A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, September 6, 2013

Cult of Personality? What Cult of Personality?

There are many things deserving of blogging but it's a Friday night so let's try something light. As long ago as July we noted what seems to be an emerging cult of personality around Egyptian Defense Minister General Sisi, including claims that he was the boy giving flowers to Nasser  in this picture:
Then my post about General Sisi's political ambitions drew five hilarious comments by commenters funnier than I am, so I posted about the response to my post, and comments on that have reached 37 so far.

Just last week we encountered this curious tribute to the Egyptian Army:

Well, things are getting personality cultish enough that a mere blogger can't be expected to keep up. But never fear, relief is here. The General Sisi cult now has what  it has been crying out for: a Tumblr, called Sisi Fetish, and headlined "Where else have you seen General Sisi today?"

The selection may be tongue-in-cheek but I fear the items and photos themselves were made quite seriously. There are the posters urging Sisi to run for President:
Nothing remotely Mussolini-ish about that logo, right?

Then there's the lion of the Egyptian Armed Forces:
Actually, lions seem to be a fairly common theme around here:

But there are some genuinely educational items among the content. I for example, had not known until this Egyptological expert (it says so right here) informed us that "Sisi" is the same name as that of Ramses III! (Say it, Sisi, Ramses). See, it's obvious, he's not just Nasser,he's Ramses! (Ramsisi?)

 Oh, wait, he's not just Ramses and Nasser; He's Sadat, too:
The fellow to the right of the poster in the galabiyya adds a folksy touch to show that while Sisi may be Nasser, Sadat, and Ramses, he's also a man of the common people. But why is Sadat saluting with his left hand?

Remember Him?
Now, anyone looking at all this would assume General Sisi was Egypt's ruler (or the reincarnation of several of them, at least). But he's only Defense Minister. The actual Acting President is ‘Adly Mansour (right). Though admittedly, Mr. Mansour does not appear to be a candidate for a cult of personality.

But now we have the Sisifetish site to keep us from missing out on anything as we sit back and enjoy our (New!) Sisy Mix sandwiches! (I guess they needed balance for the name "Amo Hosny"):
Things are getting strange, indeed.

I don't have a nostalgia photo for this weekend but will leave you to contemplate over your Sisy Sandwiches the Sisi/Ramses connection and other such things, and offer a suitable tribute (though not from the Tumblr) like this one to the Egyptian Armed Forces:


David Mack said...

Makes me feel like I am back in the early 1960s, when Nasser and Egyptian nationalism seemed poised to take over the Middle East. I fear a bad hangover is going to replace this euphoria.

Anonymous said...

When you run a cult of personality for an empty suit or uniform, the result is a running joke.