Rant II -Shi Libani | Inti…ya Sowda

I walk every where in Beirut because its the type of city that allows you to do so. Choosing to walk, however, also means being subjected to racist remarks, looks, finger pointing and last but not least being labeled for something I am not.

I chose to come to Beirut almost four years ago to pursue my studies, to live a different experience in the hip-modern-Paris-of-the-of-the-middle-east; Beirut. Where everything is possible but of course i was wrong.  Beirut reflects only what people see in the media or what the media allows people to see. Its complicated and it deserves another post.

The fact is,  Lebanon is a place where sectarianism is deeply rooted, tension is constantly brewing and peace is vulnerable. Nevertheless, people live, dream and many succeed in doing what they love best, only because this is Lebanon.

Lebanese people are among the most educated, skilled, specialized Arab people and tend to do well for themselves. Yet, they have a fault.

Shi Libani

I was walking down the street with a Sudani friend of mine, out of the blue, a guy walking by points his index finger right in front of her face and says “Inti a7la wahda ya Sowda” which translates to “Your the prettiest, you Black one”. Eliminating the first part of the sentence and focusing on the  latter, the guy was referring to the color of her skin. I might be over -reacting – but then again this is sort of a rant that broke the ice after four years, after four year of tolerating endless remarks, looks and unwanted feeling! I had to write and enlighten others how this impacts me.

Ya Libani

I refuse to me labeled by the color of my skin because in Lebanon being Sawda (Black) means i either work as a maid or a prostitute. I am a student who happens to live in Lebanon. The feeling I get when someone deliberately labels me without asking, without knowing my being, aggravates me. At times, it makes me resent living in Lebanon.

In every country, you find the janitor, the doctor, the driver and the diplomat, Sudan is no different. The Sudanese who come here are refugees that believe they can get to Europe through Lebanon – which a transit country. Once they arrive and realize they can’t, many opt to live here instead -illegally- of returning to an unpromising country. I, as a Sudanese, am sad to see my country men working in such conditions; overworked, underpaid, at times not treated well, imprisoned and beaten up and deprived of basic human rights. The again, who am i to talk about upholding human rights for Sudanese? When the Palestinians gain some right in Lebanon, then perhaps i can give my two pennies on the issue of Sudanese in Lebanon.

What i resent however, is the feeling many force me to feel. I live in your country – legally. I respect the culture that it, i experience the experience you do, i picked up the accent…i feel Beirutiya to an extent. So, i do not appreciate it when i walk in one of the  most hippest parts in town and be called Sawda or $*^&!  The people who are labeling me are not, Naeem, the person i buy my coffee from every morning; or the old lady who sells gum across from Universal restaurant; or  3amo Ahmed the security guard who has the M-W-F shift at Main gate. No, It is the people that are educated, traveled, experienced, well read and fortunate people…you are the supposed future of this country.  You are the one’s who are supposed to know better, know about the impact of words on others, know more about tolerance and of people from different cultures. Yet, many of you do it anyways  and this saddens me.

What i ranted about is not applicable to all Lebanese, i am fortunate to have found many Lebanese friends who share the same views as mine, who apologies constantly and  are more aggravated then i am on this issue.

The moral of this rant is simple; weight the words you use and the things you say. Calling me “Ya Sawda”, is racist.

Wa7da Sudaniya fi Beirut.

Is Social Media Changing Lives?

I am happy to announce that the Online Collabrative Club (OC) at the American University of Beirut is hosting its second annual conference titled: Social Media Changing Lives.

Aside being a member of the club and promoting the conference, i encourage all social media fanatics, bloggers, tweeps or those who now have developed an urge to know more about social media to attend!

The conference it self is about how social media is changing fields such as education, culture, business, media and journalism, music and art, NGOs, politics, religion, human rights, science, the environment and even personal lives of everyone who is using them.

Who is coming?

Other then the awesome team that makes up OC, here are some

  1.   The British Ambassador to Lebanon, HMA Tom Fletcher – How Twitter can change diplomacy
  2. Riham Kowatly from Be7ke – Inspiring youth online.
  3. Esraa Haidar – A hijab with a voice
  4. Aliaa Al Zeiny (A friend and a fellow political science major) – Human right and Arab women

Panels 

  1. Social Media influencing political decisions with panelists Marina Chamma, Shakeeb El-Jabri, Nadine Mouwad and Assaad Thebian. Moderated by yours truly.
  2. Food Science & Nutrition Controversies on Social Media  withCynthia Bu Jawdeh, Loulwa Kalache (Awesome blog. Check it out!) and Patricia Moghamed. All are  Food and Nutrition Bloggers and Masters Candidates in AUB’s Nutrition and Food Science Department.

That’s not all

Many other speakers are also attending the conference plus a little bit of entertainment in between sessions and at the end. Musicians include Poly,Anthony Touma, Lazy Lung and Episode. Check out the schedule and it is still not to late to register, , please do so after you finish reading this!

Things to remember

WHERE: Issam Fares auditoriam (See map below)

WHEN: Friday December 16, 2011

Plus, stay tuned for LIVE tweets @AUB_OC #SMCL

 

 

See you all there!

