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Rabaa and Nahda give birth to new victory sign

January 23, 2014 at 1:08 am

A sign of a hand with four fingers raised with the thumb closed is fast spreading as a profile picture among Facebook and Twitter users who reject the military coup in Egypt.

This sign became common after the dispersal the pro-Morsi supporters in the two protest camps, Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda Squares, in Cairo last Wednesday.

Administrators of several anti-coup web pages have called for all Facebook and Twitter users to use this sign to show their solidarity with the victims of the crackdown after more than one thousand protesters were killed and several thousands injured.

The origin of this sign, as many activists on social media have confirmed, is Turkey, which is the only country, along with Qatar, that officially and popularly oppose the military coup in Egypt. Its Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, strongly criticised the coup and the brutal massacres that were perpetrated in an attempt to suppress voices of dissent and opposition.

Initially, the sign was raised by several Turkish footballers in dug-outs after scoring goals. They said that this is a sign to show solidarity with the victims killed in Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square. The first player, it is said, who raised it is Emre Belözoglu. Supporters at various stadia and Turks who took to the streets in solidarity with the Egyptians soon began to raise the sign.

During a speech delivered on August 17 to mark the launch of an urban renovation project in Bursa, Prime Minister Erdogan saluted the crowds several times with this sign. From there on, the sign was adopted by international anti-coup activists.

Those activists called for all anti-coup Facebook and Twitter users to use it to demonstrate the scale of opposition to the military coup both within Egypt and abroad.

Rabaa Sisi

Many activists now use the sign carrying a photo of Erdogan as their profile photo. Indeed some have added the sign to their own photos such as the prominent Saudi scholar, Sheikh Salman al-Awda, who is considered one of the main critics for the Saudi regime. Al-Awda has at least 1.3 million likes on his Facebook page and 3.4 million followers on Twitter.

In fact, no one has yet spoken about why the Turkish footballers chose this sign, but the reason may be the close convergence between the pronunciation of number four (Arbaa) and the name Rabaa in Arabic.

Erdogan, it is said expected that this sign would replace the traditional ‘V’ sign to represent both victory and solidarity.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.