Sunday (Part II) — How I made Barack Obama my English Teacher

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Date/Time: 02/11/2008 12:00 am

This is rough draft of our forthcoming email about the event.
Sunday (Part II) — How I made Barack Obama my English Teacher
1. About this Sunday (Part II)
2. About Fadi Toufiq
1. About this Sunday (Part II)
When: Sunday, November 2, 8pm
What: Performance / “How I made Barack Obama my English Teacher”
Where: 16 Beaver Street 4th Floor
Who: All are welcome
This event / performance came about accidentally. It came from concurrent and parallel discussions as is often the case with friendship. They ranged from the political situation in Lebanon to the ubiquity of youtube in social circumstances and to the political context here in the U.S.A, including the upcoming elections.
So “who is Obama?” was not exactly at the beginning of our discussions with Fadi. However, his growing fascination and his concurrent descriptions of his forays into youtube to discover more, made us even more curious – to see this perspective: of someone who is coming from Lebanon, who lived through the civil war and the current upheavals there, who is a writer, a filmmaker, has published in papers and written plays, as someone who is not satisfied with simple answers, nor is fooled by the theatrical rhetoric of politicians.
The allure of Obama for Fadi was two-fold we learned, as our conversations proceeded. We learned that Barack Hussein Obama had also become Fadi’s English teacher. Hence the title of Sunday night’s performance.
We appreciate the attempts of Simon Critchley at unmasking some of the rhetorics behind this question of ‘Who is Obama?’ We were also impressed with the attempts made by Angela Davis, who spoke this thursday at cooper union, to affirm the arrival of Obama not as that of a messianic figure, but rather a consequence of a great deal of collective struggle waged in the last two centuries. How to retain our proximity to the names and bodies we will never see or hear or find, she asked. The point made by Davis: the struggle is a long one, and a collective one, so let’s take to the streets the day after the elections, no matter who wins!
Our event, is a compliment to these two talks and to our sunday afternoon conversation concerning democracy (PART I). It will be a performance of Fadi Toufiq’s “How I made Barack Obama my English Teacher.”
2. About Fadi Toufiq
Fadi Toufiq has studied sociology and political science in the Lebanese university of Beirut, and graduated with MA in sociology and BA in political science, since then he has been publishing articles concerning, politics, urban culture, media, and modernity in several newspapers, magazines and other publications. Some of his articles have been translated and republished in various magazines and websites abroad such as le courier international, bablemed and documenta magazine. HIs most recent works include:
‘The Narrow Land of God’ (2005) – book
‘Master of the Wall’ (2005) – photograpy and text about beiruti graffiti trying to interpret its meaning within the context of political and religious divisions in the city of Beirut.
‘The Sky is always Above’ (2006) – documentary film in collaboration with the Lebanese filmmaker Mohamed sweid
‘How Nancy Wished that Everything was an April Fool Joke’ (2007) – play co-authored with rabieh mroue

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