Sunday,23 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1159, (1 - 7 August 2013)
Sunday,23 September, 2018
Issue 1159, (1 - 7 August 2013)

Ahram Weekly

When Egyptian bygones aren’t

Gamal Nkrumah and Rasha Saad cover Egypt’s post-Morsi crisis

When Egyptian bygones aren’t
When Egyptian bygones aren’t
Al-Ahram Weekly

Seeking greater international recognition for Egypt’s post-ousted president Mohamed Morsi order has been a key tenet of Egyptian pundits and commentators. However, most were adamant that Egypt was going ahead with the post-30 June scenario with or without international approval.

Western watchdogs have long been concerned that the Egyptian democratic process has been derailed, but Egyptian pundits overwhelmingly support the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood. Officials of the interim administration egged the media workers on. “I would like to assure the loyal Egyptian people that the police are firmly determined to achieve security and stability of the country,” Interior Minister General Mohamed Ibrahim was quoted as saying in the daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.

“30 June has proven to all Egyptians and the whole world the size and amount of pressure that the police bear and the treacherous threats that challenge it,” Ibrahim elaborated.

Ibrahim was also quoted as saying that he commended the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Minister of Defence Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi for “responding to the popular will of Egyptians”, giving the interim post-ousted Morsi government a clear mandate to rule.

The paper quoted Ibrahim as insisting that the “police have never fired at protesters using live ammunition”. The statement came amid Interior Ministry statements that supporters of the ousted Morsi who marched from their sit-in in the vicinity of Rabaa Al-Adaweya Mosque to the Sixth October Bridge set tires on fire, halting traffic and clashing with residents of the sprawling shantytown of Mansheyet Nasser and brandishing weapons, using bird-shots and live fire. The pro-Morsi demonstrators also congregated around Al-Nasr Road, the main arterial thoroughfare that runs parallel to Orouba Boulevard that leads to and from Cairo International Airport.

“Millions of Egyptians responded to the call of Defence Minister Al-Sisi and took to the streets in a show of support for the military and its fight against terrorism,” wrote Amr Al-Shobaki in Al-Masry Al-Youm.

“The popular show of support for Al-Sisi demonstrates that there is a new factor at work in the Egyptian political and populist equation. No longer does the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties, or the secularist and liberal parties for that matter, have a monopoly over popular will and politics. This development may well be reflected in the forthcoming national elections,” former MP Al-Shobaki extrapolated.

Former presidential candidate Khaled Ali told Al-Masry Al-Youm that he supported what he called the “restoration of Egypt’s dignity”. Ali had joined the 6 April youth movement, the Popular Socialist Coalition and Youth for the Freedom and Justice movement and other groups demanding the fall of the Morsi regime.

Editor-in-Chief of the daily Al-Gomhuriya Sayed Al-Babli was typical of the pundits. In an op-ed he penned, Al-Babli stressed: “The people of Egypt have spoken. Egyptians have designated the military and the police to combat violence and terror. The message is loud and clear and the repercussions are obvious”.

In much the same vein, the daily Al-Akhbar quoted Ahmed Al-Muslemani, presidential adviser on the media and spokesman of Interim President Adli Mansour that “Egypt greatly appreciates the role played by the United States, the European Union and Russia, but the will of the people is paramount at present”.

Al-Muslemani was speaking on the eve of the visit to the country by EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Policy Catherine Ashton. “I deeply deplore the loss of life,” Ashton was quoted as saying.

Ashton’s visit includes meeting with interim President Mansour, Vice President Mohamed Al-Baradei and Al-Sisi in addition to other members of the interim cabinet and political figures, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The pro-Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy and Reject the Coup also met with Ashton as did Islamist representatives such as the leading member of the Wasat Party Mohamed Mahsoub, members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau Mohamed Taha and Mohamed Ali Bishr, and Freedom and Justice Party’s Amr Darrag. The delegation also included former prime minister Hisham Kandil.

Ashton’s visit comes in the wake of the killing of at least 80 pro-Morsi protesters early Saturday as they allegedly attempted to extend a sit-in in north Cairo. “This transitional process must lead, as soon as possible, to a constitutional regime, the holding of free and transparent elections and the forming of a cabinet with a civilian leadership,” Ashton said in a statement issued on Monday. Her emphasis on the transitional nature of the interim government was not widely reported in the press; instead the onus was on Ashton’s insistence on talking “to all sides”.

Ashton stressed Egyptian national reconciliation. “I am in Egypt to reinforce our message that there must be a fully inclusive transition process, taking in all political groups including the Muslim Brotherhood,” she was quoted as saying.

Nevertheless, Ashton conceded in public that Morsi committed what she called “grave mistakes”, and her criticisms of Morsi received wide coverage. Al-Baradei reportedly told the EU foreign policy chief that the presidency is exerting “all what it can in order to reach a peaceful exit to the current crisis”. He asserted that any solution proposed must be in accordance with the law and not pose a threat to national security.

Economic stimulus is the goal of Egypt’s interim government which will seek to avoid major austerity measures and instead work to stimulate the economy by improving security and pumping in new funds, interim Finance Minister Ahmed Galal was quoted as saying in the daily Al-Ahram.

The distinguished columnist Fahmy Howeidy, writing in the daily Al-Shorouk, posed a conundrum in a piece entitled ‘Unanswered Questions’. Paramount among these was why Editor-in-Chief of Al-Ahram Abdel-Nasser Salama was summoned by the prosecutor-general for questioning. Was it a question of desperately seeking scepticism? “Why did the military deny the fact that [ousted president] Morsi was detained when barely three days later the prosecutor-general ordered the incarceration of Morsi? Who leaked the information to the media in the first place? Was it a play? We ask many questions and still wait for a convincing answer,” Howeidy asked as he questioned the logic of the entire mysterious affair.

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