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September 18, 2012

What’s in a Picture? — #IslamicRage Meets #OccupyWallStreet

So many people have emailed me this photo, I wanted to hear your thoughts about it. Here’s the caption:

Egyptian protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks pose for a photo graffiti on a wall of the U.S. embassy during a protest in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012. Egyptian protesters, largely ultra conservative Islamists, have climbed the walls of the U.S. embassy in Cairo, went into the courtyard and brought down the flag, replacing it with a black flag with Islamic inscription, in protest of a film deemed offensive of Islam. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)


a.) this was taken during the U.S. embassy protest in Cairo quick on the heels of the attack on the U.S. embassy in Bengazhi and the killing of the U.S. ambassador,

b.) this action takes place very close to the first anniversary of the Occupy movement, and commemoration protests in NYC, and elsewhere,

c.) people in Guy Fawkes masks were seen throughout the Cairo protests inviting parallels between recent Muslim unrest, the Arab Spring and OWS,

d) the video, titled “Innocence of Muslims” — drawing a cheap and perverted image of Muhammed, and nominally held responsible for sparking the Muslim protests against the US — has spawned many references to “the Prophet” in graffiti and protest signs,

….I’m interested to know how you make sense of this?

(special h/t: Loret Steinberg)

  • Marcel Côté

    What’s to understand? It is a bunch of Egyptian hipsters / graffitti taggers / admirers of Anonymous / Occupy / Vendetta, going out to express their outrage at the anti-Mohammed film (and love for the Prophet) in their own way.

    By the way, “ultra-conservative” in the caption is wrong. The majority of protesters weren’t Salafis, they were perfectly ordinary Muslim youth, quite Westernized in many ways. You don’t have to be “ultra-conservative” to love the Prophet, or perceive that film as an insult.

  • black_dog_barking

    Another pun! Not visual this time, just words, but ‘prophet’ works two ways in English.There was a time when the pun held a respectable place in rhetoric, admittedly several centuries ago …

  • bystander

    Wishing I had a better monitor, or better eyeglasses. I wonder about what looks to be an ID tag with picture worn around the neck of the individual in the plaid shirt on the right.

    • Michael Shaw

      Actually, here’s a version of the photo that’s 5200 wide. On my machine, I can scroll around to look at details. I didn’t notice the tag at all until you brought it up. It looks very official, though I don’t know how to identify it. It makes for a mystery, though, if this group was otherwise agitating. Perhaps a reader will be able to translate the tag.

  • Serr8d

    Oh by the way, which one’s Prophet ?

  • Cactus

    Don’t really get this one….looks to be a bunch of
    20-somethings having a lark so as not to be left out of all the noise. Perhaps
    this is a wall of the embassy, but I’m not so sure; it appears the wall has been
    partially painted, as if over some previous graffiti. I just don’t get the
    feeling these guys are threatening.

    The badge appears to be that of a business, photo ID
    with his name under and probably the company name down the left side, but looks
    to be in Arabic (obviously).

  • Thomas Gokey

    I love Anonymous but I’ve never really liked the Guy Fawkes masks. Guy Fawkes was a religious extremist who was willing to use violence and in those regards is out of step with OWS. In a lot of ways the historical Guy Fawkes is closer to Terry Jones than to anyone else related to this story, they both even have eccentric mustaches.

    In many ways it is fascinating to see young Islamic men who are understandably outraged by an insulting video made by a Christian extremist in the US identify with a British Catholic terrorist to defend the honor of the prophet Muhammad. Strage bedfellows I guess.

  • bystander

    Whoa. Interesting. Thanks, Michael. It is a mystery. Picture ID is not something I’d display as an agitator and have visible for the group photo. Why bother with a mask?

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