From Egypt, videos which expose secrets and ugly truths. One of them, Hideous, attempts to shock the rich into action by contrasting their carefree lives with the poverty on the streets. Also, To H.E Mrs Suzanne Mubarak, a song and video respectfully dedicated to Egypt´s First Lady, reporting about a story of child abuse, police brutality and misery.
Walking daily down the streets in Egypt, Nader G. EL-Attar had been noticing for a while the relationship between the rich in his country and the poor, and most importantly the way these polarized classes interact with one another. He talked about it with a friend, Rienne Gamal, and together they came up with the video “Hideous” which he posted on his facebook page, where he also has other videos. On Hideous, a video you can view by clicking here, Nader G. EL-Attar and Rienne Gamal contrast two different lifestyles. On email, I asked what him what his motivation was to make this video. Nader wrote back:
…so what's found now is a group of rich people,whom wealth totally controls them…and poor people looking at those rich people and wondering, “why are they leaving us alone…what have we done…?” What is astonishing now is how upper class people now look at those people…the majority think that it's their fault that they are poor, as they are doing nothing except asking people for money…and [they are] not working, forgetting the fact that in this greedy, money seeking, globalised, capitalist world, there is no place for those people to work…where could an illiterate, poor guy work nowadays???
In the movie, colorful shots of shiny malls, restaurants, graduations, parties, luxurious buildings and beaches are followed by black and white images of people sleeping on the streets, children working and beggars sitting on corners, ignored by those passing by. The movie itself asks a question at the end: whether the “morally offensive” images are the ones at the beginning, showing the beautiful life, or whether it´s the images in the second half. Nader questions the role of the government and their blind eye to this problem:
…also I had this shot of 3 children pushing a garbage can…and at that point I wondered, where is our First lady??? with all her talks about children on the streets!!!!
Egyptian blogger and artist Ahmad Sherif also has something to say to the first lady. He decided to do so through a song and video he posted on YouTube, titled To To H.E Mrs Suzanne Mubarak/إلي سيدتي سوزان مبارك He writes on the video´s description:
A true story about Egyptian Police Brutality, child abuse and misery. This song is dedicated to “H.E Mrs Suzanne Mubarak, Egypt's First Lady. With all due respect.
English Translation of lyrics: “Mrs Mubarak, I appeared with you on television. I was a tiny, happy and turbulent kid. You whispered to my ear some sweet words… those were the golden days of ‘Wafa and Amal’ (note: a Children Protection Program represented by Egypt's first lady). Don't be angry about this song. I believe, Mrs Mubarak, it carries words of Freedom. Once upon a time, there was a child called Shaaban. His mother had past away, his father was a lazy man and his two elder brothers were drug dealers in a gang. I saw him with my bare eyes sucking the remains of a pomegranate (note: egyptian fruit) that a stray dog had grabbed in a pile of garbage. My First Lady: how many millions of Shaabans live in Egypt? I have never seen him by your side, on television. My First Lady, how many millions of Shaabans are picked up by police officers and abused in the police stations of his excellency your husband? Chorus, in several language: I want to be a child, I want to eat, I want a school, I want friends, I want to be loved, I don't want to be afraid, I want to play, I want a house etc.”
Ahmad Sherif has many other videos on his YouTube channel, many of them intended to be spread through cellphones. On Stop sarcasm about Niqab, start dialog, the video below, he speaks about the confusion in UK raised by women wearing Niqab, a veil which covers the face and entire body, and how it really should be a matter of choice. On Free Love : so what ? Mubarak Egyptالحب : وماله ؟ / مبارك he wishes for Egypt to accept pre-marital sex as a way to decrease the incidence of sexual assault and rape in Cairo. Following, Stop sarcasm about Niqab.
Another video you might watch for further insight into the sometimes secret lives of women in modern Egypt, please follow this link to see To Feel Cold, a Creative Commons 51 minute long documentary by Hala Lotfy.