March 6th, 2013
09:40 AM ET

Harlem shaking the Arab world?

For more Last Look, watch GPS, Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

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. Ray

    so let me get this right... if you dance the shake, you get arrested...if you murder a bunch of people, allah gives you 72 virgins?? hmmm............

    March 6, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Reply
    • Alien8

      Technically, if you DIE IN BATTLE, BRAVELY FACING THE ENEMY, you get 72 virgins and a free pass on your sins. Most mainstream Muslims think suicide vests are a coward's way of pretending to be brave, and assume you go straight to hell.

      March 6, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Reply
      • Conrad Shull

        Has the issue of what Paradise is like AFTER all the virgins have been deflowered been addressed anywhere? Is it still Paradise?

        March 6, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
      • LMG

        Then you are stuck with 72 wives and the real hell begins

        March 6, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
  2. La Jefa

    I just don't get how this became the Harlem Shake. This is not the real Harlem Shake smfh!

    March 6, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  3. Ang


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

    Good for the students being arrested !
    Shame on them for making a mockery of one of the great wonders of the world. (great pyramids)
    I wish that happened here, for every retard doing the harlem shake to be arrested- i would be a happy man .

    March 6, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Reply
    • Ray

      you miss the entire point...its NOT about the pyramids. it's about FREEDOM!

      March 6, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Reply
    • Alien8

      I can see why you Muslims hate it. It's free and insolent and you can't even slow it down. The pyramids have witnessed every kind of foolishness imaginable as the slow centuries passed; pretending that people dancing nearby is "mockery" just shows how superficial you are.

      March 6, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Reply
      • LameStream

        I'm not a muslim, I'm a white Canadian 🙂

        March 6, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
  5. Zee

    When are people going to realize that Tunisians and Egyptians are AFRICANS, not ARABS!

    March 6, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Reply
    • heliocracy

      Meh, they're all brown and angry, so what's the difference really?

      March 6, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Reply
  6. Ray

    Islam...where dancing gets you arrested but mass murder gets you 72 virgins!

    March 6, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  7. whatsthebigdeal?

    I don't understand why they were making such a big deal about them dancing..."An act of defiance?" To me it just looked like young kids enjoying themselves...jeez

    March 6, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Reply
  8. MikeyZ

    Any agent of a government who fears its citizens... probably has good reason to.

    March 6, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Reply
  9. Conrad Shull

    II heard they were worried because they thought it was called "The Harem Shake".

    March 6, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Reply
  10. Foreseen


    March 6, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Reply
  11. Conrad Shull

    Sheik Yerbout

    March 6, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Reply
    • Conrad Shull


      March 6, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Reply
    • NorCalMojo

      Djibouti works too

      March 6, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Reply
  12. pinkfloyd43

    It has NO VALUE and is basically STUPID! Glad I am in the USA where free speech is available to all. I do really think it has no value at all and is plain stupid!

    March 6, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  13. heliocracy

    If your government is frightened by an internet meme, it probably means they don't have legitimacy to govern in the first place...and they know it.

    March 6, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  14. Shaykey Ground

    Of course they don't want that in their country ...... then they will degrade to same disgusting level as Harlem is.

    March 6, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Reply
  15. rcman

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

    ehh.... the Harlem Shake began in Australia, not America.

    March 6, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Reply
  16. stanley

    This is just more evidence that the power of religion is declining. After thousands of years of religious oppression, the spread of knowledge and enlightenment is reducing religion's vice grip on humanity, leading the world towards a better, more free, and more tolerant future. To all the priests, imams, rabbis, religious bigots, and theocratic dictators: we are no longer your monkeys. With the advent of the Internet, you can no longer keep the human spirit chained or knowledge restrained; everyone now has access to the most profound, inspirational, and humbling discoveries of mankind. For the sake of both religious fanatics and the people they oppress, I hope religion continues its slow death.

    March 6, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • jbcal

      Then whose monkey are you?

      March 6, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Reply
  17. YEP!

    - BRILLIANT! not brillian-

    March 6, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Reply
  18. Elvis the Pelvis

    Arab leaders hate the Harlem Shake because they just spent the last 20 years learning The Macarena and now they have to start over

    March 6, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Reply
  19. Hahahahahaahha

    See any women in those videos?? No, they'd be killed for dancing!!!!!!! Hahahahahahah

    March 6, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Reply
  20. Tom

    Harlem shake is the epitome of a dumbed down society...

    March 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Reply
  21. wrma

    Of course, the protest has to come in the form of something absolutely ridiculous.

    March 6, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Reply
    • LeftyCoaster

      All the good ones do

      March 6, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Reply
  22. Zoglet

    What amazes me about CNN is how the afre happy to serve up drivel like this whilst failing to inform the US public of the global story that links directly, the Pentagon to Iraqi torture centers. No wonder the US public have a misguided notion about their standing in the world.

    March 6, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  23. Elvis the Pelvis

    I saw an episode of "The Simpsons" on Bravo. Homer was naked and they blurred out his ass crack. Another example of our freedoms being eroded.

    March 6, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  24. Freddy Mercurial


    March 6, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Reply
    • Elvis the Pelvis

      Interesting you picked the name of a flaming gay guy for your screed

      March 6, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  25. colin in Florida

    Fundamentalists of all religions fear anything that has not been done for a thousand or so years. The pope resigns, and people wring their hands over the color of his shoes and what to call him. People wiggle their hips and their leaders tremble with fear and arrest people. Girls wear clothing that does not cover them from head to foot and they are beaten. And in this country, if you don't say that everything good that happens is gods work, you are an outcast in many places. They are all the same, and sad.

    March 6, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Reply
  26. Thinks2010

    Money is the only truly free speech in this country anymore. It buys politicians and elections, it floods the media with its messages while blocking out the ability of the common individual to be heard, it buys entry into the meetings and halls of power, it rents or purchases venues for meetings and air time while citizens without it are shunted to fenced in "free speech zones" that are out of sight and out of mind. It magnifies the voice of corporate CEOs over that of their workers and that of individual voters. It buys "experts" that agree with its views and slants their research and the reporting of their findings. It perverts the justice system by buying teams of lawyers and dragging on lawsuits until the opposition folds due to lack of funds and exhaustion. On those rare occasions when it loses a suit, it delays implementation of sentences and penalties through endless appeals. Its influence is pervasive and silences the majority.

    March 6, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  27. Gabi

    Fight for your right to partay! 🙂 Good on 'em.

    March 6, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  28. Is this a Joke

    I guess Zakaria is a bigger joke than I previously thought.

    March 6, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Reply
  29. Typical conservative

    Conservatives are always scared that some new thing will come along and knock them down a notch, so they have to try and put their thumb on people. You shouldn't do this, can't do that. Lame

    March 6, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Reply
  30. chris

    given the only words in the video say "with the terrorists" it's interesting what those people might think all the US citizens are dancing to..........

    March 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Reply
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