Video Inverted Worlds: “Dégage – Out – ارحل “ A Password that Transcends Arab Countries

“Dégage” – Out – « ارحل » was one of the most widespread slogans by the youth of the Arab Spring (2011-2012) revolting against their Tunisian, Egyptian, Libyan or Syrian tyrannies. This clause-equivalent or saying, comprised of a single word, plays the role of a sentence in terms of function, as it delivers a direct and transparent message.

Leave – ارحل in several languages
(RamyRaoof | CC BY 2.0)

It in effect reflects an imperative verb, demanding the immediate fall of tyrants. The French version of this clause-equivalent, “Dégage”, saw the day at the end of 2010 in Tunis. Its Arabic equivalent, « ارحل », subsequently spread in Tunis, then in Cairo at Tahrir Square by January 2011. My paper aims to study the style or sarcastic tone adopted by young Egyptians claiming Moubarak, even Ben Ali and Khaddafi Out. The clause-equivalent « ارحل », repeated orally or written on numerous signs and billboards has given way to around 20 dialectal variants in Egypt. It has thus translated the sarcastic popular temperament in addition to the renowned Egyptian sense of humour.


“Dégage – Out – ارحل “ A Password that Transcends Arab Countries from Orient Institut Beirut on Vimeo.
Nader Srage is a professor of linguistics at the Lebanese University since 1981. Throughout his professional career, he focused on functional socio-linguistics, and especially the relationship between language and society in its various levels, aspects and developments. He is currently working on a linguistic study regarding political slogans in Arab countries, in collaboration with the OIB. He received his PhD with honours from the University of Sorbonne (Paris III). He is member in various associations, including the International Society for Functional Linguistics and the Union of Arab Translators. He is the founder of the Beirut Urban Observatory, through which he published two books and organized two conferences regarding cultural heritage in Beirut thus far. He is the author of 10 books in Arabic and French, and more than 200 articles. Amongst others, he is also an expert in communication and PR.

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