Egyptians have always been able to detect a line with funny potential. Whether it be films, theatre, or political speeches, certain lines are immortalized in pop culture. More often than not, those lines ironically point out something that Egyptians can all relate to; us Egyptians love sarcasm!
“it’s still an unfinished project, it was just shared by an online celebrity and that’s what made it go viral before I finish the album”
This is why, after noticing how much people were using Sisi’s line “maysa7esh keda”, which roughly translates to “that’s just not right”, Mohamed Abido got an idea. He started a picture album on Facebook, which only has three pictures so far. Each picture in this album includes these words written on a piece of paper, held up against a background of an image portraying the corruption and injustice in the country.
Raising awareness through art is tricky.
Mohamed Abido is studying mechanical engineering at Mansoura University. This is not his only passion, however. He has always been fond of calligraphy. His “Maysa7esh Keda” album, which went viral quickly, contains calligraphy done by him. The idea itself came to him partially out of his love for calligraphy. A light bulb went on in his head when he connected that with the popularity of the phrase, “when the phrase spread like wildfire, I wanted to use it in a funny way to criticize the society and government”, he says, “I thought of it as art, but then everyone started using it for their own agenda”.
While this was expected, Abido didn’t want this to happen, “Muslim Brotherhood supporters used the pictures for their own agenda, and this could actually put me in danger”, he tells, “and someone made a graffiti of the phrase in Mohamed Mahmoud and I had nothing to do with that”. It would be expected that with the heightened, almost paranoid security in the country, Abido would feel threatened by authorities. This doesn’t seem to be the case, “the attacks started after I started talking about Muslim Brotherhood supporters using my images; that’s when I was cussed at”, he recalls, “but from authorities, nothing happened, actually”.
“I’ll point it out in a funny way, like ‘that’s just not right’ and I don’t only criticize the government, I criticize the entire society’s behavior as well”
Raising awareness through art is tricky. Abido seems like he understands the formula, “it mainly depends on whether or not it’s funny”, he explains, “this delivers the message the most, and it needs to be done with love, because Egyptians are already going through a lot”. Abido even utilized this idea to express his frustration about the fact that El Mahalla, his hometown, has been out of water for four consecutive days, “I’ll point it out in a funny way, like ‘that’s just not right’ and I don’t only criticize the government, I criticize the entire society’s behavior as well”, he tells.
The few pictures he published garnered a lot of likes and shares and became an instant Internet hit. He is now, however, consumed in his graduation project. Still, Abido plans on continuing with his “Maysa7esh Keda” project, “it’s still an unfinished project, it was just shared by an online celebrity and that’s what made it go viral before I finish the album”, he tells, “of course I’ll go on to add more to it and make other projects as well”.