A year of memorable statements

The year 2014 wasn’t short of provocative statements from public figures that captured Egypt’s collective consciousness, with protagonists ranging from lawyers, to actors, to television hosts. Here are some gems selected by Mada Masr.

“Anyone who slanders his president, state institutions and security is not a man — he is a homosexual.”
Samir Sabry, lawyer

Sabry is a lawyer who sued actor Khaled Abol Naga for criticizing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s security record.

In a video appearance during the Cairo International Film Festival, Abol Naga had said, “If you cannot secure [Egypt] without sacrificing the people’s rights, you should not stay in your position. If you cannot do this [securing the country], then leave, go away. It seems that we are going to say it again very soon.”

A mass smear campaign launched shortly after these remarks became public, but Sabry took it to the next level by suing the actor.

He called Naga a “homosexual” in a phone interview with television talk show host Ahmed Moussa, making a remarkable connection between sexuality and political beliefs.

“[We call on the United States to show] restraint and respect for the right of assembly and peaceful expression of opinion.”
Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Ferguson protests in the US

Although there were legitimate allegations of police brutality during this summer’s protests in Ferguson, Missouri in retaliation against the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer, for many observers the fact that Egypt was berating the United States over its human rights record seemed, in the words of the Huffington Post, like “trolling.”

Egypt’s human rights record in the past year, especially toward protesters, has been criticized by many international human rights organizations. In a report from January 2014, Amnesty International summed up the situation by saying, “The Egyptian authorities are using every resource at their disposal to quash dissent and trample on human rights.”

“Is it not the job of the wife to pick up my pants when I leave them on the floor? When I leave my dirty plate to pick it up? We are starting to ask important historical questions. Why else am I married?”
Amr Adib, television host

The popular TV host — who deserves an article on ridiculous statements all on his own — had a true ringer this year when he claimed that if wives did not pick up their husbands’ dirty dishes and clothing, there was no point in marrying them. He opened his segment by sharing a story about how he knew of a woman in New York who told her husband to clean the dishes and pick up his used towel and clothes.

Adib said this story was a “warning to all men across the globe,” and that this type of behavior is a “coup.” He continued that if you allowed one woman to do this, soon all women would be doing this, and poor men around the world would be forced to pick up their own pants from the floor.

“Yesterday when we saw our respectable president [visiting her in hospital], we all said how lucky that woman is.”
Ghada Abdel Razek, actress, speaking of a rape victim

Abdel Razek wrote this tweet after a video aired on television showing Sisi visiting a rape survivor in the hospital. The woman was being treated for injuries sustained when she was gang-raped in Tahrir Square during celebrations for Sisi’s presidential victory.

The remark provoked vicious backlash on social media.

“The case of Khaled Saeed is a Zionist creation.”

Ihab Abdel Aziz, lawyer

Abdel Aziz is the lawyer who defended the two police officers convicted of murdering Khaled Saeed in June 2010. Saeed’s death had become a symbol of police brutality and helped galvanize the protests that led to the January 25, 2011 revolution.

During the officers’ retrial in early 2014, Abdel Aziz’s defense was that Saeed’s death was a Zionist creation aimed at disrupting the Egyptian regime. He also added that, “Khaled Saeed died because he killed himself by swallowing the bag [of hash] that was with him. His death has nothing to do with the defendants,” and that Saeed was suspicious because he had “tattoos.”

His clients were ultimately found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

“Whoever does not vote is giving the kiss of life to the terrorists.”

Mostafa Bakry, television host and journalist

When it became clear that few people were turning out in the most recent presidential elections, pundits began to have a field day. Bakry definitely took the cake, though, when he claimed that not voting was tantamount to supporting terrorism.

He added, “Go out, even if you [invalidate] your vote, just go out. Otherwise, you are a traitor.”

We are aware that there are many more gems missed in this piece and encourage readers to complete the list by sending us their thoughts.