It all started with a funny Facebook post that went viral, catching the attention of thousands of Egyptians, generating funny memes on other popular social networks.
It not only attracted young people but also marketing campaigns and megastars who all talked about the “Helwan’s Battle for the Real Batman” will take place on August 13 in the heart of Helwan city at 11 p.m. to decide who the real Batman is.
Egypt’s Interior Ministry said on Wednesday it had arrested four people for initiating a social media event calling for a disguised fight outside Helwan metro station on August 13 in a bid to make financial gains by attracting advertisements and promotional material.
The statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Interior is a bit different and less exciting than what the Egyptian internet knew about the famous legend of Batman’s battle at Helwan.
According to Egyptian urban internet legend, it all started with a Facebook post from two weeks ago when a young man claimed he was the real Batman in a post, then his friend replied on the post and said. stated he was the Batman, not his friend. .
A third friend responded to the reply and said he was the real Batman, then a fourth came along to repeat the same claim and the post ended with dozens of people claiming they were the real Batman. In the end, there was an agreement that on August 13, everyone who claimed to be Batman would show up at 11 p.m. outside Helwan MRT station for a battle royale until the death, until the real Batman defeat all other Batmen.
Thus, the legend of the Battle of Batman in Helwan, or Batman in Helwan, was born and has become the main Egyptian trend on social media in recent days.
Ahram Online tried to find the original post that started the trend taking social media by storm before it was sunk under a sea of memes and jokes.
Egyptian Gotham: Helwan
Currently housing more than 500,000 people, Helwan is one of the suburbs of Greater Cairo Province with a very ancient history that is even older than Cairo itself.
Located in the south of Greater Cairo, Helwan is historically one of the oldest cities in Egypt, as it hosted one of the earliest recorded human settlements during the Stone Age in the Nile Valley.
The region continued to play a role throughout Egyptian history, but officially the city of Helwan was founded in the Umayyad era in the year 689 by the then governor of Egypt Abdel-Aziz ibn Marwan who died and was buried there.
Some historical sources say that the son of Abdel-Aziz ibn Marwan, the famous Caliph Umar ibn Abdel-Aziz or Umar II was born and grew up in Helwan.
In the 19th century, Helwan began to attract the attention of Western travelers and tourists with its famous therapeutic sulfur springs, which led Khedive Ismail to order the construction of the famous Helwan Capritage, the world’s first sulfur bath. in the Middle-East. as resorts to welcome foreign tourists.
In the 1960s, the suburb known for its sulphurous waters and lavish gardens was transformed into an industrial city by President Gamal Abdel-Nasser with the construction of steel and cement factories.
The move was both an economic blessing and an environmental curse, as the city that has built a reputation as a therapeutic haven suffered enormous environmental repercussions.
After three decades of neglect, the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism announced in January that the Capritage Helwan was listed as a monument and would be renovated to restore it to its former glory.
Meanwhile, millions of young Egyptians still do not associate middle-class, working-class Helwan with bathhouses or factories, but rather with the American caped crusader himself, Batman.
In no time, memes were posted on sarcastic Egyptian Facebook pages transforming Helwan’s famous landmarks, the main one being Helwan Metro Station in downtown Gotham.
The creativity didn’t stop at photos, comics or photoshopped illustrations. It’s taken to another level with music videos and short cartoons that have found their way to YouTube and TikTok platforms.
The video directed by Aly Al-Din Abou Eid on “Batman in Helwan” in Arabic has gone viral on all social networks after reaching nearly 60,000 likes on Tiktok.
AlyAlDin Abou Eid (@aboueid44) TikTok | Watch the latest TikTok videos from AlyAlDin Abou Eid
Join the bat trend
Popular comedian Mohamed Hennedy joined the trend and posted his photo earlier this week on his official Facebook page wearing the famous Batman mask with the words “To Helwan”
Comedian Ahmed Fahmy who gained huge popularity after portraying Egypt’s goofy superhero “El-Ragol El-Ananb” in 2013 saying his character was the true hero of the Battle of Helwan
Famous actress Rania Youssef also took part in the social media trend claiming she was the “True batman” on TikTok despite wearing the Catwoman costume she appeared in on the second season of Comedy The Game. Shahid TV in 2021.
Although not covered by mainstream media, Egypt has a growing young subculture of comic book enthusiasts in addition to fans of superhero movies and series. For the past two years, Cairo has had its own little version of the famous Comic-Con called “EgyCon” where hundreds of cosplayers and otaku anime fans gather as their own favorite characters.
There is no specific number of comic book sales in Egypt. Original DC comics or Marvel comics in English are sold at a high price in major stores. Non-original pirated comics are sold in other places in Cairo, above them the famous Abzakeya Market for cheaper prices.
Batman and his nemesis, the Joker, are consistently the top-selling comic book characters when it comes to sales according to sellers and readers.
Movies and TV shows are still the most popular and easiest way for Egyptian comic fans to see their favorite characters and earlier this year Batman boosted its popularity in Egypt when The Batman movie was successful. to stay for almost 23 weeks in cinemas, reaching more than 18 EGP. million at the Egyptian box office according to the El-Cinema website.
A fear, an alarm of the meeting of the dark knight
On Monday, popular TV host Lamis El-Hadidy warned on her ONTV TV show “The Last Word” against the “event” which is an unlicensed gathering lest it be used politically. A social media pundit spoke in the Batman trending segment warning that the banned Muslim Brotherhood could hijack him to make the event violent.
El-Hadidy’s segment on the Battle of Batmen at Helwan wiped out Facebook Events in less than 24 hours.
These concerns about events and calls do not come without reason.
13e August already coincides with the date of the forced dispersal of the Morsi sit-ins in Cairo and Giza that killed hundreds of his supporters on August 13, 2013.
Additionally, when it comes to the Batman universe, the memory of a self-exiled pro-Brotherhood media figure Tamer Gamel appearing disguised as the Joker character, calling on the Egyptian people to revolt against the government in 2019 is still vivid. despite its failure to attract any ground support for any type.
Also, Helwan has been making headlines lately, but not in a positive way.
Last week, the Criminal Security Court sentenced 10 people to death and 56 others to life imprisonment for carrying out premeditated murderous attacks against police officers and civilians, among other terrorist crimes in the case known as “Helwan Brigades”.
Designated a terrorist group, the Helwan Brigades first appeared in a video posted and circulated on social media in 2014, which showed 15 masked gunmen warning they were going to carry out an attack on police in southern Cairo.
The defendants were charged with a series of criminal charges related to the group’s activities between August 2013 and February 2015.
They were accused of the premeditated murder of several police officers and civilians.
It was out of this milieu that the call for a battle royale to the death on August 13, 2022 at 11 p.m. in Helwan sounded the alarm for some.
This concern came to a head with the Home Office arresting four people who were responsible, although they did not provide further details.
Nevertheless, these arrests did not prevent the event from continuing to attract the attention of young Arab men across borders.
Here is a Facebook post from a young man from Iraq who wants to join the battle in Helwan as a batman, but after realizing there is no Helwan in Iraq.
An Egyptian commentator tells him that everything is fine and other Iraqi batmen can hold their battle in Iraq and the final with Egyptian Batman will be in Algeria like in football finals.
Between worries and memes, the Battle of the Batmen in Helwan is garnering so much attention that hospitals in Helwan are saying their ERs are ready for August 13.
One pizzeria is even offering a lifetime discount to anyone who is declared the real Batman.