The Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsy continue to attract attention in media debates. Some say Morsy is a Pharaoh-in-the-making. Others extend this definition to include the entire Muslim Brotherhood, especially after the sacking of Gamal Abdul-Rahim, editor-in-chief of Al-Gomhuria newspaper by the head of the Shura Council, in addition to the violent repression of recent anti-Brotherhood rallies in Tahrir Square.
Columnists highlighted contradictory statements made by the president, the head of the Cabinet, and other Muslim Brotherhood figures. The police apparatus had its own share of criticism, in light of the frightening statistics issued by humanitarian organisations in Egypt, revealing the continuation of Muabarak-style police interrogation techniques.
Who do we believe?
Mohamed Salmawi lambasts contradictory statements made by the president, the prime minister, and prominent Muslim Brotherhood figures. For example, the announcement appointing the general attorney, Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, as Egypt’s ambassador to the Vatican, was denied by Mahmoud himself the following day. The president also staunchly denied earlier statements by the prominent Muslim Brotherhood icon, Issam Al-Iryan, that all his meetings with the president were being recorded.
Salmawi recounts how in some other cases, statements made on the same day would contradict each other. For instance, Al-Ahram Newspaper reported Prime Minister Hisham Qandil strongly advocating reconciliation with businessmen who gained their fortunes through illegal means.
Bizarrely, Qandil’s statement was firmly rejected, on the same day, by the state minister of legal affairs and parliamentary councils, Mohamed Mahsoub, in Al-Shorouk newspaper. Mahsoub denied rumours that he had been assigned with negotiating reconciliation with Ahmed Ezz, where Ezz would give the State Treasury with $5 billion in exchange for his freedom.
The central case in “national press”
Expressing his anxiety after reading about the sacking of Gamal Abdul-Rahim, editor-in-chief of Al-Gomhuria newspaper following a phone call by the Head of the Shura Council, Samir Farid re-examines the entire concept of the “national press.” In his view, the prefix “so-called” is always used when stating the term “national press”, since the concept only exists in Egypt.
Farid sees the press classified under three main categories: private, partisan, or governmental. He dates the “setback” of the Egyptian press as having taken place in 1961, when President Nasser launched his initiative entitled, “Press Regulation.” Farid considers that this bright slogan covered Nasser’s true intention, to nationalise press institutions. Farid even compares the term “setback” to the humiliating military defeat of 1967.
Within the context of the 25 January revolution, Farid foresees that freedom of the press will be achieved sooner or later, no matter what the price to be paid. He asserts the vital role of a strong journalists’ union in fostering free speech.
Restructure the Ministry of Interior or send them to rehab!
Examining the performance of the police apparatus in the first 100 days of Morsy’s presidential term, Ahmed Nagi cites the alarming figures issued by Al-Nadim Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture. During this relatively short period, thirty cases of torture in various police stations, in addition to eleven other cases of death under torture inside police stations, were recorded.
Although President Morsy said he wanted to honour the spilt blood of the 25 January martyrs, Nagi criticises his abstinence from restructuring the Ministry of Interior, in which those who killed the revolutionary youth still hold their posts. He even suggests that as long as the entire ministry is mobilised to protect the president, the latter has no major reason to revisit the structure of this institution.
It comes then as no surprise that the person who supervised the assault against revolutionaries in January 2011, including Muslim Brotherhood youth, ironically, is currently head of the Ministry of Interior and constantly hailed and praised by Morsy. Nagi suggests there is no option but to restructure the entire establishment, or send its members to rehabilitation; the only place where they can receive proper treatment from their complex of being “the country’s obeyed masters.”
The art of making a Pharaoh
Fahim Howeidi warns President Morsy may become a dictator, under continuous exposure to the Pharaoh-making environment of Egyptian bureaucratic institutions. He points out the special prayer mat being deliberately put in front of the president, during the Eid prayer. A prayer mat might be an item of minor value, but the action of allocating a special arrangement for the president in prayer, gave the impression the president should always be unique and different from “others,” even when standing before Allah!
Howeidi cites one his friends with much experience in the presidential institutions, saying Morsy will not be the same person one year after assuming power. Indications started to culminate supporting this prediction, most notably during the president’s visit to a local mosque in the town of Marsa Matrouh, where the entire carpets were replaced with brand new ones, and the walls were repainted.
Even the number of guards accompanying the president has greatly expanded since his first day in office. Howeidi warns Morsy that this is a typical trap set by Egyptian bureaucracy, which can ultimately imprison him inside a sarcophagus of his own making. He wishes president Morsy had put the special prayer mat aside.
Classes to Teach the Muslim Brothers Democracy
Emad Al-Din Hussein
Recounting the brutal assault of the Muslim Brotherhood youth on the platform set up by the Popular Front and their violence against the anti-Brotherhood demonstrations in Tahrir Square on 12 October 2012, Emad Al-Din Hussein reiterates widespread fears about the true intention of the Brotherhood. This idea suggests the Muslim Brothers will utilise democracy to ascend to power and then impose their own eternal dictatorship.
This fear was revived and consolidated by the MB’s actions in Tahrir Square. Hussein suggests that however organised and effective the Muslim Brotherhood youth militias are in containing opposing demonstrations. Adopting repression as a tool to silence the opposition might lead the Muslim Brothers to a similar fate as Mubarak’s regime.
Hussein sees allowing free opposition to the Brotherhood as the single best decision the religious society can take in its best interest. He even suggests that the extremist Brotherhood leaders should attend classes to eradicate dictatorship from their minds, and implant democracy instead. By democracy Hussein means the concept that a Muslim Brother is not more or less faithful than any other person belonging to any party, and that only serving the people’s interests is what truly matters, as fair political competitiveness is the only guarantee of a better life for Egyptian citizens.