“There is no place like Paris”

November 16, 2009 at 9:42 pm (Weekly Posts) (, , , , , )

Grey Egypt

Yes, we have won the match for which our nerves were almost torn down. I must say I didn’t care much. The scenes in the streets weren’t new to me. I used to see and hear the honking and cheering every match between Ahly and Zamalek, the most famous 2 competing football teams in Egypt.

So, I am wondering whether this whole game thing is what makes me feel Egyptian and love being and belonging to Egypt.

What made me wonder is that last Friday, one day before the match, I met a French friend of my sister’s. It was my first encounter with someone French where we sat down, had lunch together and talked. I also must say that I am in love with anything French, the language, the culture, the food, the music… everything. So our conversation started off with her observations of the Egyptian street, the traffic, the people, the pollution, and the inability to enjoy a walk in the streets, which is true. But because she has been in Egypt for almost 4 weeks for the first time, she mentioned how Egyptians have an amazing sense of humor all through the office boy she has been dealing with. So yea there is a good thing we have.

But when I asked her to tell me about france or Paris, since I have never been there. She told me about how grumpy French people are, but how possible it is to actually have a walk in the streets there. She said one thing that really struck me and made me wish I was in a country about which I could say something like this someday. She told me I didn’t travel alot, but “there is no place like Paris.” It made me even more eager to go and witness the beauty of Paris.

So, it seems different what impact each place leaves on the people living in it. I used to think that because I live in this place, its beauty isn’t as perceptible and appreciated as one who doesn’t live in it sees it. But there she is my French who happens to actually like her city and thinks it is the best place in the world. I think issue now is how Egypt, the place where I live, has come to leave all this dust on my eyes that I no longer appreciate living in it.

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Listening Journal # 4: Long Form Audio Documentary

November 15, 2009 at 1:27 am (Listening Journals) (, , , , , , , , , )


Dying on the streets is pretty popular in the city of Paris. That is where the group Les Morts de la Rue or the Dead of the Street comes in to provide any kind of humane memorial or ceremony-like burial for them. Photo by: http://www.mortsdelarue.org

Buried Alone

Criteria for reviewing:

1- Who (or what company) produced the documentary?
2- Who narrated the documentary?
3- What was the length of the documentary?
4- Describe the documentary.
5- Why was the documentary interesting?
6- Quality of the narrator’s voice?
7- Was the documentary too long? Too short?
8- Other observations/suggestions.

1- On the website, under production information, it says produced by: unknown. But, under the title of the piece, it says from: Sarah Elzas. So, it might be the producer of the piece as well as its narrator.

2- Sarah Elzas is the narrator of the documentary.

3- The length of the documentary is 10:32 minutes.

4- Description of the documentary:

The documentary is about the homeless people who live on the streets of Paris and die alone with no family or friends present at their burial. They get buried by grave diggers without any ceremony. It is a right that French law grants to those who die unclaimed. So, there is this homeless advocates’ group or collective who decided to attend every burial of any one who dies and has their bodies unclaimed to honor and pay some respect to them on their burial day. The piece starts off at the cemetery where the burials take place. It goes on telling the process of identifying the dead person and investigating their death circumstances and why this group of volunteers do what they do attending the burial days of people who died alone. It also gives the political picture of such activity and that is raising awareness about homelessness in France and the premature death because of that.

5- The documentary was interesting for me because

The topic and place of the documentary were the point of interest to me. I love Paris and I was interested to know something new about it. Plus, I thought there must be some French all through. I was right.
Also, the piece was very descriptive. It made me feel as if I were at one of those burials, describing the people who do it and what they are in.
The nat sound of opening the car in which the dead person was transported to the cemetery and having it roped down to the open hole was appealing and helped draw the picture. There was always nat sound accompanying the narration. It made me feel very engaged.

Additionally, the variety of people on the piece made it more comprehensive and complete. There was the people from the group, people from the officials about the homelessness campaign, and people who are usually found at the burial out of their interest in doing something human as such.

6- The quality of the narrator’s voice was real good. Before I settle on this piece, I have heard some pieces where I can hear some humming in the narrator’s recording, and then clear sound bytes or nat sound. But in Buried Alone, the narrator’s voice was clear and there was no difference in the levels of her narration and her interviewees.