AUSACE 2011

Around a month ago
Beirut

 

Its been almost a month since the Media studies program at AUB, hosted the Arab-US association of communication educators conference 2011. This post has been delayed due to midterm season and unexpected trip, nevertheless i must give my two pennies. Before i do, i must admit i could not attend all the sessions so what you read is what i got out of it.

If your an activist, a social media believer, blogger, educator or simply a person who has recently taken an interest in the events of the Arab springs. There are people to follow and blogs to read that are interesting, that are challenging the system and are casting a different light on mainstream media. I wished however if more Arab bloggers, tweeps, activist and educators  could have participated nevertheless I had the opportunity to meet prominent people who are giants in their respective field. Ranging from prominent Arab women journalists such as Professor Rasha Abdullah, Rula Amin and Alia Ibrahim. To Professor Matt Duffy a professor of Journalism based in the UAE (@mattjduffy) to Elza Ibroscheva who basis her research on how social media breeds hate. It is unfortunate however, that the work of many educators works is not online or at least not publicly.  I really have nothing negative to say about the conference or its participants per se but one remark, is that many of the comparative studies were between the Unites States versus a MENA country rather than MENA versus another MENA country. Anyways, be sure to see the full list of speakers who participated on the AUSACE  page.
Here is my short short list of who is who and who to follow:
  1. Sultan Al-Qassemi is an entrepreneur, columnist, and blogger. He often writes in the New York Times, the Guardian and also local newspapers such the National Newspaper based in the UAE but what really hiked his followers on twitter from 7,000 to a almost 85,000 were his instant tweets and translations on the Egyptian Revolutions. Follow him on Twitter @SultanAlQassem
  2. Sami Ben Gharaba is a Tunisian blogger, the co-founder of Nawwat, a Tunisian collective blog that covers topics about news and politics. Last but no least he is the Advocacy Director at Global voices, an international community of blogger who report on blogs and citizen media. Follow him on Twitter @ifikra
  3. Dana Priest is a renowned journalist working for the Washington Post. She is also a recipient of two Pulitzer prize in 2006 and 2008 for the Other Walter Reed and Top Secret America respectively which are both a must read.
  4. Shakeeb Al-Jabri, better known LeShaque on twitter is an outspoken Syrian activist who tweets everything #Syria. Be sure to check out Street Inc, his Unrest watch website as he calls it.
  5. Andy Carvin likes to describes himself at the “Social media at NPR“, other then that, he is known to have ‘tweeted the revolution’ in Egypt. Great to follow on twitter @acarvin since his blog has been inactive but take a look anyways.
  6. Marwan kraidby is a Professor of Global Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the Edward Said Chair of American Studies at the American University of Beirut. He gave an interesting presentation on Arab television and Media, it is worth looking at his published work.

Project Sudaniya – blog of the people

Almost a month a go i initiated Project Sudaniya, which initially started off as a personal project and a way for me to research more on Sudanese women. Over the course of the month Sudaniya was picked up fast and there are a lot of bloggers, tweeps, photographers who have begun working on their contribution to Sudaniya.

Blog of the people

After much encrouagment from fellow Sudanese tweeps, bloggers and friends, I have created a new and separated blog for Project Sudaniya. So now it part of us all! I will be managing it, so keep the posts coming in people. I would like to take this importunity to say that this Project is not only about celebrating Sudanese women but it is celebrating everything that is about Sudanese women. So, feel free to be innovative and write in what ever you know how but most importantly tell us why you chose your Sudaniya.

I look forward to all submissions.

Tahiyat min wahda Sudaniya

“مشروع “سودانية

من اسم العنوان إني متأكدة أنكم قد تكونوا عرفتم عن ما أريد بهذه البداية للمدونة الخاصة بي. وللتوضيح، سنتحدث عن المرأة السودانية وإنجازاتها كجزء لا يتجزأ من تاريخ بلدنا الحبيب السودان. ومع ذلك من هم هؤلاء النساء وما هي تلك الإنجازات؟ للأسف فإننا قد فشلنا – بالإضافة إلى أمور أخرى- ان ندعم ونميز أصحاب الإنجازات في ظروف الحياة العادية، ولا نحتفل بتلك الإنجازات والتي يجب أن نكن لهم كل الود والإحترام لما قدموه لنا من تأثيرات واضحة المعاني في تاريخنا السوداني. بل بالعكس، نحن نقرأ ونسمع عنهم، بل نتعمد أن ننساهم بالمرة. ولهذا نرى تأثير واضح في عدم فهم وإحتواء المواضيع المهمة بالنسبة لمجتمعنا في السودان، لأننا ببساطة فقدنا الشعور الوطني والذي هو الأساس في أي مجتمع كان. أًصبحنا إذا تذكرنا التاريخ نتذكر أحداث وروايات ترجع لعصور قديمة تكاد أوراق التاريخ تتقطع من قدمها، نحن لم نعد تلك الحضارة النوبية العظيمة أو حضارة شبه الجزيرة العربية. نحن ببساطة شديدة سودانيون نحاول أن نحافظ على وحدة وطننا ومجتمعنا ككل وكل ما يتعلق بهذا السودان. لهذا لبناء ما قد تم هدمه عبر زمن غير طويل، من المهم جدا جمع أفراد المجتمع تحت مظلة أسرية، وبإنجازات ملموسة. لهذا كله، ققرت أن أبدأ بمشروع “سودانية”.

