Mohamed Morsi on the Role of Art

I’m having a hard time unpacking this text, but Issandr Amrani says perhaps Pres. Morsi is calling the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court a monkey. Update: The brilliant Issandr has pinpointed the reference:

In any case, this is an excerpt from an interview with Time magazineMorsi, here in English:

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 scientists 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!

The bold is mine.

Also, in Arabic (translated by Time):

I’m very keen on having true freedom of expression.

Whereas, in talking to NPR, Egyptian novelists Mona Prince (pictured far right in Tahrir) and Ibrahim Abdelmeguid seem to see the role of art — and expression — a bit differently. Abdelmeguid told NPR’s Christopher Lydon that the people expect him “to write about their dreams” and Prince spoke about acting in Tahrir not as an artist, but as a person. She also accidentally says, “I want to oust Mubarak…mm…I want to oust Morsi, I don’t want Morsi.”

Always a joy to hear Mona’s voice.

Listen to the MP3: Tuesday in Tahrir.