zondag 12 april 2009

The story of al-Badil continues

I just came back from al-Badil, the newspaper which is no more... or rather, has become "less". The current proposition is to keep al-Badil as a daily newspaper on the internet, and to publish a paper version on a weekly basis. This way all editors and journalists with a contract, which are some eighty people, stay on board. While they could easily solve their problems by allowing the paper to be bought by an investor or a "national" newspaper, as they call the media which have a strong governmental influence, they want to keep the ideas of al-Badil and its independence intact. A lot of journalists have even stated their intention of working for free (being, of course, only those who can afford it).
I'm thinking on writing a piece on the situation of al-Badil, if I have time...

At al-Badil I had a surprise interview with Abu Zaki, a journalist of the newspaper, and a short conversation with Abd ar-Rahman as-Sayed, who is the president of an independent syndicate for retired workers and a long time member of the Arab-Nasserist party. The man had a voice like Darth Vader who catched a cold. Impressive, most impressive...

It has been a long but productive day. If I can continue this pace I will be really satisfied with the results of my fieldwork. Yet, there are still some issues which could impede my research. The bulk of my contacts and the interviews resulting from them are within Tagammu and its periphery. I have to speak with other key figures from the left, the Nasserist groups, Kefaya, etc. I am trying to get into contact with someone from the Labor Party, but through my current contacts this seems almost impossible. In addition, I haven't found any trace of the so-called Muslim Brothers' split in Alexandria. Last, but certainly not least, I really want to conduct interviews with strike leaders from Mahalla and other representative figures from the social movements themselves. Through Ahmed Belal and perhaps Per Bjorkland I will hopefully be able to travel to Mahalla somewhere in May and meet people there, while the socialist journalists from al-Badil will introduce me to some peasant leaders in Mansura, next Friday.

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