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Monday, 22 April 2019

Spiderman 'exhausted' by Cairo

Two young men carry out a street experiment in the capital of Egypt, one of the most difficult cities to live in in the world

Reem Gehad , Sunday 7 Dec 2014
Spider-Man in Egypt
A man in a Spider-Man costume hangs upside down in Cairo's Metro in Egypt, December 2014. (Photo: Courtesy of Photographer Hossam Atef Farouk and Antikka Photography Facebook page)
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Twenty million people living in Egypt’s capital city - whose Arabic name is translated as ‘victorious’ at times and ‘vanquishing’ at others - push tiredly and grudgingly every day through a struggle to carry out the routine of their daily lives.

But Hossam Atef, 20, a freelance photographer living in Cairo, decided to make the sad indifference stand out.

“We thought if Spiderman spent a normal day of an Egyptian’s life, what would happen?” Atef told Ahram Online.

“He became exhausted!” exclaimed 21-year-old chef Atef Saad, who plays Spiderman on the streets. “Even Spiderman could not take it in.”

For four days Spiderman has been shot on Cairo’s streets going about normal daily activities, with his photos going viral on social media.

"In fact, all Egyptians are superheroes for enduring these difficulties every day," Atef added.

Running on the street to catch the overcrowded bus (that usually does not wait and maybe another one will not come), trying to break up a street fight, squeezing into a metro carriage, sleeping on the street, working on a toktok for extra cash - the dust, the noise, the chaos.

Cairo was ranked 122 out of 140 cities around the world in the 2013 Global Livability Ranking conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The city ranks among the top around the world in population density and noise levels.

Spiderman has been to several working-class districts around Cairo including Boulaq El-Dakrour, Sayeda Zeinab and Talbeya.

As many Cairene neighbourhoods remain downrun with hardly any public space to accommodate children's activities, youngsters are Spiderman’s most excited audience.

In one instance tens of school children surrounded him and clung to him until he had to run away. Atef and Saad sought a traditional cafe in the neighbourhood where the owner seemed to give a special welcome.

“Seeing how the children loved us, he thought we were ‘[President] Sisi’s men’ and decided to offer us free drinks,” he said.

Shubra
A man in a Spider-Man costume encircled by jubilant schoolboys, Cairo, Egypt, December 2014. (Photo: Courtesy of Photographer Hossam Atef Farouk and Antikka Photography Facebook page)

                        
However, even popular superheroes do not escape police scrutiny in Cairo.

Atef recounted that to take a photo on the metro Spiderman had to use camouflage – he wore a galabeya [traditional men's dress] over his outfit while the photographer rolled a sweatshirt over his camera.

Once inside the carriage and the metro took off, Spiderman revealed himself and Atef took his shot.

"We do not have a license [to shoot in these public places] and no one would understand what we are trying to do," he said.

tuk-tuk
Spider-Man drives a tuk-tuk taxi in Cairo, Egypt, December 2014 (Photo: Courtesy of Photographer Hossam Atef Farouk and Antikka Photography Facebook page)


Another time in downtown the duo were stopped and questioned by police. They took their national identity cards and checked their records before they let them go.

Cairo’s streets have been an increasingly hostile environment for photographers as police tighten their grip as part of a government campaign to “combat terrorism.”

Meanwhile, the Spiderman team said they would continue to take photos around Cairo and still have many ideas to shoot, perhaps with a special surprise later.

“Wait for us in January!” Saad said.

bus
Spider-Man trying to catch a bus in Cairo, Egypt, December 2014. (Photo: Courtesy of Photographer Hossam Atef Farouk and Antikka Photography Facebook page)

white taxi
Spider-Man sits above one of Cairo's white taxis in the Nile Corniche in Downtown, Egypt, December 2014. (Photo: Courtesy of Photographer Hossam Atef Farouk and Antikka Photography Facebook page)

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12



Farida
08-01-2015 04:54pm
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Tired?
Probably from hanging upside down on the subway or jumping on top of cars made him tired? They are getting as weird as Canada :o/
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11



Spider-Man Egypt
19-12-2014 05:26pm
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Credit Spider-Man Egypt on Facebook
Credit Spider-Man Egypt on Facebook @spidermaninegypt
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10



Igo3
11-12-2014 07:13pm
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Nice!
Hey, I think I understand what you're trying to do and show. It's really great. Laughed a lot because the Spiderman in Cairo is so grotesque. Thanks for taking the risk of taking such photos. Please don't stop!
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Rinaldo
11-12-2014 10:16am
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Dear Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man
I love the good superheros and hate the vilons ,hope you reach your goal I wish the government to sensitize and Egypt becomes a transparent democracy and that peace reigns forever
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8



Rinaldo
11-12-2014 10:16am
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Dear Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man
I love the good superheros and hate the vilons ,hope you reach your goal I wish the government to sensitize and Egypt becomes a transparent democracy and that peace reigns forever
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7



abanoub gerges
09-12-2014 05:56am
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it is realy a dumb
He isn't a real character only god who have all the powers can u make the jocker in the dark knight it is evil character and all the people like it better than the good I hate the good superheros and like the vilons
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6



Bakh
08-12-2014 12:19pm
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Good diversion from the hustle and bussel of life
Very good way to divert the attention of people and entertain children and others away from the terror of MB, and busy life earning a living.
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Mohammad A. Mua
08-12-2014 10:19am
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Super stunts
Wow, what a stunt; great; please come and join us also in a super publicity project to promote a development of a "super plane - a futuristic, alien plane for the poor, and safety conscious. It will be superb; just try or contact us
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4



Loller
08-12-2014 05:13am
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lolling
I lolled a lol loller than the lol that you lolled
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3



Cairene
08-12-2014 04:33am
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Dumb
This is so dumb. "Social Experiment" my A$$. Why are Egyptians amazed at some guy in a leotard? Don't they know he's not real, he's a figment of a main stream media creating characters to market to you. Grow up, Egyptians.
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Hala
08-12-2014 11:16am
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not dumb
nothing is dumb if it makes people happy
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