“The People Want the Regime to Fall.”
OK, so I’m sure that back in February, whenever Egypt won its nonviolent struggle against Hosni Mubarak, most of you promptly forgot about it. At the very least, it sure seems the media has. No one seems to talk about it anymore, but if you google anything involving Egypt and revolution, the conversation is clearly still going on. A lot of us still have amazingly high hopes for this country, and we’re talking and watching to see what’s going to happen come September, when the country has its first elections in over 30 years.
Anyway, while visiting one of my favorite nonviolence sites, Waging Nonviolence, when I stumbled across this article here, which talks about the rise of street art in Egypt since the revolution. It’s really cool actually; they’ve even got a facebook page up where you can go see some of the work.
Now I bet some of you are thinking, “Wait, graffiti is really immoral. They shouldn’t be defacing property like that.” Frankly, that’s the standpoint we’re raised with, and there is some negative association with graffiti in the US that can be justified. Still, did you know that graffiti goes as far back as Roman times? In fact, when digging around Pompeii, many of the walls they found had all kinds of things that people were saying, “Everyone writes on the walls but me!” It was common for people to write stuff on walls, ranging from silly things (like the above mentioned phrase) to political statements (there was even a phrase, “Vote for (name not found), the man of liars, cheaters and murders.” And you thought OUR political ads were bad.) Even the word graffiti refers to the way potters used to etch designs into their pots.
Today, though the term “street art” is preferred, the controversy has never been bigger. Because some graffiti is known to be representative of gang signs, I understand why people would have negative connotations with it, but I’m telling you now, do not let the few rotten apples spoil the whole bunch. Street artists truly have gifts, and they are taking on a tradition that spans thousands of years. When you see some street art, stop and contemplate it; think about what the artist is saying. Perhaps you’ll find it moving, or enlightening, but don’t just write it off as vandalism. Though I wish sometimes that these guys didn’t have to do what they do illegally, the attitude toward what they do needs to change before that can happen.
Anyway, in reference to the stuff in Egypt, here’s a few samples!
If you want more, google it. There’s TONS of images to see!