Improvisatory Peace Activism?

Graffiti during and after Egypt’s most recent revolution 1

Authored by: Asif Majid

The Routledge History of World Peace Since 1750

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138069138
eBook ISBN: 9781315157344
Adobe ISBN:


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On January 27, 2011, just two days after the start of massive protests against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, artist Ganzeer released a pamphlet entitled “How to Revolt Intelligently.” 2 Circulated by email—and on paper, after the Egyptian government shut down the internet on January 28—the pamphlet highlighted what protesters should wear to protect their bodies (hooded sweatshirts, thick gloves, protective glasses, and running shoes), what to carry to spread their message (spray paint for police visors, pot lids as shields, and a rose for peace), and how to combat police personnel and vehicles (Figure 16.1a, b). Political scientist and blogger As’ad AbuKhalil later described the pamphlet as “the most sophisticated manual by activists that I have seen” complete with “well-done illustration.” 3 Indeed, Ganzeer’s pamphlet echoed German studies scholar Edgar Landgraf’s framing of improvisation as “a basic means for the affirmation of agency and even survival in a society that has become utterly unpredictable.” 4

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