Enjoy Ahram Online’s compilation of the most peculiar Egyptian quotes in 2011.
People of priorities
“I’m quite fanatic about my scotch in the evening, so I don’t like anybody telling me that I can’t drink.” Not possible economic reforms or bank restrictions, but alcohol was the first thing to cross the mind of Coptic telecommunications tycoon Naguib Sawiris when asked about potential Muslim Brotherhood rule.
“The bikini issue is no big deal. The tourism industry in Egypt needs drastic changes that we should be more concerned about. It’s like manufacturing a vehicle; you work on the important things, then the minor details, like the brakes.” Al-Nour Party’s spokesperson Mohamed Nour appears to believe that imposing a dress code on tourists is as “unimportant” as brakes on a car.
“We are devastated; do you know how long 10 days are? There are kids who eat. My niece told me ‘Aunt, I fancy a pizza,’ my nephew said ‘I want a rib’ … he’s two years old.” The public did not show an abundance of sympathy for the “misery” of actress Afaf Shoeib during the uprising, but rather tried to picture that little carnivore nephew of hers.
A little bit over the top
“I fought in battles, killed, got killed and have done everything.” Egypt’s first post-revolution prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, admitted dying “once” in his renowned argument on live TV with revolutionary writer Alaa Al-Aswani. No wonder he was the shortest lasting premier in Egyptian history.
“I am sure that the overwhelming majority of Egyptians know who Hosni Mubarak is,” the toppled president said hours before that very same majority embarked on exuberant celebrations across Egypt and in many other countries to celebrate his overthrow. Apparently, he was right.
“I have been fighting for 40 years, more than 40 years. I will remain a fighter for the sake of God and Egypt.” With a simple mathematical calculation, one should wonder who are the enemies SCAF head Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi has been battling for over four decades.
“For 30 years Egyptians have felt powerless, on 1 January Vodafone launches [“Power to you”] in Egypt.” Vodafone, one of the three mobile companies that cut telecommunications during the revolution, hinted at its “contribution” to the uprising in an advertisement whose main character was actor Adel Imam, a major Mubarak disciple.
“Down with the coming president,” read a small paper held by a protester in Tahrir Square on the Friday of Correcting the Path, 9 September. He obviously cannot get enough of the revolution.
Military comments, or no comment!
“Whenever I wanted to ease the tensions of protesters in Tahrir Square, I spread rumours that, for instance, the former interior minister was arrested. I know how to calm down the square, and how to inflame it.” Ironically, the confession of SCAF member Hassan El-Roweiny is similar to the military council’s description of what alleged “hidden hands” have been doing.
“The armed forces and military personnel are from the people; none of them would ever fire on civilians. Even if someone dressing in the army uniform fired on people, then he’s not from our armed forces.” Military General Fouad Fioud blows another whistle on the “third party”?
“We exercised enviably high levels of self-restraint.” Right after military soldiers mercilessly beat up, dragged around and tortured many protesters during the Cabinet office clashes in December, SCAF member Adel Emara commented on the behavior of the army towards demonstrators.
“If one shell from a tank was fired in the air, all the non-Egyptian cowards would run and hand themselves in.” This comment was not meant to be a joke by comedian Talaat Zakaria, but rather a suggestion for how the army might evacuate Tahrir Square during the 18-day revolt.
“What is your feeling when you see Egypt and its history burn in front of you? Yet you worry about a vagrant who should be burnt in Hitler’s ovens,” said Egyptian army adviser Abdel-Moneim Kato, who came across as a Nazi. Unashamedly.
“When you say 125 years, what’s that supposed to mean? When I travelled abroad they told me there is no such thing. So are they trying to refer to the day the revolt began?” Music composer and crooner Amr Mostafa used his extraordinary ability to “read between the lines” to realise how “vicious” Coca Cola’s slogan “Delivering 125 Years of Happiness” really is.
“I have seen people distributing special meals [to protesters] … from restaurants like Hardees and Wimpy.” As KFC was linked to the revolution, the British hamburger chain Wimpy, which disappeared from Egypt over a decade ago, is the new sponsor of revolutionaries, according to a nostalgic Ahmed who phoned in to give his “testimony” on Nahdet Masr TV show.
“There were two [spies] who have the Swiss nationality … they are Islamists who are preaching in Nasr City [Cairo] and they distribute handouts that say ‘No for change.’” Mostafa again in one of his “moments” during the revolution, though he forgot to explain why two anti-change foreign Muslims would pose a threat of any kind.
“Obama, you coward, you are an American agent.” In Abbassiya, pro-SCAF protesters chanted a slogan that might have prompted US President Barack Obama to ponder becoming an agent for North Korea or Iran after being exposed.
“It was a black day for all Egypt when the Central Security Forces collapsed.” In one of his so-called poems, the “multi-talented” wannabe Ahmed “Zebidar” (a tacky Egyptian pronunciation of the English word spider) expressed his admiration for the Central Security Forces, the deposed regime’s number one oppression tool.
Definitions and clarifications
“What does a civic state mean? It means your mother would wear no veil ... And liberality means there is no difference between a man and a woman; manhood would be forbidden in the first place.” Salafist preacher Hazem Shoman provides “contemporary” Salafist definitions of secularism and liberality.
“All the Revolutionary Socialists Movement wants is anarchy … it was founded and is funded by the CIA,” said Nour, the namesake of his party, but forgot to provide a reason why would a group getting money from US Intelligence would opt to adopt socialism.
“ElBaradei is not one of the opposition. He has his own group, which is related to the Brother Muslimhood, or has links with the Brother Muslimhood and Brother Muslimhood asked me that they want to open a dialogue with me without Mr ElBaradei.” Mispronouncing the name of the most potent political force in the country three times in a single sentence, former Vice-President Omar Suleiman expectedly failed to talk the revolutionaries out of deposing Mubarak.
“My age is not a disadvantage, I’m not coming to lift weights,” said Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri, shortly 78. He probably had a change of heart after spending a few weeks as Egypt’s interim premier.
“Democracy is not only unorthodox, it is also tantamount to atheism.” The controversial Salafist leader Abdel-Moneim El-Shahat reveals his views about democracy, a few months before running for Egypt’s first “democratic” parliamentary elections.
“The tourists want to see the statues, and that generates revenue for the country, but the statues are forbidden in Islam. So I would suggest covering them with a wax mask.” El-Shahat revealed his intention of depriving tourists of their habit of worshipping pharaonic “idols”. Maybe it was them who cast a spell on him, leading him to join the “forbidden” elections.
And the winner is ...
“Take care and beware of that date: 13/13/2013. On 13/13/2013 the Masons will … ” Not only did TV presenter and parliamentary and presidential candidate Tawfik Okasha challenge the Gregorian calendar that was introduced in the 16th century, but has also left his followers in indefinite suspense while waiting for the aforesaid date.