Saturday,16 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1122, 15 - 21 November 2012
Saturday,16 December, 2017
Issue 1122, 15 - 21 November 2012

Ahram Weekly

Egyptian press: Death on the tracks

Doaa El-Bey spotlight the tragic Fayoum train crash

press2
press2
Al-Ahram Weekly

The collision of two trains near Fayoum shed light on negligence and corruption that are spreading everywhere in the country.

Al-Youm Al-Sabeiran a long feature on the dead and injured entitled “We saw death”.

Mahmoud Ghallab noted that negligence had reached unprecedented levels. He wrote that the 25 January Revolution managed to topple the old regime in 18 days. However, negligence that spreads in every corner of the country vanquished the revolution.

But the most dangerous kind of negligence is that of road and railway maintenance which leads to accidents and takes the life of citizens on a daily basis.

“Egypt has set a record for more deaths in wars than car and train accidents,” Ghallab wrote in Al-Wafd, the mouthpiece of the opposition Wafd Party.

The recent train accident, he added, is another blatant proof of negligence and corruption.

He questioned why rail transport which is preferred in many other states to other means like planes and cars had become a death trap in our country.

“We need to properly investigate the causes of the accident. If it is human error, then we should punish the mistaken and if accidents are due to defects in the railway tracks of carriages, it should be fixed.”

Ghallab concluded by saying satirically that if the train and train tracks are not properly maintained, passengers will have to write their will ahead of any journey. 

Mohamed Al-Dessouki took the train accident as proof of the poor performance of President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood not different from that of the previous regime.

He wrote that in the past, we used to hear the loud denunciation of the opposition — especially the MB — after every train collision. We used to hear statements like ‘if this had been a civilised state, the minister of transportation or the whole government should have resigned’.

Now, the writer added, two trains collided in Fayoum, a building fell in Alexandria as well as other accidents and we did not hear about one official resigning or being punished or the president apologising.

Al-Dessouki also reminded his readers how the MB used to protest against Mubarak and accuse him of being submissive to Israel and the US whenever Gaza was attacked. Now, Gaza and Al-Aqsa Mosque has been repeatedly attacked nevertheless we did not see any protests or hear accusations against the president for being submissive.

The third incident that the writer brought to prove his point was Morsi’s visit to Dekheila to reopen a factory that was opened in 2010 by the minister of petroleum under Mubarak. Al-Dessouki noted that like his predecessor, Morsi is reopening projects that have been opened before.

“It is very obvious that Morsi is behaving like Mubarak. As a result, Morsi and the MB are losing on the political and ethical level,” Al-Dessouki wrote in the independent daily Al-Youm Al-Sabei.

The debate on the constitution is increasing in spite of the fact that the final draft will soon be produced. Hammad Abdallah wrote that we live in a state of genuine illusion. The country is passing through a real constitutional crisis as up till now we do not have a constitution. Instead, he added, “we have a majority in the constituent committee that is trying to pull us backward and a presidential institution that is completely absent from the scene.”

Thus, we are trying to establish the Third Republic — as the prominent writer Mohamed Hassanein Heikal named it — in a wrong way:

“The legitimacy of that republic is being built on disagreement, in the absence of a constitution or an official contract between the people and their rulers,” Abdallah wrote in the daily Rose Al-Youssef.

As a result, the future of the country is vague. We did not see even a glimmer of hope, he elaborated, in a better economy, coming investments, job opportunities for youth or proper education. Even the features of the Nahda project that we heard about during the election are not clear up till now.

He summed up his column by saying that we are in need of a president who takes us out of the tunnel. Can Morsi do that? He directed the question to the president.

Ziad Bahaaeddin wrote that the process of writing the constitution is about to end. Nevertheless, the divisions regarding it have reached a climax and the possibility of a consensus is far-fetched more than at any time before.

However, he added, it is only fair to say that the last draft is far better than the first thanks to the efforts of the members of the constituent committee which improved many articles.

Thus Bahaaeddin did not rule out a last-minute agreement among the main parties regarding the final draft. But the problem is not in the differences between different parties, but in the fact that the constitution does not reflect a clear economic and social philosophy: it deals with the rights and freedoms of women and children in a vague way, caused unneeded confusion regarding the status of Islamic Sharia in legislation and did not provide a proper separation between authorities.

The writer saw these deficiencies as major problems that have put us in a crisis.

He said the best way out of the crisis was to reform the constituent committee and try to draft a new constitution that has a clear philosophy.

The other option that Bahaaeddin suggested was to give the current constituent committee and the political powers time to reconsider the present draft in a serious and deep manner.

The third and worst option is to present the present draft for a referendum.

The failure to reach a consensus on the constitution should be a lesson to teach to all parties: the rules of political competition. The country should have one party that has the majority while the other parties should have a clear role and a say in society.

“The experience of drafting the constitution should not be repeated in other matters like national sovereignty in Sinai or national unity. These matters cannot stand trial and error or the polarisation that could push the country to an abyss,” Bahaaeddin wrote in the independent daily Al-Shorouk.

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