AL MASRY AL YOUM, MASRAWY (Egypt)
CAIRO – Social networks bristled with rage last week when city workers in the capital began painting over graffiti near Tahrir Square, including some iconic images and writings commemorating the 2011 Revolution.
Now Cairo’s mayor Osama Kamel has conceded that the clean-up of the walls of Mohamed Mahmoud Street was a simple "mistake."
Kamel, whose position is also commonly referred to as governor of Cairo, explained over the weekend that orders were given by the government to "repaint the walls on which there are words or sentences violating the law or traditions." Cairo daily Al Masry Al Youm reported that Kamel said that the workers in charge of repainting the walls were unaware of the cultural importance of the graffiti along Mohamed Mahmoud Street.
The mayor’s declaration was intended to clarify that there were no political intentions behind this act that outraged many Egyptians. Mohamed Mahmoud Street, which is one of the streets leading to Tahrir square, became a symbol of the uprising a few months after the toppling of the Mubarak regime. It was then after protesters had returned to the streets asking the army to hand the power to a civil authority that a violent army crackdown led to the death of hundreds of demonstrators -- and many of the fiercest confrontations took place along Mohamed Mahmoud Street, which his since come to be known as "Martyrs' Street."
More generally, graffiti depicting the events and martyrs of the revolution has come to be seen as one of the new ways youth learned to express themselves after January 25th. Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil also criticized the city workers who painted over these graffiti commemorating the revolution, reported Masrawy. He called on painters and artists to get out and transform Tahrir Square and surrounding streets into a pilgrimage spot to revive the spirit of the revolution through graffiti.
On Facebook, blaming it all on workers did not seem to calm anyone down. As soon as the news was posted on Facebook, many hit the streets re-painting the faces of the martyrs and revolution slogans. Many also described the government as being as cowardly as the old regime for fearing the power of popular art.
See more photos from Facebook group: HERE