WSW: Young People and Changing Culture in Egypt

May 14, 2014

This photo was taken in December of aculpture of an upside down Eagle created by a graffiti artist in Cairo, Egypt.
Credit The Associated Press


Professor Osama Madany says the younger generation in Egypt felt forgotten by older, patriarchal leaders. 

Madany is a Professor of English Literature at Manoufiya University in Egypt. He is conducting research at Western Michigan University under a Fulbright Grant. Madany will speak Thursday night at 6:00 Thursday night in Knauss Hall at WMU. His address, part of the Center for Humanities Changing Climates Series, is called "No Country for Old Men, Shifting Cultural Borders in Egypt." 

Madany says younger Egyptian people felt "invisible" under the regime of Hosni Mubarak. He says that helped lead to the revolution in 2011. But Madany says change has been slow to come to Egypt (NPR story on upcoming presidential election), and he says young people have turned to art as a way to protest. 

Osama Madany
Credit Western Michigan University, Center for the Humanities

When asked about the impact of a vibrant arts culture on politics and society, Madany says the younger generation remains unconvinced about changes in Egyptian society. He says artists will occupy public spaces in Egypt, and then leave quickly for fear of a crackdown. 

But Madany says he has to be optimistic. He says the message from the regime is "if you don't like this country, leave." But he says Egyptians want to stay and make their country better. Madany says he believes the country is changing, and he says the young generation is leading the way.