Monocolumn: T-Shirts And Tat Mark Egypt’s Revolution

Monocolumn: T-Shirts And Tat Mark Egypt’s Revolution

Egypt’s pro-democracy revolt may have been buried on the wrong side of the Great Chinese Firewall, but that hasn’t stopped China’s vast manufacturing industry from making a fast buck out of regime change in Cairo.

  • 2 march 2011

Monocolumn is Monocle’s daily bulletin of news and opinion. Catch up with previous editions here.

Egypt’s pro-democracy revolt may have been buried on the wrong side of the Great Chinese Firewall – the Beijing authorities filtered out news of the uprising from online searches and censored comments about it on web forums – but that hasn’t stopped China’s vast manufacturing industry from making a fast buck out of regime change in Cairo.

Only a few weeks after former president Hosni Mubarak was toppled following mass demonstrations and violent street battles launched by government security forces and pro-Mubarak thugs, roads which were once littered with rocks and molotov cocktails are now teeming with market stalls offering every conceivable type of plastic protest kitsch. Bandanas jostle with car licence plates, martyrs’ calendars are on sale next to “freedom pendants” and t-shirts, and flags – Egyptian, Libyan, and beyond, all made in China – are for sale by the bucket-load on every city corner. The revolution has been well and truly merchandised.

But although street traders are doing well out of the surge in nationalistic pride, not everyone is so happy about the instant commercialisation of such a hard-fought struggle for freedom. Mubarak may be gone, but the remnants of his regime remain very much in place – including in the prime minister’s office, where Ahmed Shafiq, a Mubarak-era cabinet member, continues to hang on to his job despite widespread protests against him.

The ruling military council that is overseeing Egypt’s “democratic transition” recently had to issue a ham-fisted apology after military police attacked peaceful demonstrators with tasers and batons outside parliament; meanwhile, strikes and sit-ins by workers seeking better wages and the removal of corrupt Mubarak acolytes from their organisations continue up and down the country. Amid all the ongoing turmoil lies a widespread belief that the revolution is far from being over – and hence tacky trinkets celebrating its success are a tad premature.

“Enough of the carnival in Tahrir,” said Egyptian journalist and protester Ayman Farag last week, as the country’s new tourism minister announced plans to invite “celebrity guests” – including Oprah Winfrey – to make appearances in the capital’s iconic central square. “This is a revolution not a football match. I’ll buy your key chain when the whole regime goes.”

To continue reading, click here.

Image credit


Fitness Advocate: Paving The Future of Workouts With Audio

Fitness & Sport
Food Today

Tiny Pub Only Has Space For Three People

Make Time For It is a small London pop-up bar that encourages conversation without the distraction of technology

Work Today

Community Builder: How to Hack Slack

Claire Wasserman, Founder of Ladies Get Paid, describes how she's using an internal team communication tool to build a network of thousands


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Work

See All
Advertising Today

This Beer Was Brewed Just For Scotch Drinkers

Highland Park Scotch Whisky & Sixpoint Brewery have teamed up to create two limited-edition pairings for New York City boilermakers

Related Expert

Katrin Baumgarten

Technology Artist, Interaction Design

Mobile Today

Pizza Hut Tattoo Lets You Place An Order From Your Body

The latest gimmick from the fast-food chain is a tattoo-like sticker that lets customers get delivery with a simple tap on their arm

Travel Today

Reinvented Bicycle Inspired By Supercar Design

The yellow bike based on a Lamborghini has sharp edges and an aluminum alloy frame

Health Today

Health Platform Gives Perspective On Your Weekly Habits

Gyroscope is a new wellness app that works by amalgamating data about your life into beautifully designed visuals


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 21, 2016

Health Expert: Nutritional Meal Replacements Are A Solution To Corporate Wellness

Ample Foods Founder Connor Young explains why supplements are the next food trend coming to the workplace

PSFK Labs october 21, 2016

PSFK Picks: Top 5 Performance-Enhancing Wearables

Our new report looks at innovations pioneering the future of performance through intelligent activewear and predictive analytics

Beauty Today

Korean Beauty Brand Uses VR To Let Customers Pick Their Ingredients

Innisfree created a unique experience for its Shanghai Disneyland customers with a virtual reality trip to select what goes into their purchase

Design & Architecture Today

3D-Printed Creations Resemble Floating Paper Outlines

Japanese design firm Nendo's exhibition features works that look like sheets of material being folded, torn, and crumpled

Technology october 21, 2016

Concept Camera Designed To Only Take Unique Photos

Camera Restricta is tool that prompts photographers to only capture one-of-a-kind images

Design & Architecture october 21, 2016

Dubai And The Future Of Humanitarian Design

In its second year, Global Grad Show brings together 145 cracks at a more sustainable, connected and empowered way of living

Retail october 21, 2016

LYNK & CO Is A New Auto Brand That Promises Mobile Connectivity On Wheels

Online access and mobility sharing are driving the company to disrupt the auto industry

Gaming & Play october 21, 2016

Nintendo’s New Console Pushes For Portable Gaming

The Switch allows gamers to seamlessly play on the go by themselves or with friends

No search results found.