Egyptian press: Court manners
Doaa El-Bey canvases the Tahrir landscape following last week's Islamist demos
Ramadan started this week amid anxiety among the people after last Friday's protests and their possible repercussions on the 25 January Revolution. There is also anticipation ahead of the trial of the deposed president Hosni Mubarak, his two sons, businessman Hussein Salem and former minister of interior Habib El-Adli.
Newspapers followed the army effort to free Tahrir Square of protests and sit-ins before Ramadan.
Al Wafd had "Army closes all roads leading to Tahrir', and Al-Masry Al-Youm quoted a military source confirming that the army did not use force to disperse the sit-in participants, but intervened to open the square to traffic on the first day of Ramadan.
Al-Shorouk banner blared "Live broadcast of Mubarak's trial daily' and Al-Ahram cried "Letter from prosecution-general asking minister of interior to bring Mubarak to tribunal tomorrow'.
Mohamed Adel wrote in the daily Al-Wafd, the mouthpiece of the opposition Wafd Party, that the holy month of Ramadan which teaches the human spirit how to control its lust for money and food, has begun. Adel hoped that during the month Egyptians would unite and agree to improve Egypt on the economic, political and social levels. He prayed to God to protect Egypt from strife and conspiracies and help its rulers to do what is good for it.
Adel also expressed hope that security and stability would soon be reinstated in Egypt.
Ahmed Abdel-Razeq wrote that Mubarak's trial together with his two sons and Salem and El-Adli was the second time an Arab president is tried after the trial of Saddam Hussein, the former leader of Iraq. The is likely to ease protests which have been calling for Mubarak to be put on trial.
Abdel-Razeq wondered whether the Egyptian citizen who appeared before the whole world strong enough to topple a despotic regime that governed for 30 years would behave in a civilised manner during the trial.
The writer raised a few more queries, namely whether the venue of the trial in Cairo is suitable, or was it better to be held in Sharm El-Sheikh; whether the security forces will be able to keep the peace during the trial; and whether the trial would satisfy the various political trends including the Islamists and Salafis.
In order to maintain order during the trial, Abdel-Razeq appealed to the ruling army council to issue a tough statement stating that it would deal strictly with whoever tries to spread havoc during the proceedings.
Newspapers seemed to differ in describing last Friday's one million-man protest in Tahrir Square and various squares in Egypt. The official weekly Akhbar Al-Youm described it as "Islamic", Al-Ahram stated that it started in unison but ended in division while Al-Masry Al-Youm called it "division Friday". Al-Wafd had "Tahrir in the grip of the Salafis".
Wael Qandil wrote that although Friday's protest was perhaps the biggest in number, it was not the closest to the spirit of the revolution. If democracy entitles every political trend to recruit its supporters whenever and wherever it wants, nobody can contest that the Islamic trend has the same right. However, it is not acceptable from the latter to have targets and shout slogans that do not conform with the revolution.
One can never doubt, Qandil added in the independent daily Al-Shorouk, that there were manoeuvres on the part of some trends during last Friday's protests. Although all political trends sat at one table and agreed to look for issues of agreement and the slogans that unite rather than divide, the Islamic trend did not abide by the agreement.
Protests proved that there is a big difference between what is said on the negotiating table behind closed doors and what happens on the ground. Thus Qandil reached the conclusion that behind-the-scenes negotiations are not suitable to run a revolution. Agreements should be in front of the public.
Hassan Nafaa wrote that last Friday was not one of Egypt revolution's days, it was a Salafi day. "Egypt will always be bigger than any political trend. It is a big mistake to imagine that what happened in Tahrir last Friday reflects the true Egypt that was shown during the great days of the 25 January Revolution," Nafaa wrote in the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.
If we compare between what happened last Friday and what happened during the revolution, one will clearly see the huge gap separating revolutionary Egypt which raised the slogan "The people and the army are one" and the Salafi Egypt which adopted slogans including "Islamic, Islamic" and "The people want to apply Allah's jurisdiction".
The Salafis, as Nafaa added, made a double mistake, first breaking their promise with other political powers not to use religious slogans and second, insisting on flexing their muscle and showing that they are the biggest political power.
Nafaa did not blame those worried by last Friday's protests since they would find in them proof of the strength of the Islamic trend and its ability to recruit and coordinate supporters. However, he added, the danger of that trend depends in the main on the reaction of the other powers that claimed that they are more democratic and their ability to form a front that is capable of protecting a democratic regime.
Nafaa warned about creating a state of political polarisation between the Islamic trend on the one hand and other trends on the other. It is better, he concluded, to build a new framework for genuine reconciliation that would help all trends to work according to defined mechanisms in the transitional period in order to remove all the remnants of the old regime and draw a timetable for upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.