FRONTLINE CLUB SPECIAL: Protest, technology and the end of fear

Talk March 31, 2011 7:00 PM


The start of 2011 will be remembered as a period in which the barrier of fear fell across the Middle East and North Africa as people took to the streets demanding freedom from the tyrants who had governed for so long.

No one can predict where these momentous events will lead and what the repercussions will be for years to come.

For this special event held at the The Royal Institution of Great Britain the Frontline Club and BBC Arabic Service will be bringing together some of the key players, journalists and experts to discuss what has taken place in Egypt and the surrounding region so far and to try to gauge what the future might hold.

With those that were instrumental in organising the uprising in Egypt we will be discussing the role that new technology has played; is social media simply a new tool or has its role been more fundamental, changing not only the way that people communicate but also the way that they think and act? We will be discussing how and when the movements where formed, what common ideas they share and how they see things moving forward.

The discussion, which will be in two parts, will be chaired by Paddy O’Connell of BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House.


Part 1:

Alaa Abd El Fattah: By day a Free/Open Source Software developer, by night he dons his mask and cape and patrols the streets of Cairo, jumping from campaign to campaign building websites, providing support and training, looking out for activists in need.
He “likes to pretend” that his work on the Egyptian Blogs Aggregator helped bring in a new era of citizen journalism and usher in a new generation of digital activists.

Sam Farah is the lead presenter of BBC Arabic’s flagship interactive programme Nuqtat Hewar (Talking Point). He has interviewed leading personalities and over the last months has conducted numerous programmes linking bloggers, activists and supporters of regimes from across the region live on television and radio to discuss events as they unfold.

Manal Hassan, is co-founder of the Egyptian GNU/Linux Users Group (EGLUG) in 2004, and has extensive experience in working with NGOs, human rights activists, and children on web technologies and new media. She won the Best of Blogs (BOBs) and Reporters without Borders award together with her husband Alaa Abd El Fattah in 2005.

Louis Lewarne, was born in Edinburgh in 1979 and has been living in Cairo since 2006. He is normally involved in independent film production, but at the start of the Egyptian revolution and the internet blackout he started, a collectively written blog on the events in Egypt.


Part 2:

Khalid Abdalla, British-Egyptian actor and producer, whose films include United 93, The Kite Runner, and Green Zone. Co-founder of Zero Production, a film and documentary production house based in Cairo, he is currently setting up a non-profit media centre called Mossireen (Adamant) to support filmmakers and citizen journalists through the revolution.

Dr Omar Ashour, lecturer in Middle East politics and the director of the MA in Middle East Studies Program at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, author of The De-Radicalization of Jihadists: Transforming Armed Islamist Movements and a pro-democracy activist close to the youth movement in Cairo.

Omar Robert Hamilton, Egyptian/British film-maker and the producer of the Palestine Festival of Literature. He is currently in pre-production on his third short, Though I Know the River is Dry, a crowd-sourced fiction film that will be shot in Palestine this May. He flew to Cairo to take part in, and document, the Revolution.

Salma Said, Born in 1985 in Cairo, to a political family she has been involved in political activism since the age of 15 with the eruption of the second Palestinian intifada and joined Kifaya movement in 2005 when she discovered the so-called Egyptian blogosphere.


The Royal Institution of Great Britain,
21 Albemarle Street,

Picture credit: Adam Makery, Al Jazeera English