7- The documentary wasn’t too long nor was it too short. It was long enough to give out the information the reporter has been collecting. It didn’t leave me wondering about any aspects of the issue that might haven’t possibly covered.

8- Other observations or suggestions:

I liked the variety of people on the piece. As much as it sometimes got me confused, I felt was provided with different many perspectives.
There was a French lady reading out a piece of poem written for one of the dead and for the voice over of this woman, I heard the narrator’s. So, I thought what a big mistake. But then I realized it was sort of part of her script. Then, I thought the integration of having the actual poem read by the French woman with the narrator’s voice translating and identifying was a good idea. I just had to be a little bit more patient.

Compared to some of the other websites where I could listen to audio documentaries, this one had a better piece of information: having the length of the piece beneath the title. In addition, it has topics sorted out to so I could listen to a piece according to my preference.

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Project # 5 Radio News Wrap

November 11, 2009 at 1:02 am (Projects) (, , , , , , , )

digital conference 2

An Israeli researcher was denied the participation in the Digital Culture conference held in Alexandria end of October. Photo courtesy: Ahmed Essmat (Amwag Sakandria)

digital culture conference

The Digital Culture conference held in Alexandria from October 27th till October 31st. Photo courtesy: Ahmed Esmat (Amwag Sakandria)

Alexandrian city in Egypt has hosted the “Digital Culture” conference for the first time. The subject matter might be new for a conference to be held in Egypt, but a stand against Israeli participation is not. Asmaa Al Zohairy has more on the story.

Israeli presence in any type of Arab conferences has always been an issue. The digital culture conference that was recently held in the Palais des Gourmets in Alexandria expressed its rejection to such presence. The conference’s secretariats have declined the request of an Israeli researcher to participate with her paper on digital literature.

Ahmed Shablool, the conference’s manager, says the conference has a clear stand on that matter.

Sound Byte (SB):
Shablool: of course we reject any kind of normalization with Israel at least at the time and that is the decision of all Egyptian writers and those who accept the normalization and go visit Israel are nailed down by the media.(:18)

Shablool said that to his surprise the researcher showed her understanding to the secretariat’s decision.

Similar stands against dealing with Israel on many levels are present in even one of the most liberal universities in Egypt, the American University in Cairo or (AUC). Over a year ago, rumor had it that there was an Israeli scholar participating in an academic conference that was held there. AUC denied such a premise.

Political science professor at the AUC, Ibrahim Elnur, says that the university looks at this issue differently.

Elnur: I think the university is not having a very strong stand but it does have a certain respect for the environment in which it is operating. (:10)

Elnur says that there is always this dichotomy between the public and official stands. This differs from time to time and depends on the events going on.

Elnur: In the post Oslo time, optimism was very high and normalization started to get some kind of understanding if not support but still among the intellectuals and educated people but it failed to and now we are back to almost to square one in terms of Israeli Arab relations. Then we have these terrible events in Gaza, which brought again the strong sentiment against any type of normalization. (:25)

He says there is also this hypocrisy about the issue as some scholars are not boycotting conferences taking place outside the region with Israeli participation, but they refuse such a thing to happen inside the region.

Elnur: this is the nature of populism as a policy as politics which is taking a stand that will support any of the majority irrespect of whether this majority is taking the rational thing or not so you don’t you want to be in the minority even if it is rational to be in the minority. (:20)

The stand of the Alexandrian conference secretariats is not the first in face of the normalization issue. Situations and events in the region will always dictate how Israeli-related issues would be dealt with.

This is Asmaa Al Zohairy for AUC Radio.

Additional links:
1- http://www.almasry-alyoum.com/article2.aspx?ArticleID=231740
2- http://translate.google.com/translate?prev=hp&hl=en&js=y&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.almasry-alyoum.com%2Farticle2.aspx%3FArticleID%3D231740&sl=ar&tl=en&history_state0=&swap=1
3- http://news.egypt.com/en/200911027979/news/middle-east/digital-conference-held-in-alexandria-israeli-barred.html
4- http://translate.google.com/translate?prev=hp&hl=en&js=y&u=http://www.amwague.com/index.php%3Fmodule%3Darticle%26action%3Dsingle%26id%3D281&sl=ar&tl=en&history_state0=&swap=1

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