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Review: Columns attack Brotherhood’s electronic militias and slow decision-making processes

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Writers explored an assortment of political topics in Egyptian newspapers. Some have debated the issue of the electronic militias of the Muslim Brotherhood, and others have denounced Morsi’s slow pace in making urgent decisions.


The failure of the electronic militias

Mohamed Salmawi

Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper

Mohamed Salmawi

Salmawi speaks about the groups belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood who are assigned to electronically attack a number of intellectuals and writers who were against Morsi and the Islamist group. Referring to this group as the “electronic militias”, the writer narrates his experience with a BBC producer who asked him to share his experience with these groups. Salmawi says he has always been targeted by these electronic militias who use unacceptable phrases while attacking his articles.

He condemns how they blindly obey the instructions of the Brotherhood without mastering the minimal skills of negotiation or combating thinking with thinking. According to Salmawi, these groups exchange shifts inside an apartment in Maspero. They receive a list of writers every day and are assigned to attack them viscously online.

Salmawi notes that these militias stop writing offensive comments under his articles during religious holidays. The writer says he shared a number of websites with the BBC producer in which these groups always leave their unpleasant comments or remarks. He concludes his column stating that some regular readers respond to his articles in a logical way. There is always a vast difference between the responses of the electronic militias, who aim at nothing but meaningless attacks, and the comments of actual readers, who often have a point to make in their arguments.


Hold Morsi accountable first, not Qandil

Emad Al-Din Hussein

Al-Shorouk newspaper

Emad Al-Din Hussein

Hussein says Egyptians are mistaken in encouraging President Morsi to replace Prime Minister Hesham Qandil with Hamdeen Sabahy, Mohamed ElBaradie or Amr Moussa. Egypt’s plight lies in the policies, not the figures, he argues. He defends Qandil, conceding that his powers are limited and that all violence erupting in the country is Morsi’s responsibility.

Egypt is still living in a situation where the president of the republic still controls of everything. Why are many Egyptians and politicians pinpointing Qandil as the one primarily responsible for the chaos? If Qandil decided to announce a cabinet reshuffle, then Morsi is also to be blamed because his choice of new ministers was unwise.

The new officials lack the sufficient experience which qualifies them to manage a country experiencing such a critical stage, says Hussein. He believes that Qandil is a scapegoat to Morsi’s failing policies and poor administration skills. People will never feel the change even if Morsi keeps on altering the cabinet several times.

He needs to change the policies through which this country is currently functioning.  If Egyptians had a better sense of judgment, they would have questioned Morsi himself because he is the one who appointed Qandil. Hussein repeatedly emphasises his viewpoint that Qandil is not the person to be blamed here.


A play

Ahdaf Soweif

Al-Shorouk newspaper

Ahdaf Suwaif

Soweif starts her column denouncing the deteriorating security situation in Egypt since the 25 January Revolution. During the 18-day uprising, Egyptians used to feel a high sense of security when youths formed neighbourhood watch committees to protect their neighbourhoods.

Women felt safe in Tahrir Square as they protested against the dark 30 years of the Mubarak regime. Today, two years after the revolution, girls are being sexually harassed in demonstrations and blamed for participating in politics. The writer chides the recent statements issued by the Human Rights Committee of the Shura Council, in which many members blamed women for engaging in protests.

Members belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) asked why females are going to demonstrations in the first place, where thugs are usually present. Some other members condemned female participation in politics, stating that many girls contribute to their own sexual harassment.

Soweif chides these officials’ repeated attacks on women and denounces the common incidents of group sexual harassment recorded in several marches. Women in Egypt have been organising several marches against sexual harassment and calling for their fundamental right to demonstrate peacefully without facing harassment or intimidation. Soweif praises the move and encourages women to continue fighting for their right to participate in politics, have their voice heard in the streets, and combat sexual harassment in all its forms.


The slow pace

Amro Khafagy

Al-Shorouk newspaper

6-1 Amro Khafagy

Khafagy attributes the slow pace of the current regime to the unprecedented state of violence that has been spreading across the country during the past few weeks. He says that Morsi’s tardy decision-making has been one of the major characteristics of his failing administration.

Dissecting the dangers of this sluggish attitude, Khafagy argues that it does not solve the situation, especially amid public demands and demonstrations. Another problem lies in a state of confusion featuring the presidency as an institution. In times when news spreads that a cabinet reshuffle is soon to take place, we find the presidency denying the reports. A few days later the news spreads again.

In Khafagy’s viewpoint, this means that the presidency intends to create an atmosphere of confusion with regards to what people want, which is a cabinet reshuffle. The writer concludes his article stating that Egyptians cannot understand what lies behind the lethargic reactions of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, simply because they enjoy being slow in making decisions, even if that was at the expense of the entire country.


Have the “dialogue” first before describing it as “national”, he says.

Emad Al-Din Adeeb

Al-Watan newspaper

6-1 Emad Adeeb

As the presidency calls for yet more sessions of a “national dialogue”, Adeeb argues that these meetings must possess some particular features in order for them to end successfully. One of the most important variables key to making the presidential dialogue sessions fruitful involves including major opposition figures such as Hamdeen Sabahy, Amr Moussa and Mohamed ElBaradie, to take part in the dialogue with the Islamists.

Adeeb says that so far all the sessions that were hosted by the presidency and aim at reaching consensus are more of a gathering for friends or a public relations exercise between the Islamist parties. What kind of fruitful dialogue can be achieved when the Muslim Brotherhood’s FJP meets with the Salafi Al-Nour Party and the Islamist Al-Wasat Party, without any hard-line opposition parties present?  For a dialogue to be successful, the writer says, all conflicting parties need to be present around one table.

Adeeb also urges President Morsi to personally call opposition figures and invite them for genuine talks to solve the crisis to end the current state of polarisation. Adeeb reminds Morsi that US President Barack Obama has done that before in order to engage all parties in fruitful meetings. Morsi would probably win more support if he took this move.

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