Egyptians are using pots and pans to make themselves heard

They have moved indoors, but the protests are as loud as ever.
They have moved indoors, but the protests are as loud as ever.
Image: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
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Following the overthrow of former President Mohammad Morsi, the noises coming from Cairo have been anything but melodious.

In the recent weeks, gunshots have echoed throughout the streets as pro-Morsi supporters clashed with government security forces during the day; and at night, the curfew has imposed an eerie silence over a megacity that is typically so bustling it was once dubbed “a city where you can’t hear yourself scream.” But these days at around 9 p.m., amid the military-mandated nighttime silence, a rhythmic banging sound is reverberating through the neighborhoods, and luckily, it’s not gunfire. It’s the sound of Masmou3, a campaign that is calling on supporters to make noise with pots and pans to show dissent for both the Muslim Brotherhood and the military-backed interim government.

Masmou3, meaning “be heard” in Arabic, mobilized as a twitter campaign with a simple message: “If you reject religious fascism, the Egyptian State’s route to civil war, every night at 9 PM stand at your window and bang your drum.”

In a divided Egypt, supporters of this third way told the local newspaper Daily News Egypt, that although they do not stand behind the Muslim Brotherhood and the reimposition of the former Islamist-backed regime, they believe the military’s practices in the wake of Morsi’s ouster is leading the country towards an imminent civil war and economic collapse. And because Masmou3 supporters are restricted by the military-imposed curfew from gathering on the streets, they have resorted to banging on pots and pans to make their voices heard. With well over a 1,000 followers in less than two weeks, the campaign seems to be catching on.

@masmou3 I just banged hard on my pan in the balcony @9pm…I refuse the black and white narrative of MB and Military! I refuse the silence!

— سالي توما (@BaheyaMasr) August 18, 2013

I’d say ‘no way,’ but this, after all, is #Egypt :) RT @adamakary: My bawab’s daughter’s two year old is banging on pots and pans. @masmou3

— Rawya Rageh (@RawyaRageh) August 25, 2013

Just heard the 1st masmou3 pot banging in my part of #Zamalek. Even 1 person is noisy. It’s spreading #Cairo #Egypt @khalidabdalla

— Angus Blair / Egypt (@AngusBlair1) August 25, 2013

The campaign may be a new phenomenon in Egypt, but banging on pots and pans as a sign of civil discontent has a long history. The practice was popularized with the cacerolazo movements (meaning “casserole” in Spanish) in Latin countries such as Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, Uruguay, and Spain. The trend also caught on in Montreal last year as demonstrators protested a controversial bill that attempted to quell student protests over tuition fee increases, and in Turkey earlier this year as anti-government protesters showed their opposition to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime.

Although Masmou3 is gaining popularity, supporters of the campaign say that their goal is to be heard, not necessarily to grow in size. And although it is unlikely that the movement will garner enough support to influence Egypt’s tumultuous political transition, at the very least Masmou3 seems to have given some Egyptians a bit of hope at a time when the country needs it the most.

And in the midst of all the chaos and hatred there is a glimmer of hope trying so hard to make itself heard. @masmou3 #masmou3 #مسموع

— Leyla D (ليلى د) (@LeylaDoss) August 23, 2013