Lawrence Abu Hamdan


Forensic Listening

The All-Hearing


So pervasive to daily Cairo life is a loudspeaker libertarianism, that the issue of hearing damage and noise pollution was immediately accepted as a topic for a Friday sermon when I suggested the idea to two Cairene Sheikhs. Despite new laws that the military government established that seek to monotonize the delivery of sermons by enforcing Sheikhs to only give speeches according to the weekly government sanctioned topic, our Sheikhs remained even more determined to have the issue of noise heard. And heard not only to their congregation inside the mosque but to all those passers by who were barraged by the mosques loudspeakers broadcasting into the streets outside. The military crackdown on the amplified voices of the city is done in the name of policing noise and the lawless terrain of the loudspeaker yet it is in fact simply a means to direct the flow of voices away from espousing anything against the government. Anything that they do not want heard. Hence on the day the Sheikhs delivered their sermons on noise pollution as far as the ear could hear all the mosques in the surrounding area were explaining the Prophet's Ascension to Heaven, the government dictated topic of that week.- Lawrence Abu Hamdan

Member of Roundtable Two