سودانية

هذا المشروع هدفه الأساسي تحفيز المرأة السودانية لتصبح أكثر فعالية، وإلهام الرجل السوداني أن يقوم بتشجيع المرأة داخل المجمتع ولتعمل على أن يكون لها صوت مسموع. والأهم من ذلك الإحتفاء بتاريخ المرأة السودانية والسودان.

للأسف كثير من السودانيين لديهم قصور في معرفة تاريخ السودان العام والذي ينعكس تماما على مستوى التعليم في السودان. إليكم خلاصة بعض هذه الإنجازات ومقدمة صغيرة عن هذا المشروع.

في عام 1948 تبنت المنظمة الدولية لحقوق الإنسان، بالإضافة إلى إتفاقية “الحقوق السياسية للمرأة” والتي تُبُنيت عام 1954 وتم دعمها في نفس العام، القواعد الأساسية من أجل إستقلال المرأة السودانية. بالرغم من عدم إعطاء المرأة حق التصويت في الإنتخابات حتى عام 1964، فالآن كثير من السودانيات المشاركات في كثير من نواحي المجتمع السوداني. شاركن وما زلن يشاركن في كثير من المجالات الكثيرة مثل التعليم، العلوم، الأدب، المويسقى وبالتأكيد المجتمعات المدنية.

كانت المرأة السودانية سباقة في كل شيء تقريبا في وطننا العربي. فاطمة أحمد إبراهيم، أول من دخلت البرلمان، والدكتورة خالدة زاهر من أوائل النساء في الطب، واللتان حققتا إنجازات أكبر من مجاليهما المهني. هاتان مثالان فقط من بين كثير من السودانيات اللاتي قدمن الكثير واللاتي يجب علينا احترامهم ومواصلة تذكرهم من قبل كل الشعب السوداني.

المشروع

بدايةً سيتم تقسيم المشروع بشكل زمني، من تاريخ المرأة السودانية منذ عهد الإستقلال حتى يومنا هذا. في مداخلتي القادمة إن شاء الله سيتم إهداءها لواحدة من أهم شخصيات في بدايات القرن المنصرم واللتي شاركت وقدمت الكثير للمجتمع السوداني. أما بالنسبة للقادم بعد ذلك، علينا أن ننتظر وسنرى.

مشاركة سريعة

من هنا أود أن أدعو كل أصحاب المدونات الخاصة، وأصحاب الأقلام الحرة أو أي شخص لديه الرغبة في المشاركة في هذا المشروع، بتقديم – لكم حرية الإختيار- أي نوع من الشخصيات في أي وقت كان،ونرحب بكتاب اللغتين (العربية والإنجليزية).

تحيات من امرأة سودانية

ترجمة أحمد عروة

Sudaniya 0.2

Sudani,

I initiated Project Sudaniya to recognize all great Sudanese women who were and are accomplished in their fields and who deserve to be celebrated.

But I must confess, the project has been stagnant!

So, i want to call upon those who promised an entry and to others, to choose any Sudanese women, from any part of Sudanese history – preferably in the 20th century on wards –  who deserves recognition for her accomplishment in whatever field. Feel free to be creative and look beyond historical figures as Sudanese women have always been strong and influential in our society. I would also like to encourage Arabic entries if possible be it classic or Sudani Arabic .

At the end, write!  Write a line, write a story,  a poem, take a picture or paint a face – engage and be a part of Project Sudaniya ya Sudani.

Looking  forward to every submission.

Sudaniya

Rant #1: Dag Jarass

 

Almost a year ago, I ventured into the realm of social media and I’ve been an avid follower of blogs, tweets, discussions, conferences and so forth for a simple reason really, to help me better voice myself.

Part of voicing is also ranting.

Reality

Most of the Sudanese I know online are either blogging or tweeting about Sudan along with other issues of their interest, myself included. Yet what i realized is that we complain. We complain about being marginalized by the regional and international media, we complain that Arabs don’t love us, we complain the Africans don’t like us, we complain the Americans are conspiring against us..we complain about every damn thing. Guess what? No one give a bloody damn about us. This is the reality that we live in and i can say one thing; suck it up.

My epiphany

My father always told me that a good education is the only key for a better life. A better life for me is simply a better Sudan. The only question that comes to mind is that what can we do in the digital age to help our country?  We write of course, we tweet, we take advantage of the platform we have in front of us but most importantly we need to ‘engage’  with each other.  We need to share the realities of what we see and we need to resolve our problems on our own. We need to simply utilize whatever means we have available.

We do not need to hate on others nor do we need to demand  15 minutes of spot light.

To bring an end to this rant, i vow never to complain or to whine about Sudan not getting anything anymore. The responsibility is mine  and yours Sudani. I offer space on this blog to anyone to say anything they want.

Sudaniya Daga Jarass