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The Witty Revolution

Makan takes you right into the heart of the 25 January Revolution, with a video presentation of the Tahrir Square demonstrations’ charming witticisms.

Sara Elkamel, Wednesday 16 Feb 2011
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one of the cartoons of the revolution shows the ex-president with a fortune teller that assures that "she sees a travel route ahead of him photo by Sara Elkamel
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Makan takes you right into the heart of the 25 January Revolution, with a video presentation of the Tahrir Square demonstrations’ charming witticisms.

The Egyptians have pulled off the unthinkable: they linked hands and unanimously cried out for freedom, ousting a harsh regime after three decades of fear and suffering - and they did so with a remarkable sense of humour.The brilliance of this revolution does not merely lie in the perseverance, organisation, or massive participation of the country’s youth, but also in the extraordinary spirit and wit that prevailed throughout. 

The Egyptian Centre for Culture and Arts, more commonly known as Makan, has prepared episodes of “revolutionary humour”, revealing snapshots of the revolution’s most delightful moments.In a wholly authentic venue where folkloric music is usually played, eager Egyptians, still in a celebratory mood after the triumph of the revolution, take their seats on the red and black chairs in anticipation of ‘The Witty Revolution’ video. The dim lighting contrasts with the bright smiles everyone was wearing, along with some enthusiastic shouts of “Long Live Egypt”.

The uninhibited chants of millions of Egyptian youth made their way into the room, and acted as the soundtrack to the video. Despite the speakers being too low, the atmosphere changed at once, and the folkloric arts centre turned into a off-shoot of Tahrir Sqaure, where freedom was born.The video proceeds to show the audience snapshots from the 18 days of protests; some heart-warming, some hilarious, and some outright bizarre. While we usually see the Egyptian flag being patriotically waved in the air, we are exposed to a photo of a man somehow engulfed by the flag - perhaps demonstrating the pinnacle of patriotism. A young protestor, who is probably caught in the middle between his girl and his country, holds up “Leave, I miss my fiancé”.  Some write ‘Leave’ backwards, out of frustration that it had taken the president so long to respond to the people’s frantic chants.

Photographs of the demonstrations play out consecutively on the screen, perhaps less atmospheric than actual video. A man holds up "Mubarak, Game Over" with a smirk.  Egyptian voices alternate throughout the video, as do their faces. Signs are glued to lampposts, draped from buildings, plastered on walls, and scribbled on pillars. An eclectic crowd is shown, expressing their views in diverse ways.

Amid the serious political posters, many are just comic relief. “I demand the Internet”, “Leave - my hands hurt”, “Hurry up - I need a haircut” are hardly stern requests. Elaborate calligraphy contrasts with childish doodles, and illustrations make their way into the signs. All the while, chants are adorned with enthusiastic clapping and drumming.Many young men claim that they have changed their permanent address to Tahrir Square - and such hyperbole generates some giggles. A few protestors also seem to have taken up body art - for the words ‘Leave’ and ‘What are you waiting for?’ make their way on to their chests, backs and hands.

Creativity is admirable too.  Some hold up posters stating Mubarak’s qualifications to include “An M.A in unemployment”, and a “Wanted: Thugs with minimum 5 years experience” sign can be spotted.

The footage also proves that the revolution was very colourful, for pink, blue and orange balloons are visible, along with a plethora of colour-infused posters.“The Witty Revolution” video presentation will be shown for a second night, on Wednesday 6 February 2011 at the following times: 8.00 – 8.45 pm, 9.00 – 9.45 pm, and 10.00 -10.45 pm.It is a unique chance to smile with pride at the success of the revolution, and experience the addictive Tahrir (Liberation) atmosphere once again.

 

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