With the removal of Mohammed Morsi as President of Egypt, the Middle East – and the world – is losing one of the more entertaining world leaders. With ruminations on everything from spaghetti to Planet of the Apes, Morsi had a unique way of portraying a situation in an entertaining manner – if you weren't a resident of Egypt, that is.
One of the main complaints among Egyptians against Morsi was his mishandling of the country's energy needs. Once a natural gas exporter, Egypt now does not have enough money to pay for the oil and gas needed to run the country of more than 80 million. In the past few months, electricity cuts have been the norm. Morsi's advice to Egyptians on the crisis: don't run washing machines at night. “Instead of running the automatic washing machines from 8 to 12 pm, the rush hours for electricity consumption, women should run the washers in the morning,” Morsi said in an interview.
A major challenge facing Morsi – and whoever comes after him – is the construction by Ethiopia of a dam on the lower Nile River, which could significantly cut the flow of the Nile into Egypt. Military officials have threatened military action if Ethiopia continues with construction, but Morsi suggested some other ideas. “We will raise our hands to the sky and pray to God, and we will deal with everyone on the basis of mutual love and respect.” In that way, he said, “I’m sure Egypt’s share of the water will not be reduced, it will increase.”
Beyond that, he said, “The Ethiopian prime minister assured me that Egypt would not lose a single drop of water because of the dam.” Morsi made the statement before entering a meeting with his generals about possible military action against Ethiopia.
Morsi's comments have also veered into the bizarre – or at least supernatural. On one occasion, he was asked to write a dedication for the country's “martyrs” who had died in battle. In the dedication, Morsi wrote “Our dear martyrs, my sincere wishes for success.” When asked what he meant – since the opportunity for “success” had passed – Morsi declined to comment.
In a statement that may yet engender a lawsuit from Apple, Morsi once claimed credit for inventing the iPad. “How many people celebrated the fact that we had produced the first Egyptian iPad tablet?,” he asked.
In a memorable interview with Time Magazine last November, Morsy made several choice comments. “It’s not easy to be on the world stage. The world is now much more difficult than it was during your revolution. It’s even more difficult. The world. More complicated, complex, difficult. It’s a spaghetti-like structure. It’s mixed up,” he said.
And in perhaps his most bizarre statement – also from the Time interview - Morsi recollected his viewing of the 1968 Hollywood classic, Planet of the Apes. It was supposed to be a description of how he views politics, but it wasn't clear what he meant. "I remember a movie. Which one? Planet of the Apes. The old version, not the new one. 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,” Morsy continued. “And the scientist was asking him to do something - this was 30 years ago: 'Don’t forget you are a monkey,' and '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?”