BEIRUT: MP Walid Jumblatt mistakenly addressed President Michel Sleiman as President Michel Aoun, immediately saving the day with a joke that he’s been dreaming about the latter so much lately, in light of the presidential election stalemate.
“This event under the patronage of President Michel Aoun ... No, President Michel Sleiman,” Jumblatt said during a speech in the Chouf village of Brih to commemorate the final touches on the reconciliation between Christians and Druze there.
The event was attended by hundreds of local figures, officials and Sleiman, along with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai seated in the front row.
After bursts of laughter from Jumblatt, Rai, Sleiman and the rest of the crowd, Jumblatt then said: “This is a mistake, a mistake. This is the result of how much I am dreaming of him at night ... [so as] not to have him [as president].”
The crowd then laughed harder and clapped more.
Jumblatt’s slip of the tongue is only natural given the similar titles of Aoun and Sleiman, both of whom are former Army generals, with Aoun also being a former prime minister as well.
But Jumblatt was not the only one who made such a mistake. Just minutes before he took to the stage, Minister of the Displaced Alice Shabtini had also mistakenly addressed Druze Sheikh Naim Aqel as Sheikh Naim Qassem, the deputy secretary general of Hezbollah.