B&B’s close friends Shannon Farhoud and Rana Khatib have initiated this amazing campaign to raise funds for the people of Japan.
“On March 27, 1912, Japan sent cherry trees as a gift of friendship to Washington, D.C. For the past 99 years, residents of both Japan and Washington, D.C. have celebrated their close relationship with the blooming of the cherry blossoms. However, this year is different.
Bloom For Japan’s mission is to bring hope back to the people of Japan. With the Cherry Blossom’s in full bloom this spring, the people in Japan are struggling to recover from the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeast coast and will not hold their annual celebrations. Our aim is to raise $10,000 to send to an NGO working on the ground in Japan that is helping those in need. Through the Washington, D.C.-based KinderUSA, we will send donations to the Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation (Janic).
Together, let us show the people of Japan that their country will bloom once again.
You can get involved by either donating directly through our website, bloomforjapan.com, or by drawing something you would like the people in Japan to see.
Donations and pictures will directly go to Janic.”
– Rana & Shannon
And on B&B Syndicate.
B&B Syndicate has noticed that Education City students pay a certain fixed price for their textbooks to be shipped in from the United States (from the respective home campuses). Through B&B’s initial focus group research, we have noticed than many EC students don’t even know how much they pay for their textbooks. Often times, the textbook fees are inclusive of their overall fees and many if not all pay it blindly. This is because, (i) their fees are taken care of an external third party – parent, sponsor etc, (ii) they have no other choice due to the fact there is only one vendor of these textbooks (usually the institution). B&B wants to run another set of preliminary research to confirm the particular situation. And thus, here is our simple, short, direct survey. It will take you less than 20 seconds to complete. If you have any additional notes, go ahead and just comment on this blog or on Facebook or Twitter.
B&B is thinking about making textbooks more affordable for EC students. We want to see how much you pay for your textbooks. And accordingly, we want to see if we can figure out a method to help you save money on textbooks. For example, (i) for you to buy used textbooks would make it exponentially cheaper than having to buy brand new ones. And (ii) for you to sell used text books would help you make money in the end of the semester. B&B has found that the savings amount can often times be exponential to what one is currently spending on books.
And thus, if all this works out according to our plans, we hope to facilitate a system where this whole process may be possible.
Wish us luck.
Thanks for taking the survey. It truly is 20 seconds of your time.
The founders of the B&B Syndicate over the past couple of weeks have brainstormed on different ways to serve the Education City community. This post is about our initial plans (in the conceptualization process) on how we want to make life in EC even better than it already is.
A quick note about how B&B works. B&B Syndicate is basically a bunch of students with awesome ideas and even awesomer connectedness in the EC community. At first, B&B’s focus was on supporting initiatives, events and organizations to reach high visibility. In that process, we soon realized, we the founders of the B&B Syndicate had fun, interesting ideas as well. And hence, through that realization came ECUnited4Pakistan Part I and II and TedxDoha.
Since then, the founders of the B&B Syndicate have gone out to playing major roles in the functioning of MyEducationCity.com and TedxCMUQatar among other smaller initiatives. And thus, as of now, the focus of B&B Syndicate has slightly shifted. However, our aim is and always will be – to served the Education City community better.
And thus, for the next year, the B&B Syndicate has five ‘major’ projects.
1. An Education City wide note sharing platform.
2. An Education City wide bookswap/used book re-sale program.
3. An amazing concert. Hush Hush – details to follow.
4. Two more TED related initiatives. Again – HUSH HUSH. Still in process. Fingers crossed.
5. A strategic plan to increase involvement of certain demographics in student life in EC.
We apologize for being so vague. But all we can say is – it is going to be one AMAZING year!
– B&B Team
Doha, Qatar – March 16, 2011 – When Ethar Hassaan boarded a plane bound for Egypt on February 1, her intent had been to witness the revolution sweeping her country.
But once on the ground in Cairo, the city in which she was born and raised, her training in media and a desire to document the history-making events took over.
“I went because I’m Egyptian and I really wanted to be there,” said Hassaan, a sophomore in the communication program at Northwestern University in Qatar. “But the communication student in me popped out and I had to get photos and videos.”
Hassaan spent two of the next four days in Tahrir Square taking photos and video of protests that would eventually oust former President Hosni Mubarak. The result: An original short film called “What I Saw.”
Though the film serves in part as a visual document of the events and people of Tahrir Square, its real strength is its ability to convey the mood of the square, which saw humor, rage, piousness, sympathy and more.
In one scene Hassaan captures a woman holding a banner and screaming; in the next a group of men on their knees praying.
