The last few days, I’ve been seeing a lot of links shared about Egypt’s “Golden Years”, most prominently from an Egyptian Streets blog post (here is the post in question: 23 Photos of Egypt’s Golden Years). Their Facebook page heavily promoted the post, saying “Seriously, if you’re going to click or share something today, it should be this post." I wasn’t surprised to see a post like this from Egyptian Streets, which I usually like, but I was taken aback by how much they supported, or bought into, the images contained within the post. From the "Golden Years" titular terminology to the little comments beneath each photo. For example:
The Facebook comments section was predictably riled up, with some commenters longing for the days of King Farouk and describing his Egypt as European, and others offended by the idea that Egypt was “copying” Europe or if it was the other way around and so on.
Most striking to me, though, is the list’s apparent lack of interest in actually specifying what the “golden years” were. In the first paragraph, it simply refers to “Egypt in the 1900s” and goes from there. It then cherry picks from King Farouk’s colonial monarchy and the European fashions of some of the higher classes, Gamal Abdel Nasser’s psuedo-socialism and nationalism, and even refers to the early 1990s as the “last ‘good’ years” under the following photo:
The lack of specificity is symbolic of the vagueness that seems central to most nostalgia, whether about Egypt or not. It’s not dishonest so much as it reveals an insecurity about the present. The list from Egyptian Streets uses a picture of the failed Egyptian-made car from 1954, the Ramses, as a sign of the economic potential of Egypt. In fact, the list itself seems to get confused sometimes about whether it is celebrating an aspect of these ”sanuwat dhabiya” or if it is just sharing a cool, vintage picture. For example:
I don’t think this list is arguing in favor of military propaganda, and even seems to be presenting it as somewhat negative since it still permeates Egyptian society today which, because the list considers “the 1900s” to be the golden age of Egypt, is decidedly not part of the the golden age.
Certainly I get the appeal of these lists and photos. This one just seems to be particularly confused about what specifically it is nostalgic for.
Similarly, another Egyptian Facebook page, Historic Cairo, القاهرة التاريخية ، posted a video of Alexandria from 1974. The title is “See what Alexandria was like in 1974 / a slice of Europe” (شوف الاسكندريه كانت ازاي سنة 1974 / قطعه من اوروبا). It’s short and doesn’t give much context, but presumably we are supposed to notice the lack of head coverings. It’s interesting to note that this nostalgic artifact reflects an Alexandria that was itself very far removed from the Alexandria of the first half of the 1900s which had sizable Jewish and European populations living residing in it. Yet it still refers to the city as a slice of Europe (if my translation is correct). Of course there are other factors that contribute to describing Alexandria as European besides the Greek or Armenian or Jewish (even though Jewish does not equal European) populations.
zenpencils is one of my favorite Amazingly Bad Things I Can Imagine Too Many People I Know On Facebook Approvingly Posting
The zenpencils guy is currently writing a comic about his desire to kill “haters” and “trolls” with a giant death machine mecha, except just in the same way he illustrates comics based on quotes from other people, he puts “H. Miyazaki” (inspired by a bland Teddy Roosevelt quote) as the pilot of the death machine instead of himself. It’s a tribute.
Anonymous said: are you ever gonna post a joke again, or is it strictly no fun zone now
Don’t need to anymore cuz you’re such a fucking joke
No fun zone is best fun zone.