zondag 12 april 2009

Some more interviews

This morning I had two interviews, one with the president of Tagammu and party dinosaur Rifat Said, who is both revered and bashed by members of the party. Especially the younger generation seems to perceive him as nothing more than a petty dictator and a collaborator with the regime, while the elder guard praises his erudition and experience. The interview was interesting and confirmed some of the praise and criticism. After my encounter with "ad-duktur" I had an interview with Husayn Abd ar-Razeq, who I already met last year. It's funny to see how the discourse of Tagammu has been somewhat radicalised since last year, under pressure of organizational (critical youth), national (a host of social movements, especially Mahalla) and international events (the crisis which made "socialism" fashionable again).

I went to al-Ahali as well, the newspaper of Tagammu, where I met with Haissam, a young but ambitious journalist, who is frustrated with the patronage system of both the regime and the party. He wants to be an important journalist, and a writer or poet of great renown, but he is stuck in his current social position. As the obstacles for his individual social promotion are unsurmountable, he turns towards the practice of collective opposition against the systems. In Egypt there are a lot of these intellectuals who, due to the hopelessness of their social and economic situation, ally themselves (most in thought and speech, few in practice) with the masses and find themselves, as fellow travellers, on the road to social protest. While Haissam is very friendly, it is obvious he wants a little tit for tat; if he helps me today, perhaps I can help him tomorrow, which is perfectly alright for me. Anyway, this is one of the many little indices which show that intellectuals seek for any means to develop their capacities and escape their peripheral existence.

Haissam gave me a lot of new contacts, which I will be calling tomorrow, making appointments, etc. Now I just received a phone call from my comrades at al-Badil, so I'm heading back to Downtown...

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