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Bizarre quotes: Presidential finalists Shafiq, Morsi

To savour, here is Ahram Online’s compilation of the most peculiar quotes of Egypt’s final two presidential candidates, Ahmed Shafiq and Mohamed Morsi

Hatem Maher and Sherif Tarek, Friday 15 Jun 2012
Shafiq & Morsi
Shafiq and Morsi

Shafiq: Absurdity at its best!

"They were going to the Mostafa Mahmoud Mosque to dance, and then they said they would dance in Tahrir, according to the news circulating at the time. What proves my point is that they were allowed in."

So, the Battle of the Camel took place in last year's uprising because military forces allowed thugs to enter Tahrir after they said they would put on a dancing show. Of course, the hoodlums riding in on camels may have looked — perhaps from a great distance — like professional dancers, while their appendages — Molotov cocktails, swords and cudgels — for someone near-sighted perhaps, may also have seemed somewhat musical. So it is hard to blame the army for letting them pass! Shafiq, for his part, made the most of his authority and the resources at his disposal as then-prime minister to reveal the truth behind the incident, having bothered enough to listen to rumours no one had ever heard of!

"I will keep saying it until the very last day of my life (that Mubarak is his role model), because he was very courageous. He has a special ability to separate his personal relationships from his work."

Much to the revolutionaries' ire, Shafiq’s admiration for the former president has never been a secret. But his respect for this particular "feature" of the overthrown autocrat seems reassuring, as it suggests that should Shafiq win the presidential elections, his family and clique would be completely separated from his work, exactly like Mubarak’s loved ones were before the uprising!

"I fought in battles, killed, got killed and have done everything."

Shafiq admitted dying "once" in his renowned argument on live TV with revolutionary writer Alaa Al-Aswany shortly after the uprising. No wonder he was the shortest lasting premier in Egyptian history!

"When the armed forces told them (protesters and assailants), 'Please leave the area [Abbasyia in front of the Ministry of Defence headquarters],' they left. Once they felt the armed forces are serious about making them leave, they just left."

So, no security personnel used force to evacuate the area; all they had to do was appear serious. Doing so excessively, however, might result in deaths, like in December’s cabinet clashes, or injured like this year’s Abbasyia turmoil.

"I would like to tell all the youth of all [political] parties, the non-politicised members of the revolution's coalitions, the April 6 Youth Movement and the Ultras members (hardcore football fans) … The revolution that you triggered has been snatched from you, and I pledged once and I hereby reiterate my promise to bring back its fruit within your grasp."

According to lawyer Fareed El-Deeb, his client, Hosni Mubarak, was the first in line to support the 2011 uprising. Now Shafiq seems to be following in his role model's footsteps, so blindly to the extent that he shunned the fact that one of the uprising's main demands is to rule out all remnants of the old regime — especially him — from political life. Maybe he is destined to meet the same fate as Mubarak?

"It is an extreme expression of the public opinion in groups, but it’s definitely not a revolution."

This is what Shafiq said about the 18-day revolt as it was still flaring, shortly after Mubarak had appointed him his last premier. But that doesn't necessarily mean Shafiq would not take the side of the revolutionaries these days, does it?

"I would fix the traffic problem in 24 hours (if he assumes power) … I couldn't do that during the uprising because I held the post (prime minister) for only one month."

So, only one day is enough for Shafiq to fix Egypt's chronic traffic problem, whereas as premier, not president, the former pilot didn't have time to do so in one month!

The meaning of the following recent TV quotes of Shafiq remain a mystery:

"It is really easy to regain what you lost, this is the nature of the valleys' residents, especially if our valley's weather is nice, especially with our weather. Our valley has a canal that separates the east from the west. In addition, the labour in our valley would only cost dimes. All these are elements of preference, so why don't they come here? The planes pass above us to take the brand factories from Europe and deliver them to China and Malaysia, and lately, unfortunately, take them to Indonesia, where the weather is a million times worse than ours, and on 3000 islands and so tiring. We just lack credibility in the system of the Egyptian rule. And as I told you (TV presenter Moataz El-Demerdash) before, the residents of the valleys can be easily lived with and driven."

"If you try to make (a missing word!) in your artificial line today, some corners will change to hate more just because he (no one knows who that is) is not on your side now, of course."

Morsi: Lacks common sense!

"The bird has a head, wings, body, covered in feathers and has a butt. Every part has a role to play. We want the (Muslim Brotherhood's long-lasting) Renaissance Project to fly and overcome all obstacles and difficulties."

Morsi could not have made a more vivid description to introduce the project that the Brotherhood heavily relies on to win the elections, but forgot that a domestic duck, as well as many other birds, does not really fly, despite the fact that it has the same physical structure as all birds, including a butt!

"Mohamed Abou-Treika scored a hat-trick last week (in May against Stade Malien in Cairo). By the way, he was a substitute."

Morsi hopes he can replicate the heroics of the Ahly playmaker after replacing Khairat El-Shater in the "second half" of the Muslim Brotherhood's presidential bid. Morsi, however, ignored the fact the Ahly veteran, who celebrates his 34th birthday in November, is set to hang up his boots in the near future.

“I would order a re-trial (of the former regime figures) based on fresh evidence and an independent judicial process. It is not possible to release Mubarak.”

A year and a half has elapsed since the brutal clashes between security forces and protesters during the 2011 uprising, but Morsi is still holding out hope some clear-cut evidence is lying somewhere unconcealed, perhaps bullet casings in Tahrir Square.

"My sons (who were born in 1980 and 1981) gained United States citizenship because they were born there. They did not know that fact until they were arrested [in Egypt last year]."

If Morsi's two sons took three decades to realise they held US nationality, how long might it take them to know their father is Egypt's president, should he win the elections?

"I'm pleased and honoured to head the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP). The FJP and the Brotherhood never change their principles; the work mechanisms may just change over time."

That was an immediate "to-the-point" answer to ex-presidential candidate Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, when the latter highlighted the fact that the Brotherhood had changed its political postures several times, having said they would only run for 35 per cent of parliamentary seats and eventually contesting 90 per cent, and having stated they would not field a presidential candidate and having done the opposite, with Morsi ending up that very man!

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