Can I just say how strange it is to be participating in a conference of over 800 people, and only have two or three people blogging and twittering?
I know that only a small number of those 800 people work in the media, but we’re all here talking about intercultural dialogue. And one of the main way intercultural dialogue takes place, in the world we live in today, is through the internet. It’s used positively and negatively, to promote dialogue and dissent. And in America, it’s now the third most popular news platform, falling behind local and national television outlets, according to the latest Pew Research Center report released last week.
So where is everyone?
There are around 800 people attending this forum. Let’s assume half are women. Out of those 400 women, less than half a dozen are veiled.
I understand that “we’re” very much a novelty here. And I understand that our presence here is extremely important to break the stereotypes, misconceptions, prejudices, etc etc And I am extremely grateful to the Anna Lindh Foundation for granting me the amazing opportunity of speaking at the inauguration ceremony, and again on a panel today.
Just finished the first panel of the day.
One very interesting question was asked which somehow got lost: Is the internet helping terrorists get their views out/ recruit supporters?
I would have been very interested to hear the responses, since internet and technology usage in promoting dialogue vs hatred is always a very interesting discussion.
I believe that the internet and social networking websites promote both dialogue and dissent. It all depends on how you use it. True, it has given “the crazy people” a world stage on which to present their locally targeted views, but it’s also giving people who would never be heard in the media a platform to present their views. Have you heard of the Iranian men who dressed up in headscarves to support Iraqi women? Check out this video by Mona Eltahawy, who argues that a new generation of Muslims are using the Internet to challenge tyranny and reform Islam
So I’m woken up at the ungodly hour of 8am by what I gather is someone from the Dutch embassy in Egypt: “Would you be free to attend a visitor’s program for Egyptian bloggers from 14th-20th of March?” I ask her to send me an email though I’m pretty sure it’s going to be impossible for me to go: my professors at university already hate me for missing so many of my graduate classes every time I travel.
I go back to sleep and wake up a couple of hours later. I register, and then head to where lunch was going to be: at the gorgeous Palau de Pedralbes, hosted by the President of Catalunya. Today was, unlike yesterday, a wonderfully sunny day.
1:30am Just finished my class assignment. At last. I’ve been working for 16 straight hours. Now I have 90 minutes to pack and relax.
3:45am Sitting at Starbucks in Terminal 1 at the old Cairo Airport…can’t believe the Alitalia airline. They made us queue OUTSIDE the terminal! And when I told the guy I didn’t print my e-ticket he made me find my name from a 6-foot sheet of paper! Eventually checked in, and headed up. Saw a group of people with Anna Lindh bags but couldn’t be bothered to introduce myself and make small talk with people I don’t know. Then I’d have to wait for them and they’re such a big group, etc