re:publica 2013 – Heba Amin: The Revolution of Jokes

re:publica 2013 – Heba Amin: The Revolution of Jokes

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Egyptian memes are very telling of the reality Egyptians are living while also functioning as a collective coping mechanism. Humor during times of crisis is not unique to Egypt. However, the extent to which it has become integral to the culture and language of Egypt’s changing identity through digital tools and social media is. What, if anything, do these memes tell us about contemporary Egyptian culture and what can they predict about Egypt’s uncertain future?

Media coverage of the ‘Arab Spring’ often credited social media for inciting the uprisings and helping topple regimes. While many skeptics argued the claim, technological tools undoubtedly played significant roles not only in spreading information at an uncontrollable speed, but also in providing the Arab youth with a voice they never had. Social networking, however, is not new to the region. Middle Eastern youth have been using the Internet, and Facebook in particular, as a publishing platform for news and information far before the uprising started. Groups like the April 6th Youth Movement and the “We Are All Khaled Said” Facebook group gained mass media attention for cultivating a new wav…

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