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يلا مرة من نفسي
Manal: I decided to join in the game!
10 years ago Alaa was 14, Manal was 13
oh my what interesting time, our formation years you could say, 10 years ago we were taking our first serious steps in a youth organization called Annosoor Assaghera (photos), we organized summer camps, learned about child rights, practiced democracy and had a great fun time with no adults around to bug us, and that's where we met, two years later we'll find ourselves deep in love in a most subtle/organic fashion.
Manal: 10 years ago was my first camp in Sharm el Sheikh (the only time I went to Sharm), it was in a very nice place called Shark's Bay and we were staying in tents, I don't think the place still exists (Alaa: they somehow managed to build 3 ugly concrete hotels in the place that was occupied by the tiny camp). I acquired new friends, and it was the first time to go out with friends in places other than the bloody Abbas El Akkad st. in Nasr City.
10 years ago Alaa traveled to England to spend some time with his family there and we both attended an international Woodcraft folks youth camp that Annosoor Assaghera participated in.
Alaa: later travels would prove much more interesting but the first time had its charm, I did it all from shopping, to going to live music festivals to underage drinking and sex (never did drugs thank you).
Alaa 10 years ago (roughly) was when I formed my own musical taste (as opposed to listening to what was on or what my parents liked), it was my rediscovery of Pink Floyd when they released Division Bells, Pink Floyd would remain my favorite form of art since then, and off course Nirvana (you can't be a teenager without listening to Nirvana), only Microbus drivers listened to decent Egyptian music at that time so apart from Mounir I didn't like anything Egyptian. there was Portishead, Radiohead (creep was big at that time), Cranberries (zombie eih eih), Prodigy (I got the poison, I got the remedy). was Metallica's black album released at that time too? that lead to going to metal and rock concerts, being mildly harassed when they cracked down on the black clads and long hairs in the infamous satanics incidents (commonly known as سوتيانيكس), while this was minor police abuse compared to what is the norm in Egyptian society and only had an effect on a thin strip of society I felt first hand for the first time what my parents tried hard to explain to me, you can't avoid politics, you can't just pretend this country is not fucked up, I developed a strong hate of ابن المتناكة عادل حمودة و كل الخولات اللي كتبوا ضد عبدة الشيطان and I still fantasize about fragging them all with bazookas.
Alaa: 10 years ago was not a happy time though, I used to go to a horrible school, and as any self respecting teenager with hormones felt hopeless, angry and depressed.
Manal: 10 years ago was when I started wearing braces (had dracula teeth), I was happy with them and I preferred to wear them in pink.
Alaa: 10 years ago was about the last time I was healthy and fit, used to play rowing at the time, and to prove that this is a small world one of my colleagues at rowing will end up as my sisters ex-boyfriend many years later, fond memories and the Nile up close and personal at painfully early hours of the morning.
Alaa: 10 years ago I was programming pascal, and dabbling with computer graphics, I used to paint and draw too me thinks.
Manal: 10 years ago, computer was games and Arabword for me, played Prince, Gorillas, Cat and Rescue Rover.
cinema was always important but can't really remember what was big back then.
Alaa: I think by that time it was obvious which of my two career choices is realistic (computing and astronomy, you guess).
Manal: I loved mathematics, probably was thinking of Faculty of Engineering, but at that time I hadn't heard of the Faculty of Science yet.
Alaa: I think I got the 486dx2 PC couple of years before that time, before that I used to work with an IBM XT that was even older than me, of course my 486 was doomed to be outdated before we even bought it (it was delayed a whole year because the money was used to produce my youngest sister), I lived with that 486 until I 2001, I was already using the net for a year or two but 1995 is when internet usage exploded, when it was opened to the general public and not just the lucky few in Egypt and when I really started spending looooooong hours on the net.
Alaa: Microsoft released windows 95 at the end of the year forever becoming the monster it is now but that's also the time I first heard of GNU, Linux and the BSDs (was that when the BSD case was going?).
Alaa: is that when I first read brief history of time?
now that's not as interesting or eventful as 10 years ago.
Alaa: I think 2000 was like the only period in my life when I didn't know what I was doing and what I wanted exactly, first year of college, at that time I was trying to learn the bass guitar, finding myself pushed in weird bands and generally having a great time.
Alaa: I was officially a bad student now, skipping classes to go drink at 11am in the morning and all that fun stuff (photos from el ma3bad).
Manal: I went to Faculty of Science, but it was the one in Helwan University. My daily trip would be: from El 7ay el 3asher, Nasr City to Helwan in the morning, from Helwan to Faisal (where Alaa lived but still with his family and where we live now, to study and play together) in the afternoon, then from Faisal to El 7ay el 3asher in the evening.
