In April 2008, during an interview with Al Jazeera, poet Ahmed Fouad Negm recited a new poem suggestive of Gamal Mubarak called “’Arees al-Dawla” (The State’s Groom). He recited: “Exit one heaven and enter another, it makes no difference to us, nor does it hurt our bodies, it doesn’t break our hearts or bust our balls”
before the interview was cut short.
Today, no one is above the ridicule and sharp criticism of a newly liberated Egyptian public. From President Mohamed Morsy, who is the subject of a recently posted song on YouTube channel Bahgaga, and the Saudi king’s backside described in Cairo graffiti, to an online voiceover of a Nour Party ad depicting the protagonist as a sex-crazed pedophile, the threat to power comes not from political adversaries but from the same creative class that produced the sa’aleek (vagabonds) of yesteryear: people like poet Abdel Hamid al-Deeb, writer Mahmoud al-Saadany and others.
In our days of political jockeying, uncertainty and disparagement, many are resorting to the versatile three-letter word — if not for refuge, for release.