Al-Ahram Weekly Online   25 October - 31 November 2012
Issue No. 1120
Press review
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Return of the revolutionaries

Doaa El-Bey looks at the return of those who launched Egypt's revolution

This week witnessed more protests and escalating signs of popular anger. Al-Wafd banner on Monday had 'Circle of anger tightening around Morsi and his men'.

The controversy over the new constitution is in full swing. Al-Youm Al-Sabei's website on Tuesday had '[Abdel-Moneim] Abul-Fotouh calls for urgent meeting with [Mohamed] Al-Baradei, [Hamdeen] Sabahi and [Amr] Moussa to discuss verdict regarding constituent assembly'. The verdict reached on Tuesday was for the Administrative Court to refer 43 lawsuits invalidating the constituent assembly tasked with drafting the constitution to the Supreme Constitutional Court.

Al-Ahram on Monday had 'Redrafting the constitution in response to demands of political powers'. Al-Masry Al-Youm stated 'Reconsidering first draft of the constitution; judiciary to decide on fate of constituent committee' and Al-Akhbar on Sunday wrote 'Deciding on future election system next week'.

The incidents of the last two Fridays in Tahrir Square raised concern. Mohamed Salmawi considered last Friday as a sign of the return of the revolution to Tahrir Square "after it was kidnapped by those who did not take part in it".

"I witnessed the return of the revolution anew to Tahrir. The same people who had initially waged it came back. They called for freedom, democracy, social justice and human dignity," Salmawy wrote in the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.

"I did not hear anybody shouting 'Islamic, Islamic' as they did earlier in Kandahar. Nobody carried pictures of bearded persons like Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail or Mohamed Morsi, just pictures of the late president Gamal Abdel-Nasser".

"I did not see the ugly buses that transported the protesters. Instead tens of thousands of young men, women and the elderly voluntarily came to tell the new leaders that Egypt is not a private ranch. Egypt is for all Egyptians".

"The revolution was waged against the old regime. But last Friday the revolution was launched against the new regime to deliver an explicit message that it took after the practices of the old regime. Thus we returned to protesting. Will the present regime understand the message?"

Galal Aref focussed on Friday 12 October. He wrote that Saad Al-Katatni, the newly elected head of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party called for dialogue with all national powers to get through the crisis caused by Friday.

While Aref regarded dialogue as a good step, "it should have conditions and requirements, namely it should start by pointing to the mistakes committed that day and punishing their perpetrators".

"The other thing needed, according to Aref, is to work on regaining lost confidence among all parties".

The writer hailed the positive conciliatory language used by Al-Katatni which was in contrast with the confrontational language usually used by members of his party. "But he should realise that breaking the wall of mistrust requires efforts from all involved parties and regaining lost confidence entails actions rather than words. In short, any disagreement can only be resolved if we resolve the core of the difference, the constitution.

"The starting point is reaching a consensual constitution that guarantees equality, democracy and the rule of law for the present modern state. Are all parties ready for that?" Aref questioned at the end of his regular column in the daily Al-Akhbar.

Reda Abdel-Salam looked at the bigger picture, saying Egyptians know that "we are in a bone-breaking war between the religious currents headed by the Muslim Brotherhood and liberal forces. Each side is trying to gain ground at the expense of the other and highlight the mistakes of the opponent especially now when we are close to holding the parliamentary elections and forming a new government after that."

A new player was introduced to the arena, added Abdel-Salam. The remnants of the disbanded National Democratic Party were given the kiss of life after senior members of Mubarak's regime were found not guilty in the trial of the 'Battle of the Camel' and other cases.

"Even those who were highly respected under Mubarak and after the revolution lost their status because of the practices that were committed by all present active political powers. Thus, one can safely say that the people lost confidence in every active party as it became clearly that they are all after authority.

"I can say that the turnout in the coming parliamentary elections will be less than that of the previous election or the presidential elections. People have lost hope and confidence in all active political parties," Abdel-Salam wrote in the independent daily Al-Youm Al-Sabei.

"History will write that Egypt, which dreamt of establishing a civilised state, was deterred by a bunch of authority seekers -- from the liberal currents or the currents that traded with religion. Not of them thought of the interests of the country."

Abdel-Salam reached the conclusion that Egypt is in need of new faces that have never dealt with or became polluted by the old regime.

The decision to retire dozens of prominent journalists was met by dismay by writers and commentators this week.

Farouk Guweida wrote that the relationship between Al-Shura Council headed by Ahmed Fahmi and the national press reached the lowest ebb ever because of that attack that the new heads of press -- brought by Fahmi -- waged against the press.

In a massacre reminiscent to that of the judges during the 1960s, Guweida explained, dozens of senior journalists were forced to retire in addition to sacking Editor-in-Chief of Al-Gomhuriya Gamal Abdel-Rahim in a precedent the previous regime had never did.

Furthermore, the writer pointed to the unprecedented stress put on writers and men of thought who differ with the MB.

"The post revolution reshuffle in the press should have been more transparent and less dominated by the spirit of vengeance," Guweida wrote in the daily Al-Ahram.

The only explanation for what is happening to the national press is to destroy and disband national newspapers. But Guweida expressed his belief that some members of Al-Shura Council are aware and responsible enough not to destroy the national press.

He concluded by calling for stopping such a crime, stating that this policy will make the MB lose every day.

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