Graffiti Hack by Elen Ghulam
The series has garnered the reputation of being the most bigoted show on television for its inaccurate, undifferentiated and highly biased depiction of Arabs, Pakistanis, and Afghans, as well as its gross misrepresentations of the cities of Beirut, Islamabad- and the so-called Muslim world in general. In this forest, Red Riding Hood is permitted to display many shades of grey — bribery, drone strikes, torture, and covert assassination- to achieve her targets. She points her weapon of choice at the monochrome bad guys, who do all the things that the good guys do, but with nefarious intent.
It cannot be disputed that the show looks good and is well acted and produced, as its many awards prove. But you would think that a series dealing so intensively with contemporary topics including the war on terrorism, ISIS, and ideological clashes between the US and the Middle East would not, for example, name a key terrorist character after the former real-life Pakistani ambassador to the United States. Granted, the show gets high praise from the American audience for its criticism of American government ethics, but not without dangerously feeding into the racism of the hysterical moment we find ourselves in today.
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At the beginning of June , we received a phone call from a friend who has been active in the Graffiti and Street art scene in Germany for the past 30 years and has researched graffiti in the Middle East extensively. It was our moment to make our point by subverting the message using the show itself.
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Left: Freedom horeya.. Right: Homeland is watermelon al watan bateekh watermelon is a word often used to indicate that something is a sham or not to be taken seriously photos courtesy of the artists. Left: There is no Homeland mafeesh Homeland Right: blacklivesmatter photos courtesy of the artists. Left: Falafel and Alcohol: from the hands of Faiza The falafel stand belongs to an elderly lady named Faiza, a Syrian Christian who has seen a lot of life, and lived in a multicultural society for much of it.
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She has understood that good food and an occasional drop of Arak solve many problems, and although she sells only falafel and hummus, she added alcohol as a visual reminder of the better times, an act of resistance to her current circumstances and a premonition of a return to the life she once knew and enjoyed, even through hardships. She is well-liked in the neighbourhood, and although her sign does mention Alcohol, it also brings smiles to the residents of the camp. Homeland is racist gasewsew a reference to the Egyptian Abla Fahita puppet on spying photos courtesy of the artists.
In our initial meeting, we were given a set of images of pro-Assad graffiti- apparently natural in a Syrian refugee camp. We would arm ourselves with slogans, with proverbs allowing for critical interpretation, and, if the chance presented itself, blatant criticism directed at the show. It took me several years to un-discipline myself to allow a state of play. Hard work is overrated. In order for the writing to flow I need to coax it with plenty of unhurried lazy hours of leisure. Did you incorporate any of your experiences that you encountered in real life working as a computer programmer into Graffiti Hack?
None of the characters in my novel are based on real life people, however my life as a computer programmer meant that I was constantly the only woman is a male dominant environment. The internet was built, mostly, by white men. It is no coincidence that I wrote a story about a woman who wants to feminize the internet. All those years of fitting in must have left some suppressed desires. Did you ever have hit a rough patch while writing this book, where nothing in the story seemed to fit or make sense?
Graffiti Hack Novel by Elen Ghulam
All through it I had no idea where the story was going or what would happen next. Each chapter was a surprise. I sat down to write thinking foolishly that I will change the world with my words. If I realized how much it would change me instead, I think I would have quit writing. Or would you rather keep it stayed as a book? Also I loved the Elif Shafak story that combines the historical with modern everyday life. In my imagination at least, combining these two things would be the most epic movie. Graffiti Hack deals with relevant technology and social media issues. Coming from a computer programming background, do you think there is a solution to problems such as hacking?
How can it be fixed? NASA has been hacked. The pentagon has been hacked. Every system has a weakness that a clever person is able exploit. I am afraid there is no way fix it. Hacking is here to stay. Of all the characters you have created in this novel, which is your favorite and why? All the people in my novel are hysterical, eccentric and unlikable. It is with great irony that I made the only likable character in the story an object.
The main character imagines that an elevator called Elvi is communicating with her through his sways and flickering light.
Elvi is the only sane presence in the novel. But even an elevator has a limit to what it can put up with. Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years? I love the novel Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.