Though Hassaan had worked on film projects as part of her studies in Northwestern’s communication program, creating a film around a live, sometimes chaotic event presented particular challenges – working without a script, creating compelling images without the help of lighting kits, and capturing events and people in the moment.
She managed to overcome the challenges though, and in the end the experience might impact the way she approaches filmmaking.
“I thought I liked the scripted work,” Hassaan said, “but I really liked this project.”
Though she ended up creating a film out of her experience, witnessing the generosity and good-will of the Egyptian people was one of the best parts of the experience.
“It was really interesting,” Hassaan said. “Once you got in the square you didn’t feel like there was any difference between anyone – no class difference, no religion difference, no gender difference – because we were all there for the same reason.”
“It was like the Egypt I always wished for was there in Tahrir,” she said.
Hassaan has submitted her film to the Al Jazeera Documentary Film Festival for consideration.
Ethar Hassaan is a close friend of the founders of B&B Synducate and we take this opportunity to congratulate her on positive political changes that are occurring in her country and laud her efforts in putting this amazing documentary together. We wish her the best in her future endeavors – in particular, the Al Jazeera Documentary Film Festival.
B&B Syndicate will continue to support such initiatives as our inbound marketing techniques and our integrated marketing communications skills sharpen further. For now, as we say at our meetings – lets B&B this project!
Check out what the makers of Broken Records had to say to our very own MyEducationCity.com
New Documentary Explores The World Of Arab Hip-Hop
Editor’s Note: A few weeks ago, during the height of the popular uprising in Egypt, we got an email from one of our colleagues in National Geographic’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. He’d been pitched on a film on Arab hip-hop by a young filmaker currently interning in that office. Since the rapper Balti had already played such a pivotal role in the uprising in Tunisia, we were intrigued. And upon watching the film, we decided that it would be a good fit for the Nat Geo Website. We asked one of the film’s three co-directors, Shannon Farhoud, to tell us a little more about the project – so check out what she has to say, and enjoy Broken Records – Ed.
About Broken Records:
Standing in the narrow hallway of a hotel in Doha, Qatar, during the shooting of our documentary Broken Records, me and my two-co-directors set up a camera in front of two young Arab hip-hop artists. With no practice, no audio and no performance cues, we asked them to rap for us, just a few lines of a song, maybe some in English and some in Arabic. We underestimated what we were about to witness as we pressed the record button.
“Here’s the key, don’t fear the rumble of bombs/
What? I could swear I heard you say you are a man/
And you wanted to explode in the name of God, the mover of the clan./
Now drive and push and——God rest your soul, son of my fathers childhood/
Surat of the Prophet Moses heavy/
The day after the Mullahs told him “you’re money is with me. Go pray your brothers soul/
listen to me my friend, I swear” but none of his moves are pure…./
Now his father has to kiss the image, missing his voice while washing his body/
As he opened his door, he saw his sons handwriting on a stack of money saying/
‘this life is not worth a penny'”
Those are the words of The Narcicyst — one of the six rappers featured in our film — and they left us mesmerized. How could a simple verse represent whole nations, a war, and a people’s emotions? It was at this point we knew we needed more. If someone had asked us a year ago, “What is Arab hip-hop?” we would have been clueless. But ask us that same question now and we could probably talk for hours.
We, the directors, are three journalism students at Northwestern University in Qatar, all under the age of 22. Ashlene Ramadan is American of Lebanese origin. Rana Khaled is a Palestinian who has never visited Palestine. And I am half Syrian, a quarter Indian and a quarter Portuguese. We all come from very different backgrounds, and Arab hip-hop was as foreign to us as it was to most non-Arabs – which is the main reason we wanted to produce the documentary.
As young journalists of Arabic decent, our backgrounds played a big part in the documentary’s appeal to us. When we interviewed the artists, we were drawn to what they were saying because it was relevant to our own upbringing and experiences. When we heard their lyrics it was like someone was telling us our own stories. In some way, our willingness to tell the story of each of those hip-hop artists also contributed to them narrating a story of ordinary Arabs who face difficulty in their lives.
Unlike most commercial hip-hop in the U.S. today, Arab rappers don’t typically rhyme about money, partying and girls. Instead the artists in this movement style themselves as educated activists and use their lyrics to send a message to the world. They use their art – which draws on both Arab poetic traditions as well as Western hip-hop conventions – to break stereotypes of Arabs as violent and close-minded terrorists. They want to convey the message that the Arab experience is just like any other.
