Wannabe wants Vodafone puppet jailed for threatening national security, investigation underway

Sherif Tarek , Thursday 2 Jan 2014

Claims by Ahmed Zebidar that a Vodafone ad reveals new bombing in Egypt urged authorities to open an investigation

A screenshot from the one air confrontation between Abla Fahita , the puppet and wannabe singer Ahmed Spider on CBC late Wednesday (Photo: Ahram Online)

Wannabe artist and renowned conspiracy theorist Ahmed Zebidar vowed to jail Abla Fahita during a verbal exchange with the well-known puppet late Wednesday, shortly after filing a complaint against Vodafone Egypt over an online ad that he says reveals details of a bombing.

Once again, Vodafone found itself facing an accusation related to national security over one of its ads, only this time Egyptian prosecutors took it seriously and have ordered an investigation into Zebidar's complaint.

A statement by Vodafone said that the prosecutors summoned the company representatives for questioning concerning Zebidar's accusations. The company, however, didn't file any complaints against him.

Vodafone described the accusations as "irrational." It said the advertisement's sole purpose is to "explain how to reactivate a Vodafone SIM card and attract audience to the product."

"The advertisement carries no other meaning and any interpretation other than that is mere imagination or personal opinion of some of the audience," the statement read.

A previous accusation related to national security against Vodafone was triggered over two years ago by crooner and music composer Amr Mostafa. He hinted during a TV interview that Vodafone's slogan "The power is in your hands" was actually a hidden message sent by the British telecommunications company to call on Egyptians to protest against former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

For his side, Zebidar, one of Amr Mostafa's ardent fans, demonised Fahita the old puppet and the main character of Vodafone's recent online ad rather than the mobile company itself.

Zebidar – a tacky Egyptian pronunciation of the English word spider – believes that Fahita's utterance is barely comprehensible because basically she drops hints that bombings would take place.

In a lengthy interview with TV presenter Ahmed Moussa on Tahrir TV late Tuesday, Zebidar pointed out that Fahita used the word 'bomb' during a previous ad for Dolce Ice Cream, and it was followed by several bombings in Egypt including the deadly one in Nile Delta's Mansoura recently.

Explaining his own interpretations of Fahita's words and other "signs" in the Vodafone ad, Zebidar stressed January would witness more terror attacks, including the bombing of a shopping mall.

He also believes the four branches of a cactus used as a Christmas tree in the ad symbolise the four-finger Islamist salute used by ousted president Mohamed Morsi's supporters. An ornamental ball dangling from the tree represents a bomb, Zebidar added.

Late on Wednesday, another veteran journalist in Khairy Ramadan gave Fahita the puppet the chance to defend herself against Zebidar's accusations. "I am a mere comedic sarcastic character," Fahita said with her trademark tone on Skype before Zebidar, who phoned in, promised to send her to prison.

According to Zebidar, the complaint he filed, which prompted Egyptian prosecutors to open an investigation and summon Vodafone representatives for questioning, was based on the same allegations he made during his interview with Moussa.

When asked how he "reads" hidden messages in ads, the self-proclaimed singer and poet would stress that he knows too much about Freemasonry, which he blames for Egypt's disturbance over the past three years.

Zebidar's previous TV appearances were mainly on Egyptian television channel Faraeen, owned by controversial talk show host Tawfiq Okasha. Zebidar's theories often instigate widespread sarcasm on social media.

Lately, Egypt has been hit by a wave of bombings, with political tensions rising since the ouster of former president Morsi on 3 July. The Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, was recently declared a terrorist organisation, and a myriad of its members face terror and espionage charges.

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