I'd like to put myself forward as a candidate for the OWS delegation to Egypt over the coming parliamentary elections. I believe I would make a good candidate based on the following criteria:
- I have been participating as an active member of the media working group of the NYCGA since September 17th, 2011. Working with my comrades in the group, I have helped to design and build an infrastructure and a process that facilitates collective production of video, photography and audio journalism, in accordance with the founding principles of the Occupy movement and the rules of the General Assembly.
- I have many years of experience in film, photography and video. I shoot and edit, and I work with my own equipment package. As a documentarian and filmmaker, I have travelled in developing countries around the world, including the following post-conflict zones: Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Guatemala and Mozambique.
- My experience in Egypt is fairly extensive: I spent a year living in Cairo between 2007 and 2008, during which time I also travelled to different areas of the country. I was there to research and write a feature-length screenplay based on the life of a Liberian refugee who spent time in Cairo. This research, and the other sub-projects (documentary, photography etc) that sprang from it took me all over the city of Cairo - from Zemalek to Ain Shams, from Saida Zenab to 6 October and beyond. My time there working with urban refugee communities led me to interact with members of Egyptian civil society, United Nations personnel, members of the British and American foreign service, European NGOs, Egypian lawyers, police and state security, and the municipal prison system.
- I have interacted with international journalists extensively at home and globally. My fluency in French, Italian and Spanish puts me in a strong position to communicate with press from Francophone countries in Africa, and Spanish speakers from Latin America and Europe. My Egyptian Arabic is proficient enough to facilitate communication on a basic level.
I have never had any experience of monitoring elections or in supporting other election monitors in any country. If chosen to go, I look forward to being able to help our comrades who are undertaking this massive and difficult task in as many ways as I possibly can!
For examples of my work in Egypt, please see links to following short films:
Iraqis in Egypt: Time is Running Out
This is a short doc about Iraqi refugees living in and around Cairo. Premiered at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, NYC
This short film is part of extensive test shooting carried out for a forthcoming feature film entitled "Amadou is Alive"
Joshua van Praag