The annual TEDxCairo event is the most interesting event that you will do every thing possible to attend. I was lucky enough to get invited to participate in the online coverage of that event. daily tweeting can’t be as entertaining as listening to those great speakers and trying to put what they say in 140 characters to inspire someone else. TED is all about spreading the word about the inspiring ideas you will see during the event. the theme of TEDxCairo 2011 was “Resurrection”. this was a perfect choice as this is exactly what describes Egypt and Egyptians after 25 Jan. Egypt is coming back to life.
Start of the day
The day started around 10:00 am. Reem Maged the Egyptian TV host was the host of the day. she started by welcoming the attendees and giving an introduction about what is TED and TEDxCairo and encouraging the attendees to spread the word about all the ideas they will see during the day. it’s worth noting that the event had TV coverage too, but I don’t know if we will see the recordings of the sessions being aired on TV soon.
What Newton didn’t see coming? – Mohamed Abdel-Mottaleb
The first speaker was Mohamed Abdel-Mottaleb. Abdel-Mottaleb is a nano-technology Expert. he started by explaining what is nano-technology and how this science is affecting every one of us and every other science. previously, scientists used to see the material as a big cube and they couldn’t change its features. nano-technology came later to study what can happen if cut that cube to millions of smaller cubes. if we cut the material and make each part of it as small as possible, we will be able to do things that we couldn’t be able to solve before and mixing materials together to make something new with better features.overacting
This was so informative and a bit heavy to start the day with. people expected the first talk to be entertaining and informative at the same time. This session was good and the speaker did good work to explain his idea but he lost the attention of the attendees early. from the tweets and talking with the attendees later I saw that it would have been better to put this session in the mid of the day schedule.
Primeval Ocean – Gehan Zaki
Gehan Zaki is an Egyptian Archaeologist. She started by saying that Egypt had a revolution this year 2011 and it had another revolution too [near] 2011 BC. The Egyptian King Pepi II ruled Egypt for 94 years to be the king with the longest rule of a country in history. his son Merenre Nemtyemsaf II succeeded him but the son reigned only for one year before getting murdered and another king came after him to rule Egypt.
She continued by talking about the dogma of old Egyptians. The old Egyptian built his dogma depending on the things that happen around him. he noticed that the sun rise every morning and die at the end of the day and come to life again at the next morning and he noticed that Nile floods every year at the same time. he noticed that every thing repeats itself again and again. so he believed that after death, people will come to life again. Egyptians are always optimistic about the future and this is something that we inherited from the old Egyptians who believed that there is always another chance and life is a complete circle. We have today to continue being optimistic and work on building our country.
I liked it and the people received it well. Gehan had a good start by mentioning that Egypt had a revolution in 2011 BC, while the number wasn’t that accurate according to Wikipedia but this part helped in getting the attention of the attendees early and this made a good amount of positive tweets about that talk. The idea was good and matched the theme of the event.
Top ten “Belmasry” – Ali Faramawy
Faramawy, Vice president of Microsoft international. He started by making it clear that he isn’t coming today to talk about technology and he isn’t even planning to use any kind of technology or even apples during his talk (he was pointing at the Apple Mac on the stage). He said that he want to talk first about 3 things that can describe how the Egyptians felt during the days of the Egyptian revolution. the first is that Egyptians lost their memory, as we forgot all our other problems and forgot about how we have to respect the president. The second is confusion, we didn’t know what we should do now. the third was fear, as we were afraid of what will happen next and we were afraid of the past too and we did even give it a name “folool”.
Our target now is that we turn again to be Egyptians. there are a lot of Egyptians living outside Egypt and there are millions living inside Egypt. most of the Egyptians want to help this country to be better but Egypt still doesn’t know how to use them. We have to start connecting with each other and exchange knowledge. we have to start working on one big national project that can reunite us. We have to start showing out the achievements of the great Egyptians. we shouldn’t focus only on scientists and businessmen, we can focus too on the good man who refused to accept a bribe. We all have the right to dream about tomorrow and we have to work today for it and it’s not accepted to be afraid of the past.
The guy was somehow known for most of the attendees if not all of them and people expected to see a good talk. His talk was really good and good enough to be one of the talks that would have started the day.
