Mostafa Bassim | Revolution of the Mind

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Country of origin: Egypt
Project location: Egypt
Program: Arab Documentary Photography Program
Year: 2016

In the aftermath of Egypt’s 2011 uprising, many of the country’s youth have learned hard lessons about the realities of civic activism, often being subjected to intense forms of political repression by the state. Ever since, Liberal youth has faced intense social repression from within their own communities when attempting to express progressive thoughts and ideas that run contrary to traditional practices and norms. “Revolution of the Mind” portrays the traumatic accounts of Egyptian youth have been subjected to civilian-led smear campaigns due to their criticism and/or reinterpretation of the dominant political and cultural order in the post-revolution era.

This project delves into the ways in which ordinary Egyptian citizens reinforce the state’s authoritarian model of all-out mind and body control. The type of tactics employed by the state to repress political dissidents are also often used by community leaders at a local level to guard against what are deemed as “dangerous” values.

Taking part in the revolution caused me to think critically in a way that led me to reject much of the social status quo pervasive in my community. However, I soon began to face opposition from neighbors for expressing non-traditional social beliefs when I began to more openly challenge societal norms on social media. My neighbors eventually took it upon themselves to tarnish my reputation within the community at large. I eventually found myself subjected to an unbearable form of both mind and body control.