Okay, she didn't really say that exactly. But former Egyptian First Lady Jehan al-Sadat has had a few bizarre statements come out of her mouth during her publicity stints while promoting her new book.
First, there was this odd NYT interview, in which Jehan was asked why Islam is so hard on gays (pun apparently not intended). She responded:
"Homosexuality is against Islam. Here in Egypt, there are not many homosexuals, not like the United States. There are some. We’ve had them since the Pharaohs."
To which the NYT's obvious follow-up question was, "You mean the Pharaohs were gay??"
She denied this, although really, it's not like the Pharaohs were Muslim, so she could attribute homosexuality to the Pharaohs (which, I mean, come on: what about that phallic beard) and not run afoul of the Islamic establishment.
Hey, speaking of sweeping generalizations, the NYT also asked Jehan if Palestinians are as smart as Israelis. Stupid question, but she answered it anyway:
"Believe me, they [the Palestinians] are more like the Jews than us. Most of the Palestinians are very well educated. Because they are a minority, they are like the Jews. They are intellectuals."
Uh-huh. So by deduced, logical, inductive reduction, Egyptians are not as smart?
But Egyptians don't take shit from those smarty-pants Palestinians. Asked her thoughts on how desperate Gazans tried to flee into Egypt before and during the recent Israeli attacks, she said:
"When you want to cross into Egypt, there are rules. But the Palestinians want to come without anything, just like that. There were thousands and thousands and thousands who wanted to cross, which is not legal."
Boo-yah! Who's smart now!?
Okay, more likely our readers saw Jehan show up on the Daily Show with John Stewart this past week, which obviously proves the 75-year-old is much more interested in selling books to the stoned, hyper-educated news junkies who watch Stewart than she is in appealing to the hyper-educated stoners who read the NYT.*
A deferential John Stewart asked Jehan al-Sadat if any Arab leader today might be as brave as her late husband. [Anwar al-Sadat was assassinated in 1981 after concluding a peace treaty with Israel, a landmark in the history of the modern Middle East but also a big eff-you to the Palestinians who were hoping for a more comprehensive agreement.]
"Believe me, John. All Arabs want peace. All Israelis want peace. The problem is with the leaders."
Oh, so what about your leader, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak? Hmm, no mention there.
Then Stewart asked if Arab leaders use the Palestinian conflict as an excuse to keep their own populations disinterested in domestic issues.
Well there you have it. Gay pharaohs, a stupid disinterested populace, a cowardly president: Jehan calls Egypt what it is, I guess.
* Wait, at the Tuque Souq, we watch the Daily Show daily and read the NYT obsessively, yet we dispute the correlation between these two activities and smoking weed. We apologize for insinuating our own use of what is still an illegal drug. Kids, don't do drugs (until they are legal or you are 19).