From Morocco to Iraq, we will meet with hacker communities. We will tell you their story : How they are bringing change to their societies. Release in June 2013.


The project

“After decades of tyranny, sanctions and war, Iraq has a better reputation for destroying things than building them. That’s why an Iraqi-American who’s trying to create the country’s first hackerspace believes it’ll take “irrational optimism” for Iraqis to remember they were among the planet’s first maker cultures.” Wired


Wrongly depicted as credit card thieves with no qualms, hackers are first and foremost ingenious folks who enjoy taking a system to pieces only to rebuild it to better suit their needs or that of the community (and yes, sometimes, they just do it for the lulz). Hackers make a creative use of technologies.





Often a hobby for the middle classes in our regions, hacking becomes a necessity in other places. Under the ruins of dictatorships and civil wars, some men and women are trying to rebuild their communities : from political and educational systems to the infrastructures, or the local economy, the tasks are as big as their inquisitive and creative minds

Our webdocumentary will also try to show to what extent hackers in countries that have not been through a revolution yet are preparing for change. It will also question the definition of a hacker from one region to another, from one person to the next.

True to the hacker ethic, that is encouraging the sharing of all knowledge, some hackers in western countries support local initiatives in the MENA region (Middle East North Africa). Such is the case of Gemsi – cited in Wired’s article – an organization based in the USA that helps implementing hackerspaces.

Our reportage will follow a crescent line from Beirut (Lebanon) to Baghdad (Irak), and from Cairo (Egypt), to Tunis (Tunisia) as well as Algiers (Algeria) and Casablanca (Morocco). It will be text and photo based with interviews and DIY tutorials in video.


Meanwhile, you can follow our work in progress on this blog (in CC-by-nc-sa) and contact us by email : hackerscitearabe (at) gmail (dot) com



We'll take you on an adventure...


No dragons here to fight, the series will follow a crescent line from Morocco to Irak, also going through Cairo, Beyrouth, Tunis, and Algiers. We will tell you the story of the hacker communities in the arab world (see above) providing historical and political context. The documentary will be text and photo based, with specific work on sound and graphic design. We'll have videos for key interviews and some DIY projects tutorials. 



Who we are and why back our project ?




Ex-OWNI.FR (OWNI.EU) journalists, We've been working on the subject of hackers, freeculture & internet freedoms for a while. Although the media does not exist anymore, ideas never die. We've never stopped working, searching, reading, meeting with people. We felt a sense of emergency to get our story out and we began pre-production at the end of Summer 2012. We went to Algeria in december 2012 and we'll go to Egypt this february. We're planning to go to Tunisia in March, Lebanon in April and Morocco in may if our KissKiss succeeds. 


We were there to report on :


The story of Mitch Altman, hacker qui bat.

30 years of political hacking, an interview with Andy Muller-Maghun


The Chaos Communication Camp 2011 (fr/en), biggest gathering of the hacker community near Berlin.


The rise of the Pirate Parties (en) in France, and particularly in Germany, with a focus on Berlin. 


The development of the fab labs (en)

The THSF festival 2011 of the Tetalab hackerspace in Toulouse (fr)

Alternative WiFi communities (fr), in Catalonia and Germany.

The hacker festival in the heart of Paris : "Pas Sage en Seine" (fr)


Most of our work is in french on OWNI.FR and some articles in english on OWNI.EU



Why fund it?



The 12000 euros cover all the hard costs we won't be able to cover without your support. From the travels down to the post-production work with a web developer, sound mixers, a graphic designer, the translation (french/arabic/english). We do not pay ourselves for this project. In exchange for your pledge, expect great work and cool rewards (and some surprise goodies we hope to find along the way).


We are building a strong community around the project, another proof that both the hacker and arab world fascinate audiences. We are looking for collaboration with our audience and sharing our experience on the ground as we go along on our making-of blog (translations are coming in arabic and english) :

Sabine Blanc et Ophelia Noor ( journalists, Sabine Blanc and Ophelia Noor have been working on hackers issues for a few years from a social perspective. Sabine writes and enjoys eating meat while Ophelia takes pictures/videos/sound and would rather eat tofu. They co-wrote an ebook on the history of hacking, Hackers, bâtisseurs depuis 1959 (Hackers, makers since...

FAQ Questions about the project

+ What is an easter egg ?

It's a secret message inserted inside "the architecture" of a website.

+ What's the defacing of a website ?

Changing the visual appeance of a website. Whether a prank or an attack, it is considered totally illegal, like graffiti in the street. This reward, if you select it, gives you access to all the previous rewards and the status of kissbanker of the lulz level 42.

+ What is the number 42 all about ?

This is the answer brought by the super computer Deep Thought to the ultimate question of Life, the Universe, and Everythingin the book, The Hitchkiker's guide to the galaxy by Douglas Adams.

Newest comments

Bonne continuation ! ]data[ <3
Allez ! il faut mettre la gomme dans cette dernière ligne droite ! #G0000000000000000000000000 ! ^_^
Bravo et bon courage Ophélia !