March 22, 2011
Based on my interest in current events in the Middle East and my concern for the people’s safety, I started what I’m calling my Arab World Uprising Book Project. In an attempt to bring about awareness to the current plight of the peoples throughout the Arab World, I am making small books with information about their country's protests, culminating in pages where the dead are accounted for; as a memorial for them as they stand up for their beliefs.
The current situation in the Middle East began on December 17, 2010 when Mohamed Bouazizi, a struggling Tunisian street vendor, doused himself with gasoline and lit himself on fire. This act of self immolation was in protest to his poor and insulting treatment by the government of Tunisia, and was the first event in the massive uprisings that are going on right now.
People in countries throughout the region are struggling and not being acknowledged or assisted by their governments. There are many common causes including: high unemployment, poor basic services like food, water and electricity, government corruption, poor security, lack of a democratic process, political and social inequalities, and living under a state of emergency where the government and army can do whatever they please. There are dictators that have led decades long brutal regimes and monarchs whose families have been in power for hundreds of years. The people are standing up to get their voices heard and they are getting killed daily in the demonstrations.
These books are small and simple, and they continue to evolve as the current events unfold. They measure 6.5 x 9.5 x 0.75 inches, and are hand embroidered and hand bound. To date I have bound the books for Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain, Algeria, Jordan, Iran, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Syria, but I have kept pages blank in order to add to them as things continue to happen and people continue dying in the uprisings.
This is the book I made for Egypt's Uprising.
The Egyptian flag.
The "leader" of the country,
and how long he has been in power.
What began the uprising and when.
What the people have participated in during the uprising.
What major steps the government has done, if any, to address the people's demands.
A mark for each person who has been killed. Sadly, I have to add to these pages often.