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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Fifi Abdo: "The Israelis Knelt Before Me"



Translated By Priscilla Adum



This article originally appeared in Arabic at on April 21, 2013.

Note from Shira: Some readers may be uncomfortable with the anti-Israeli sentiment expressed by Fifi in this article, but I felt it was important to share this translation in spite of that because of the insights it offers into Fifi's personality. We need to remember that Fifi would have been a child growing up in Egypt at the time Israel invaded her country, and still feels a sense of patriotism toward her own country today. Also, as an experienced business woman, she may have felt she could generate some favorable publicity among Egyptians through making the anti-Israel statements she did.


"I danced before the Presidents and Kings of the world, I humiliated the Israelis, and struck Menachem Begin."

With these words, the Egyptian artist Fifi Abdo talked about her artistic as well as her personal journey at a press conference during her visit to Kuwait. Fifi stated, "I'm proud of my life, I've danced before Presidents and Kings, and I've faced many situations. Among them was that I struck the former Israeli Prime Minister Menachim Begin on the head when he began to flirt with me, and I asked him to solve the Palestinian issue instead of carrying on about my beauty."

The star continued to talk about Israeli officials and said, "I made them kneel in front of me as I danced for them as a sort of humiliation, because of my deep love for the Palestinians, and because I believe their cause is fair."

The artist then spoke about her memoirs that she has announced recently. She will write them and make them into a movie. She confirmed that she's not afraid of ending up like the late artist Soad Hosni if she writes her memoirs. She said, "This will not happen to me. There is nothing in my life that I'm afraid of. I want to present it to the public and tell them myself about my life. But this is a big production and it needs someone who can finance it.


Regarding the rumors of her death, the Egyptian artist said, "After I lost weight I was struck with a very powerful Evil Eye. I was admitted to the hospital after I suffered from severe bleeding. Despite the harm that this rumor caused me, it made me realize how much people love me and how valuable I am to them.

Regarding how she lost the excess weight, Fifi said, "I exercised and dieted, but the main cause of it was the grief after losing four members of my family." She added, "But I don't talk about that so as not to make people feel gloomy."

"My biggest problem came from wearing my 3abayat, something I warn all Arab women in the world about, because it hides a woman's excess weight, while pants reveal any weight gain. In spite of that, I love the 3abaya and I'm crazy about it."

As for which one represents her better, the dancer or the actress, she says, "Dance is closer to me than acting and I love it. However, I turned towards acting in order to change the usually negative image of the dancer, even though raqs sharqi is a universal language that everyone understands. Today, people should learn it just like they'd learn English." [*Translator's Note: By this she means that learning to dance should be considered just as acceptable as learning to speak English.]

She confirmed that she knows a great deal about politics, and she shared her views on the latest events in Egypt. She said, "I only know that I'm an Egyptian and I love my country. During the revolution I was sick in the hospital, but if I'd been in good health I would have gone out on the street with the young people because they are the future."




About the Translator

Priscilla is a dancer of Lebanese heritage who enjoys researching the Golden Era of Egyptian dance. She owns a collection of more than one hundred classic black and white Egyptian films which is continually expanding.

Priscilla has also gathered a large library of dance related articles and clippings from Middle Eastern magazines and newspapers, many of which she has translated from the original Arabic to both English and Spanish.

Priscilla currently resides in Central America where she is a dance instructor. 




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