For weeks, the world watched with rapt attention as the uprising in Egypt challenged and finally toppled the government of President Hosni Mubarak. As the main narrative unfolded, however, several curious and less widely documented stories were unfolding in and around Cairo's Tahrir Square. Here, five of the stranger aspects of the revolts:
1. Two demonstrators say "I do"
A young couple — Ahmed Zaafan, 29, and Ola Abdel Hamid, 22 — tied the knot on February 6, surrounded by tanks and thousands of their fellow demonstrators in Tahrir Square. The newlyweds said their choice of location signalled their determination to stay in the square until Mubarak caved. "These protesters are family now," said Zaafan, as quoted in Reuters. "Ola and I wanted to share our happiness with everyone."
2. A KFC conspiracy?
State television incorrectly reported that anti-Mubarak protesters were being paid $100 — and getting fed Kentucky Fried Chicken (a "Kentucky meal," as it's widely known in Egypt, can cost the typical worker a day's wages). The bogus rumors sparked suspicions that the uprising was being driven by Western interlopers. "I came to get the [Kentucky Fried Chicken] or the $100 but I can't find it," joked protester Khaled Badawy, as quoted in Turkish newspaper Hürriyet.
3. Humor wasn't sidelined
Many of the demonstrators tempered their anger with levity, carrying signs with messages like "De-Nile Not Only a River in Egypt." One protester sporting a "big afro" held a sign saying, "Mubarak, leave so I can go home and cut my hair." On Twitter, "Mubaraked" became a verb, as in, "I invited a friend round for dinner last night, but they didn't leave till 12 despite my yawns. They really Mubaraked.'"
4. A demonstrator dress code
A "bizarre" pamphlet circulating in Cairo suggested appropriate attire for the anti-Mubarak movement, including saucepan lids to serve as shields, goggles to protect against tear gas, and a rose to signal the intention to "join together in the most peaceful way possible," according to the Daily Mail. The pamphlet, called "How to protest intelligently: Important information and tactics," also suggested wearing thick rubber gloves and "shoes that make it easy to run away quickly."
5. Also ousted? Egypt's "King of Pop"
Egyptian pop superstar Tamer Hosny was reduced to tears after demonstrators forced him out of Tahrir Square. Hosny — who the New York Daily News called "Egypt's answer to Justin Timberlake" — had publicly backed Mubarak. When Hosny showed up at the square to apologize, the crowd booed and shouted him down. The army reportedly had to fire warning shots to clear a path for Hosny to leave. "I want to die today," the singer later cried. "I thought I was saving the people."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The latent sexism of the male marriage proposal
- Bush vs. Clinton in 2016 is the perfect way to make millennials hate politics even more
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- This judge is the reason we're still fighting over net neutrality
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- 10 secrets of the Vatican exposed
Subscribe to the Week