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Egypt: The Guy Behind Omar Suleiman

This post is part of our special coverage of Egypt Protests 2011.

During the past weeks, places like Tahrir Square, Suez and KFC, and names like Wael Ghonim, Omar Suleiman and Hosni Mubarak have grabbed the attention of the world. But just hours after the Egyptian people toppled their regime, the focus had switched to a single person - the ‘guy behind Omar Suleiman':

Omar Suleiman, and the guy behind Omar Suleiman. Still from Egyptian television, widely available in public domain.

Omar Suleiman, and the guy behind Omar Suleiman. Still from Egyptian television, widely available in public domain.

The mysterious individual appeared behind the Egyptian vice-president during his speeches throughout the unrest. No-one knew his name, nor what he does, but it did not prevented people from creating a Facebook page for him under, ‘The Guy Behind Omar Suleiman‘.

The buzz surrounding the man did not stop at the Facebook page, which had more than 40,000 fans before it later got deleted; there is also a song on YouTube [Ar], a mock press conference by president Obama [Ar], a Twitter account and hashtag dedicated to him. Here are some of the funniest tweets:

@aelgebal: USA has Batman and Superman, We have #TheGuyBehindOmarSuleiMAN
@KetyDC: Every revolution should have its own #TheGuyBehindOmarSuleiman
@moeBelal: عاجل: بعد اتساع شهرة الراجل للي ورا عمر سليمان، عمر سليمان يغير اسمه إلى الراجل للي قدام الراجل للي ورا عمر سليمان
@moeBelal: Breaking news: After the fame of the guy behind Omar Suleiman, Omar Suleiman decided to change his name to become the guy in front of the guy behind Omar Suleiman
@abdelazizMD: أنباء غير مؤكدة عن جلوس الراجل الواقف ورا عمر سليمان
@abdelazizMD: Uncertain news that the man standing behind Omar Suleiman has sat down
@o_salem: للإخوه اللي بيتريقوا على الراجل اللي ورا عمر سليمان، الراجل ده حارب في 3 حروب واستشهد مرتين، ياريت نقدره وكفايه :D
@o_salem: For all those making fun of the guy behind Omar Soliman, please pay him some respect, this guy participated in three past wars and died twice before.

Twitter user Malak El Ezzawy decided to mock Egyptian state television's lies and state of denial that lasted throughout the revolution.

@ezzawy: Egyptian state TV: There was no one behind Omar Suleiman.

There are also fake accounts on Twitter for the top figureheads of the toppled regime, including Hosni Mobarak and Habib El Adly, and sure enough they participated in the #TheGuyBehindOmarSuleiman phenomenon.

@HosniMobarak: I wish I was cool enough to have #TheGuyBehindOmarSuleiman stand behind me.
@HabibElAdly: Too busy trying to arrest and torture #TheGuyBehindOmarSuleiman

An internet meme was also made; here is a sample of the pictures collected in the BehindOmar TwitPic account:

The movie 'Inception' all over again... Image from TwitPic account BehindOmarSuleiman.

The movie 'Inception' all over again… Image from TwitPic account BehindOmarSuleiman.

What if Omar Suleiman and the man behind Omar Suleiman switched position?

The camera man was just checking the white balance... Image from TwitPic account BehindOmarSuleiman.

The camera man was just checking the white balance… Image from TwitPic account BehindOmarSuleiman.

Mock Egyptian cabinet meeting held in front of a picture of the 'man behind Omar Suleiman'. The news feed at the bottom says "Huge demonstration held at Tahrir Square to discover the identity of the man behind Omar Suleiman'. Image from TwitPic account BehindOmarSuleiman.

Mock Egyptian cabinet meeting held in front of a picture of the 'man behind Omar Suleiman'. The news feed at the bottom says "Huge demonstration held at Tahrir Square to discover the identity of the man behind Omar Suleiman". Image from TwitPic account BehindOmarSuleiman.

Finally, the man was identified as Egyptian army lieutenant Colonel Hussein Sharif. Many people believe now that it is not appropriate to make fun of him any more however, so the previously mentioned Facebook page has been deleted.

A new one has since been created, asking people to apologise to him after making him the unwilling focus of so many jokes.

This post is part of our special coverage of Egypt Protests 2011.

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