way that him and his friend from Facebook feel.  He is a key part of the defense of Tahrir in the 18 days leading up to Mubarak's resignation, and all of the occupations of the square since.  Very few weaknesses presented throughout this documentary.  The only thing that I can think of that I maybe didn't care for that much was obviously I speak english so the subtitles were sometimes a pain but other than that it was a very well put together film.  I really enjoyed how it all tied together in the end, that after all was said in done, the uprising wasn't just for nothing and it was worth participating and most of all, following through with.  A big theme throughout the documentary was this idea of  freedoms that every human being should be entitled to.  This idea that people are claiming their rights and providing a social conscience.  
     The situation in Egypt today is different than it was before.  Egypt remains locked in a protracted process of political transition after the resignation of the long-serving leader Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. The country is deeply divided between Islamist and secular groups, while the Egyptian Military remains the country's main political decision-maker.  The results of the first democratic elections held in 2011/12, won overwhelmingly by Islamist parties, were nullified, leaving Egypt with no elected state institutions. Egypt’s first democratically elected parliament in decades was dissolved in June 2012. The best hopes for a solution in Egypt is to elect a leader that is going to be fair to the entire Egyptian population and treat each and every person with the utmost respect and generosity.  After watching this documentary I now see how nice we as Americans have it and it makes me take the time to reflect and be thankful for the political world we live in and the things that I have in my life.