Egyptian Press: On the edge
Doaa El-Bey lists the increasing problems of Egypt's revolution
This week, Egypt witnessed important developments that could have a significant impact on its immediate future, from the scarcity of diesel to the continuing protests in Maspero, from Mubarak's readiness to apologise to the people, to marking the Palestinian Nakba -- when Israel was created -- and the selection of Nabil El-Arabi as the new secretary-general of the Arab League.
Newspapers and writers covered all the developments. Al-Ahram 's banner on Monday had: '52 inciters of strife arrested in Maspero; measures taken to end protest'.
Al-Akhbar: 'Pope calls for ending Maspero protest'.
Al Wafd : 'Setback to the revolution in front of Maspero'.
Al-Shorouk : 'Mubarak asks for forgiveness'.
Al-Masry Al-Youm : 'Economic haemorrhage starts: Egypt with no diesel'.
Nahdet Masr : 'Diesel crisis increasing, affecting Cairo and Giza'.
Sectarian strife was the most pressing issue for several writers. Gamal Hussein noted that the sectarian violence that took place between Muslims and Christians and the role that hardline men of religion from both parties are playing to ignite it. These men, Hussein wrote in the official daily Al-Akhbar, abandoned the spirit of tolerance and mercy that both Islam and Christianity call for and started looking for an influential role at the expense of the future of the country. They decided to take over from the grand sheikh of Al-Azhar and the pope who call for love and tolerance.
Hussein concluded by calling on these hardline men to leave Egyptian Muslims and Christians alone because they do not need censorship.
Mohamed El-Boghdadi drew a rather dreary picture of the situation in Egypt now. He wrote that we are on a precipice after the World Bank stated Egypt was losing LE700 million a day. Other woes: the families of suspects detained in police stations free them by force, the US calls for putting Egypt on a blacklist, the Muslim Brotherhood flexes its muscles, claiming that it is better and more experienced than all other political parties and the million-person march is not the solution.
El-Boghdadi wrote in the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm that Egypt was facing extremely dangerous and complicated security issues that need political will and the decisiveness to take the right decisions at the right time. Sectarian strife is one of these files that need to be resolved quickly or Egypt will be burnt by the fire of internal and external conspiracies.
El-Boghdadi suggested that we ask the help of experts specialised in crises management. There are many who are waiting to be given the green light to take part in protecting Egypt's people and security.
"We could fall into an abyss any time. Now that we are on the verge, we should take a firm stand on certain issues. It's a matter of to be or not to be," El-Boghdadi wrote.
The diesel crisis raised concern and left many people worried about its impact. The editorial of the official daily Al-Ahram said that whoever expected that the great revolution would resolve all the problems was grossly mistaken. There is no life without problems and there will always be crises as long as there is life. And that concept applied to the diesel crisis which is not new.
Everybody knew, the editorial added, that it happened before and will happen in the future. but it is not as dangerous as people say.
Its causes are not new, the edit explained. This is the harvest season and the summer in which there is a usual increase in diesel consumption. In addition, petrol stations are afraid to allow diesel tanks to empty their contents for fear of hooligans.
Still, the solutions are available, as the edit noted. If the government increased production by eight per cent the crisis would soon end.
But the lesson to be learnt from the crisis, according to the edit, is not to panic in the face of a crisis. "Major challenges await Egypt. Thus we should be stronger and more patient in facing them," it summed up.
The Arab nations marked the 63rd anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, the year Israel was created , differently this year. Samir Ragab agreed with the British daily The Independent which wrote that the revolutions in many Arab states gave the anniversary a new dimension as it showed how persistent their rejection is of the Israeli occupation however long it was.
"Israel realised for the first time since 1948 that if it does not find a logical and decisive solution to the Palestinian issue, the people who rebelled against their leaders would do the same against the Jewish state," Ragab wrote in the official daily Al-Gomhuriya.
That was obvious, he added, in the attempt of Egyptian youth to march to Rafah on the Egyptian border with Gaza. The authorities stopped them, but they would not have dared do so before the 25 January Revolution.
The same applied to the Syrians who entered the occupied Golan Heights and confronted the Israelis. The Palestinian resistance will also become more ferocious until their independent state is declared.
"The truth is, the middle of 2011 witnessed inter- Palestinian unity, a nearly unified stand and the creation of a new generation of 'Arab nationalists' who freed themselves from restrictions."
The selection of Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil El-Arabi as the next secretary-general of the Arab League closed the controversial chapter on whether an Egyptian or another Arab should fill the post. But it raised questions on his future mission.
Suleiman Gouda wondered what would happen after the selection of El-Arabi and whether the presence of an Egyptian secretary-general would help Egypt play a more effective regional as well as global role.
Gouda noted that the head of the league for the last 10 years was Amr Moussa who was a respectable and influential man. Esmat Abdel-Meguid was another Egyptian secretary-general during the 10 years preceding Moussa. However, Gouda added, there was a constant complaint during the two decades about the decreasing Egyptian role.
Gouda concluded in the daily Al-Wafd, the mouthpiece of the opposition Wafd Party, that there is a strong relationship between the country's democracy, respect for human rights, rule of law and a sound economy and its ability to play an effective and important role in the region.
Since 1945 Egypt has insisted that an Egyptian be secretary-general. If Egypt had played an influential role any time since then, that had nothing to do with an Egyptian secretary-general, but with the factors.