Manal: It was my first time to fail in my studies, I failed in two courses in the second term with half a mark and a mark, but at this year the University dean has decided that he won't apply the error correction marks commonly know as daragat el ra2fa. Of course many students took it to court and won the case in a few months, so I actually passed these two subjects, but we were already in the 2nd term of the 2nd year by the time the case ended, because of this I had to endure two years at Helwan University before being able to transfer to Ain Shams, though it will prove that I had great fun in Helwan compared to my experience in Ain Shams
We have been together for 3 years, went through way too many storms and convinced the world we are here to stay thank you (go find another couple to pick on), we were working on delivering the next leaders generation in Annosoor, we enjoyed 2 great camps in Austria were we met great friends, and started thinking about moving to Vienna when after marriage. We held a camp in Agami "Soghayareen 3alatool" (as in Hisham Selim's chipsawy 3alatool) and we thought the new leader generation will be able to carry on fine without us, we would be proved wrong in a year when Annosoor starts dying. And Alaa's other volunteer effort wasn't looking so good (the CYD dream that never came off) either.
Alaa: I was making many many friends so that's ok, we went out every other night, lots of live music and dancing, was fun.
Alaa: 5 years ago is when I started learning C++ and when I started seriously with GNU/Linux in one year I'll be totally Free and find myself a decent programmer doing the occasional paid job (I aslo did lots of freelance virus cleaning for money, yeah I was a whore).
5 years ago We had a great time when Alaa's parents invited us to Paris, we spent two weeks there then took the bus to Austria to spend 5 days with friends there, Paris is the metropolice, never had soo much fun. It was hard to decide where to live after marriage, Paris or Vienna!
Alaa: Well this state would last for only a year or two and then I'll find myself failing engineering, moving to a silly place that is as easy as kinder garden, the great experiment that is AZA Group is launched and I finally find myself making money regularly, focus is returning to my life.
5 years ago is when we started focusing on independent musicians publishing their work on the net, through the wonderful people sound we found many a great bands and musicians, we rediscovered Fathi Salama and me and Manal fell in love with his work.
5 years ago was the peak of our interest in art, We was jumping from galleries and exhibitions, buying all sorts of art books, dabbling with art ourselves and generally having a grand time.
Alaa: ah the year of the dragon, my year of ultra success, 1 year ago is when our Free/Open Source activism exploded, we toured the country giving seminars, we organized the most successful installfest ever (someone must have beat us since then), I got interviewed by slash dot, we founded EGLUG (photos) and moved on to even more success, I started getting monthly job offers, I started working with COSPE (photos) in what must be one of the most rewarding jobs ever, me and Manal been married for two years already and managed to pass all the critical stages of marriage.
after half heartily participating in the 2001 and 2003 anti war protests we did our first explicit political act and joined the 20th of march movement as their webmasters (never came up to much but that's another story), we got interested in ICT4D, and web publishing and started helping groups and individuals use the web and publish on the web, and of course we started this blog.
We made so many new friends this past year it's making us dizzy.
Manal: We traveled to South Africa (photos) and Alaa also went to Ghana (photos) (first visits to Africa), and that was a great experience, not to mention that we got the chance to hit the sea 3 times (photos), the first two years of the marriage where all spent at home, kan lounna yeksef 3ala ra2yy wa2el khalil. It was also my first time to snorkel, 1st time in Nuweiba3 and the 2nd in hurghada and I found it very rewarding.
Alaa: I found myself part of two revolutions, one of them worldwide with lots of goodwill, solidarity and respect to go around.
pirating all sorts of movies and music became almost a religious experience, I'm sure we collected enough stuff to land us in jail for life.
heh who can predict the future.
We want more of the same, we want every year to be like last year, hectic activity loads of achievements, friends all around, traveling in Egypt and abroad, we certainly want to see more of Africa.
non stop music, cinema, and all sorts of art yaaaay.
non stop partying and travel, non stop street politics, non stop FOSS advocacy.
Alaa: seriously though I hope to find a chance to a proper successful ICT4D project (if anyone knows what that looks like), hopefully something that involves children.
Manal: I would like to either work with children (be it art, technology, democracy, whatever) or work on training people on using technology and making technology more accessible for them.
no wonder I can't get to my secondary years shape
and more I have surprisingly good memory when it comes to lyrics.
I think I'm very bad in memorizing lyrics so I'll tell u about my favorite bands
I'm fine with anything else for one time at least, but I try to avoid wearing anything except tshirts, jeans and shorts while I'm out and try to avoid wearing anything at all when I'm at home.
I don't own a tv, never had one, never liked them, so I download shows from time to time
never saw an Egyptian tv show I seriously liked, the Hussein El Imam things where fine sometimes, in some ancient life there was a show called المخرج عاوز كده which had a couple of good episodes.
ok this will be difficult choosing the top 5 is impossible so the list is on a first come first go basis
hmm again a difficult question, I know so many interesting people I don't feel a burning need to meet someone in particular
bohohohooo I lost my zizo which was my favorite toy, I don't have many toys really lets think
haven't been playing for a while now though, used to play a bit with games, music software, graphics software, etc.