Walls of Freedom

Book Crowd Sourcing campaign

Curators and editors: Basma Hamdy & Don Karl

“This book, is an act within our revolution – our continuing revolution.”
Ahdaf Soueif, Booker prize finalist, Egyptian Novelist, political & Cultural commentator

“How many books have been published about Egypt’s revolutionary Streetart? This is the only one I wanna read!”
Ganzeer, Artist

“Walls of Freedom is the real voice of the Egyptian revolution graffiti scene. It is not the documentation of a solitary point of view on the phenomena but a crowd-sourced collection of testimonies by actual artists who were and are still present daily in the battlefield with nothing but their spray cans. The world finally has a chance to hear our stories and see us through our own lenses.”
Bahia Shehab-Ted Fellow, Islamic Art Historian and Artist

We are Basma Hamdy & Don Karl, the curators of Walls of Freedom. For the past one and a half years we have been working on this project collaborating with 50 photographers, 30 artists and 20 authors. Since the beginning of the revolution, we have been involved in Egypt’s thriving urban art scene. We worked closely with a network of its leading artists on mural projects, events and exhibitions. We started to work on this book in order to professionally document the Egyptian Street Art explosion. The amazing artworks of the two and a half years pieced together, tell the whole story of the Egyptian revolution.

We have worked with many artists, capturing their art, their vision and their stories. We collaborated with Activists, Egyptologists and Historians to accurately tell the story of the changing role of expression in public space.

It has been an amazing journey…

We have put our heart and soul and a staggering amount of work into this book. In order to complete it – and truly do justice to the artists and the story of the revolution- we now need financial support. This will cover parts of the essential costs of production such as printing, and further editing & design.

Join and like on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WallsOfFreedom

There is 9 days left to meet the required budget.
Support the campaign ! http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/walls-of-freedom

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Why you should support us!

The impact of getting this project funded is huge. We believe that what we have is something much more than a graffiti book. This book captures the art, thoughts, dreams and beauty of the revolution. We have collected everything from newspaper clippings to hand-drawn sketches. We have sourced photographs from amateur and professional photographers. The essays range from expert commentary to personal accounts. We honestly did not leave a stone unturned, we dug deep into context, meaning and analysis.

There are many giant publishers our there who may value commercial content over depth, isn’t that what sells after all? NO! Lets prove them wrong. Lets make this book epic! Because if we do we are changing the way publishing works, we are prioritizing content, we are proving that people want something beautiful AND meaningful! Everyone who agreed to work with us on this project believed in it, and we know you will believe in it too! Some photographers have risked their lives to get some of the shots that will be published in this book. Artists have been arrested and harassed and continued to paint walls through tear gas and battles. These people deserve to have their voices heard.

Egyptians have been fighting for freedom and social justice, and they continue to do so, this book tells their story but its really everyone’s story. Anyone who values freedom will relate to this book and the stories in it and will be inspired.

 

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Comment on “Walls of Freedom”

  1. I am sure it is a very fine book but I must confess to having long been puzzled by the evolution of the so called Arab Spring of 2 years ago. Democracy and Liberty mean different things over there, I guess. I wrote from the onset that I feared it would morph into an Arab Winter for Coptic Christians, Jews and more specifically women. Alas, it has. Israel has been threatened in indescribably disgusting terms by the Muslim Brotherhood and its leadership, such as it is. Who knew religious leaders had such potty mouths. Coptic churches have been burned and Christians beaten. The Brotherhood watched. As for Tahrir Square, that alleged symbol of the Egyptian fight for their version of “freedom and social justice”, it has become notorious for regular and vicious assaults on women. They are accosted all over Tahrir Square. It has been documented as Rape Central by Human Rights Watch. That’s not my idea of Freedom or Liberty; its crime and cowardly crime at that. The 4 days of protest that began June 30th resulted in 91 women being sexually assaulted and untold others harassed. Women are basically afraid to demonstrate for their rights lest they be gang-raped by their fellow ‘freedom fighters’. So much for Islamic law as it is propagated by the Boys in the ‘Hood.

    In Canada, each Province elects a Premier. In the States, each state elects a Governor. In Egypt, the Brotherhood appoints Governors. They released a draft political program in 2007 that should have opened a few eyes prior to their ultimate election. It included the idea that Egypt’s government be overseen by an unelected council of Islamic scholars. These ‘scholars’ would measure the country’s laws against the Koran and Sharia to make sure Egyptian governance would “conform to Islamic law.” Let’s face it; Egypt’s Brotherhood has plans to revive an Islamic Caliphate in the region. It’s difficult to know which century they want to return to, the 8th or the 11th. It’s like an episode from Star Trek. But there’s no getting around the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is a profoundly reactionary force. Good grief, they want Spain back! Their social views on marriage, the family and the like are repugnant to most of us in the West and, hopefully, to many Egyptians as well. To say that the ‘Boys in the Hood’ are profoundly anti-Semitic would qualify as the understatement of the year, make that decade.

    Egypt and much of the Middle East has moved toward a more conservative Islamic view over the last 30-40 years. If this is what they want, I say let them have it. They just cannot have any more of my money. I know, this is a familiar ring with me but I simply can’t get my head around supporting people who dislike me and I’ve been divorced.

    The reports on rape from Tahrir Square beggar the mind. On Nov. 23, 2012 Yasmine El Baramaway was attacked and raped for 90 minutes in the square by a group of 15 men. That proud group of “freedom fighters” grew to more than 100 at the height of their bravery. Their smiling faces were recorded on the very same cell phones they used to record their manliness in action. They were beating, assaulting and raping a naked woman covered in sewage, all this in a public square, the very ‘Symbol of Freedom Square’ where CBS journalist Lara Logan was nearly torn limb from limb in 2011. The fight for freedom sure isn’t what it used to be.

