Oct 31, 2011

Tunisia: Let's Invade Social Networks!

A crazy wave of posts hit the world of social networks when Tunisian netizens decided to invade Facebook and Twitter with their comments. The move started with netizens showing solidarity and support for the American occupy movement by posting chants and messages on the official Facebook page of US president Barack Obama. Many of those comments were funny as they tried to Americanize the chants of their revolution that started last December. This came hand in hand with a hashtag on Twitter called #TrollingObama. Surely those posts are not only to support the protests across the US but to also criticize US foreign policy.

Continue reading this post on Global Voices

Saudi Arabia: Poverty Video Vloggers Released

Around two weeks ago, Saudi Arabia arrested three young video bloggers Firas Buqna, Hussam Al-Darwish and Khaled Al-Rasheed for producing an episode of their show Malub Alena about poverty in one of Riyadh's areas. The name of the show can be translated into We Are Being Fooled and this episode was actually their fourth episode after previous shows on youth and police corruption. Before the arrests, the show was having a good number of views but in few days after their arrests, it was viewed for more than 600,000 times.

Continue reading this post on Global Voices

Oct 26, 2011

Pictures from the Statelessness conference

On my left, famous stateless Dominican- Haitian activist Sonia Pierre speaking
Next to Maria Otero, US under secretary of state for democracy and global affairs
Reading of my speech about the stateless of Kuwait

* Pictures taken, with permission, from MOSCTHA.

Oct 20, 2011

Oct 16, 2011

Oct 5, 2011

The Beat Generation Tour

What am I but a Beat Generation fanatic; my senior thesis was on the image of America in the poems of Allen Ginsberg and Arab poets and this is all what I want to do in my graduate studies. The Beat ideals, methods, madness, screams, expression, and rebellious soul are the ones I relate to most, and I have previously dared to call the rising Arab generation "The New Beat Generation"; one without a face, though.
Last week, I got the chance to achieve one of my biggest dreams when I had a walking tour around New York City visiting the places where the Beat writers used to hangout, live, drink, buy their books from, meet, and read their works. New York is not like Paris as it doesn't care if a famous writer or artist lived in this or that place, because the capitalist question will always be the loudest to be heard "Turn a place that a writer once lived in, to a museum? who will pay for that?" so unlike all the writers' maisons I got to visit in Paris two years ago, New York has no special treatment for them and unfortunately no one thought of doing what Lorca once has done in Andalusia leaving marks on the places where the best minds of his generation lived.
I surely did not get the chance to visit all places; directions are not easy to catch, and time was too short, however I tried to visit as many places relevant to Kerouac and his masterpiece On the Road. I didn't take pictures of all places especially those I got to during the evening, therefore, I will surely have to revisit these spots next time.  

[Click on any of the pictures to see it in full size].
In this Italian restaurant, William S. Burroughs used to invite his Beat friends to dinner.
"Cafe Wha?" is the place where the Beat members used to go to listen to music, mostly Jazz. Great figures like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix performed in this place.

Caffe Reggio is a very simple and intimate place in Greenwich Village. It was not only a place for the Beat writers to hangout but also the site for Bohemians, a John F. Kennedy's speech, and some shots from Copolla's The Godfather II.
In this basement bar called "Gas Light Cafe" the Beat recited their works. Bob Dylan has also performed there and lived in the upstairs apartment for a while. A teenager working in the shop next door told me the place changed its name six time, the last to be "106" and that it has had hard times. Unfortunately, many beat-relevant places are vanishing, getting neglected, losing their spirit, or even shutting down, as I've discovered in this short trip.

In this building, Lucien Carr lived. He was the one to have introduced Burroughs, Kerouac, and Ginsberg to each other. He was the one that introduced Ginsberg to the writings of Arthur Rimbaud. Kerouac used to visit Carr in this apartment, and while sneaking out, once, Jack fell and injured his head.

The White Horse Tavern is a bar where Jack Kerouac used to go drink sometimes. When talking to the bartender, he told me that they used to write 'Go home, Jack' in the bathroom so when he reads it he will remember to leave! The place was also a spot for Dylan Thomas, Norman Mailer, and Hunter S. Thompson. Kerouac lived across the street for a while in this building:

Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of Kerouac's favorite churches. You have a weird feeling when seeing it left out of the 'developed' concrete atmosphere where one can notice the huge tasteless buildings, the metro stop, the bus stops, the European tourists, the tired workers, and the arrogant lunatic taxi drivers.
In this apartment, Allen Ginsberg lived for a year. A passer-by gave me an absurd look for taking pictures of someone's door and did not hesitate to ask the question. When I answered, she replied "Ginsberg who?." I was of course disappointed.

In this building, Jack Kerouac wrote his masterpiece On the Road. The building is getting renovated and I could not get in to see his apartment. One of the construction workers was nice enough to let me stand in front of the door and take a picture of me.