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The virus: a small infectious agent with replicating abilities. Since a virus typically starts out small, those uninfected by said virus tend to see it as a threat that can be contained or squandered.  The way of life before the appearance of the virus must be maintained.

The virus can be used as an analogy to anything that shakes up The Establishment. Any establishment. Be it the Political Establishment, the Social Establishment, the Cultural Establishment, the Religious Establishment, or the Art Establishment, there will always be a small opposition at work that the Establishment isn’t too happy with.

The methods to containing a virus vary. Typically, The Establishment will first look into crushing any opposition. Within Political contexts this could be the use of violent force. Within Religious establishment, this could be done by expiation. And within Artistic contexts, this can be done via belittlement.

If that doesn’t work, the Establishment will pretend to adopt the opposition. Or in viral terms, the uninfected will pretend to be infected, and the virus looses interest in fulfilling its mission to the very end. So Politically, The Establishment will pretend to agree with the opposition and it will pretend it is taking drastic changes in accomplishing the oppositions needs. Religiously, The Establishment will pretend its acceptance of the other religion, or the complete adoption of the other religion even. Artistically, the Establishment will pretend to express interest in the newborn art-form without letting it shake up the core values of the Establishment.

This viral analogy cannot be more obvious than in the case of Egypt’s current “post-revolutionary” climate. Indeed, we are in an obvious phase of pretend-adoption, void of any traces of true change. But just enough of a pretense to put revolutionary fervor to sleep, with all its possibilities of social, economic, and cultural change. There seems to be little to no sign of it right now.

A virus only seems impossible to crush when vital cells are infected. Any anti-viral will act against infected cells and in-turn weakening the entire human body until its final demise. For the virus to truly prevail it must infect vital ranks within The Establishment. Take, for example, The Free Officers recruiting Major-General Mohammed Naguib for their 1952 military coup. Or Constantine I’s conversion to Christianity and how that aided in the spread of the religion across the ancient world. Or take Pablo Picasso’s adoption of Cubism and collage-techniques… and how that changed the art establishment forever.

I see some signs of conversion within the Egyptian Establishment. Be it socially, politically, culturally, or artistically. Which is why I have faith that the virus is spreading. And there’s no stopping it.

Special Thanks to:

El Teneen
Keng El Gizeera 
Diaa El Said 
Amro Thabit 
Mohammed Said 
Sad Panda
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