Bread and salt – Fadel Solieman
Fadel is a professional international speaker that’s known for his efforts on explaining what is Islam and resolving the conflicts between it and other religions. He started by talking about how no body ever would have dreamed of the revolution and replacing the president. he said that his wife asked him “did you ever imagine that Mubarak could leave the presidency before dieing? ” and he answered “honey, we met each other during the rule of Mubarak, and we got our daughter during the rule of Mubarak, and she got to college during his rule, sure I imagined that we will die during his rule and even we will get resurrected while he is still ruling the country”.
The days of Tahrir square were the days of the true Egyptians. Muslims and Christians stood together and protected each other. Our problem in the past was that there were a devil who hit the Muslim on his back and disappear quickly, then the Muslim will turn back to see who hit him to find that his Christian brother is standing behind him and a fight starts. the devil was the bad people who always wanted us to hate each other and focus on these fights instead of building our country. If we start looking at the shared things between the two religions, we will find that both of them have a big number of shared prophets. if we start looking at the language and start searching on the web to find information about the old Arab poets, we will find millions of results. this means that Muslims aren’t only owners of the Arabic language.
Then if we start thinking about the roots of both, we will find that Copts are the original people who lived in this country, and the word Copts doesn’t mean Christians, it means Egyptians. We both lived in this country for more than 2000 years. Till now there is no real difference between an Egyptian Muslim and Egyptian Christian, we all wear the same type of clothes, we look the same, we eat similar things and there are no special cities in Egypt for Muslims only and others for Christians only. but what was the difference between those Egyptians inside Tahrir square and those Egyptians who were outside it. those who were inside the square believed that this is their country while those outside the square believed that this is the country of those who rule it. The solution is to get back to the republic of Tharir.
Fadel showed us a real TED talk. He is a professional presenter and he had an idea worth spreading and it was wrapped inside a talk full of entertainment. depending on my choice and most of the tweets and the taste of attendees I met, I can say that this is one of the best talks we had in TEDxCairo 2011.
An Egyptian tale – Mina Shenoda
Mina is a writer and speaker, he co-authored the best selling Arabic book “Astigmatism in the brain”. He started telling a story of a young Christian kid called peter who was always get punished and hit by his mother and father and he was their only child. peter used to go to his room and start crying. one upon a day, he found that another child in his age is knocking the window and asking him to open the window to let him get inside. peter refused to open the window and asked him “who are you?” the other kid replied “I’m Ali El-Adl, open the window, peter”. peter opened the window and let Ali in. peter used to talk to Ali and play with him, and peter’s mother saw peter talking to no one, and she started crying and ran away. peter didn’t know what’s her problem, but he was really concerned about what his Christian teacher tell him about how Muslims are bad. he didn’t believe the teacher as Ali was his best friend and they played together. but after some time, peter started to feel that Ali El-Adl started to treat him badly and peter decided that he won’t ever talk to Ali again. in the next day, peter was in his room and he started hearing Ali knocking the window. peter screamed “go away Ali, I won’t open the window”. the knocking started again, then peter said “if you won’t go away, I will come to hit you and push you away”. here, the story ends. peter wsa found later dead, he opened the window and tried to push Ali who didn’t ever exist, and peter fell from the window and died.
I don’t know if you got touched by the story or not, but you still have to see the video of the talk. this wasn’t only a story as Mina was acting too and this helped in making us live the story. I talked with some people and I have to say that some of them saw that Mina was acting too much. I don’t know what’s the problem with his acting, but I liked it. at first, I thought that it’s a story about a child who had Astigmatism no more, but at the mid of the story I found that there is another message in the story. I didn’t read his book yet, but sure I will put it in my reading list.
Due to the fact that I wrote this in 4 hours, and it’s around 3:30 am now. I will try to publish the other parts later. thanks for reading all the way till this line :)
BTW, If you have pics with good quality (shouldn’t be perfect) of the speakers during the event, I will be happy if you pass them to me as my only source of pics till now is @ahmednaguib‘s awesome photo ablum and I didn’t find there pics for the speakers mentioned in this post.