Comics in Cairo Metro Stations Join Campaign Against Sexual Harassment

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ArabLit & ArabLit Quarterly

Sexual harrassment has been one of the signature themes of twenty-first-century Cairo comics:

Taken from Facebook. Taken from Facebook.

There is Deena Mohamed’s Qahera, which recently won “Best Digital Comic” at the inagural CairoComix Festival last month. In Qahera, a”visibly Muslim” female superhero beats back the city’s harrassers. There’s also Shakmagia (Jewelry Box) magazine, published by the Nazra Center for Women’s Studies, which focused its launch issue around sexual harrassment and sexual violence.

Other anti-sexual-harrassment superheros include Dostour’sSuper Makh and the “Asa7be Man,” whose slogan is: “Be a man and protect her instead of harassing her.”

Egypt’s main comics magazine for adults, TokTok, has also featured commentary on sexual harrassment. Even Cairo’s first full-length graphic novel, Magdy al-Shafee’s Metro, depicted sexual harrassment. This focus on harrassment indicates both the scope of the problem and a shared feeling that something can be done to change attitudes, particularly through a visual storytelling medium…

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Discover Egypt’s Revolutionary Street Art, in Washington D.C. Henri Neuendorf, Friday, January 16, 2015 http://news.artnet.com/in-brief/discover-egypts-revolutionary-street-art-in-washington-dc-221957

2015-15-01-egypt-graffiti

An American tourism professional who captured Cairo’s politically charged graffiti during the Arab Spring is organizing an exhibition of her photography in Washington D.C., the Capitol Hill Times reports.

Genevieve Hathaway moved to Egypt in 2011 to help a friend start her tour company. She unexpectedly found herself in the middle of the Egyptian Revolution—at a time when many Egyptian artists took to the streets of Cairo to express themselves.

Hathaway told the Capitol Hill Times “I was living on Tahrir Square watching the street art evolve and nobody was documenting it. This was extremely evocative art that stood a chance of being lost forever, and much of it will never be seen.” Determined to preserve the Egyptian people’s revolutionary art she resolved to document as many murals across Cairo as possible.

Before the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign in 2011, citizens who voiced opposition to the government were risking jail, torture and even death. However, the danger didn’t discourage some brave individuals from making their feelings known.

“The street art gave people something to talk about in a culture that never allowed political discussion,” Hathaway said. “I want to empower people to see the Arab Spring in a different light. I don’t think the Arab Spring was a failed event. It brought the masses together for a common goal: democracy.”

War on Walls: Egypt’s Arab Spring Street Art is on view at St. Marks Cathedral until February 15