On the fifth anniversary of the January 25th uprising, two Egyptians head to Tahrir to hand out condom balloons to the police officers. 24 hours later the internet loses their minds and the pranksters lose their jobs and possibly their freedom.
There are good pranks and bad pranks, and then there are bad pranks that fail to be funny and ultimately go horribly wrong, turning the joke on the pranksters. Yesterday, a couple of Egyptian pranksters took to Tahrir to hand out balloons made of condoms to police officers in celebration of Eid el Shorta' (Police Day) – a.k.a the 5th anniversary of the January 25th revolution - which, as one could imagine, has terribly backfired.
Going viral is a video made and posted by Shady H. Abu Zaid and Ahmed Malek showing the two blowing up condoms, writing on them 'from Egyptian youth to the 25th January police', and distributing to them to officers in Tahrir square during the 5th anniversary of the January 25th uprising. There are those who found the stunt funny, and even more who found it insulting. Either way, the video went crazy viral after Abu Zaid posted it on his wall under the caption “you won't imagine what they gave the police on the 25th of January 2016,” amassing over a million hits in less than 24 hours of being posted.
"لن تصدق ماذا قدموا للشرطة في ٢٥ يناير ٢٠١٦"
نزلنا نحتفل بعيد الشرطة في عز البرد علشان محدش يزايد علينا."لن تصدق ماذا قدموا للشرطة في ٢٥ يناير ٢٠١٦"Posted by Shady H. AbuZaid on Monday, January 25, 2016
Instantly, the pranksters realised that they had epically messed up, taking to Facebook to apologise for the ill-conceived video. To see the original apology post click here, but here is a rough translation of Ahmed Malek’s Facebook post for our English readers:
"I am sorry to everyone I offended, especially the police. The video really has some violations and I didn't expect it to go beyond my circle of friends; I know this isn't a reason to do something wrong. I am 20 years old, and sometimes people my age take actions before thinking, and irrationality beats out rational thinking. Unfortunately, our mistakes were photographed and recorded, which gives these mistakes a longer lifespan. This was a moment of recklessness that shouldn’t count, as I instantly regretted doing it and tried to delete, but it went viral faster than I imagined. Maybe the situation comes from the depression of not finding a way to express myself but, again, that is not reason to violate others. The most annoying thing is that this will be used to ruin the image of the revolution and the revolts, for which I can't blame anyone but myself. I wish for people not to take that moment as a representation of who I am, and hopefully this incident will pass by. Again, I am sorry."
The apology was posted to Facebook, but the damage was already done. Shady AbuZaid, an aspiring actor who makes appearances as a reporter on the popular Abla Fahita satire show, was suspended from the production. Immediately after the video went viral, the Abla Fahita Facebook page posted that the actor would be suspended for his part in the video.
Making matters even worse is that the Head of Egypt's Actors’ Syndicate, Ashraf Zaki, said that the syndicate decided on Tuesday to suspend Ahmed Malak's actor's permit, making it almost impossible to find work as an actor. However, finding work maybe the least of their problems as several complaints have allegedly been filed calling for their arrest for violating article 306 (Bis) A of the Egyptian penal code. The article states: whoever approaches another person in a public, private, or frequented place; with sexual or lewd subjects, suggestions or allusions; through gestures, words, or actions; by any means including wired and wireless means of communication; shall be punished by incarceration for a period of no less than six months and a fine of no less than three thousand pounds and no more than five thousand pounds, or by one of these penalties.
As it stands, Al Masry Al Youm are reporting that they have been arrested; however, reaching out to their family and friends, we can confirm that as of early this afternoon the two hadn't been arrested, and the last communication posted was just over fours ago, suggesting that they haven't been detained yet.
Coming to the defense of the Egyptian youth is a picture of the two recovering in hospital after being injured during the January 25th uprising, asking if the officers responsible for injuring them where held accountable. Clearly a lot has happened in the past 24 hours, and the story continues to develop rapidly. We will continue to update this story as further information becomes available.