Thursday, May 5th, 5-7 pm. In person*.
Location: Wireframe Studio, Music Building 1410.
UCSB Center for Middle East Studies (CMES), Wireframe Studio, and Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies
Sanaa Seif, Egyptian Filmmaker, Former Political Prisoner and sister of author
Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Journalist based in Cairo, Editor of Mada Masr and former producer for Democracy Now!
Introduction: Prof. Sherene Seikaly, Director, Center for Middle East Studies
Moderation: Prof. Paul Amar, Global Studies, and Prof. Laila Shereen Sakr, Film & Media
Alaa Abd el-Fattah is arguably the most high-profile political prisoner in Egypt, if not the Arab world, rising to international prominence during the revolution of 2011. A fiercely independent thinker who fuses politics and technology in powerful prose, an activist whose ideas represent a global generation which has only known struggle against a failing system, a public intellectual with the rare courage to offer personal, painful honesty, Alaa’s written voice came to symbolize much of what was fresh, inspiring and revolutionary about the uprisings that have defined the last decade. Collected here for the first time in English are a selection of his essays, social media posts and interviews from 2011 until the present. He has spent the majority of those years in prison, where many of these pieces were written. Together, they present not only a unique account from the frontline of a decade of global upheaval, but a catalogue of ideas about other futures those upheavals could yet reveal. From theories on technology and history to profound reflections on the meaning of prison, You Have Not Yet Been Defeated is a book about the importance of ideas, whatever their cost.
Sanaa Seif is an Egyptian filmmaker, producer and political activist. She has been imprisoned three times under the Sisi regime for her activism. Most recently from the summer of 2020 until December 2021, when she was abducted by security forces after trying to get a letter in to her brother in prison. Hundreds of cultural figures and dozens of institutions campaigned for her release. She was released in December and will travel to the US to promote her imprisoned brother, Alaa Abd el-Fattah’s, newly published book, You Have Not Yet Been Defeated.
Alaa Abd el-Fattah is one of the key thinkers and writers of his generation, and has been imprisoned in Egypt for seven of the last eight years. First famous as a blogger and pioneer of open source software, he rose to international recognition during the Egyptian revolution of 2011-2013 through his online and offline activism, his combative ideas and relentless energy on twitter and on the street. Though imprisoned for most of the rule of General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, he still managed to intermittently produce and smuggle essays out of prison. All these strands of work have been collected now in You Have Not Yet Been Defeated: Selected Works 2011-2021 (Seven Stories Press).
Sharif Abdel Kouddous is an independent journalist based in Cairo. For eight years he worked as a producer and correspondent for the TV/radio news hour Democracy Now! In 2011, he returned to Egypt to cover the revolution. Since then, he has reported for a number of print and broadcast outlets from across the region, including Egypt, Libya, Palestine, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere. He received an Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media for his coverage of the Egyptian revolution and an Emmy award for his coverage of the Trump administration’s Muslim travel ban. He is currently an editor and reporter at Mada Masr, Egypt’s leading independent media outlet.