    Questions have been raised as to whether Western female journalists should even be permitted to work in Egypt. After all, the police stay away from the square. The Bros do nothing. Rather than question the illegal, dangerous and demeaning behavior of the Thugs in the Square, they blamed the women. “Women contribute 100 percent in their rape because they put themselves in such circumstances,” this from a member of their legislature. It sounds like he was speaking with his member.

    What kind of people are these? While it is true that a large crowd will attract a goodly number of bad people, I am forced to ask, ‘where are the good people?’ Surely a rape of 1 lone woman by a crowd verging on 100 would be hard to miss. Surely it would attract some ‘men’ to assist her.

    I know the U.S. armed forces reported 26,000 sexual assaults in 2012. There were only 3,374 formal complaints, resulting in 238 convictions. There are also plenty of stories on sexual harassment in our RCMP. Apparently some of those lads attempt to mount more than their horse. None of this is good, in fact it is sickening but at least in the U.S. and Canada if you complain, report and testify you have a shot at justice. In Tahrir Square a woman simply attracts more abuse.

    So now the course of liberty, democracy and freedom in Egypt runs through the army as it mostly has for some 60 years. In Egypt the military is an economic empire unto itself. Their complexes, villages, social clubs and commercial products are clear for all to see but underneath the Egyptian military controls something from 15-40% of the economy. Moreover, they are not subject to any Parliamentary scrutiny. The auditing office of the Egyptian government has no control or knowledge of this vast web of military enterprise. In effect, the military is an unaudited company. And you think Wall Street is crooked? This industrial complex produces everything from flat-screen televisions, refrigerators and cars in over 35 factories and companies.

    Though it is hard to confirm, the Egyptian military could well be the largest employer in the country owning as it does not only pasta makers and restaurants but football grounds as well. Much of the work force is made up of conscripts who are paid well below the average wage. The military is profitable and it is not just from manufactured goods. The military also provides management services to private industry such as petrol stations.

    Needless to say their influence extends far beyond Cairo. They are huge land owners throughout the country. Land has proven very lucrative for them as they have entered into many joint ventures with construction companies to build resorts and other commercial complexes.

    If Egypt is ever going to become a true democracy it will require the transparency of its institutions. The military will be forced to disclose its business dealings, privileges, subsidies, tax breaks, real estate holdings and the rest.

    The last battle fought by the 500,000 strong Egyptian military complex was the short border skirmish with Libya in July 1977. The military plus their 250,000 retired personnel must be kept engaged, pampered and gainfully employed. Good luck getting them to open up or divest.

    The day after Obama released his long winded and convoluted statement on Egypt, he went golfing. Kerry went sailing on his on yacht. I’m sure the optics of this was not lost on the rapists in Tahrir Square. Forced to read the statement on air, poor old Wolf Blitzer found himself repeating “it goes on” until mercifully sighing, “there’s one more paragraph.” I’m sure he heard the sound of channels changing in his ear piece as he droned on with Obama’s meandering press release.

    Like everything else, Obama has yet to address the situation with much resolve. The U.S. provides $1.5 billion a year to Egypt in military and economic assistance. Know in your heart that the military gets most of that and accounts for not one Egyptian millieme. The ‘investment’ is considered a critical U.S. national security priority. The $1.5 billion may be cut off, however, due to a law which prohibits funding countries in which elected governments have been deposed by a coup. Obama, who has avoided calling the situation in Egypt a “coup,” has asked the relevant agencies to review the law. Not like him to break one now is it?

    Desperately in search of a legacy Obama finds himself ‘outbushing’ Bush and is now, polls tell us, less popular. Gadzooks! He uses more drones. He uses more cyber trickery. He uses the tax department to spy on citizens. He even spies on the offices of the EU in Washington. He has charged more ‘whistle blowers’ than all previous Presidents. The Middle East is in flames. The economy is worse than it seems. The “official” unemployment rate doesn’t count discouraged workers who have settled for part-time jobs or have given up looking altogether. Tracking those individuals, under what’s called the “U-6″ rate, gives a very different measure of the nation’s unemployment rate: 14.3%. The crumbling Obama Care sees more and more hospitals dropping out and employers reluctant to hire anything other than part time workers fearing not only the additional costs but the ever increasing pile of paperwork demanded by Washington.

    While the ever disengaged President shakes his wee fist at the skies, China and India build a coal fired power plant a week between them.

    Bulletin to President Obama: Cancel the Keystone Pipeline, the Oils Sands (no tar in the oil sands) will keep producing and be shipped by rail courtesy all those oil cars your pal Buffett is buying, by truck and by oil tanker off both of your coasts. True, none of these are as safe as a modern pipeline monitored by satellite and a bevy of computers but hey, it looks good in the short run and that’s all you’ve got. Good, except for those additionally forced out of work or unable to find any this side of MacDonald’s.

    And Egypt? Obama will find a way around the law most probably by making a new one. That will keep those Egyptian Generals in their villas and up to their armpits in the latest of military hardware.

    But what is to happen to those women in Tahrir Square? Perhaps Obama can ramble on about them in yet another of his pronouncements. He no doubt will. The question is, what will he do about them, and when? Those women need answers and help. There can be no liberty, no democracy and most certainly no freedom without them.

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