From boredom to labor and labor to boredom | MadaMasr
You were sitting, smoking a cigarette, in our new office space underneath a canvas bearing the words: “this sea is mine.” The line comes from a Mahmoud Darwish poem, A Mural, popularized in poetic resistance to political and corporate colonization.
The canvas is now four years old. Back then, some weeks after Mada Masr was born on June 30, the day of a military political take-over in Egypt, the bloodiest event in the country’s modern history took place. Over a thousand people belonging to or sympathizing with the Muslim Brotherhood were killed when their sit-ins were cleared out.
A curfew was imposed by the military to contain the ensuing chaos. It started at 7 pm and ended at 6 am everyday. After work, we often gathered at one of our homes, some of us cooking, some of us painting to kill the time and the boredom.
We had been dramatically laid off as a team a few months earlier. Fearing the boredom of being without a newspaper in the midst of an imminent and radical political upheaval, we started an online publication. At the time, I wrote, “We wanted to re-appropriate our journalism on this heated day, because it is through the prism of this craft that we engage with politics and activism.”
I might as well have also said that it is through the prism of this craft that we resist existential boredom.