Tag: khalid

Just Do It

No matter how much I’m doing, I never feel like I’m doing enough. I always think about everything that I could be doing instead of focusing on how full my plate already is. It’s easy to lose motivation when you don’t see the results of your work, this happens to me often. However, Khalid Albaih’s talk inspired to me to just do it; to continue whatever I’m already doing and to involve myself in other movements no matter how small my contribution may be.

As an artist whose political cartoons have gone viral, Albaih once also felt as if he wasn’t doing enough for his community during times of crisis. With most of his work online, he wasn’t directly involved in protests or policy change, but his art had a much larger impact than intended. Much to his surprise, his artwork started popping up in random places all over Egypt, both as a sign of resistance and recognition. This shows that even the smallest of contributions to a movement can carry immense power. Albaih’s work being posted throughout the cities of Egypt is  almost a parallel to the use of the Mockingjay symbol in the Hunger Games. People can unite through his art, building community,  and can also use his works to represent their reality: both physical and emotional. It goes to show that you don’t have to be on the front lines to galvanize people to revolutionize, you can sit behind a computer screen and have a profound effect.

After realizing this, I started to think, what can I or we, as a Colby community, do to create change even it seems small? The most obvious to to use our privilege for good and not evil, to speak up for the voiceless, and to protect the liberties of others. This privilege I speak is not solely related to finances or social class, but also on nationality and location. Albaih said that in Egypt, “they break you without giving anything back. No healthcare. Nothing.” As Americans, we have many liberties that we often take for granted, which needs to come to a stop. We need to start thinking “how can I use this service to make a difference?” Also, Albaih mentioned that the rhetoric “you could be president one day,” is unheard of in Egypt, due to political corruption which leads to presidents who stay in office much longer than they should. Showing that even small children musing over this potential careers are more free than others, which many would never think of.

In Egypt there are people literally lighting themselves on fire because of how distraught they are with the current state of affairs and the constant presence of injustice in their community. In America, we have people who won’t even light a fire under their own asses to help others. Do you see the disconnect? There is so much more that we need to do and that we can do. No matter how large or small the task, just do it. It’ll make all the difference.



[you will not find answers here]

It is difficult to cling onto a single thread from Khalid’s talk last week. It is difficult to understand fully what the quilt he crafted with his language, his emotion, his presence–all in relation to our language, our emotion, our presence–might look like. Looking at my notes from the talk, purple arrows leap out from the page. They suggest, perhaps, some kind of causality, a sequence of thoughts, some knitting together in conversation. This, of course, may be true. Certainly answers followed questions followed answers followed questions followed thoughts followed silence. But it does not seem right in this blog post to write with some cause and effect or even a thesis. That seems too neat. Too complete. Too polished. In reality, when I think beyond those purple arrows I recall holes, gaps, threads of conversation hanging loose and teasing me to follow them down the rabbit hole. Khalid is here as the Oak Fellow. He is here to shake up our campus (though, admittedly, I doubt this is Colby’s motivation–but it is his). He is an artist who rests and stays abreast in anger and also in creation. He is a man I know little about; drawing art about revolutions I, frankly, know little about. And yet. As he talked I grasped onto floating clouds of passion as if they were condensed from my own daydreams.

[Anger creates art]

[Art is a universal language]

[We have this obsession with the past because we are broken]

[We still have time]

Khalid is here at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, up on Mayflower Hill, sitting in Lovejoy 100, speaking to a classroom of young undergraduates. Khalid is here, but he keeps creating because the revolution does not stop [revolutions take time]. He spoke of how [Western media likes to make heroes], so O’Neill pushed further about how he is English speaking / well-dressed / charismatic. The kind of dark hero America can swallow. And yet. Khalid spoke of how he was ashamed of this fame, how it is [something I didn’t deserve]. Because he might be here at Colby College, but we must not forget the work he does. He and his colleagues and his fellow creators and shakers and revolutionaries are risking their lives every day–some more than others. This saliency existed in the silence, in the emotionality present in Khalid’s eyes. I could see it, feel it, hear it, sense it from all the way in the back. It is chilling–those moments of truth when you zoom out from the blue light on Mayflower Hill and remember that life is more than the papers, the books, the theories. Revolutions are real and they are not safe and they are not secure and they are not equitable and they are not a block of time written on in the history books. They scream of the page, begging to be graffitted on walls and plastered on News Feeds. They deserve more then 15 seconds of viral fame.

[the thing about revolutions is it just happens]