Friday,21 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1271, (19-25 November 2015)
Friday,21 September, 2018
Issue 1271, (19-25 November 2015)

Ahram Weekly


Compiled by Doaa El-Bey

Al-Ahram Weekly

Luxor governorate celebrated its national day with the launching of hot-air balloons carrying tourists and they hovered over the ancient wonders such as the Karnak and Luxor temples. The national tricolour flag of Egypt and the flag of Luxor were hoisted high above the city in a festive atmosphere. Luxor’s national day coincides with the discovery of the Tutankhamun tomb by Howard Carter in 1922.

François Hollande: A challenging mission

President François Hollande was in the Stade de France watching France’s national football team take on Germany when the sound of a suicide bomber detonating an explosive vest rang out, heralding a new phase in Hollande’s presidency.

The president was shocked to find out that this was but one of seven more or less simultaneous attacks that left hundreds dead and injured. As soon as the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, Hollande was before the TV cameras telling the traumatised public that the attacks were an “act of war”. He vowed to strike back without mercy. He was quick to impose a temporary state of emergency, and temporary border control measures. With other European heads of state, he is also in the process of deciding cancelling the Schengen visa.

But striking back is not as easy as it sounds. Where should Hollande start? Does taking the fight to Syria and Iraq carry the risk of inviting more attacks from IS? How might civil liberties in an open society be balanced with security?

The Friday attacks were not the first act of terrorism during Hollande’s presidency. A few months ago, the Charlie Hebdo magazine was targeted and several of its cartoonists killed. Ever since, Hollande had kept the country’s security forces on high alert, passing new spying legislation that drew comparisons with the Patriot Act for its stringency. Yet none of those measures managed to stop Friday’s massacres, raising more questions about what more can be done.

At the same time, the Socialist Party president – never very popular – remains politically vulnerable. His rivals in the far-right National Front Party have played on tensions with France’s Muslim community, the largest in Europe, to discredit him. After the attacks on Friday, the National Front leader Marine Le Pen criticised Hollande’s response as insufficient and called for a far more drastic stand against the presence of extremist Muslims on French soil.

Hollande, the 24th president of France, succeeded Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012.

He was born in Rouen in 1954, and attended a series of elite French schools. He demonstrated an early interest in politics and volunteered for François Mitterrand’s second – unsuccessful – presidential campaign while still a student. Five years later, in 1979, he joined the Socialist Party. By then, Mitterrand had been elected on his third try and he appointed Hollande a junior economic advisor. He occupied a few posts in the party until he became its chair, and announced his bid for the presidency in 2011, beating incumbent Sarkozy in May 2012.

He was the first candidate in 31 years to unseat an incumbent president after a single term.

“Egypt has declared its support for France in its fight against terrorism. It is the right decision. Major states like Britain and the US failed to take a similar step in the wake of the Russian plane crash. On the contrary, they both rushed to link the incident to a possible terrorist explosion before the conclusion of the investigation. Assuming that this was true, they nonetheless did not denounce it or show support for Egypt. Equally strange is the Russian decision to stop EgyptAir flights between Egypt and Moscow, a puzzling decision from a friendly state enjoying a clear understanding reflected in presidential visits: Putin in Cairo in February and Al-Sisi in Moscow in August. So what prompted Moscow to take that decision?”
Salah Montasser, Al-Ahram

Israel and terrorism

“Why does terrorism hit France at this time? The answer may be in the view of political analysts who claim that acts of terrorism ate in the interest of the US and Israel. They also question why these two states were not hit by terrorism. Why did the UK, the US and Israel provided ‘nearly confirmed information’ that the Russian plane was subjected to a terrorist operation?”
Raga Al-Nemr, Al-Akhbar
“When a terrorist act hits a place, all fingers usually point to extremist groups like Al-Qaeda or IS. It is strange that everybody forgers Israel, the first beneficiary of such disorder. It is also strange that no one has accused Israel of being behind the Paris attacks – even if they were carried out by one of those extremist groups who are followers of the MB that is being supported by terrorist states like Qatar, Turkey, the US, Britain, Belgium and Israel.”
Mohamed Hassan Al-Banna, Al-Akhbar

A double blow

“A Russian passenger plane was targeted when Russia became a main player in the Middle East, in which the US has been the sole player for the last 40 years. Throughout these years, it managed to weaken its countries, forcing them to buy unwanted arms and then forcing some countries in the region to take part in disbanding the armies of other countries. This time the blow has the double aim of marring the Egyptian-Russian rapprochement and hitting tourism in Egypt. It comes at a time when we are in dire need of Russian support.”
Mohamed Al-Barghouti, Al-Watan

Does the US hate IS?

“The relation between the US and IS is puzzling. It raises questions that have no clear answers. Is the US serious in its war on IS? If so, why are its strikes against it ineffective? Why does the US appear to have no information about that organisation? We hear statements from Obama about fighting terrorism. Does IS differ from other terrorist organisations?”
Akram Al-Kassas, Al-Youm Al-Sabei

Egyptian Essence: 3.6 million unemployed

“The Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics disclosed that unemployment increased by 12.8 per cent in the third quarter of the year – to reach 3.6 million – in comparison to 12.7 per cent in the second quarter. It registered 13.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2014.”


“And here we go, French flag being projected all over the world and facebook makes a French flag DP filter. I wonder why FB never created a Palestinian flag filter where hundreds die each month? Or maybe a Syrian, Iraqi or Afghan flag? A Pakistani flag after 16th Dec APS attack? It’s exactly this “Selective” Humanity and Imperialistic mindset which leads to hatred towards the West. I condemn Paris attack but I also condemn the hypocrisy of Western imperial mindset.”
Hamza Ali Abbasi

“I think it is wise for states targeted by terrorism like Russia, France and Egypt – so far – to realise that the main goal of terrorist organisations is to wreak havoc on international relations. Russia stops its flights to Egypt and France stops granting the Schengen Visa and there is more to come. Wise international reactions are required. Why is it that what is called ISIS has not targeted any American or Israeli place? I believe this is a legitimate question.”
Nour Farahat


Mark Ruffalo @MarkRuffalo  
Don’t allow this horrific act allow you to be drawn into the loss of your humanity or tolerance. That is the intended outcome. #ParisAttacks

Latest on SAYS @saysdotcom  
Monuments around the world light up in colours of the French flag. #ParisAttacks

UN Secretary General urges #G20 leaders to take a “robust” response to #ParisAttacks, but one “always within the rule of law.’’

Charlie @CharlesOpil 
Shocking levels of intolerance have dominated the #socialmedia since the unfortunate #ParisAttacks. 

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