Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Extra Credit Nathan Finneran

The Square
1.)The Square is a documentary that depicts the active revolt against political and military corruption of the Egyptian government. The film took the audience through the ups of progress in the movement as well as the catastrophic downs caused by the violence of the Egyptian military. The film did very well showing the dedication of the revolutionary activists providing many excerpts of people saying things such as "the more they (the military oppression) kill the more we believe in our cause.". Many protesters made it very clear they were not scared to die for their cause and many did. The film used many powerful images of the gruesome violence used by the military to break up the protests taking place in Tahrir square. From the lacerations on the back of a protestor to the image of groups of people being mercilessly run over by tanks and transport vehicles. The film was able to truly grab the hearts of the audience allowing them to connect to its cause. Another strength of the documentary was the way the storyline was so well organized. The film followed protesters as they fought against dictatorship of Hosni Mubarah but then returned to fight military rule and once more to rise against the presidency of Mohamed Morsi. This progression showed that the revolutionaries were not just interested in the fall of a leader but that they wanted change in the way they lived and freedom for their country. Something I didn't like about this film was the use of subtitles. Obviously with this film taking place in Egypt the characters in the heart of revolt do not speak English. I felt as if the subtitles were hard to follow because I was so captivated by the images being shown at the same time. The film could have been made better if the subtitles were replaced with verbal English translations over top of the native language in the background so the viewer can get the most out of the entire film.

Out of the many themes present in this documentary the two most important themes are that of hope and freedom. Hope comes from the optimistic views of the many protestors fighting for their freedom and to get their voices heard. At the end of the film Khalid Abdalla talks about how hes aware change of the magnitude the revolutionaries want will not happen in two years but they want to lay the foundation for change for the future. The message of freedom is very clear throughout the entire film. It is the motivation for the revolution and it is what the Egyptians believed they were being cheated of. 

2.) The revolution for political justice and the abolition of the police state status of Egypt started January 25th 2011. By February 11th dictator Hosni Mubarah stepped down from his position as leader after seeing no end for the revolt any other way. However, little change came from the resignation of the former dictator as military oppression stepped in blocking the citizens from their goal of freedom. Without the leadership of a dictator the race for presidency began causing ongoing problems. Mohamed Morsi, representative of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected president beating out the opposition of former dictator Mubarah. This change did not bring the freedom citizens had hoped for when the brotherhoods religion driven government suppressed many under its rule who didn't express the Muslim faith. To this day the revolution in Egypt has not quieted. In fact according to CNN the number of casualties at the hands of state forces in the 6 months leading up to the start of the year are the largest seen in modern Egyptian history. Now under the rule of former military general, Abdel Fattah the same protesters, made up of rights campaigners and civil society activists, that started the revolution years ago continue to fuel that same revolt.

 Social media often gets a bad reputation as a time wasting collection of pointless information however this is not always the case. For Egypt social media played a pivotal role in getting the word out about the reform and hardships Egyptian society was going through. As the Egyptian government and military tried to hide the violence taking place in the square protestors were ability to expose the unnecessarily violent ways of soldiers via social media. Another place where we can see social media playing a key role in exposing injustices is right here in our home country of America. A controversy that has become very prevalent recently police cruelty with two incidences in particular that have blown up with the help of social media. The most recent being a video of a man named named Eric Garner who was killed by police officer Justin Damico after being approached on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes. In the film Garner can be observed saying the words "I cant breathe" 11 times as the officer held him in a choke hold banned by the NYPD. As the video spread through social media so did outrage as a grand jury decided not to indite Damico for the death of Garner.

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