Events and appearances

A scene from Ahmad Abdalla's "Microphone"

This will be a busy week for me: I'll be appearing on a panel at the Online News Association conference in Boston, specifically their Friday keynote on the Arab Spring with NPR's Andy Carvin, the NYT's Jennifer Preston, Nasser Weddady of IAC and Egyptian journalist Rehab al-Bakri, among others. We'll be talking about journalism and social media and covering the uprisings. Check it out.

On Saturday, I'll be on a panel talk at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London entitled Winds of Change in the Arab Territories with Iranian philosopher Hamid Dabashi, Israeli filmmaker and academic Haim Bresheeth, Iraqi literature professor and feminist activist Nadje Al-Ali, and more. The talk is part of the ICA's festival of cinema from Muslim societies which is open to all comers.

On Sunday, also at the ICA, I'll be introducing Microphone, a great film by the young Egyptian director Ahmad Abdalla that was made last year and was supposed to air on... January 25. I love this film and highly recommend it.

More me in Wikileaks

Since Wikileaks decided to release all the cables that were inadvertently leaked (or whatever happened), more and more cables featuring yours truly (and friends) have appeared. I particularly like this one which conveniently showcases my analytical acumen and future-prediction abilities:

El-Amrani speculated that if the GOE continues to cut off avenues of legal, non-violent political participation for both the secular opposition and the Muslim Brotherhood, and remains unable to build real popular support for the ruling party, it faces potential crisis if and when an economic dislocation or other shock, including labor unrest, were to occur. El-Amrani noted that he and other independent analysts have increasingly begun to wonder if an event like the 1952 riots1, which precipitated the Free Officers coup d’etat, might be on the horizon. 

To be honest, it was an opinion many voiced at the time of the disastrously anti-democratic 2007 constitutional amendments, during which this cable was written. But it’s nice to see one being quoted for record.

  1. The January 1952 Cairo riots presaged the Free Officers’ coup that came six months later.  ↩

A dispatch from SXSW

I spent most of this week in Austin, Texas, where I was invited to participate in a panel on Wikileaks organized by The Guardian at the South By SouthWest Interactive festival. I had  a great time there — it's a geeky festival I had long wanted to go to, with also great film and music festivals — although I'm still suffering from the brutal 20-hour trip. 
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