The new President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, is the first democratically elected President in the African nation’s history. He’s also the first Egyptian President in history to use the original Planet of the Apes as a metaphor for foreign policy. At least we think that’s what he was trying to say.
More than a year after the Arab Spring and Tahrir Square, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi showcased his love for the simian science fiction film and how it relates to the social and political plight of Egyptians everywhere… or something.
In an interview, President Morsi inexplicably named-dropped the original Planet of the Apes. Here’s Morsi:
I remember a movie. Which one? Planet of the Apes. The old version, not the new one. There is new one. Which is different. Not so good. It’s not expressing the reality as it was the first one. But at the end, I still remember, this is the conclusion: When the big monkey, he was head of the supreme court, I think — in the movie! — and there was a big scientist working for him, cleaning things, has been chained there. And it was the planet of the apes after the destructive act of a big war, and atomic bombs and whatever in the movie. And the scientist was asking him to do something, this was 30 years ago: “Don’t forget you are a monkey.” He tells him, “Don’t ask me about this dirty work.” What did the big ape, the monkey say? He said, “You’re human, you did it [to] yourself.” That’s the conclusion. Can we do something better for ourselves?
I saw it 30 years ago. That is the role of the art. This is the very important role of art. Gone with the Wind has been treating social problems. Five in Hell. That was the Arabic title. Five Americans working behind German lines and they were using primitive military devices. I think it was Charles Bronson or something like that. My hard disk still carries a few things!
This whole exchange is just bananas. Please keep in mind that English is not President Morsi’s first language, despite his studying in California in the 1980s. But what happened in this interview that made President Morsi start talking about Planet of the Apes in the first place? And for that matter, what scene from Planet of the Apes is he trying to describe here? Maybe there’s a secret Planet of the Apes movie that only Presidents are allowed to see…
Some are speculating President Morsi mixed up Planet of the Apes with The Dirty Dozen, based on his reference to the “Five in Hell,” but if that’s the case then who are these “big monkeys” he’s talking about? Maybe somebody should send him a copy of the Blu-ray so he can refresh his memory.