The Zamalek Association of active residents has revived their guerrilla tactics of shaming traffic violators by posting stickers on their cars. We talk to Karim Molyneux-Berry to find out more...
Zamalek is notoriously ridden with several problems, from unlicensed shops to a variety of traffic violations that, together, hinders movement while mounting frustrations. Around 10 years ago, the Zamalek Association decided to take matters into their own hands after the lack of authoritative action on the subject.
Their solution? Creating stickers that say keda ghalat (this is wrong) and placing them on cars that are violating traffic laws. The initiative shortly died out, but was brought back to life after the January 25th revolution inspired many to be more active in their communities. The only problem is when they brought back the stickers, they decided to upgrade them using a more expensive glue, but unfortunately they seemed easier to take off cars.
Fortunately, we were able to get in contact with Karim Molyneux-Berry, a 28-year old Zamalek resident who is an active member of his residential area. Not only has he taken up the sticker initiative, but has also created a Facebook group and a Google map that highlights and shames violators online.
The feedback on the initiative is generally positive, unless of course you are an offender. “Surprisingly, most of the cars that are in the wrong belong to Zamalek residents, as well as embassy workers,” explains Molyneux-Berry. Many of the embassies’ diplomats feel they are entitled to do whatever they want, hiding behind their diplomatic immunity. In one case, one of the embassies chose to put out a bike rack on the sidewalk, however decided it would be best if congested the entrance to the building next door instead of being in front of their embassy. This is but one of the many examples that have residents taking action.
“The worst offence is parking on the sidewalk, blocking safe passages for pedestrians. I'd much rather people double park on the street than parking on the sidewalk,” he expresses.
If you are interested in taking part in this initiative, stickers can currently be found at the Urban Toddlers store in Zamalek. However be forewarned that sometimes the placement of stickers can lead to angry car owners looking to fight as a result. Then again, nothing will change unless the initiative grows and violators actually feel the shame.
Here's hoping that this will lead to less traffic in Zamalek because, as it stands, the system, or the lack there of, in place is not sustainable and requires this type of direct action.
To learn more join the Facebook group here.