Freedom With Handcuffs

After listening to Prof. Thomas Bass‘s speech about media and censorship, I wrote this story about my own experience with censorship and the media in Egypt.

My Experience with Censorship and Media in Egypt

Egyptian Newspapers

I always knew that the government was controlling the media in Egypt, because no news or talk shows had ever opposed or attacked the president, the ministers or any other official. Activists who were calling for freedom had ended up in jail. Opposition talk shows had been stopped from airing. And private newspapers were shut down. But I had never cared or was interested in expressing my opinion or condemning these practices.


Then came the revolution, I was in my last year in high school. I was really excited and hoped that the brave actions of the Egyptian youth would succeed in gaining freedom and democracy for the country. However, at this life-changing moment which would determine Egypt’s future, Egyptian media showed their true ugly face.

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They demonized the young protesters, praised the president and his government, who paid their salary, and frightened the citizens with fake and exaggerated stories about the disastrous consequences and the complete destruction of the country if the revolution succeeded and the president had to leave. This was the main strategy the media followed. They even blocked out news about the Tunisian revolution, so Egyptian would not get any ideas of starting their own revolution. They were so ignorant that they did not pay attention to the increasing use and impact of social media and especially Facebook. Egyptians were already following their Tunisian brothers and sisters in their fight for a free and just future.

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So Tunisia succeeded, and Egyptians came to realize that an Arab president could leave without the country falling into inescapable chaos. The youth started sharing invitations on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube calling for the people to gather and march in the streets, not to topple the president, but to demand their basic rights to a decent life, food, and justice. They chose Jan. 25, 2011 to be the day to protest. The significance of the day was that it is the Police day when the president gives a speech and celebrates the great achievements of the policemen. Nevertheless, for the people it was a reminder that policemen are supposed to protect the government and to keep citizens under control. A reminder of the brutality and the unfair treatment citizens get from policemen.

A week before Jan. 25, 2011, media started their reports about how happy people were and that they were preparing for the celebration and the speech. In the first days of the revolution, all media was doing was denying the occurrence of the protests. They were denying the youth’s efforts to urge people to demand change. Nevertheless, when people in their homes realized the contradiction between the news on television and newspapers and the live news on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, media started promoting rumors accusing protesters of being trained and paid for by foreign agencies to destroy the country.

Although police shot the peaceful protesters with tear gas, rubber bullets and real guns, media did not count the deaths or report them. All they said was that the great Egyptian police had succeeded in killing some terrorists who were disturbing the public. With the never-ending lies and the confusing contradiction of the news, some people, who were observing the situation from their homes, decided to go and see for themselves what was actually happening. Most people stopped watching national media channels and started following the news on social networks, Al- Jazeera, or foreign media channels including CNN and BBC. For 18 days, media continued to lie, trying to decrease the public support to the revolution.

Then on Feb.11, 2011, the vice president at the time announced the resignation of Mubarak and that he was letting the army rule the country. People cheered up and celebrated all night long, for they had finally toppled a dictator who had ruled for more than 30 years. However, media was celebrating too. They changed their aggressive attacks on the protesters and praised their great determination and their brave fight for democracy and a free future. From that moment on, I never trusted national media.

“Be The Change You Want To See In The World.” – Gandhi

When I started college in September 2011, I chose to be a journalist. However, I wanted to study the real ethics, values, and practices of journalism, so I and my classmates in the department can be the new credible beginning of journalism after the revolution. Although, the revolution is not as successful as I thought it would be, and it did not bring the change that I hoped for, I decided never to work for a national media channel. I will try to work hard to report the truth and tell what is actually happening there.



Telling True Stories: Part IV

DeNeen L. Brown:

To Begin The Beginning… The HARDEST THING about the beginning is the


The screen stares and the cursor blinks nothingness, taunting me. It says, “Ready, set, go! What are you going to write this time?” “I summon a voice strong enough to say, Sit down and listen to me.

Source: DeNeen Brown Twitter

Source: DeNeen Brown Twitter

Beginning to read a story should feel like embarking on a journey, starting toward a destination.” “Where would you begin if you were an omniscient narrator?

“Don’t just tell me what so-and-so said and what so-and-so felt. Tell me what so-and-so meant to say and why she said it, and what had brought her to this point in her life that would make her say it. He meant: Create multidimensional stories and characters.

“Go deep.”

“Each one of us has a storytelling voice deep inside. We’ve been listening to stories since we were knee -high, and we know how stories should be told.”

Jack Hart:

We are trained as journalists to describe action secondhand, through quotes and observation. Skilled narrative writers put the reader there and let her witness it, have the experience, feel it. That’s much more powerful than a secondhand version of reality.



Summary Vs. Dramatic Narratives

* The summary:
  • Provides the links between scenes, which are usually written in dramatic narrative.
  • Standard news stories are written in summary narrative.
* The Dramatic:
  • Is required in true storytelling.
  • Traditional journalists, because they have limited experience with dramatic narrative, often have a tough time distinguishing between the two. “

To sum up:

“You’re either in story, or you’re out of story.”


My Senior Year In 20 Photos

It is my last year in Albany and I thought I would add photos of the places I have been to in this year 😀

The Arab Spring

In 2011, the world witnessed the longest spring ever. It started in Tunisia and swiped through the Arab World. Roses were growing with rights and freedom and the scent of democracy was in people’s houses, in the streets, in the air and everywhere for the first time in generations. People let go of their cloudy corrupt presidents, and they got back their glorious sparkling achievements racing to reach their golden warm dreams.

People revolted for their rights, dignity and freedom. They were determined to change their forced fate and reach what they wanted as their bright future. It started with random people with no propaganda or previous plans. Creativity in protest was born every second and no matter how many people were lost either forever or in prisons, citizens had endless courage and patience to continue their revolution.

Like The Deaf In a Wedding Party

It’s an Egyptian proverb that describes those who are in a situation which they understand nothing about.

That was me on Wednesday March 4th, at 7:00 pm.

I have never been to any game before. I am usually not interested in attending sport events and I do not have time.

So, I acted like a tourist, got my phone, took photos and videos and observed closely to understand what they are doing…

Nevertheless, the good thing about being in a game is that you get excited and start cheering with people even if you do not understand the game. Goooooo Danes!!!


Sometimes, I felt that the players will not be able to stop in time, and will jump on the first seats of the audience. It was kind of scary.


And WE WON!!!

😀 😀 😀