Threnody for #egypt

A “transmedia found poem” dedicated to those whose voices were being silenced. The story behind why and how it was made is below the work.

When I woke, on the morning of January 28, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia – I reached for my iPhone as I usually to, to turn off the alarm. I opened the Twitter app to check my messages and scan through my feed to get the morning’s news. As I scanned my feed, I became aware of an immensely serious situation happening in real time across the world in #egypt.I was only peripherally aware of some tweets floating around the past few days, news of the Egyptian government cracking down on internet access and censorship tweets occasionally popping up. As I read more and more, clicking through the shortened URLs embedded in people’s brief snatches of conversation, I began to understand a broader picture and the significance of what was happening across the world, while I lay in my bed in Melbourne.

This is the series of tweets I RTed across to my followers, blinking back tears for an hour and I tried to communicate the scope and tragedy of what was happening. Instinctively, I tried to build a story that my friends would understand – the richness of the each person’s backstory and shared links from their tweets giving this transmedia narrative a power of its own.

It only occurred to me about a week later that my friends, some who follow my tweets more individually, may have missed what I was trying to communicate, as the tweets were mixed and buried in amongst the voices of many of their followers within the twittersphere.

I’ve used Storify to show my narrative so that it can be one coherent message again. The tweets are listed in the order that I made them, pulling out voices just by using the Twitter app, retweeting and occasionally quoting from blog posts from people I follow, or tweets that those people retweeted.

Some may find this just a random collection of tweets.

I was surprised when I went back to read it again that the narrative had attained its own authorial voice, garnered by a collective of disparate voices. I still cry when I read this. I find their collective voices make this “transmedia found poem” a deeply moving tale. I consider myself only a curator of others’ silenced voices.

In “republishing” this series of tweets, I’ve added the tweet from Diane Ravitch. It was something that I had read earlier, which deepened my thinking about education and inequality – something central to my beliefs about social justice and pivotal to the revolution in Egypt – a revolution for the first time in history without a central leader, self-organized by those with education to use tools to find each other. I’ve added her tweet back into the narrative. Otherwise, the “text” presented here is what I tweeted that morning.