Saturday, June 07, 2008

ME$EX 2008

Should you happen to be in Amsterdam on the 15th of June I’d like to encourage you to go check out the annual Bazaar festival, titled this year the “Middle East Stock Exchange.”
Beyond politics, beyond ideology: what are the hard trends in the Middle East? What is the future of the economy of the Middle East, of oil, urbanization, and security in the region? A series of 20 minute visual briefings by experts and analysts from the financial and corporate sector. Who wins, who loses? The Bazaar 2008 provides you with quick data, ready made analyses, and strong anecdotes to bolster your talks and thinking on the region.

In what future would you invest your money? Put your money where your mouth is on the MESEX future market and join the development of the Social Intervention Fund.

I was very flattered to have been invited as a keynote speaker to present something on the urban syntax of militarization and security in the Middle East, even though I am hardly an expert on the matter. This would have marked Subtopia’s first official overseas gig. But, sadly, due to my persistent ailing back, I will be unable to make the trip.


The Bazaar is an initiative that was begun 4 years ago by the Dutch development organization HIVOS, in collaboration with the Green Left party ‘Groen Links,’ the Peace movement IKV Pax Christi, and the office for social engineering Partizan Publik. The festival is a platform and breeding ground for alternative voices from -- and about -- the Middle East, mixing art, culture and politics. In previous years, the Bazaar organized an Afghan peace talk simulation for politicians, a satellite interview with Hezbollah, a Palestinian Hip Hop concert, displayed the wreckages of the Baghdad book market bombing on the Amsterdam Leidseplein, published a magazine on cultural politics and the Middle East, and facilitated countless debates, interviews, talks.

Hosting the ME$EX are Petra Stienen, a diplomat and writer, and writer/ journalist Bahram Sadeghi. On the ticket:

Rani Rajji (Activist, Architect, Journalist Beirut/Dubai)
Matthijs Bouw (Director of One Architecture)
Max Rodenbeck (Chief Middle East Correspondent for The Economist)
Leo Kwarten (Middle East Consultant for Shell)
Mariko Peters (MP Green Left Party)
Egbert Wesselink (IKV PAX Christi)
Marcel van der Heijden (Hivos)

Following the speakers will be a mini documentary film fest showing what looks like some good works, none of which I have been familiar with up until now: Rising Gulf, on this rapid modernization process which is taking place in this part of the Arab World, Satellite Queens, or, Behind the Scenes of a Prime Time Arab Talk Show, and A Way Out of the War on Terror, a portrait of Alistair Crooke, the founder of Conflicts Forum – an international movement which engages with Islamist movements broadly.

Needless to say, I'm really bummed I won't be there meeting these people, engaging the dialogue, learning from some real experts on the development of the Middle East. Next time. So, if you’re around go check it out. And, you know the routine, report back and let us know what you thought.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sucks to hear. Sounds like an awesome event.

7:36 PM  

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