I am not a Journalist…لست صحفياً

I do not claim to be a journalist nor do I intend to become one. While I have the utmost respect all those in the journalist industry and the myriad of efforts that they exert to present the events that occur throughout the world on daily basis, I have little desire to spend my life in constant pursuit of the next story to be told or the next person to interview.

How have I come to this conclusion? I’ve spent the past three works or so attempting to cover and analyze the relapse in the Egyptian revolution. I did not intend to turn this blog into what resembles a media outlet but after some reflection, I have come to realize that I have (or have come close to doing so). Translation and posting political speeches dramatically increased the readership of the blog, which in turn led created a personal expectation and obligation to present said readership with an update on the Egyptian political situation on a daily basis.

In the process, however, I have discovered that posting link dumps and attempt to analyze the political and economic situation takes time. In the temporal zero-sum game we call life, each action and choice carries inherent opportunity costs. The time I have spent writing and editing the link dumps of the last week could have been spent reviewing Arabic, hanging out with Egyptians (in Tahrir Square or otherwise), or writing personal reflections on my experiences in Egypt.

While I am effectively announcing an end to the daily link dumps, I can guarantee that the revolution will retain a prominent role in future blog posts for the simple reason that it is an inescapable fixture of my daily life in Egypt. I walk through checkpoints manned by popular committees at least twice a day on the way to and from class. I hear protestors demanding their reform while in class. Many of my Egyptian friends have camped out in Tahrir Square for the past few week and all of our conversations revolve around analyzing the revolution and its many actors.

For those desiring detailed coverage of Egyptian current events, you are not without hope. Much effort has been but into collecting the blog roll posted on the right hand side of the blog. Al-Ahram and Al-Misry al-Youm are two of the largest Egyptian dailies. Hossam El-Hamalawy is a prominent, liberal male Egyptian activist and blogger who post regular link dumps, videos and pictures. The blogger at Egyptian Chronicles is a liberal female Egyptian activist. The Arabist is the leading blog on Middle Eastern affairs and is worth a daily visit. And although Rantings of a Sandmonkey is updated on an infrequent basis, it provides many excellent analyses and incites on the obstacles currently faced by Egyptian liberals. Unfortunately, the more conservative and Islamist political activists continue to ignore the blogosphere and social media so I cannot present you anymore than the Muslim Brotherhood’s website.

I do ask you to exercise caution in your pursuit of knowledge, however. Words have power making the choice of words of the upmost importance. No institution or individual is capably of solely presenting facts. Instead, these actors – whether knowingly or not – select the words that craft their coverage. Adjectives and adverbs are obvious indicators of biases, but nouns fall victim as well. Those in Tahrir have been called many different names by many different sources (including yours truly). Are they protestors? Are they demonstrators? Are they revolutionaries? Are they rebels? Or are they those waging a sit-in – معتصمين. Each word carries a different connotation and emotes a different emotional reaction. To reduce your vulnerability to biases, I implore you to rely a multiple media sources.

Thanks for your understanding.


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