Newspapers differed in their description of the present situation in Egypt in the wake of the dialogue that led to yet another constitutional declaration and holding the referendum on the constitution on time.
Al-Ahram on Monday wrote ‘Political powers divided over referendum and new declaration’. Al-Wafd had ‘People reject constitutional trap’. Al-Youm Al-Sabei blared ‘Declaration falls but divisions continue’ and Al-Gomhuriya stated that the problem of the referendum had deepened.
Commenting on the national dialogue, Al-Watan on Sunday had ‘Morsi talks to Morsi’. Al-Masry Al-Youm wrote ‘Army monitors and warns’.
Writers showed clear opposition to the constitutional declaration and its consequences that caused a surge in violence and created deep division.
Adel Al-Sanhouri wrote that the new constitutional declaration increased division and political polarisation rather than defuse the crisis that erupted in the wake of the constitutional declaration issued on 22 November.
The dialogue produced another copy of the constitutional declaration that kept intact the president’s decrees and the referendum, he added.
“There was no need to gather the president’s supporters in a dialogue that lasted for over 10 hours to perform failed cosmetic surgery to avoid a constitutional declaration,” he wrote in the independent daily Al-Youm Al-Sabei.
The new constitutional declaration, Al-Sanhouri added, kept intact all the consequences of the first declaration; that is, it kept the decision to sack and appoint a new prosecutor- general, and to immunise the Shura Council and the Constituent Assembly which drew up the constitution.
He said the presidential spokesman could have said that the president insisted on the 22 November constitutional declaration and the referendum to be held on time rather than spend a whole day until the middle of the night to improve the picture of the president.
Abbas Al-Tarabili asked whether people should give in especially after the regime managed to divide the nation.
However, Al-Tarabili looked first into the allegiance of the parties that attended the dialogue with the ruling regime. It is a coalition of the seven parties that represented the Islamic currents in addition to a few individuals who have an Islamic background.
He compared this dialogue to the dialogue held in the wake of the 1919 Revolution when some voices called for dialogue with the British occupier. Given that those who took part in the dialogue supported the occupier, Saad Zaghloul described it as: ‘George V — the British king then — talked to George V’.
Likewise, Al-Tarabili elaborated, Saturday’s dialogue was between the MB on the one hand and the MB and their supporters on the other. He wondered whether that could produce anything resembling the interest of the majority of Egyptians.
“The dialogue managed to substitute a lame decision with another lame decision. The situation is the same: another constitutional declaration that immunises the president’s decrees,” Al-Tarabili wrote in the daily Al-Wafd, the mouthpiece of the opposition Wafd Party.
Mohamed Amin drew a rather bleak picture of the current situation in Egypt. He wrote in the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm that confusion is the main feature at present: the president wants something, his vice president thinks differently, the minister of justice comes up with an initiative, the Supreme Guide of the MB describes the protesters as criminals, the Salvation Front rejects dialogue, but the surprise is that the MB accepts dialogue.
“No one needs the family dialogue that the president conducted. The way out was easier: the annulment of the constitutional declaration and the referendum. Then all parties could have sat together and conducted a dialogue,” Amin wrote.
Amin pointed to a psychiatric report by psychiatrist Ahmed Okasha who said that previous prison inmates cannot rule. Thus, he added, the analysis showed that Morsi’s decisions are paving the way for a dictatorship that aims to root the rule of the MB. Now that they felt that they are losing their grip on the project, they have lost their nerve and are now fighting their last battle for power.
Amin concluded his regular column by stating that there would be no dialogue with the MB before the annulment of the constitutional declaration and the referendum. “It pains me that dialogue is not conducted with the presidential institution. It is with the MB. The state is mixed up with the MB.”
Mahmoud Khalil, a media professor, decided to shed light about the issue of insulting the president. He wrote that the Islamists described the protesters’ call for the sacking of the president — who is democratically elected — as an insult to the president.
He agreed that the president is subjected to insults these days, but it is from his group which imposes on him decisions which create dangerous consequences. As a result people are pouring onto the streets to call for his fall.
“The real insult to Morsi comes from the bearded people who flocked to the presidential palace to protect his legitimacy. Morsi appeared before the world as incapable of getting the police or army to defend him. As a result, he asked for the help of his group. Those who insulted him and taught him to lie to his people are his own group,” Khalil wrote in the independent daily Al-Watan.
Nasser Abdel-Nabi focussed on the challenges facing the media by the Islamists. He wrote that the media is passing through a difficult phase and facing pressure that impede it from doing its job.
The latest of these is the siege imposed around the Media Production City and that attack launched against prominent TV talk show hosts Wael Al-Ibrashi and Ibrahim Eissa.
“Instead of making in-depth studies about Sharia and Islamic heritage to show the genuine Islamic concepts that call for love and abandoning violence, they imposed a siege around the Constitutional Court and Media City to stop them from doing their job,” Abdel-Nabi wrote in the official daily Al Gomhuriya.
The private satellite channels played an important role in removing the previous regime, he added, and hosting the various political currents including the Islamist opinion. Now, the Islamic current subjects these channels to pressure and besiege them at a time when it managed to control the national TV to the extent that the minister of information chooses who will host programmes.