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The New Arab

'Smiley Sisi' celebrated by internet pranksters

The cartoonist used variations of the president's face with his famous quotes as captions [Facebook]

Date of publication: 24 January, 2016

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Blog: An Egyptian cartoonist is in the spotlight after posting a series of humorous emojis of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi - along with some of his famous quotes.
An Egyptian cartoonist has sparked controversy on social media after posting a series of humorous emojis of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on his Facebook page.

Safie Eddeen Abdel Rashid, 23, caricatured the president's face, adding some of his famously ridiculed quotes as captions.

The tender and emotional manner in which Sisi usually speaks has often been the subject of online satire, inspiring memes that often go viral on social media.

"Don't you know you are the light of our eyes?" read one of the captions below a smiley Sisi wearing black shades.

The phrase came from a speech he gave on the 40th anniversary of the 6 October War in 2013, when he referred to the "special bond" between the people and the Armed Forces.

Another emoji showed Sisi tearing up with laughter, with the hashtag "Egypt rejoices" as a caption.

The hashtag was coined by the government to encourage Egyptian Twitter users to celebrate the "miracle" mega-project of the "new" Suez Canal, which was inaugurated by Sisi in August 2015.

The tag was swiftly the subject of satire and ridicule, as many considered the multi-million dollar project a mere propaganda tool of the president.

One graphic designer used the hashtag to launch a counter-campaign using mocked-up posters, shared online, revealing facts and figures that show the high levels of poverty, inequality, and unemployment in Egypt.

Abdel Rashid's new designs have received more than 3,000 'likes' and 1,500 shares since they were first posted last week.

Though mostly popular for their humourous nature, many fear the emojis may bring trouble for the young artist.

In December 2015, a 22 year-old Egyptian Facebook user was sentenced to three years in prison after posting a photoshopped photo of Sisi with Mickey Mouse ears.

Amr Nohan, who was just five days away from finishing his compulsory military service, was charged with "attempting to overthrow the regime" in a military trial.

Ironically, Nohan's imprisonment only made the photo go viral on social media, also triggering condemnations in local and international media, as well as solidarity campaigns with the young man.

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