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Guy Fawkes in Egypt: the cultural role of Khaled for Vendetta movies prior to the uprising

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
7th June 2011


What is certain is that the idea for change has been firmly planted and cannot be eradicated. Ideas after all, as V proclaims, are bulletproof. The struggle continues.

Guy Fawkes: V for Vendetta

The Guy Fawkes mask lifted from the comic book series and film V for Vendetta has been a staple of the page and the movement from the start. V for Vendetta enjoys cult status among certain segments of shebab al-Facebook who fall under the rubric of leftists, anarchists, Mohamed el Baradei supporters, Islamists, post-Islamists — which are by no means mutually exclusive categories. The potent imagery and eminently quotable lines from the film permeate individual Facebook pages and the “We are all Khaled Said” Facebook Fan Page as posts, threads, cartoons, video links, and wall photos.

Excerpts from a fascinating analysis of the subcultural context of the Egyptian youth mobilizations that led to the uprising:

“In the summer of 2010 the youth of Facebook, “shebab al-Facebook,” began a campaign of peaceful civil disobedience through the Arabic “We are all Khaled Said” Facebook Fan Page. The success of their “silent stands” throughout the country gave youth a media friendly face as a group that espouses peaceful non-violent forms of civil disobedience to confront oppression and tyranny. The inspiration for the peaceful side of the movement was derived from divergent sources. Analysts writing in the western press were keen to point out the influence from celebrated figures and icons of nonviolence like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Gene Sharp and the human rights orientation of the cause. [The reputation the youth garnered as deft in nonviolent civil disobedience was well deserved and the silent stands were a feat of group solidarity, DIY youth activism, and the art of on-line to off-line mobilization. But in actuality the youth movement has moved on multiple fronts and employed diverse strategies. The page itself vacillates between using bellicose language and images when talking about the objects of their rage — for example, the police and Interior Ministry — to instructing the community on non-violent peaceful strategies. The two approaches coexist in a symbiotic relation. On the flip side of any mask of peace is often a mask of menace.

The Guy Fawkes mask lifted from the comic book series and film V for Vendetta has been a staple of the page and the movement from the start. V for Vendetta enjoys cult status among certain segments of shebab al-Facebook who fall under the rubric of leftists, anarchists, Mohamed el Baradei supporters, Islamists, post-Islamists — which are by no means mutually exclusive categories. The potent imagery and eminently quotable lines from the film permeate individual Facebook pages and the “We are all Khaled Said” Facebook Fan Page as posts, threads, cartoons, video links, and wall photos.

The film, written and directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski and adapted from the comic book characters created by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, is set in a dystopian future that is a totalitarian Britain. The story serves as a warning to governments not to push their people too far and is a reminder to people of the formidable power they possess if they know how to harness it. The antihero, V, whose name stands for vendetta, vengeance, victim, villain, victory, violence, and “vestige of the vox populi,” also denotes “veritas,” truth. V survives a personal ordeal of captivity and torture and dedicates his life to taking revenge on his captors and awakening his fellow citizens to their oppression.

V not only speaks the truth about the complicity of individuals in perpetuating the system, but makes them aware that they hold the power to overturn it.

On June 14, 2010, eight days after Khaled Said’s killing at the hands of two officers, a short film, “Khaled for Vendetta,” was uploaded to YouTube with links to it on the Facebook page. A second film, “Khaled Vendetta,” followed on July 29, 2010.

More details here.

Watch the video:

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One Response to “Guy Fawkes in Egypt: the cultural role of Khaled for Vendetta movies prior to the uprising”

  1. @mikeriddell62 Says:

    V for Vendetta is based on Alexander Dumas’ book The Count of Monte Cristo, the anti hero of whom is Edmond Dantes.

    His message was “wait and hope”.

    I’d rather be Edmond than V since the latter employed violence whilst the latter let Providence exact the punishment.

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