Final Project: Audio Documentary on the History of AUC

December 9, 2009 at 2:58 am (Projects) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Tahrir Square Downtown Cairo at night. Photo by Yara Saeed

AUC History: Changing Frame of Thought

Length of documentary: 11:26 minutes
Produced by Asmaa Al Zohairy

Brief summary:
This documentary is about how the mentality of the students of the American University in Cairo has changed over the years. It looks at the students’ frame of thought in the 50s, 80s and 90s through the eyes of AUC alumni of whom some are back to give back to the university.

Credits:
Interviews:
Louise Greiss
Maha Saleh
Mona Amer
Ibrahim El Batout

Music:
Occiderient by Chriss Onac
Lucky Number Seven by SaReGaMa & Hamelin Beringnier

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Chinese-Made Virginity Kit: A Reflection of Double Standards?

October 19, 2009 at 1:15 am (Weekly Posts) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Women's virginity in Egypt is sanctioned. For a woman to get married, her husband has to be the first guy she has an affair with. A virginity kit would allow her to fool around with him, as Chinese have concluded.

Women's virginity in Egypt is sanctioned. For a woman to get married, her husband has to be the first guy she has an affair with. A virginity kit would allow her to fool around with him, as Chinese have concluded.

I don’t know where to start. The topic has become a bit old now, but I was trying to form any opinion on it or gain some insights. Time didn’t help. A virginity kit? A Chinese virginity kit exported to Middle East countries? That is one side of the story. Egypt lawmakers are banning it; that is the other side. That is all that was on the news. In between, lie all the confusion and disturbances in my mind. You can read more details on the story here.

What are the implications of having such a product made? What is it that they, the production company Gigimo, were thinking of this part of the world? What is really the image they have about it? What does that really say? What does it say about our, Egyptians, culture?

The release of this product is doing nothing but giving me negative answers to all of these questions.

Yes, virginity is an essential requirement for marriage in the Egyptian culture, but is it the physical actual concrete concept of virginity represented in an un-penetrated hymen or is in the abstract meaning of virginity as in chastity and abstinence by the virtue of it?

How far have we gone with conservatism? Because I believe that this culture has become so conservative that its values have become superficial and fake. Why don’t we just be honest with ourselves and make our beliefs come to peace with our actions?

I am sure the product has a market here in Egypt or the Middle East in general. The company must have been thinking “if these people are too concerned with their women’s virginity, why not let them have it”. It is all about demand in business. But, then we have the law makers and the religious leaders calling for the ban of it. I must say I agree, but not as much on the ban itself as it is on the production of the commodity in the first place, for it is simply obviously calling for deception. What I am calling for is owing up to one’s actions and beliefs because virginity as a matter of fact is a decision that one takes full responsibility for.

However and at the same time, the super ultra concern about virginity makes me tolerate this kit idea for those girls and women who might lose their lives over a rape incident that they can’t report or even utter a word about it to anyone.

The whole matter left me wondering to which direction this culture is going.

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