“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.
Alternative WiFi communities (fr), in Catalonia and Germany.
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) : https://leshackersdanslacitearabe.wordpress.com/about/