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. muslim247

    Arab rulers don't fear harlem shake, Muslims simply don't need this garbage. Its not part of our culture. Stop making things WE the people don't like ..into rulers problems.

    March 6, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  2. Ken Margo

    Is anybody surprised by this? Those co'ckroaches in the middle east get upset over the time of day.

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

    Shake on middle easterners!!!!!

    March 6, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  4. TampaArab

    Awesome! Shake Shake Shake and let those looser dictators that worry only about their pockets tremble in fear!

    March 6, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Reply
  5. Atul C.

    Arab world doesn't like America's liberalism, they don't like our conservatism, they don't like our culture, they don't like the way Americans behave. Well, they don't really need a reason to hate America. They hate us because we are a country with free speech, land of opportunity, our liberals have same rights as religious rights (up to some extent), we are a land of abundance, they despise that we are a majority Christian nation.

    March 6, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Reply
    • Ken Margo

      I don't know about the "majority" christian.

      March 6, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Reply
      • World Yankee

        Now you do.

        March 6, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
  6. Tyler

    I think it is rather evident that the youth in the middle east country's want more freedom to express themselves. Next thing you know they will be walking around putting daisy's in the ends of assault rifles.

    March 6, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Reply
  7. Matt

    You just sifted through many lines of nonsense about a story which is itself nonsense. YAY!

    March 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Reply
  8. LL

    The Harlem shake is about as harmless as a high five. Is that also on the 'feared list' in Arab countries? Why is soccer acceptable and the Harlem shake not?

    Crying 'Wolf' usually always comes back to bite.

    March 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Reply
  9. skxawng

    "Late in the week in Cairo, there was a mass shake in front of the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters to protest."

    That just made my whole day!

    March 6, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Reply
  10. Just a thought

    Just don't bring back the bunny hop and song.

    March 6, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Reply
  11. NorCalMojo

    Fundies will be fundies.

    March 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Reply
  12. jj

    It is the Zeitgeist of freedom

    March 6, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Reply
  13. boyamidumb

    Lesson ........ Don't mess with our music! Didn't you fools learn that in the 60's?

    March 6, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Reply
  14. yo!

    Only hot girls in bikini should be allowed to do the Harlem shake.

    March 6, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Reply
  15. John

    How dare the Tunisian educational system get mad at school kids for doing the Harlem Shack in the classroom. It is the American culture to send our kids to school to do the Harlem Shack! Maybe we can make it a class right after Math.

    Youtube "kids get in trouble for doing the harlem shack"
    The first hit is an American school!
    Doesn't CNN ever get tired of lying about and demonizing Islam and Muslims?

    March 6, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Reply
  16. Jim in PA

    When the authorities try to ban dancing, they are just begging for a Kevin Bacon movie to be made.

    March 6, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Reply
  17. Cal Newlan

    The "Harlem Shake" is satanic. The further Western civilization deteriorates, the greater the need for Sharia-like laws. calnewlanministries.com

    March 6, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Reply
    • anyakhan

      coming from a tool who uses a fake name YOU are a joke just like the pedophile who created islam for access to children

      March 14, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Reply
  18. MM

    At least they are protesting peacefully and not killing anyone. Arab leaders please give the youth a break and allow them to express themselves or they might just go back to b l o w i n g each other up.

    March 6, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Reply
  19. MM

    It's quite obvious that democracy will never take hold in these countries because the leaders are not having any of it . . . at least not for their people.

    March 6, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Reply
  20. Meki60

    I hope they shake on Zakaria's face

    March 6, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Reply
  21. Alfredo

    Allah likes when people relax and have a good time. Time for the uptight religious nuts and Arab tyrants to get lost....

    March 6, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Reply
  22. Abdullah Abdullah

    Western media invade Islamic world is bad for Muslim children. Through Sharia can real values be imparted. The USA is home to Satan, and he wishes to corrupt. This sickness will not last as Muslim children wish for its own traditional music.

    March 6, 2013 at 10:05 pm | Reply
  23. alioth999

    The Harlem Shake is nothing but simulated copulation and panders to the lowest common denominator. It is inimical to civilized society, lacks both originality and taste and is morally reprehensible. Islam, on the other hand, is far superior both intellectually and morally to the other two of the so called great monotheistic religions.

    March 6, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Reply
  24. bonbon

    Dear Mr. Zakaria, first of all, credit goes to the first Harlem Shake youtube video uploaded by Australians. You are/were always accurate, and so we request that you acknowledge that the trend was started by the ozzies and not americans. Second of all, Mr. Zakaria, It is not always about America. if anything, none of the american values exported contributed to the Arab spring which as a matter of fact was only to a certain extent successful in the repression Arab regimes and not in Arab bribery regimes (where any protest was not even entertained). The arab spring was spurred by the will of people to live freely (not only an american value by the way) only to be shut down a bit later (oh where was America in that?) – where are American values in what's happening today in Syria. You bring zero value in trying to give credit in the first place to American values (with all our due respect).

    March 6, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Reply
  25. TheXDude

    I'm tired of these mother f**@$#! sheiks on these mother f@#%!#@ plains!!!

    March 6, 2013 at 11:19 pm | Reply
  26. harajukublog

    The 'Harlem Shake' video craze is not american export.

    It started in Australia.

    Check your facts. Australia is not America.

    March 6, 2013 at 11:22 pm | Reply
  27. Captain America

    Funny thing about freedom people tend to do what they want with it.

    March 7, 2013 at 12:06 am | Reply
  28. Homer10

    It's happening. The Middle East is going to join the modern world. Say good by to burkas, good by to bras.

    March 7, 2013 at 12:30 am | Reply
  29. mmi16

    Religon is not about God and spirituality.

    Religion is about control of populations and using God's name in vain to do it.

    March 7, 2013 at 12:31 am | Reply
  30. American Oz

    Sheik Sheik Sheik yo booty, brothers!

    March 7, 2013 at 1:11 am | Reply
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