“Harlem Shake” Becomes Egyptian Protest Song

20 Mar

All of us in the U.S. have come to know and love/hate the “Harlem Shake” viral YouTube craze. But in Egypt, it’s taken on another meaning entirely: An act of political protest. This phenomenon that has the world laughing, has caught the imagination of revolutionaries as a new way to challenge the country’s new Islamist rulers.

“It’s a funny way to protest the Muslim Brotherhood who have taken control of the country,” said law student Tarek Badr, 22, who was one of more than 100 thrusting their hips in front of the political movement’s Cairo headquarters a few days ago. “People won’t be silent. They will protest in all ways and this is a peaceful way.”

About 400 young men did the “Harlem Shake” while chanting for the departure of Islamist Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi outside the Muslim Brotherhood’s main office in the Egyptian capital of Cairo.

The unusual protest captured the attention of Egypt’s protest-weary press corps — who almost outnumbered the gyrating protesters -– as well as a dozen stern-faced members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The movement’s figurehead Mohammed Morsi was named president in June after the country’s first democratic election in decades.

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After their Harlem Shake ended, participants took up the new revolutionary chant:  “The people want the fall of the ‘Murshid’ [the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood].”

A random conga line snaked through crowd shouting, “Leave, leave, leave.”

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The nearly overnight popularity of the Harlem Shake video began in Australia earlier this year, but soon spread around the world. All thanks to the power of social media. WeShareMedia accepts and looks forward to all potential viral videos and memes. This now begs the question as to what strange turn or what purpose those comedic videos will ultimately serve?

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