Contrary to popular belief, American Studies is not an indoctrination scheme created behind closed doors in the Pentagon, nor is it a winning the hearts and minds campaign from the Vietnam era. It is merely the study of the United States through its literature, philosophy, history, politics, music, art and pop culture.
The term "American Studies" encompasses a vast range of disciplines, all of which examine the multiple cultures found within the United States. As a result, classes are taught by professors from the humanities and social sciences departments.
A number of AUCians have expressed their dissatisfaction with President Morsi's latest presidential decrees, which sparked controversy in the country and pushed hundreds of thousands to the streets in protest last week.
Issued on November 22, the decrees are comprised of seven articles. Most notably is the second article, which says that all decrees issued by the president from the start of his term cannot be repealed by any individual or entity until a new constitution and parliament are put in place.
During the past few months ever since AUC has terminated the contract between Delicious Inc. one can argue that there has not been a drastic change in service or quality. The only difference that can be felt or seen is the new variety. However, most of the outlets either opened up after half of the semester was over or closed down for an undisclosed amount of time.
As the semester comes to an end let me first say thank you for keeping me informed of my surroundings; especially during those times when I am (ashamedly) too lazy to dig through pages of Al Ahram newspapers, or too much in a rush to watch a one-hour CNN story coverage.
Since the revolution more Cairenes have been spending more money on more dining out than at any other time in the history of this city. Perhaps it's an end-of-days scenario and people want to go out with a bang. Perhaps it's pent up demand after months of being trapped at home eating nothing but chicken and rice. Or perhaps it's the need to escape the responsibility of preventing the parental units, who have also been trapped at home, from tear gassing each other. Although I have no statistics, I'm willing to bet that the birth and divorce rates are at an all time high as well.
On February 24, Mohamed ElBaradei wrote an op/ed for the Egyptian daily Al-Shorouk titled "My vision for the next phase of the Egyptian revolution" where he compared the ousting of Mubarak to the planting of seeds; it is now time to help the seeds grow.
ElBaradei proposed that a temporary constitution guaranteeing the basic rights and principles symbolized by the January 25 popular uprising be instituted instead of the fallen 1971 version.
I waited for inspiration to strike before I start to write this piece, I waited and I waited and...I waited. While waiting, I skimmed the Wikipedia entry on Thomas More, Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay (and appreciated the marginalization of teenage angst and romance in it). I drank a caramel frappe that left an icky aftertaste. And then I found myself giving this column a title that is much like a prompt, because I needed a boost...a trigger. You can be the judge of whether the prompt actually serves its purpose.
Foodism is here. I mean, when you can dial a hotline and have delivered to your home an Australian wagyu beef fillet, an entire salmon, a kilo of sushi grade tuna, or a dozen Clevedon Coast oysters on the half shell, you know that Cairo is changing. New, hip restaurants and clubs are opening all over town, and budding, upwardly mobile foodists are both keeping them in business and investing in the businesses themselves. Justine, the Automobile Club, Chaîne des Rôtisseurs? Forget it. It's not your daddy's food scene anymore.
"There's one hole in every revolution, large or small. And it's one word long ... People. No matter how big the idea they all stand under, people are small and weak and cheap and frightened. It's people that kill every revolution." - Spider Jerusalem, comic book gonzo journalist from the future once said. Or will say.
This week's column is dedicated to anyone who has had to endure the misfortune of taking a workshop-based writing class with me. Do not call it an apology, though; call it a much overdue explanation. You can choose to believe it, or you can (hypothetically) cut it out, gleefully feed it to your shredder, then throw it in the dustbin with the empty diet soda cans and questionable looking leftovers from last year. What I do not know, does not offend me.
The donkey has been treated unfairly. Throughout Arab pop culture, donkeys are referred to as dumb animals and the various nomenclatures for its cousins (baghil, ja'hish, etc) have all been used to demean people.
Someone who you want to label as an incompetent buffon might be called a donkey (humaar). A pedestrian who crosses the road ahead of incoming traffic, for example, might invoke the casual commuter's ire and receive the pop euphemism of the Equus africanus asinus.
In Egypt we crave sauces. The meat is secondary. Vol-au-vent, sharkesa, fattah, ayy hagga b'il béchamel-the main ingredient becomes lost in translation in the same way that when we tell a story (or teach for that matter) the central facts are less important than the way the story is told. We embellish our monologues with stylish rhetoric and our food with stylish reductions.
In case you haven't heard, AdBusters, the magazine that first called for "Occupy Wall Street" movement in 2011, has called for the world to join in Chicago on May 1 in their latest "tactical briefing". In an hour #OccupyChicago began trending on Twitter in seven cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle and Washington DC. Most cities expressed excitement but many at "Occupy Chicago," including myself, expressed reservations.
Hundreds of students from different universities marched last week to Parliament. They had four main demands: No constitution under military rule; no presidential elections under military rule; swift trials of all those responsible for killing protesters; and finally, student representation on the committee that will draft the country's constitution.
Is Egypt floating toward oblivion? That is a question we find ourselves raising, and we tend to respond to it with a simple nod or shrug, then utter "the revolution is not over." Some took the easy way of just feeling the country, while others are still clinging to a distant glimmer of hope that the army might not have absolute power after all.
The Egyptian society has been subdividing into different groups for the past 20 years. It was only when the oppression was partially lifted with the ousting of the former president that these divisions came to surface.
The first thought that popped into my head as I gazed at the seemingly endless line of voters was ‘I'll pay the damned fine.'
On November 28, over eight million Egyptians headed to the polls to cast their votes in the first round of parliamentary elections. When the date for the elections was announced, people headed to the supermarkets to stock up on supplies and to the banks and ATM machines to withdraw money.
A year ago the NDP won 91% of seats in parliamentary elections. Now, they're a finished chapter in Egypt's political history, remembered as the regime's patronage system. A new chapter was started recently, when millions of Egyptians voted in free and fair multi-party election.
Everyone is always the main character of their own story. In your own personal narrative of events, you are the protagonist. Your life is significant, your actions define reality, your emotions are worthy of sharing and discussing.
But this is normally a fantasy world of our own making, and in the past I would rarely let myself indulge in these thoughts. I would weave my own story in my head, singling out themes and definitive moments in the plot. When you tell a story you make something magical out of reality, and that is what drew me to journalism to begin with.