Jigar Mehta is a digital entrepreneur and video journalist. He is the co-founder of the collaborative storytelling platform GroupStream which powers his documentary project 18 Days in Egypt. Visit the 18 Days in Egypt Kickstarter page to help fund the hiring of young Egyptian journalists and students to travel throughout Egypt to collect stories from the last year. This project was part of the inaugural Sundance Institute New Frontier Story Lab.
The entire 18 Days in Egypt team is in Cairo for the first anniversary of the Revolution. Little did we know that a major event would occur while we were here. One year exactly after the Battle of the Camels, when mounted thugs stormed into Cairo’s Tahrir Square and beat protesters, a soccer match erupted in violence leaving 74 dead.
18 Days in Egypt is an interactive documentary project that tells the story of the Egyptian Revolution, using the personal media created by Egyptians in the midst of their ongoing struggle. We want Egyptians to tell this story themselves, with their footage, their photos, their e-mails, their texts, even their Tweets and Facebook status updates, all created during the revolution.
18 Days in Egypt, which planned to deploy a team of young Egyptian journalists to collect stories and media fragments created around the events of the past year for an interactive documentary, changed course. Since the Egyptian freedom struggle continues today, 18 Days in Egypt is a living documentary—capturing the events of the revolution as it spirals forward.
The fellows at 18 Days in Egypt have been in the field documenting the latest clashes between protesters and security forces. They have been collecting social media from protesters, and using it to create distinct story streams at www.18DaysinEgypt.com
Events took a turn for the dramatic on February 1, when a soccer match between the al-Masry and al-Ahly teams turned deadly. In a matter of minutes, the death toll climbed from 5 to 20 to over 70. Our fellows gathered personal interviews and firsthand footage from on the ground to create a stream capturing little known details of the Ahly Massacre.
The die hard soccer fans, known as Ultras, retaliated with marches against the military council, which they believe orchestrated the attacks on the pro-revolution Ultras.
A funeral for the youngest killed in the attack—a 14-year-old!—was captured through the words of his friends just minutes before and after his funeral service.
As the clashes continued, our fellows focused on stories from the frontlines, including those about women, shopkeepers who stay open despite being surrounded by violence, motorcycle ambulances, and the tough task of negotiating a truce.
We have 6 fellows who are funded for 6 weeks to focus on stories in Cairo. That’s why we are raising funds through our Kickstarter campaign to fund the work of the fellows for an additional 6 months and to expand the program to 20 fellows.
Our fellows are: Sara Elkamel, an Egyptian journalist living in Cairo; Nesma El Shazly, a political science graduate of Cairo’s American University; Mostafaa Sheshtawy, an engineer and citizen photo journalist; Mohamed Abd El-Hamid, student and young revolutionary, and Carmel Delshad, a multimedia journalist.
Our fellows are back out today covering the personal stories on the frontlines of these clashes. We publish first to our twitter account so be sure to follow @18daysinegypt.