Harlem Shake, North Africa Protest Edition

Internet culture and the memes it generates can be a wonderful thing. The swiftness with which something happening in one part of the world takes hold in another and many points in between constantly amazes.

Take The Harlem Shake, begun in Australia, emulated about everywhere from the Miami Heat in their locker room to a bunch of folk on a plane.

Better though, from Tunisia and Egypt where protesters have appropriated the dance and are using it to demonstrate against conservative Islamists.

Via The New York Times:

Hundreds of protesters danced outside the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, and students and ultraconservative Islamists known as Salafists clashed in Sidi Bouzid, the Tunisian town where the wave of uprisings in the Arab world began with a very different gesture of defiance.

The clashes in Tunisia came one day after conservative Salafists had tried and failed to stop the recording of a “Harlem Shake” video at a language school in the capital, Tunis.

The rally by about 400 activist dancers in Cairo on Thursday night, outside the offices of President Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, was streamed live to the Web by activists and caught on video by the news site Egyptian El Badil.

The protest in Egypt followed the arrest last week in Cairo of four pharmaceutical students. They were charged with violating the country’s decency laws by dancing in their underwear to emulate the Australian “Harlem Shake” video that sparked the craze and has been viewed more than 18 million times in the past four weeks.

The version I’ve embedded here is from a small gathering in Tunisia with some dancers wearing thobes and fake beards to imitate their country’s conservatives. It starts with a few seconds of Gangnam Style before moving into the Harlem Shake which I find an impressively deft comment on how quickly our global culture moves from meme to meme and appropriates them as our own.

For other examples from larger demonstrations, visit The New York Times — Michael

90 notes


  1. chrischelberg reblogged this from futurejournalismproject and added:
    This is pretty amazing. This is how you can co-opt the internet for your own local purposes. It actually helps make the...
  2. thedregs reblogged this from maneatingbadger and added:
    This is one of the few times I will acknowledge the meme. Because these people are awesome.
  3. maneatingbadger reblogged this from futurejournalismproject and added:
    Add it to the list.
  4. priyankaboghani reblogged this from futurejournalismproject
  5. documentarysite reblogged this from utnereader
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  9. gabrielleawright reblogged this from futurejournalismproject
  10. joyyxu reblogged this from futurejournalismproject and added:
    civil disobedience at its best.
  11. nmsuwsprof reblogged this from futurejournalismproject
  12. viveslavida reblogged this from futurejournalismproject
  13. medusasdharma said: The Harlem Shake started in Harlem, NY years ago! White people are always so late.
  14. jlilah reblogged this from futurejournalismproject
  15. halleluiahlocknload reblogged this from notational
  16. potjie reblogged this from futurejournalismproject and added:
    No words. I swore I would never reblog a Harlem Shake, but this fascinates me, especially with recent experience and...
  17. theadamglass reblogged this from utnereader
  18. loveyoursugar reblogged this from utnereader
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  22. soultorqarts reblogged this from utnereader and added:
    Using art to make a difference.

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