<i>Mulid al-Tahrir</i>: Semiotics of a Revolution

Amira Taha and Christopher Combs

in Translating Egypt's Revolution

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9789774165337
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781617971303 | DOI:
Mulid al-Tahrir: Semiotics of a Revolution

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Explores the newfound relationship between Egyptians and public space as well as the emergence of resignified subjectivities that developed during the initial eighteen days of revolt in Tahrir through translating the multiple significations and connotations of the word mulid (in colloquial Arabic) / mawlid (in formal Arabic), which means birth. The chapter explores how Egyptians succeeded in translating and revolutionizing their cultural heritage of mulid celebrations- a popular celebration of the birthday of a venerated spiritual figure- which became an integral part of the semiotic processes and rituals that brought forth and sustained the birth (mawlid/mulid) of the “Independent Republic of Tahrir.” By showing how mulids are occasions that disrupt and redefine not just public space but public order as well, the chapter maps out the continuing contest over the real space of Midan al-Tahrir that transcended its local physical meanings to become a global contest over space(s) of tahrir (liberation) worldwide. Tahrir is not just about re-signified public space and public order but equally about re-signified subjectivities at both the collective and individual levels.

Keywords: Youth activists; Politics of space; Signs and language; Mulid; Semiotics; National unity; Ahmed Abdalla; Mourid Barghouti; Ultras; Children in the revolution

Chapter.  12427 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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