World Press Photo 2011, presents his photographs as the starting point for a conversation with bloggers and experts on the situation #afterthespring

CAT / ES / EN

“The Tahrir revolution took the same form as the Egyptian blogosphere—a mixture of people brought together independently of ideologies”

gigi-ibrahim

Journalist Lali Sandiumenge arrived in Cairo in 2004 and immediately took an interest in the Egyptian blogosphere, a recent phenomenon, and digital activists. She started to interview them and was gripped: “I was fascinated by them and the use they made of blogs as a tool for dissidence and struggle; they adopted a twofold approach, online and on the spot.” Here in Catalonia, the Egyptian revolution seems to have taken place overnight, says Sandiumenge, but “Internet has been used for activism ever since the Net reached the Arab world, first with online forums, then with blogs and finally social networks. [...] Information is the great enemy of dictatorships, and that’s why they control it”, says Sandiumenge, and what cyberactivists do is spread this information. This produced a markedly political blogosphere, where two ideologically opposed communities, one secular and one Islamist and linked to the Muslim brotherhood, “put aside ideologies and sectarian mistrust and worked together to opposed Mubarak”. In this respect, Sandiumenge thinks that the “Tahrir revolution has taken the form of the blogosphere; suddenly, we find people of all kinds coming together in the street, putting aside ideologies, with no leaders and of all different ages”. In a way, the Egyptian blogosphere foreshadowed this reality. “Seeing what happened in Spain on #15M, I wonder whether the use of technology encourages this kind of across-the-board structures, with no leaders.”

Blogging for Revolution

Lali Sandiumenge is the director of the documentary Blogging for Revolution, an excerpt of which is shown at the end of the exhibition ‘Samuel Aranda #desprésdelaprimavera‘ at the CCCB. This documentary in construction, produced by Nezvanova, follows the activity of Egyptian cyberactivists, both secular and Islamist, throughout 2007, with images filmed by the Catalan journalist charting the struggle, virtual and on the spot, for freedom of expression, human rights and against Mubarak’s regime. In the video below, Sandiumenge talks about this documentary, an as yet unreleased testimony of the gestation of the revolution:

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Lali Sandiumenge >

Freelance journalist
Lali Sandiumenge is a freelance journalist. She has lived in Lima, Brussels, Rabat and Cairo, and contributed to media such as AVUI, La Vanguardia, El Periódico and TVE. She discovered the world of blogs and their power as a tool for social change when she arrived in Egypt in 2004, since when she has researched and interviewed cyberactivists in Arab countries. The result of this work is Guerrillers del teclat, a book that analyses the role of bloggers and citizen participation in the Arab Springs, and the documentary in the making Blogging for Revolution, with the testimony of Egyptian cyberactivists and their fight against Mubarak.