AUC and the Port Said Mural – A Personal Plea

From left: Martyr Ahmed Taha, Martyr Karim Adel Khozam, Martyr Mostafa Metwaly, Martyr Karim Junior

A funny thing happened outside the AUC on Mohamed Mahmoud Street last Thursday. As a group of onlookers, including journalists, photographers, documentary makers and myself, watched Ammar Abo Bakr, Alaa Awad and several other artists diligently work away on a mural of the martyrs of the Port Said massacre – a mural they’ve spent almost two weeks painting – a shuttle bus pulled up at the AUC gate and unloaded a group of foreigners in suits, presumably for a conference inside the AUC campus.

From the right: Glory to the Martyrs, Martyr Mohamed Mohsen, Martyr Ahmed Youssef, Martyr Anas, Martyr Mohamed Gamal Mohamed

Passersby and journalists eagerly watching Alaa Awad at work

As their guide, presumably an AUC rep, stood by awkwardly, the foreigners took out their smartphones and started snapping away at the mural, oohing and aahing in awe at the beauty of the art on display. I watched the AUC rep struggle; here were ‘vandals’ ruining the university wall in broad daylight, and yet he couldn’t yell at them because his visitors were completely enamored. So he laughed and said something along the lines of:

‘Yes, as you can see, our wall was once so small and simple, and now we have this…errr… art after the revolution. So nice.’

The artists, completely nonplussed, continued painting, and when I repeated what he had said to them, Ammar cheekily grinned.

‘Tell him if they paint over this mural, we’ll come back and do it all over again.’

So here is my direct plea to the AUC administration:

Dear AUC,

You will probably not listen to me – why should you? I’m clearly no art expert with any weight to throw around – but please don’t paint over this wall. These artists have worked tirelessly for two weeks to commemorate the deaths of 75 young men, including a student of yours, working days and nights through tear gas and riots to pay tribute to the dead.

This, in my humble opinion, is a masterpiece. And you clearly have bigger things to worry about, such as the fact that every single side street down Mohamed Mahmoud has been blocked by concrete slab walls, or that the military has turned your area into a war zone and has no problem shooting students, doctors or journalists. Or the fact that your Greek Campus SS Building has had a fire on its upper floor, and probably several other properties have been harmed in the past months of clashes. And who knows what more violence the future will bring?

As an institution that teaches art and publishes books on Egyptian art, including one on graffiti soon, please take pride in this mural on your walls, and instead of removing it, protect it. Show it off as a symbol of how your campus was in a pivotal location in so many historical events that have shaped our country for the past year.

But clearly this will fall on deaf ears and you will paint over it all. NB: painting a wall gives a new canvas to a graffiti artist. They will keep coming back. Just so you know. You might as well save the paint. Your effort is futile.



Marwan the Martyr of El Matareya

from the right: Martyr Ahmed Osama, Martyr Mahmoud ElGhandour

At the time of taking this photo, they had yet to write the names of the martyrs

The logo on this martyr’s tshirt is the Ultras Ahlawy Logo

Ammar’s sketch of the martyr

The beautiful Pharaonic mural by Mohamed Alaa

More Pharaonic painting by Alaa Awad

And it keeps getting better

by Mohamed Khaled: What does SCAF mean again? It means Thieves, the word against the gun again, and the revolutionaries become baltageya

The other wall next to the AUC entrance, full of faces of martyrs

And the result of the football match was 75million Egyptian martyrs

The wall of Youssef El Guindy full of graffiti

One concrete slab carried this stencil: ‘Our revolution is peaceful’

‘We donot surrender, either we gain victory or we die’ Omar Al Mukhtar

Falaki concrete wall with the faces of Anas, the youngest boy to die in Port Said, at 14 years old.

PS: Dear AUC security guard, I couldn’t care less about your security gate, which you accused me of photographing, when there’s a friggin concrete slab wall blocking off Falaki Street. Bigger picture, dude.

On Mansour Street wall: ‘They will not fight you all except within fortified cities or from behind walls. Their violence among themselves is severe. You think they are together, but their hearts are diverse. That is because they are a people who do not reason’ Surat Al-Ĥashr 59:14

A quote by Neruda: ‘You can crush the flowers, but you cannot stop the Spring from coming.’

On a slab of the Mohamed Mahmoud wall that was pulled down on Feb3: ‘We will Continue’

About Suzee in The City

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7 Responses to AUC and the Port Said Mural – A Personal Plea

  1. D says:

    This is a really great and touching record, if it does get painted over. And even if it doesn’t. I really love some of the smaller, simpler pieces you’re drawing attention to here as well.

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