March 6th, 2013
09:40 AM ET

Harlem shaking the Arab world?

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In America, "Harlem Shake" may be the top pop single. In Egypt and Tunisia, there's some serious Harlem shaking going on. And it's causing leaders to tremble as it becomes a potent symbol of protest, revolt and defiance.

Take the kids in the video at a school in Tunisia. They danced en masse to the song and posted their exploits on YouTube. That prompted a quarter of a million hits and reports of an investigation by the country's minister of education and that prompted a backlash. Video after video after video of Tunisians proudly doing the Harlem shake in defiance.

More from CNN: What the Shake has to do with Harlem

And then there's Egypt, where the authorities went further and the backlash was worse. Four pharmaceutical students were arrested for doing this Harlem shake in front of the pyramids, and that set off a big reaction. Late in the week in Cairo, there was a mass shake in front of the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters to protest.

Now, who says America's popular culture exports have no value?

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Topics: Arab Spring • GPS Show

soundoff (316 Responses)
  1. bullsballs

    reminds me of why babtists don't dance...

    March 6, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Reply
    • Sarah

      Do your balls bounce when you dance?

      March 6, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Reply
  2. palintwit

    One time while vacationing in the middle east I saw a muslim by the side of the road with his arm all the way up a camel's butt. "Car trouble?" I asked.

    March 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Reply
    • duh....

      Did you hear about the guy who went into an auto parts store and said to the clerk, "Can I get a new gas cap for a Yugo?"

      The clerk thought for a second and said, "That seems like a fair trade."

      March 6, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  3. Kerry

    Come on, shaking is preferable to killing any day. If these people are in protest then maybe someone should listen, rather than trying to suppress. Power to the people.

    March 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  4. JV

    I guess they dont like there children acting like monkies jumping off trees. This stupid stuff represents the worst in American culture. but its ok,, keep thinking its harmless as our kids jump backward socially and Intellectually. It will be ok....

    March 6, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Reply
    • Alien8

      Yep, just like Elvis shaking his hips ruined the entire 1950s. Get a clue, man. Our current silly fad has jumped right over the wall into their purdah gardens, and they can't stop it with their disapproval any more than you can. The Beatles did more to break up the USSR than any military action.

      March 6, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Reply
  5. Carlin123

    I thought sheikh's came from these countries?

    March 6, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Reply
    • YEP!

      Brillian play on words!

      March 6, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  6. James PDX

    I'm embarassed enough seeing Americans doing it.

    March 6, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Reply
  7. Mike R

    It's time to shake off this mindless oppression in this world. SHAKE ON, PEOPLE!!!

    March 6, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Reply
  8. nouse

    The bad news is that "con los terroristas" means "I'm with the terrorists"......... The world will know peace when everyone on the planet does the Harlem shake at the same time.

    March 6, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  9. Paul

    So starts the war on dance...

    March 6, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Reply
  10. Sivick

    Harlem Shake those islamists into submission! If you fear dancing you probably aren't fit to rule.

    March 6, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Reply
    • Hugh Jass

      Sharia don't like it.

      March 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  11. Searcher

    I like the Miami HEAT version, but if it promotes freedom, I'm all for it!

    March 6, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Reply
  12. Trufaxxare

    The only thing one can learn from American culture, is how to be gay, & how to be a racist!!!

    March 6, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Reply
    • Alien8

      Well, you certainly learned it well, frootloop.

      March 6, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  13. Big_D

    Shake your groove thing! Don't let the false profits of Islam make the religion worse. God created dancing as an expression of joy and Islam is an affront to not recognize the good Lord's work.

    March 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  14. fsjunkie

    I don't know about "Harlem Shake", but I like what girl missy poo was doing at :44.

    March 6, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Reply
  15. Trufaxxare

    The only thing one can learn from American culture, is how to be gay, & how to be a racist!!!
    Everything else they lie about!

    March 6, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Reply
  16. Dufas

    This is a joke – NO ONE who posts an ANTI leftist liberal democrat point of view is QUICKLY -DELETED-!
    CNN = Communinst News Network
    THEY CONTROL your input.
    This will be deleted –

    March 6, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Reply
    • Alien8

      I am the guy who deletes your posts. I just don't like you. No, seriously, you are probably getting keyword-blocked. Google CLBUTTIC and get the info.

      March 6, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Reply
  17. MrPhoenix

    CNN PLEASE fix your story. This Harlem Shake started in BRITAIN, NOT the USA.

    March 6, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Reply
    • Me

      Per wikipedia:

      The Harlem shake, originally called the albee, is a dance introduced in 1981 by a Harlem resident named "Al B".

      March 6, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  18. Chipkin

    Ummm... The Harlem Shake started in Australia, not America.

    March 6, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Reply
    • Call me Bwana

      Wrong! It was invented by Massai warriors in Kenya!

      March 6, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  19. bibleverse1

    I am afraid of the Harlem Shake

    March 6, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Reply
    • Call me Bwana

      Then refrain from doing it

      March 6, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Reply
  20. Sam

    Religion, lol... I cant believe people still believe in that baloney....

    Harlem Shake now that's real !

    March 6, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  21. michiganandy

    Screw guns, bombs, and violence. Shake, shake, shake!

    March 6, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Reply
  22. Shake it up

    Oh come on! What's the big deal. This dance has been going on in variations since ancient times ( the 60's). In was
    rooted in free form Hippie Dancing. Carry on, world.

    March 6, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Reply
    • Alien8

      The big deal is how they can't keep our pop culture out of their country. Guns and tanks and riot gas can't keep you from smoking grass. They hate us, they preach against us, they ban us and block us, and their kids still karaoke to Lady Gaga. We win again!

      March 6, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Reply
  23. bezerkur

    Im ashamed to be a American. We failed our youth. They are lost.

    March 6, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Reply
    • Alien8

      Yeah, they said the same thing about Rudy Vallee and silent movies and the end of Prohibition and Elvis's pelvis and the Beatles and mini-skirts and the pill. Hey, why don't you just shut up? You can't even spell "berserker."

      March 6, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Reply
  24. Repeat Offender

    The exact reason I stood up and spoke out against the current practices in Islam...God never required us to stop being individuals and enjoying life. Their man-made rules did. So proud of you all...keep shaking it up. Islam needs cleaning up badly.

    March 6, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Reply
    • Alien8

      It's just a joke, copying a stupid video using whoever's handy. They are angry because they can't keep the world out of their countries, but you can't tell people not to laugh and sing.

      March 7, 2013 at 8:51 am | Reply
  25. bigdawgman

    Just send that latina mother over there. She'll end all that harlem shaking!

    March 6, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  26. faboge

    how about every time we get upset we just do this instead of fighting?

    March 6, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  27. Chuck

    This is the kind of silly iPhone stuff that started the Arab Spring

    March 6, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  28. Harlem Shake

    I long for the days when islam and mohamed the false prophet has no more stronghold on people's minds and allah has no hold on their souls.

    March 6, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  29. Ray

    shake the sheik...shake till you shake out the Islamists!

    March 6, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Reply
    • Alien8

      Rock the Casbah! Sharia don't like it.

      March 6, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  30. tony

    America has the highest prisioner population of the entire world. Numbers and percentage of the population.

    March 6, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Reply
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