December 2020 Graffiti and Political Sarcasm as Tools for Political Participation in Egypt
Mahmoud Hammad Protection Staff UNHCR Egypt

Abstract

Social media have provided space for citizens to comment on and criticize the policies during the time of troubles. Considering the growing importance of social media, many scholars have argued that 2010-2011 revolutions that took place in Southern neighborhood countries, including Egypt, were mainly a result of online campaigns organized to mobilize people. Others, however, warned about overestimating the capacities of online media.

The key question is therefore if and to what extent social media have contributed to mobilizing citizens of Tunisia and Egypt. In the Egyptian context, indeed, one of the forms frequently used on social media to refer to political developments and realities have been sarcasm and satire. Following 2011 revolution, another visually attractive form of activism appeared – graffiti -, produced by young street artists, which aimed to keep the spirit of the revolution awake.

This article examines the transformation of activism and a gradual development of its tools, from a more “traditional” use of online tools (i.e. posting and moderating a debate on social media) to adoption of more captivating tactics – political sarcasm and graffiti.