Banners of love and marriage in the streets of Egypt

Experts say the banners, while appearing traditional, are in fact driven by social media. (Supplied)
Updated 19 October 2018
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Banners of love and marriage in the streets of Egypt

  • Apologetic messages to loved ones, expression of love and even marriage proposals have been seen hanging in the streets

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.”


Erdogan and Putin vow closer cooperation on Syria at Moscow talks

Updated 23 January 2019
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Erdogan and Putin vow closer cooperation on Syria at Moscow talks

  • The two leaders are on opposite sides of the Syria conflict
  • Russia and Turkey have agreed to coordinate ground operations in Syria

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a meeting in Moscow on Wednesday vowed to coordinate their actions more closely in Syria.
“Cooperation between Russia and Turkey is a touchstone for Syrian peace and stability,” Erdogan said in translated comments at a joint press conference after their talks, which lasted around three hours.
“With our Russian friends we intend to strengthen our coordination even more.”
“We agreed how we’ll coordinate our work in the near future,” Putin said, calling the talks which included the countries’ defense ministers “effective.”
At the start of their meeting in the Kremlin, Putin addressed Erdogan as “dear friend,” saying that their countries “work on issues of regional security and actively cooperate on Syria.”
Erdogan used the same term for Putin and said “our solidarity makes a weighty contribution to the security of the region.”
The two leaders are on opposite sides of the Syria conflict: Russia provides critical support to the Syrian government, while Turkey has backed rebel groups fighting President Bashar Assad’s forces.
Despite this, they have worked closely to find a political solution to the seven-year conflict.
Russia and Turkey have agreed to coordinate ground operations in Syria following US President Donald Trump’s shock announcement last month about pulling 2,000 American troops out of Syria.
Putin said that if carried out, the withdrawal of US troops from northeastern Syria “will be a positive step, it will help stabilize the situation in this restive area.”
Turkey has also welcomed Washington’s planned withdrawal, but the future of US-backed Kurdish militia forces labelled terrorists by Ankara has upset ties between the NATO allies.
Erdogan had said on Monday he would discuss with Putin the creation of a Turkish-controlled “security zone” in northern Syria, suggested by Trump.
The US-allied Kurds, who control much of the north, have rejected the idea, fearing a Turkish offensive against territory under their control.
Putin said Wednesday that Russia supports “establishing dialogue between Damascus officials and representatives of the Kurds.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week said that Damascus must take control of the north.
The northwestern province of Idlib earlier this month fell under the full control of a jihadist group dominated by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.
The Russian foreign ministry said earlier Wednesday that the situation in the province remained of “serious concern.”
Putin said that the leaders discussed the situation in Idlib “in great detail today.”
“We have a shared conviction that we must continue jointly fighting terrorists wherever they are, including in the Idlib zone,” the Russian leader said.
Erdogan said that the countries will wage a “lengthy fight” in Syria.
Nearly eight years into Syria’s deadly conflict, the planned US pullout has led to another key step in Assad’s Russian-backed drive to reassert control.
Kurdish forces who were left exposed by Trump’s pledge to withdraw have asked the Syrian regime for help to face a threatened Turkish offensive.
The Kremlin hailed the entry by Syrian forces into the key northern city of Manbij for the first time in six years after Kurds opened the gates.
Moscow plans to organize a three-way summit with Turkey and Iran early this year as part of the Astana peace process, launched by the three countries in 2017.
Putin said Wednesday the next summit would be held “in the near future” in Russia, saying the leaders still needed to agree the time and location with Iran.
The last meeting between Putin, Erdogan and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani took place in Iran in September last year with the fate of rebel-held Idlib province dominating the agenda.
Ties between Russia and Turkey plunged to their lowest level in years in November 2015 when Turkish forces shot down a Russian warplane over Syria.
But after a reconciliation deal in 2016, relations have recovered at a remarkable speed with Putin and Erdogan cooperating closely over Syria, Turkey buying Russian-made air defense systems and Russia building Turkey’s first nuclear power plant.