Organized by Alia Mossallam and students of the MA course “Singing the Nile – Tracing Renderings of the Nile from Epistemological Reference to Lyrical Geography”, held at the Department of Cultural History and Theory at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Film: Saba sanawat hawl delta al-neel (Seven Years Around the Nile Delta)
by Sharief Zohairy
Documentary, Egypt 2020, 331 min, Arabic
Delta (Δ) is the symbol of change in the Greek culture and it is the 4th letter in the Phoenician alphabet that links the Greek language to the ancient Egyptian language.
During his childhood and adolescence Sharief Zhairy used to travel four times each year, with his father in his car, between Alexandria, where he was studying, and Al-Zarqa, his birthplace. It was a three-hour trip along the agricultural road system that links distant parts of lower Egypt. After a year of the political instability that happened in Egypt, Zohairy got encouraged in 2012 to rediscover the old journey using a Handycam to document the emotional experience of a traveler inside the Nile Delta. The result of his eight-year-long cinematic journey is a mix of road movie and travelogue, contemplating the diversity of thirty-two cities and villages of the Nile Delta and documenting the contemporary daily activities in this ecologically endangered area.
Sharief Zohairy is an independent director, screen writer, and producer based in Alexandria. He graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, then by the end of 2006 he directed his first short fiction film. Several other film projects followed. Since 2013 he has focused on writing screenplays, two of which have received awards.
For the event, two hours of the film have been selected, and the film and Q&A will be presented and moderated by Alia Mossallam and students of the class “Singing the Nile”.
The film screening (10am-12pm) will be followed by a virtual discussion with the director from 1pm-2pm. The film and Q&A can be accessed by Zoom via the following link.
Alia Mossallam is a cultural historian, pedagogue and writer, interested in songs that tell stories and stories that tell of popular struggles behind the better-known events that shape world history. She is working on her book on the visual and musical archiving practices of the builders of the Aswan High Dam and the Nubian communities displaced by it. Her new project at EUME (2021-23), “Tracing Emancipation Under Rubbles of War”, retrieves the physical and political journeys of Egyptian and North African workers on the various fronts of World War I through the songs and memoires that recount their solidarities and struggles. Some of her writings can be found in The Journal of Water History, The History Workshop Journal, the LSE Middle East Paper Series, Ma’azif, Bidayat, Mada Masr, Jadaliyya and 60 Pages. An experimentative pedagogue, she founded the site-specific public history project “Ihky ya Tarikh”, as well as having taught at the American University in Cairo, the Freie Universität Berlin, the Cairo Institute for Liberal Arts and Sciences, and currently at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin where she is running the MA course “Singing the Nile” at the Institut für Kulturwissenschaft.