Saturday,22 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1164, (12 - 18 September 2013)
Saturday,22 September, 2018
Issue 1164, (12 - 18 September 2013)

Ahram Weekly

Egyptian press: Europe was created by history, America by philosophy

Selections by Doaa El-Bey and Gamal Nkrumah cover the assassination attempt on the Egyptian interior minister and the impending US air strike on Syria

Al-Ahram Weekly

Newspapers monitored the army clampdown on terrorism in Sinai, the US efforts to rally international support for a strike against Syria and the take-off of the 50-member committee to amend the 2012 Egyptian constitution.

Al-Ahram on Monday had, ‘The US continue international rallying to strike Syria’, Al-Shorouk wrote, ‘The train of constitutional amendments took off’ and Al-Wafd quoted Amr Moussa, the head of the committee, saying ‘A new era that is based on the rule of law [has started].’

Al-Akhbaron Sunday wrote ‘10 terrorists killed, 20 injured and 15 arrested in Sinai’ and Al-Watan on Sunday quoted a military source saying Sinai would be free from terrorism within days.

The investigation in the search for those behind the failed attempt to assassinate Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim is in full swing and details are expected to be disclosed soon. Emad Al-Ghazali was not surprised by the attempt and expected it to be repeated. He wrote that the Islamist current disclosed a long list of assassinations on their press and satellite channels including Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi at the top of the list.

However, Al-Ghazali added, the act of killing does not take place because a person decides to kill. Killing involves inciting hatred and that was the language used in the Rabaa and Nahda sit-ins.

“It is not important whether those who tried to kill Ibrahim, killed the soldiers in Sinai or attacked police stations are members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Those killers are just tools that were pushed into implementing these crimes via coaxing or lying on the pretext that they conform to Sharia,” Al-Ghazali wrote in the independent daily Al-Shorouk.

The columnist pointed to the fact that those who killed writer Farag Fouda in the 1990s and tried to kill Nobel literature laureate Neguib Mahfouz did not read what the two authors wrote or knew anything about their thoughts.

He said the culprits are mere tools; the real criminals are those who issued religious evicts — or fatwas — allowing the killing of members of the police and army, those who allowed children to march in Rabaa and those who denied the wide popular rejection of Mohamed Morsi and insisted on his return.

The idea of killing emanates in the mind, Al-Ghazali concluded, long before the killer presses the trigger or explodes himself in a suicidal operation.

Gamal Al-Ghitani noted a few things about the failed attempt to assassinate Ibrahim. First that Ibrahim is an honest man as his records show and that he lives in a modest apartment in Nasr City, an area that was originally built for middle class citizens.

Al-Ghitani also pointed to some negative points that made the attempt easy, namely the huge number of stalled cars that park in the street, the fact that the minister leaves his home at a fixed time everyday — 10am — and takes one route to the ministry that he never changes. That kind of discipline reminded the writer of Mahfouz who also had a disciplined daily routine. “In both cases, discipline made it easy for the assassins to commit their crime.”

Al-Ghitani also noted the ferocity of the attack, the persistence to kill and the size of the explosives which is said to be between 500 to 600kg.

While the writer expressed his fear that the minister’s office could be penetrated, he suggested that the minister should change his route everyday or use a helicopter for commuting.

“Egypt faces genuine war. Some rival countries insist on transforming Egypt into another Syria. People are ready to face down these attempts. But the poor performance of the government and the traitors of the revolution made their job more difficult,” Al-Ghitani wrote in the official daily Al-Akhbar.

Amid the present conflict in society some writers called for reconciliation with the MB while others were completely against it. Moataz Billah Abdel-Fattah is from the first group. He noted that Egyptians have two prospects before them; either to play it the European way or the American way. He referred to a saying by the former British premier Margaret Thatcher who said ‘Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.’

That is, Abdel-Fattah explained, Europe reached its present status through conflicts and wars in which every country and church were focussing on their interests until they discovered at the end that they were committing collective suicide because of their wars over resources and political borders. Thus they finally reached the solution that would end the difference over political borders and resources; the EU.

The US, he added, witnessed fewer conflicts because its founders combined power with philosophy. Those founding fathers gathered in Philadelphia to write the constitution that is still valid up till today after 27 amendments.

“The Thatcher saying is useful for us as it guides us to two options — either the European with all its conflicts or the American that witnessed a higher degree of dialogue and the determination to agree.”

Thus, Abdel-Fattah said his main message to politicians and men of thought in Egypt was to recognise that conflicts and violence is the way that Europe chose. Thus, they should resort to dialogue and refer to moderate experts rather than referring to those who are willing to escalate problems and seclude other parties.

“Writing the constitution should be a chance to agree. Agreement does not mean consensus, but it requires differing in a civilised way and learning from the past,” Abdel-Fattah summed up his column in the independent daily Al-Watan.

Mahmoud Ghallab expressed his belief that the Muslim Brotherhood lost their loyalty to the country and developed a feeling of hatred to the army.

He wrote that one way to know who belongs to the MB and who does not is to play the famous song Teslam Al-Ayadi, loosely translated as “Well Done”, a song that praised the army for responding to the will of the people on 30 June and ousted Morsi and his regime. If that person becomes angry while listening, then he is a member of the MB. It he doesn’t, he is not a member.

“The MB is a minority, or the third party that wants to root sedition. It calls on external parties to occupy Egypt and impose an economic siege on it,” Ghallab wrote in the daily Al-Wafd, the mouthpiece of the opposition Wafd Party.

The writer said that song incited a fight between MB members and citizens in various places in Egypt. He regarded that as a sign that the MB hates the army and asked how they are fighting to rule Egypt anew when they hate the army, police, media, judiciary and the people.

Given that the MB openly showed that hatred, Ghallab added, the only solution is to dissolve the group, declare it a terrorist organisation and try all who incited against the army or openly disclosed hatred to it.


Bottom Lines


“Egypt faces genuine war. Some rival countries insist on transforming Egypt into another Syria.”

Gamal Al-Ghitani, Al-Akhbar


“Writing the constitution should be a chance to agree. Agreement does not mean consensus, but it requires differing in a civilised way and learning from the past.”

Moataz Billah Abdel-Fattah, Al-Watan


“The only solution is to dissolve the Muslim Brotherhood and declare it a terrorist organisation.”

Mahmoud Ghallab, Al-Wafd

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