Platform for discussion001
Sitting in the sweltering sun of Sharjah on a large rolled carpet on the open esplanade facing the museum, I express to an acquaintance, my uneasiness and inability to respond to the question. We need MENA (I had continually mistaken it for MENASA, unconsciously adding yet another region to the equation, another source of anxious unknowing). Having travelled in and around the aforementioned region more than I have, his response is intuitively political, to the point: 'Why don't they ask their troops?' Nothing prepared me for the array of answers I got from friends and acquaintances as I uttered the apprehensive question, perhaps as an attempt to relieve myself of this responsibility. The responsibility of accurate answerability.
To articulate an incisive and substantial response to what should or ought to be unpacked is always an uneasy position, and yet it is appealing to work through. How to organise the things we have experienced from it, what we believe we know of it and what we read about it. MENA is a space of dissonance and confounding narratives. Nothing is ever as it seems, as it is told, as we want it to be.
On the aeroplane flying me to Cairo that evening, as I looked at the city's sea of flickering lights, I asked myself the question that had been so obsessively occupying my mind: 'What do I need to know?' My answer was and is still there, incessantly looping a sense of unfulfilled desire to know more. What have I got to share and with whom? When an articulate answer will present itself, very little will be known.
What is a platform?
A platform is a space for speaking in public. It is an opportunity to express ideas and thoughts. It also suggests the formal declaration of a stance or position on any given subject.
Unique to Ibraaz is a 'platform', a question put to writers, thinkers and artists about an issue relevant to the MENA region. This platform is sent to respondents both within and beyond the MENA region and contributions will be archived every 12 months.