The Humor of the Egyptian Revolution

Over at The Atlantic, Anna Louie Sussman looked at the role that humor played in the recent (and ongoing) Egyptian revolution. It’s facinating!

The longer Mubarak stayed, the more the jokes piled up, much like the growing mound of trash in the center of Tahrir Square. Protesters renamed both the garbage pile and the toilets renamed “National Democratic Party headquarters” — a reference to Mubarak’s party, the real headquarters of which was destroyed by protesters. When Vice President Omar Suleiman denounced the protesters’ “foreign agendas,” young people showed up to the square with plain blank notebooks, Salem says. “Whoops,” they told one another, “I left my ‘agenda’ at home.”

When state television accused protesters of being foreign agents, paid with fistfuls of Euros and meals from Kentucky Fried Chicken, one protester filmed his comrades enjoying their “KFC”: humble sandwiches of bread and cheese. And that $100 bribe? “I transferred it to Switzerland,” one grinning man tells the camera, falafel in hand.

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