The Egypt You're Seeing on the News Is Not What These Egyptians Are Following

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There is a jarring disconnect between what the protests in Egypt look like on the news and what they look like on Instagram and Tumblr. It makes sense that reporters would go to where the violence is — three were reportedly shot and killed during pro-Morsi protests on Friday — while college kids with iPhones might stay on the less tumultuous edges. But sifting through Egyptians' photos on social media can offer a fascinating and different view of what the protests and the coup feel like from the perspectives of young moderates, Morsi supporters, jihadists, and propagandists. Here are some of Cairo photos getting passed around different networks now. 


This video, tweeted by Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal, shows a wounded man lying on the street outside the Republican Guard headquarters. He's just lying there as the car goes by, with no one helping him. The Associated Press reports that he was shot and killed. 

Pro-Mohammed Morsi protesters demonstrated outside the Republican Guard because of rumors Morsi was being held there.

Kouddous tweets this photo of BBC reporter Jeremy Bowen getting patched up after being hit with birdshot.

"Big forces against each other in #egypt. If can't channel this into political action not street conflict it is a recipe for more bloodshed," Bowen tweets. Bowen says one protester is dead, though it's not clear it's the same person as the wounded man in the video. With respect to his own injuries, Bowen says he's "fine." 

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Kouddous tweets this photo of a wounded pro-Morsi protester:

Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin tweets that thousands of pro-Morsi protesters are marching over the October 6 bridge toward Tahrir Square, where anti-Morsi protesters demonstrated since the weekend.

Some tweets indicate pellets are being shot by both sides. Reporter Ahmed Atayya says the attacks on the pro-Morsi crowd is intensifying. Tear gas is reportedly being used to break up the crowd.


Meanwhile, the photos young Egyptians post of themselves are light-hearted and happy with the military takeover. This photo was tagged "#after #morsi #party" and taken in Giza.

A coup is a great time for a selfie.

Lots of anti-Morsi protesters used the tag #er7al, which means "leave" or "out."

The Memes and Symbols

Cairo lawyer A. Farghal tweets, "Hastily removing Morsi from power may have been disastrous. Now there is no momentum for Tahrir. Who will you chant Er7al against?" One of the many ER7AL memes going around:

A hopeful anti-Morsi sign.

Protesters used green lasers to blind helicopters during demonstrations. The lasers became a symbol of the protesters.

A comment on this photo: "at Islam when they use the Islam as a cover to their crimes , the picture is a lesson to anybody deceive the Egyptian people and nobody meant what u said."

A pro-Morsi reference to the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

A jihadist tumblr posts about "secular thugs" — though its background is an illustration of Syria's Bashar al Assad being hanged.

Interim president Adly Mansour looks familiar, modhat says. He suggests it's a Disney conspiracy.

"Morsi has gone crazy."

Army Propaganda

Independent journalist Sharif Kouddous tweets, "And off to the side where soldiers fired live ammo at citizens is the army's favorite propaganda banner."

The Google translation of the caption for this photo says it celebrates the Egyptian army for protecting the homeland from invaders and dropped a system that was manipulated by people's religious feelings. "Long live the great Egyptian Army."

So, Now What?

The caption for this photo is "popcorn and presidents." It looks like a concession stand with an anti-Morsi poster slapped up on the window, as if the latest turmoil was quickly folded into normal life.

This photo of Tahrir Square, taken at 8a.m. Cairo time on Friday according to CNN's Jon Jensen, has an eerie "What now?" feeling.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.