Abla Fahita (Arabic: أبلة فاهيتا IPA: [ˈʔɑblɑ fæˈhiːtæ], "abla" means "teacher/maa'm", "fahita" comes from fajita) is an Egyptian satirical puppet character. The character was introduced online in 2010. She featured in Al Bernameg with Bassem Youssef, and has started a show in 2014 Abla Fahita Live from the Duplex on CBC channel. The infamous widow with her sharp tongue and acid humour and an obvious defiance for taboos has gained her both lovers and haters. Being a puppet loved by children yet hosting a show for adults has been her controversy. The highest paid female presenter in the Middle East. However, she also meets with celebrities as they arrive for the Dubai International Film Festival. Erin Cunningham of The Washington Post compared Abla Fahita to a Muppet. Dalia Kholaif of Al Jazeera wrote that Abla Fahita "gained popularity for its off-beat expressions in mocking developments in Egypt". The character has a daughter, Caro (Carcoura) who she treats in a tough way to roughen her up for a rough world. Her son is Boudi, her favorite and most cherished.
Vodafone advert controversy
In December 2013 Abla Fahita had appeared on a Vodafone Egypt advert. In this advert she is looking for the SIM card of her deceased husband. Vodafone, a British company, is Egypt's largest mobile service provider.
A youth regime apologist in Egypt accused the advertisement of being a coded message for a planned attack on a shopping complex. The Egyptian prosecutor general asked the state prosecution service to carry out an investigation into the character. The conspiracy theorist, Ahmed Zebidar or Ahmed Spider, filed a complaint against Vodafone Egypt and stated his intention to have the character imprisoned. The accuser, Ahmed Spider, is a supporter of Hosni Mubarak. The puppet was accused of being a British agent, and the accusations stated that the advert had Muslim Brotherhood messages. Egyptian government officials questioned Vodafone executives, and an article in Slate stated that the government had "reportedly" asked those executives to report to court in the near future.
A Twitter stream named #FreeFahita advocated in favor of the character. In January 2014 Abla Fahita and her accuser, Spider, were interviewed on a live primetime TV show on Capital Broadcast Center (CBC) via skype and over the phone, respectively. Abla Fahita denied that there were coded messages in the advert. The Economist wrote that "By and large, Egyptians have poured scorn and ridicule on all this silly talk." and news.com.au wrote that "The official investigation into the puppet has been widely mocked." Cunningham wrote that "The investigation of the puppet is an extreme sign of a climate of fear and paranoia in Egypt that has intensified in recent weeks."
Abla Fahita singing
In 2014, Abla Fahita cooperated with the famous Egyptian composer and Arab Idol judge Hassan El Shafei in a song named "Mayestahloushi" ("they are not worthy") which hit more than a million and a half views in less than a week (considered a lot at that time).
- Cunningham, Erin. "Egypt’s latest terror suspect: The popular felt-and-yarn puppet Abla Fahita." The Washington Post. 2 January 2014. Retrieved on 6 January 2014. Also at the Toronto Star.
- "Egypt Live Blog Live." (Archived from the original) Al Jazeera. Retrieved on 6 January 2014. Abla Fahita entry was from Dalia Kholair, 2 January 2014 (bottom of page).
- "Hounding the Muppet Brotherhood." The Economist. 1 January 2014.
- Trew, Bel. "Vodafone puppet accused of being a British muppet." The Times. 3 January 2014. Retrieved on 6 January 2014.
- "Netizen Report: Egyptian Government Furious With Popular Hand Puppet." Future Tense at Slate. 8 January 2014. Retrieved on 8 January 2014.
- "Egyptian 'Muppet' Abla Fahita has rejected allegations she used an advert to broadcast secret messages to anti-Egyptian government organisations." (Archive) news.com.au, News Corp Australia. 3 January 2014. Retrieved on 6 January 2014.
- Tarek, Sherik. "Wannabe wants Vodafone puppet jailed for threatening national security, investigation underway." (Archive) Ahram Online. Thursday 2 January 2014. Retrieved on 6 January 2014.
- "Egypt: Puppet Ad Draws Terror Accusations." Associated Press. 2 January 2014. Retrieved on 6 January 2014.