The latest internet phenomenon, the “Harlem Shake” has become a new craze everywhere from the Roger Williams Wrestling team to protests in the Middle East and are causing a lot of controversy. An article by the New York Times reported that hundreds of protesters danced outside the headquarters of Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo Thursday. The rally was streamed live to the Web by activists and caught on video by the news site Egyptian El Badil.
The day before, Salafists had tried to stop the recording of a “Harlem Shake” video at a language school in Tunisia. And only a few days before that, Tunisia’s education minister ordered an investigation into another video made over the weekend at a school outside Tunis in which some dancers wore fake beards and robes to imitate conservative Islamists.
Four pharmaceutical students were arrested during the protests and 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.” However, apparently police officers got in one of the videos which has been made into a popular remix!
“It’s a funny way to protest how [the Muslim Brotherhood] have taken control of the country,” said law student Tarek Badr, 22, who was one of the many thrusting their hips in protest. “People won’t be silent. They will protest in all ways and this is a peaceful way.” Another student said “It’s a change from violence to sarcasm and it’s peaceful. There has been enough blood, enough arrests, enough trials.” Many young Egyptians feel their freedom is under siege and the Harlem Shake protest is one small way to reclaim it. “It is all about freedom of expression,” insisted Mohamed Mostafa, a 19-year-old law student. “We are free people and we will do what we want.”
It’s amazing that a silly video trend has crossed borders becoming more than just a gag, but a worldwide tool to protest for freedom. The internet has acted as both a resource to spread ideas from the western world and promote and organize action within the Middle East.