Published: 11/21/2014

One of the interesting things about living and working in Qatar was that I got to be exposed to a lot of other Arab cultural things - including a lot of pop culture. Egypt has the largest Arab population, and so there are many Egyptian expats around the Arab world, including a lot of people in Qatar. Working with a bunch of Egyptians in a Computer Science field, I got to see a lot of Egyptian internet memes. Here are two of my favorites.

As most people know, there has been a lot of unrest in Egypt in the last 3 or so years. After 3 decades of rule, Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power in the Arab Spring. Voters shortly after elected Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood (a more conservative political party). After a year in office, he was ousted by the Military and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who is currently ruling Egypt after another election. The transition between Morsi and Sisi was extremely controversial, and rather than discussing what happened, here's two internet memes that that went viral among Egyptians.

Shut Up Your Mouse Obama

This woman's video went viral among Egyptians because of her poor English. As with anything internet related that you would see in Western Culture, this spawned all kinds of memes and derivations. I even saw t-shirts with "Shut up your" and "Obama" transliterated into the Arabic script with an image of a mouse. Try Googling "Shut up your mouse obama" and you can see a whole host of them. Among the educated Egyptians I knew, regardless of their views on Morsi or Sisi, they generally found this woman's video laughably dumb. My favorite derivation was this remix. "Sisi Yes! Sisi Yes! Morsi No! Morsi No!" We definitely were rocking out to this remix in the office one week.

Bushrat Kheer -بشرة خير - (Good Omen)

This music video, by a famous Emirati, was released shortly before the Egyptian elections. Meaning "Good Omen", it was viewed by many Egyptians as propaganda because it only shows people happy all over Egypt. Many of the lyrics and the signs people are holding up are places in Egypt, which gives an impression of a unified Egypt. However, the song is quite catchy and so was very popular. It also spawned some internet memes. Described to me as "The Egyptian Harlem Shake", the videos start out with everyone very sad, but then after a few seconds, they are all happy. There are tons of videos out there, but here's one example. There's some good videos with Tom and Jerry as well.

That previous video is the format most of them are, but some actually do completely rip off the Harlem Shake meme.