Tuesday 6 of December, 2022
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The Meaning of A7a!

Photographer Bashir Wagih photographs people mid-swear after tracing back the roots of Egypt's favourite profanity. Check out the story and the photos here...

Staff Writer

A7a! A whimsical swearword that can be used to describe just about any degree of emotion, from frustration to shock to glee. Dropped the pen? A7a! Ronaldo just scored a bycicle kick, a7a! Someone's rear ended your car... A7a! But where did this tapeworm of the colloquial lexicon come from?

Photographer Bashir Wagih set out to find out the roots of the word as part of his 'A7a Portraits' project and it has an interesting history and evolution to say the least. 

Wagih writes... When one of Egypt's kings declared a royal law that no one in the land is allowed to protest a royal law, the Egyptian people took to the streets with a single chant, "I have the right to protest" or (ana 7aqi a3tared). After some time, the abbreviation of said chant was used "A7A" pronounced AHHA. Generations passed and it was taught to the young ones that that word was a cuss and wasn't allowed to be heard. Intrigued by how a simple phrase of freedom and self expression can be transformed over the years by rulers, media and passivity, I embarked on this project and attempted to portray people as each one gave me their own A7A face to be in solidarity with my mood. Seeing as the meaning of the word has been so distorted from it's original form.

Check out more of the A7a pPortraits below and more of his work here