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The Man Behind Omar Suleiman Still Going Strong

June 13, 2012

Hebatallah Salem of the American University in Cairo spoke briefly about the Man Behind Omar Suleiman phenomenon in Oxford on May 18th–and revealed that the jokes continue…

When I wrote about “The Man Behind Omar Suleiman” as a form of revolutionary humor, I believed it had crested and declined  during February of 2011.

But when I was at Oxford last month I heard two new Omar Suleiman jokes that came out during the electoral nomination process. It seems that the visual meme did in fact decline after the request by Col. Hussein Sharif’s family. But verbal jokes apparently continue.

The first one was a text message that went like this:

“The Man Behind Omar Suleiman nominates Abu Ismail for president.”

The joke here stems from the fact that Hazem Salah Abu Ismail did announce his candidacy for office but was rejected by the Electoral Commission when it was confirmed that his mother held U.S. citizenship.

The second one is much funnier and goes like this:

Breaking news from Omar Suleiman and the Man Behind Omar Suleiman: “In light of these trying times, the SCAF has decided to step down from office and entrust Hosni Mubarak with the country’s affairs. Success and aid comes only from God.”

The joke here depends on the fact that the language is a direct quotation from Omar Suleiman’s announcement of Hosni Mubarak’s resignation . The joke is that Hosni Mubarak stepped down and put SCAF in charge in response to the anti-Mubarak protests; now SCAF is stepping down in response to the anti-SCAF protests, and naming Hosni Mubarak as its successor.

The breaking news comes from the Man Behind Omar Suleiman because Mubarak’s resignation was, of course, the event that in which Col. Sharif was seen glowering behind Omar Suleiman, which gave rise to the MBOS joke phenomenon.

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