Saturday,16 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1147, 9 - 15 May 2013
Saturday,16 December, 2017
Issue 1147, 9 - 15 May 2013

Ahram Weekly

Social media

Government reshuffle 

Egyptians on social networks were divided over the last few days over Prime Minister Hisham Kandil’s policies. Over Twitter and Facebook, many anti-Muslim Brotherhood including some Salafis supporters expressed disappointment with Kandil’s performance since he took office in August last year.

“The food and fuel crises doubled since he has become the PM. He did nothing but advise us to wear cotton T-shirts in the hot weather,” said Ahmed Ragab on his Facebook account. Ragab was referring to Kandil’s statement in September last year when he recommended Egyptians should not use air-conditioners in order to save power and wear cotton clothes instead.

Abdel-Aziz Mahmoud replied to Ragab by saying that the Egyptian media has never given Kandil a chance and has always criticised him heavily.

“He took office while Egypt was suffering severe shortages in fuel and basic goods and he has done his best to make changes, but the situation is very difficult,” he said.

However, Ayat Osama believed that the reason behind his failure is the ineffective policies he pursued in order to reduce the budget deficit.

“His top priority was to reduce the budget deficit regardless of the other problems. He did that because he wants the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to give Egypt the loan.”

She added that the IMF loan has turned Kandil’s government into the greatest enemy of the poor people and businessmen.

But Mohamed Mustafa believes that Kandil did that with good intentions as he wanted to restore confidence in the Egyptian economy in order to attract foreign investment to the country.

“Reforming the subsidy system is the only way to reform the Egyptian economy. The subsidy now is over LE120 billion and the government is not able to pay this bill any longer.” 

‘Happy Easter’ or ‘not’

In his blog, the big Pharaoh wrote about the hot debate on social networks concerning the recent fatwa by some Salafi clerics who forbade Muslims from greeting Copts during Easter. Here is what he wrote:

“If this revolution produced one good thing, it is the clash of mentalities we are witnessing ever since the Islamists reached power a year and a half ago. I think that the halo political Islamists sported during Mubarak is diminishing and this is opening up debates that we have never experienced before.”

This clash of mentalities is fully symbolised in the two Tweets I saw this week. The first tweet, written by a Morsi supporter and possibly a Brotherhood member, mocks Muslims who chose to say “Happy Easter” to Christians. “Greetings on the occasion of the Lord’s death and his waking up,” he wrote mockingly. Islam does not believe in Christ’s death and resurrection and extremists use that as an excuse to forbid well wishing Christians, especially during Easter. The second Tweet is a reply by another Muslim. “Unto you your religion and unto me my religion, Allah truthfully said. May Allah punish you,” read the Tweet. The author of this Tweet is basically saying that even though Islam does not recognise Easter, the Quran declares that everyone is free to believe in his own religion and the difference in beliefs should not make humans antagonistic towards one another.

This exchange foretells two things. First, as mentioned above, we are entering in an era of debate and second thought. More and more people, especially the young, are refusing to take things at face value again. Mubarak kept us stagnant for 30 years. He did the thinking for us; we were left to talk only about religion, football and sex. The revolution, regardless of all its current ills, has stirred the minds of many people and brought a wide array of topics into the public discussion forum. When you debate you think, and when you think you question, and when you question you’re most likely going to reach a good conclusion.

Second, the author of the second Tweet invoked Verse 5 from Surat Al-Kafirun in the Quran to state his point. He used his religious beliefs to dispel the demeaning statement. I believe the current shock many people have from political Islamist rule will open the door once again for religious reformation. Politics unmasked the politicised Islamists and many people, especially those who belong to the influential middle class, do not like what they see. This will eventually lead anyone who despises radical thought to two reactions: either leave the faith and become very nominal or even an atheist, or return back to religious text and use it to change the current radical religious discourse. This is what our friend who wrote the Tweet did. 

Tweets

“I can’t imagine anyone would want to kill PM Hisham Kandil. Even assassins are not that desperate.”

@Nervana Mahmoud

 

“Men who were arrested on charges of attacking the PM do not even know his name.”

@Ahmed Mourad

 

“I see no difference between Mubarak’s and Morsi’s rule. What is different is the revolutionary thought that the people have adopted.”

@Habeeba Khattab

 

“A Muslim Brotherhood official said that the Muslims want Spain back. Can the Christians have Egypt back in exchange?”

@Raphael Gluck

 

“I think it is time for the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis to realise that cavemen cannot rule a country the size of Egypt. Al-Muqattam is enough.”

@Ahmed Ali

 

“King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was born in 1924, before television was invented, and assumed power in 2005, after YouTube was created.”

@Mohamed K. Alyahya

 

 

 

 

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