By Nada Deyaa’, Daily News Egypt
“Please forgive him [the Minister of Culture],” said Prime Minster Ibrahim Mehleb to Azza Abd El-Moneim, the Alexandrian museum curator, after she was mocked by Minster of Culture Abd El-Wahed El-Nabawy for being overweight in his surprise tour at the museum.
The official apology was delivered in a meeting between Abd El-Moneim and Mehleb at the Cabinet headquarters, with the attendance of El-Nabawy.
The meeting came after Abd El-Moneim filed an official letter to President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, requesting an official apology from the ministry for the “harassments she faced”. As a response, Al-Sisi asked Mehleb to do so.
“I do not accept for any Egyptian citizen to feel insulted nor [have their] dignity humiliated,” said Mehleb. “What he [the culture minister] has done, is an inadvertent error and I personally ask you [Azza] to please forgive him,” he added, according to Abd El-Moneim.
In a phone call with Daily News Egypt, Abd El-Moneim affirmed that Mehleb was friendly, calm, and continuously reminded her that “he’s like her father”, while Abd El-Moneim remained silent during the entire meeting.
“This meeting means much more than the apology I asked for,” Abd El-Moneim said. “Even though the minister [of culture] did not direct a single word at me throughout the 30 minutes we all sat together, yet, I consider it a victory.”
This apology came after the Ministry of Culture’s spokesperson issued a statement accusing Abd El-Moneim of taking the minster’s words out of context and not saying the whole truth.
Furthermore, Mehleb signed a copy of the raise that Abd El-Moneim is entitled to, as per the law.
The meeting request was met with surprise from Abd El-Moneim’s side: “I didn’t think I would ever get my apology. I thought it would die in silence like so many causes before.”
Before the 25 January Revolution, no one could have ever imagined that voices could be loudly voiced, and to be met with instant response, according to Abd El-Moneim.
The story began when El-Nabawy made a surprise visit to the museum Abd El-Moneim works at, asking if any employees were facing any trouble. Abd El-Moneim, who holds a Masters degree in Sculpture, answered that she is facing an issue regarding a salary increase as per the law.
“If you have any problem with government centralism, I have a problem with fat employees [like you],” was the shocking answer, amid loud giggles from witnesses.
Moreover, after completing his tour, before entering his car, the minister looked at Abd El-Moneim with a smile and told her in a very loud voice: “Keep [walking] rounds in the garden as we agreed Azza,” according to Abd El-Moniem.