Although reform – economic, political and security – has been, at best, slow (and at worst, non-existent), the people of Egypt undoubtedly have more freedom of expression than before the fall of Mubarak earlier this year. Debate is more open, protesters are still lodging complaints about the government and, naturally, the now depressed Mubarak has been sacrificed by the interim government as a symbol of the old regime. (Despite the fact that many in SCAF were very closely aligned with Mubarak). I was in Egypt in April – where my visit was cut dramatically short by an emergency appendectomy – and was able to see how many Egyptians have taken up art as a means of expression. Print magazine has published a few post-Mubarak pictures that I have reproduced below (the above picture is one I took in Tahrir Square). Check out all of the pictures posted by Print, but some thoughts:
- The revolutionary license plate (photo #12) is everywhere in Egypt – as in on every car and plastered on every building;
- Egyptian street vendors (see photo #13) are making a killing by selling cheap revolution shirts, hats and flags. These carts and cars covered in revolution gear are almost as ubiquitous as the license plate stickers.
- Graffiti offering homage to Facebook and Twitter (photo #1) is very common, demonstrating the role technology played in the revolution.
- The decision of SCAF to whitewash many of the murals criticizing the interim government (see photo #2) is pretty synonymous with the military’s unwillingness to implement real reforms. Am I wrong here?
Photos from Chris Keeler, 2011 and Print