Ganzeer in America:

Radio Open Source
Mar 9, 2015 · 8 min read

Get the joke? Can we take it?

By Christopher Lydon

Four years ago in the Tahrir Square uprising in Cairo, Ganzeer was first among the young outlaws who painted the truth about Egypt’s dictatorship and the promise of the Arab Spring on the walls of their city. They made images that beat guns, for a while.

You’re on the subway for the first time, and the loudspeaker is telling people that all their bags are subject to random search by the police, which is a quality of an authoritarian state; it doesn’t get more obvious than that, you know? You see cops harassing guys who are playing music on the subway if they’re African-American. Of course when you’re entering Williamsburg and there are some white hipsters playing music on the subway, the cops are standing there but they’re not doing anything about it. So you start to see trends...

For example, the display of the Egyptian flag in public space to a nauseating degree is something new that happened recently with the military takeover in Egypt… but then you come to the United States and maybe this practice has been here for a longer time: you see the flag on every single vehicle of public transportation… You see these incredibly pointless glossy magazines at every newsstand trying to sway society in a particular direction: to constantly be happy, to constantly have great sex, a great American body, great American summer, great American dad — whatever it is, you know, it’s just, like, ridiculous.

The $1 and the $100 bills from “Honest Money”, by Ganzeer (2015).
Photo by Christopher Lydon, in Ganzeer’s studio.

Open Source

Open Source with Christopher Lydon is the world’s…

Open Source

Open Source with Christopher Lydon is the world’s longest-running podcast — circling the big ideas in culture, the arts and politics with the smartest people in the world. Read and share with our producers, and submit your own work for our Medium home!

Radio Open Source

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An American conversation with global attitude, on the arts, humanities, and global affairs, hosted by Christopher Lydon. chris@radioopensource.org

Open Source

Open Source with Christopher Lydon is the world’s longest-running podcast — circling the big ideas in culture, the arts and politics with the smartest people in the world. Read and share with our producers, and submit your own work for our Medium home!