Although the official campaigning period is still a few weeks away, Abu Isma‘il's supporters put up campaign posters this week. No, I mean they really put up campaign posters this week. Everywhere:
Before I start stealing the great creations of a lot of clever people, I should note that the phenomenon has been written up in the last couple of days by Global Voices and by The Egypt Independent, both of which have many illustrations, and there's a Facebook page (in Arabic) for mock Abu Isma‘il posters. Of course there's a Twitter hashtag, #AbuIsmail (and perhaps others). There's also a Tumblr of "Abo Ismail Doing Stuff," which is slightly different but in a similar vein. Many of these that follow appear in several of those sites, so I credit them collectively.
Though this has swept the Egyptian social media in a little over 48 hours, there are dissenters: someon Twitter are alarmed that the Abu Isma‘il mania is giving the man free publicity and may even help his campaign. Needless to say, the creators of these parodies are not likely to vote for the man,
The sometimes ingenious, sometimes hilarious (and often neither, which I'm not including here) include the fairly predictable:
Then there are historical references: the cornerstone of the Qasr al-Nil bridge ...
Then there's the new design for the Egyptian one pound note:
Some of the jokes are a bit meta, in that they invoke other Internet themes. Some readers may remember a bit over a year ago, just before and after the fall of Husni Mubarak, all the talk about "the guy behind ‘Omar Suleiman." "The guy" was a military officer who stood behind the then Vice President in his last few appearances, including the announcement of Mubarak's departure. Not identified at the time, it wasn't clear if he was Suleiman's bodyguard, or his minder, to make sure he said what he was told to say. He seems to have been SCAF's man.
Well, yes, you guessed it. The Guy Behind ‘Omar Suleiman is back:
That should help explain this:
So will this ridicule help puncture Abu Isma‘il's rising political balloon, or is all publicity good publicity?