Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Trendhunter: Moustachio vendettas

A truly bizarre story about the "Moustache War of Upper Egypt," but perhaps a leading indicator for something profound, namely the ever-increasing importance of cultural symbolism:
Moustache war shakes southern Egypt

When an elder was kidnapped in a clan dispute in conservative southern Egypt, the al-Arab family's worst fears were soon realised -- they received a package containing his moustache, local media reported on Sunday.

The man himself was returned uninjured, but the use of the new shaving tactic sent shockwaves through the town of Mahrusa, near Luxor, 650km south of Cairo, where a man's honour is measured by the size of his moustache, the al-Gomhuria daily said.

The conflict that started with a coffee-shop brawl swiftly spiralled out of control, with the al-Arab carrying out a humiliating reprisal shave on a leading member of the Fallaheen family, followed by all-out battles with sticks and clubs.

Police and community leaders then intervened, restoring a relative calm to the town, the paper said, with those worst hit by the conflict set to remain indoors for the coming weeks pending the regrowth of their manliness.

I suspect this story awaits its Robert Darnton.

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