Friday, November 4, 2011

Hisb El-Kanaba (The Couch Party)

I have seen this street art every time I exit the Sadat Metro in Midan Tahrir since I arrived in Cairo in August. This stencil is by Adham Bakry.
Hizb El-Kanaba (The Couch Party) is a term referring to the "silent majority"- those people who sat on their couch during the Revolution.

The more time I have spent with my Egyptian friends' families, I have come to discover that there is a difference between those who sat on their couches and watched a movie during the Revolution and those who were watching Al Jazeera.
Not everyone is able to go to Midan Tahrir. Each person has their own unique circumstances- maybe they have a newborn child, or are in a wheel chair and are not physically able to journey to the Midan.

I am reminded of a passage from my favorite book The Posionwood Bible, by Barbra Kingsolver. The story revolves around a missionary family living in the Congo in the 1960s when democratically elected Patrice Lumumba was assassinated and the country descended into chaos.
The main character writes, "I knew Rome was burning, but I had just enough water to scrub the floor, so I did what I could."
There is a difference between those who turn the other cheek and those who look straight forward and watch the bloody images on Al Jazeera. Educating oneself and discussing with ones neighbors about the news is in itself a form of political participation in which there is no shame.

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