'Sisi-mania': Egypt’s army chief everywhere from posters to cakes

Chocolates bearing General Sisi's image are for sale in Cairo. Photo published on Twitter and the SisiFetish Tumblr. 
 
 
Over the past couple of months, "Sisi-mania" has swept across Egypt. The face of General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi – the army chief who played a key role in ousting Mohammed Morsi – is everywhere: on posters, of course, but also on T-shirts, necklaces, cakes, and even chocolates.
 
Given his omnipresence, a stranger visiting Egypt could be forgiven for mistaking General Sisi for the country’s president. However, he currently serves as defense minister as well as deputy prime minister. Although he has said he will not run for president in the next election, expected to be held in 2014, his popularity has many in Egypt thinking he may yet reconsider.
 
Of course, he is far from being loved by all in Egypt: his army helped oust Morsi, who was elected president in a runoff poll in June 2012 with 51.7 percent of the vote, and many Muslim Brotherhood supporters continue to protest against what they see as a "coup". 
 
Some political commentators have made the case that ‘Sisi-mania’ may be just a bubble, and that Egyptians’ passion can be fickle and short-lived. Yet several Observers we spoke to in Cairo told us they don’t see his popularity waning anytime soon.
 
A Sissi cake. Photo published on the SisiFetish Tumblr

“Sisi-mania is not just a smoke screen”

Wael Eskandar is a blogger who lives in Cairo.
 
Sisi-mania is not just a smoke screen. People are mad about him! Part of it is induced by army propaganda, but it has succeeded - people are voluntarily putting up posters of him in their shops. And near my house, there is a store that sells chocolates with his face printed on them. The latest segment on Sisi by Bassem Youssef [an Egyptian TV humorist] is no exaggeration… [Editor’s Note: This segment showed Youssef ordering half a kilo of cupcakes with Sisi’s face on them. The cake vendor insinuates that he must not love Sisi very much, so he ends up buying all the cupcakes].
 
He is seen by many as a savior figure because he rid the people of the Muslim Brotherhood. And he possesses a lot of the charisma and oratory skills that have long been absent from our politicians. However, I don’t think a good speech is an alternative to bread and justice.
 
Another Sisi cake. Photo published on the SisiFetish Tumblr.

“This is a normal reaction from the people after the mess and chaos of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule”

B.G. lives in Cairo.
 
Sisi truly is everywhere, from rural areas to upscale neighborhoods. Not only is his face on posters and merchandise, but a song that was made to thank him and the army has now become a popular ringtone.
 
To me, this is is a normal reaction from the people after the mess and chaos of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule. I cannot be sure of the true motives that made Sisi topple Morsi, but I owe him a big ‘thank you’.
 
Besides intervening at the right time to save us from Morsi, Sisi has a decent way of speaking, with a warm voice. He reminds people of Colonel Nasser, and this brings him much, much closer than Morsi was to the Egyptian people’s image of a real ruler. I think he is growing ever more popular, and I’m certain that if he runs for president, he will win!
 
A poster showing both Sisi and Nasser in a store near Cairo. Photo taken by B.G.

“Businesses associated with the Muslim Brotherhood have put up Sisi posters to protect themselves”

Ihab lives in Cairo.
 
What is interesting is that you can also find photos of Sisi in places that are known to be pro-Muslim Brotherhood… For example, I saw a poster of him in an El Tawheed & El Nour supermarket. [Muslim Brotherhood opponents have accused this supermarket, as well as many other stores in Cairo, of being run by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Some of them even encircled one of the supermarket chain’s locations in late July, but were stopped by security forces]. The employees there likely put up the poster because they are afraid of being attacked again!
 
Sisi necklaces are on sale in stores. (See Arabic video report here.)
 
"The lion man". Photo by B.G.
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