CAIRO: In an era of social media even the most personal of messages are conveyed in digital form, or posted on Instagram or Facebook.
But in a recent phenomenon, Egyptians have taken to hanging old fashioned banners in streets to declare their most personal feelings.
Apologetic messages to loved ones, expression of love and even marriage proposals have been seen hanging in the streets of Cairo and other cities.
While the banners have received mixed reactions from the community, ranging from admiration to criticism, experts say that it is in fact social media that is driving the phenomenon.
In one example, on Oct. 15, passers-by were surprised to see a sign hanging by the signatory’s bridge in Zagazig city.
“I’m sorry, Nahla, I swear to God, I love you .. Ahmed,” the sign said in what read like an apology to a lover.
Some members of the community said the signs are just a cheap search for fame rather than a genuine message of love or respect.
Similar signs have been hung in several governorates, including a banner on the main street in Berket El-Sabe’a with the words “Jalal loves Heba, I love you Heba.”
In the province of Beni Suef, a young man wrote on a banner: “The words ‘I love you’ are beautiful. When I hear your voice I am comforted. When I say your name I don't know what happens to me. I love you and I love your mother.”
“This phenomenon has appeared in lots of films, most notably the film ‘Peace and the Snake,’ in 2001,” the community expert Magda Mustafa, said. “Young men want to prove that they are able to do anything and are not ashamed to express their love.”
“In the past, young people were competing face to face, but now the theatrical method is the way to go.
“We find many men proposing to their loved ones in front of a large crowd, often with a desire to be famous themselves
Media expert Dr. Yasser Thabet said that while the signs appear traditional, they are in fact fueled by social networking sites.
“Social networking sites have a big role in spreading this phenomenon, because the person who does this act wants fame through these sites, which is achieved by multiple people sharing the pictures.”
“Unfortunately, it is false fame. They're just looking to make themselves appear heroic and famous in front of their loved ones.”