Love AND anger, Maha. This piece is still working in me so my response now can only be partial, incomplete. I feel your pent up frustration being given space and release. Healthy for you, healthy for all of us. Because even if we can *see* the very things about which you speak, the layers of meaning, significance and processing will vary based on our individual intersections of identity and the space we occupy right now.
Precisely your position as organizing host of DigiPed Lab Cairo has significance. On the one hand there is the power of invitation and of making specific requests of your invitees. On the other there is that aspect of hospitality – of welcoming guests, attending to their well being, the caring role. I think there is and must always be some degree of tension between these twin aspects of a role like yours and in many ways it strikes me as a simplified stand in for the tensions we as the bridgebuilders who live at these intersections of identity are constantly navigating in every form of dominant culture.
Taking the role of host becomes a political act and we have options to use our role to create what we feel the situation requires and will yield favorable outcomes on multiple levels, not just one. It’s not about the volume of clicks or outside recognition, it’s a multitude of factors of whom did we engage, whose voices were dominant, how was space created for new or otherwise marginalized voices, what kinds of tensions were experienced and by whom… And on and on. This is the work in which you are also engaging and deeply.
The love that you bring to the relationships which makes a collaborative effort like this even possible is so important to recognize. Love is terribly important here. Without it, I’m not sure that the immediacy and potency of your honesty right here and now would be fathomable in the same fashion. Giving voice to our anger, precisely among those whom we love and cherish is risky, necessary and inevitably fraught. Doing it anyway, and giving it space and acknowledgement opens the door for much deeper conversations we need to be having about our humanity in the midst of our digital lives. Thank you for ushering in this event with the real topic at hand: who we are and how we (get to) do what we do and in which contexts.