Walls, Segregating Downtown Cairo and the Mohammed Mahmud Street Graffiti

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Sociology, Egyptology & Anthropology Department

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Mona Abaza

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Theory, Culture and Society

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This article explores the recent urban transformations of downtown Cairo, in particular around the area of Mohammed Mahmud Street and Tahrir Square, after a year and a half of violent confrontations between the protesters and the military junta. The article first looks at how these confrontations led to the segregation of the city through the use of buffer-concrete walls, army tanks, check-points and barbed-wire barricades that made life for its inhabitants impossible. The squeezing of Tahrir and its surroundings created mostly a delineated and restricted war zone. This was undertaken after a series of killings and massacres took place. The article reflects upon the explosion of sardonic graffiti and epic murals that followed these events as a vibrant expression of dissenting street art, as well as the creation of a memorial space.

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