Saturday,22 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1133, 31 Jan - 6 Feb 2013
Saturday,22 September, 2018
Issue 1133, 31 Jan - 6 Feb 2013

Ahram Weekly

Dialogue before the decline

Doaa El-Bey sees why the second anniversary of Egypt’s revolution was marked by violence and not celebrations

Dialogue before the decline
Dialogue before the decline
Al-Ahram Weekly

The second anniversary of the revolution together with the riots that erupted in Port Said and many other governorates in Egypt left the streets in turmoil and anger. Newspapers and writers questioned whether dialogue was the way out of the present crisis.

Al-Watan on Monday drew a picture of the present situation: ‘Port Said shouts ‘Morsi is the enemy of Allah’, police use tear gas and the people respond with Molotovs’.

Al-Youm Al-Sabei which published some pictures of the funeral of those killed on the front page had ‘Angry funeral for Port Said victims’. Al-Akhbar noted that violence spread in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez Canal cities and Al-Gomhuriya bannered ‘Confrontations, death and sabotage… why?’

Al-Wafd quoted the head of the party Al-Sayed Al-Badawi as saying, ‘Accepting dialogue with the president requires preambles to restore confidence’. Al-Ahram on Sunday had ‘Another genocide in Port Said’.

Galal Dweidar said the only way to deal with the catastrophic situation is credibility, seriousness and a confession that the county is facing genuine danger. Thus, there is no room for manoeuvres, procrastination or resorting to temporary solutions.

What is required in this difficult time, Dweidar wrote, is realistic decisions and measures that restore lost confidence among a big sector of Egyptians.

In that token, Dweidar added, the call for dialogue among national powers cannot achieve its targets without a serious and genuine move to resolve the core divisions and rifts.

He concluded in the official daily Al-Akhbar by calling on all parties especially the authorities to give stubbornness and work to uproot the causes of tension and popular anger.

Al-Sayed Al-Babli pointed to the importance of immediate dialogue before the decline of the country. He started his column in the official daily Al-Gomhuriya by stating that Egypt is in danger, violence is everywhere, protests are against all issues and people are living in terror.

Everybody is wondering, Al-Babli added, where the people are heading to, whether there is an end to all this and whether the revolution would continue.

Amid that scene, the writer saw in dialogue the only way out before the complete decline of the country.

“Dialogue that can prevent further decline is that which considers the present state of the country: the absence of stability, the drain of investment and the deterioration in services,” he wrote.

Al-Babli pointed to escalatory measures taken to disrupt everything, including closing the underground stations and 6 October flyover in addition to obstructing train services.

He concluded by expressing a wish that the second anniversary would have seen an end to all forms of bloody conflicts. However that hope is farfetched now given the emergence of groups called ‘Black Bloc’ and ‘Black Mask’. That is why he called for a dialogue before it was too late.

Alaa Al-Ghatrifi described the call for dialogue as another manoeuver by the MB which always looks for its own interests at the expense of the country’s interests.

He considered the introduction of the National Defence Council into the political scene together with the redeployment of the army on the streets as a sign of a new phase in the transitional period which has not come to an end as the MB claimed earlier.

We are watching a new political scene in which the army is pushed to play a political role and there are signs of deep hatred for the MB. “The presidency is confused, the army is in the streets, people are angry, politicians are divided and youth are out of control. It is a scene of political mayhem,” Al-Ghatrifi wrote in Al-Watan.

Salah Montasser noted that we are back to square one. He wrote in the official daily Al-Ahram that the second anniversary of the revolution is more or less similar to that of January 2011 when the people protested against Mubarak. This year, he wrote, they are protesting against the MB.

The behaviour of both presidents is not different, he added. Mubarak did not come out to talk to his people. Likewise, Morsi did not say a word to his people. Even his prime minister was in Davos as if that meeting is more important than the events in Egypt.

Mohamed Mabrouk described the latest revolutionary wave as the third wave of revolution which erupted to rectify the present situation.

The first wave started in January 2011 against Mubarak and his regime. The second was against the military rulers and it ended by the election of President Morsi.

The third wave, he elaborated, is very important because it put pressure on the president to bridge the political gap between the different parties.

“The third wave reiterates that one party however strong and influential, would not be able to build Egypt single-handedly without the support of other parties,” Mabrouk wrote in the daily Al-Wafd, the mouthpiece of the opposition Wafd Party.

Numerous political commentators pointed to the poor preparation of the security forces to the Port Said genocide verdict.

Karim Abdel-Salam reiterated the same argument in the independent daily Al-Youm Al-Sabei. “We as citizens, he wrote, knew beforehand that 26 January would witness violence in the wake of the verdict. We all knew that Ultras Ahli would celebrate the verdict and that Ultras Masri would launch an attack against the state institutions.”

Abdel-Salam wondered why the officials did not take measures to control or contain the pre-anticipated crisis. The outcome is crystal clear: in the wake of the verdict, 30 were killed and more than 300 injured in Port Said, and police stations in the Canal cities and state institutions were attacked. As a result, the army had to redeploy in Suez Canal cities to contain the crisis because the officials did not take measures to avoid it beforehand.

He concluded his article by calling on the officials concerned to resign.

Ahmed Ragab commented on the government’s attempt to allocate three loaves of bread for every citizen per day. He warned the government that bread is a red line.

Ragab wrote in the official weekly Akhbar Al-Youm that it is unacceptable for the government to earmark three loaves of bread per day for each citizen at a time when this is the staple food for many Egyptians who eat it without fillers and who are content if they have their daily need of bread.

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