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Egyptian Attitudes

#BBCtrending: Why George Orwell is Trending in Egypt

George Orwell, the author of the famous novel 1984, is trending on Twitter after a student was arrested while carrying a copy of the book. Egyptian on social media seized on the perceived irony of the situation and a well known journalist remarked, “that the book is now more popular than ever in Egypt.” The reports however may be false and the Giza Security Directorate, General Mahmoud Farouk says the novel had nothing to do with the arrest. Instead it is reported that the student was carrying materials supportive of ISIL. The charges against the student remained unclear.

The Satirical Comic Imagines Egypt in 3014, and Nothing has Improved

Sherif Adel, an Egyptian cartoonist, has just released his new satirical comic called “Pass By Tomorrow” which was initially satire of the 1990s series of novellas called “Future File” but became a standalone project. “Future File” depicted Egypt as an advanced society where the world turns to if there is trouble. Adel satirizes “Future File” by depicting Egypt as largely the same where citizens deal with the problems of corruption, traffic, political indifference, and street harassment in the same apathetic way. “Pass by Tomorrow” is promised to be released every month and just had a launch event in Cairo.

Egyptian Attitudes 

Egyptians are well aware that the society they live in is definitely not the most free, especially when compared to other modern countries. The advent of the internet allows Egyptian to vent their anger at the issue but it seems that the fire of the revolution that toppled a decades old regime has died down. Sherif Adel’s comic pokes fun at what he sees as Egyptian apathy towards their situation and it is implied that he believe that nothing will change. Social media is a powerful tool to incite action, a a group of people tweeting about a subject might raise awareness but if nobody does anything than it is just an empty message that will be drowned out by something else in the coming weeks. While it seems the 1984 scandal was false and the student might have been a sympathizer of ISIL, initially people all over Egypt became involved but only through their computer screens. Why this sudden apathy to al-Sisi’s increasing restrictions? Perhaps Egyptians are intimidated, there was just recently a round of student arrests. Or they are content with they way things are. Egyptians lived under Mubarak for decades and compared to him, al-Sisi doesn’t seem too bad and they don’t want to stir the pot and risk another power struggle. Of course this is all speculation but there has to be a reason for the revolution dying out as fast as it was formed. However it is important to remember that for all its ills Egypt isn’t that bad, the government isn’t targeting and killing countless civilians, the only terrorist threat is in a sparsely populated peninsula, and for the most part citizens’ needs are met. So it might be beneficial just to wait and see instead of starting another revolution that could easily be disastrous for the people and might not promise anything better.

 

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