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MGW Berlin: Why

The Echo and the Origin.

One of the reasons Mad Graffiti Week in Berlin is a good idea is the inspirational value of of a good bombfest. Slightly edgy, just a bit illegal, it allows Egyptian artists living in Berlin to finally join in where they have been missing out and bring their work where they feel it belongs- into the public space.

This comes back to a slogan that I hear every now and then "Reclaim your City". Cut off from home and with no possibility of immediate return, many who live here feel useless and it is important to be able to take direct action in what is a volatile and sensitive time in the Egyptian uprising. It is important to be able to create your own space, your own personal piece of revolution abroad. It is about leaving a lasting impression on your surroundings and feel that you have done your bit.

Most of the visual artists I know in Berlin would go to demonstrations and silently hold up a slogan, or a piece of artwork, feeling that written words speak louder than words screamed at the wall (see also globaltahrir). A clear and legible message will be better received than a slightly garbled youtube video of a demonstration. Berlin having become a strange extension of Cairo (or an Egyptian city of your choice), artists living here are happy to join in this act of vandalistic self- expression.

It is also, quite naturally, a show of support for the people in Egypt, and a reminder to the local authorities that if they do anything in regards to the country that does not jive, there are those who will hold them to account.

Our message is, as mentioned previously, bilingual and focused at a German audience as well. For instance, this is an opportunity to confront the German citizen with the fact that many of the Guns used in Egypt (and other uprisings) are produced by that famous paragon of Teutonic Arms production, Heckler and Koch. We cannot begin to guess what kind of money is flowing behind the scenes, or what kinds of other weapons are being exported. For a country that officially puts human rights as highly on its agenda as Germany, this is nothing short of betrayal of principle.

We have heard very little condemnation of the acts of the SCAF and affiliates here. In stead the media picture presented to us is one of a country slipping into disrepair and self-abuse.

"This is an appeal to save lives" says one Ganzeer / Mo Fa.

It's that too, but it's also an attempt to retain our sanity and engage in some direct, positive action in stead of just reblogging the latest news or talking about what we can do from here – a human rights congress sounds a bit useless right now, sorry OMRAS.

We shouldn't forget the "save lives" bit though. This kind of activity, which it appears all of Cairo is engaging in, allows people to claim their surroundings as their own, something no amount of turpentine or cleaning crews can take away from them "I am here, I am proud to be here, and this is a sign that I support this uprising."

And so, onwards into the night.



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