References to Arabic traditions and history made us want to listen more closely to the lyrics. Some lines from a song by the Narcicyst titled “Himdallah” stood out for us:
Like the feeling when I miss Falah/
Then wish to God in clouds to lift us all/
Wonder if bibi/
Can ever see me
And If I back to Basrah/
Will it ever receive me”
The song is about hope and the desire to return home. The unique story-telling and catchy beats caught our attention and set the stage for our film. We hoped our documentary would convey the message that Arabic hip-hop not only exists, but also is on the rise. During our final editing process, the protests in Tunisia and Egypt began and suddenly we started to hear the music we were documenting being played for thousands in Tahrir Square.
Hip-hop and politics often go hand in hand, and as pro-democratic revolutions spread throughout the Arab world, Arab hip-hop in particular echoes the hopes, dreams and frustrations of the people. Artists in these nations came out with songs that directly spoke to Arab society and politics – which most other Arab music doesn’t dare touch.
Young artists like Balti from Tunisia used hip-hop to express the people’s political voice. At times these songs got artists into conflicts with the regime but they also helped fuel the people’s resolve. Part of what makes hip-hop such an effective soundtrack to populist movements in the Arab world is the growing youth bulge in the Middle East and North Africa. “Sixty percent or more of the general population in the Middle East is under 30 and hip-hop is very much a youth culture,” explains Omar Offendum, a Syrian-American rapper featured in our film. “Even though it has been around for 40 years. It continues to regenerate itself as a youth culture and be something the youth can use as their own.”
Broken Records follows six artists, each under 30, who are giving voice this youth-led movement for change. They have grown up in the oil rich Arabian Gulf, Egypt and North America. Many of these artists are part of the ever-growing woroldwide Arab diaspora. They were forced out of their homelands by war and economic circumstances, emigrating elsewhere with their families. Many grew up bi-cultural, adapting to the new societies and cultures they were found themselves in, and some have never returned to their home countries. As artists, they looked for ways to keep their traditions alive. This is where hip-hop and Arabic poetry merge, and these artists find comfort in something both cultures can identify with.
Working with this cross section of artists was great because each one had a different experience with hip-hop. What stood out to us was that all of them knew this is what they want to do: To represent the Arab people via a new artistic platform. Older generations of Arabs don’t usually understand hip-hop but some of these artists use traditional Arab poetry to give that generation a better understanding that hip-hop is more than just a beat.
As shooting progressed on the film, we witnessed just how much this hip-hop culture is growing. From break-dancers to beat boxers, more and more young Arabs are participating in this trend – but few have any venue to act on it, because of a general lack of funding and financial support. Initially, we worried about promoting the finished film, but to our surprise many people of all ages and backgrounds showed interest in our initiative and the hip-hop movement.
We would like to thank everyone who has supported our project and the Arab hip-hop revolution. This documentary is about artists and their cultivation of Western art in modern Arab culture. It’s about hip-hop, change and about the creation of a new Arab culture. We hope we got the message through and, who knows, maybe one day we will all turn on our radios and hear a new type of hip-hop. — Shannon Farhoud.
Click here to watch the documentary.
To learn more about Broken Records and Arab hip-hop, follow the filmakers and the featured artists on Twitter:
Rana Al-Khatib- @RanaAlKhatib
Shannon Farhoud- @shannonfarhoud
The Narcicyst- @TheNarcicyst
Omar Offendum- @Offendum
Fouad AbdulHadi, Majzarah- @Majzarah
Broken Records documentary on the rise of Arab Hip-Hop and is directed and produced by three amazing Northwestern Qatar Wildcats – Rana Khaled, Shannon Farhoud and Ashlene Ramadan. Check out the videos. The B&B Syndicate’s founders are very close friends with the makers of this documentary and are proud to promote it.
Broken Records has been gaining loads of media coverage in and around the region and recently got picked up by National Geographic on their website. So, be sure to check out the trailer and the documentary. And to know more about Broken Records, keep yourself locked into the B&B Syndicate Twitter, Facebook and WordPress coverage.
As you may have already noticed, B&B’s business model is based on collaboration. Previously, we collaborated with Virginia Commonwealth’s Student Government, the Human Rights Student Organization and Education City Charity Trust to bring you two large scale events – Education United 4 Pakistan Part I and Part II. On another occasion, we partnered up with the Doha Film Institute in bringing you TedxDoha. And now, our founder members are working with the Development Solutions Organization to bring you TedxCMUQatar.
B&B has now partnered up with MyEducationCity.com to bring you, the EC student, your one stop shop for anything and everything in Education City – from news, to events, to blogs, to photos – everything! Pretty much what B&B’s main is in the first place. So, lets welcome MyEducationCity.com as B&B’s new clients and generate some impressions for them.