Press round-up

Sarah El Sirgany
6 Min Read

Local writers focus on parliamentary mishaps, soldiers death

CAIRO: Enjoy the bad because the worst is coming up, was the opening quote of Khairy Ramadan s article in Al-Masry Al-Youm last Tuesday. Khairy linked two of the most prominent news items that have dominated editorials throughout the week: the ongoing investigation into clashes between MPs Ahmed Ezz and Talaat El Sadat and the death of two Egyptian soldiers on the Israeli border.

Khairy expressed his dismay on how the latter incident had not been given sufficient consideration while the parliamentary clash became the center of attention, especially in the media. The two soldiers were buried at night with no proper funeral, as if we are afraid to anger Israel or Mr. Olmert, wrote Khairy.

The nation was preoccupied with Mr. Ahmed Ezz. It was said that Talaat El Sadat bent to take off his shoes. This means the nation was in danger because Ezz s dignity was in danger, added Khairy. He mocked how newspaper editors had dedicated articles to condemning El Sadat and asking for his trial and apology while no one asked Israel to apologize for killing the two soldiers.

In Al-Wafd, Essam Kamel said that following the death of the two soldiers peace papers were confused with surrender. He said the official silence on the issue indicates that the government doesn t value human beings.

In the same paper, Fouad Fawaz said that when Israel commits these crimes, it is emphasizing that the life of an Israeli citizen is more valuable than the life of an Egyptian. He added that Egypt is prioritizing its role as a mediator between the Palestinians and Israelis, while the latter have no intention of compromising.

In Al-Akhbar, Nawal Mostafa wrote that an apology is not enough and called for an angry stance by the government.

The government, however, isn t the only one to blame, Kamel said; opposition and independent voices share responsibility as well. Our collective silence is a participation in the crime against the two soldiers of honor, he added.

This wasn t the only type of silence that was criticized this week. Like other writers, Khairy asked why everyone was asking about El Sadat s shoe but no one had inquired about Ezz s wealth; the clashes between the two MPs started when El Sadat shed doubts on its origin.

In Al-Gomhuriah, Samir Ragab was highly critical of El Sadat s behavior. Although he made it clear that he wouldn’t name names or take sides, Ragab focused on El Sadat s action and called for a program to train MPs on proper parliamentary decorum.

Other independent newspapers made observations similar to Khairy s and acted accordingly. The weekly El-Destour dedicated pages of investigative reports targeting Ezz s fortune. The articles said that this wasn t the first time Ezz has been accused of committing serious violations. The articles claimed that the accusations are true.

Suggestions that Ezz is protected by Gamal Mubarak surfaced in different newspapers. In opposition paper Al-Araby, Gamal Essam El Din described the relationship between Ezz and Mubarak as the true marriage between money and power, noting that Ezz s accumulation of fortune and rise to power coincided with Mubarak s return to the country in 1997.

Khairy also pointed to the parallel careers of Mubarak and Ezz. Referring to what he described as fear from Ezz, he wrote, Does being close to Mubarak give all this power?

Khairy took these incidents as a basis to ask even more questions. Has the space for fear increased? Is there less betting on the future of democracy in Egypt? If the answer to his question is yes, he continued, then the worst is coming.

Besides the ongoing debates about Ezz, Mubarak and El Sadat, another argument about the future of political parties has surfaced. The highlight, of course, was the latest elections of Al-Wafd Party s board.

In the party s newspaper, Gamal Yones described the elections as a celebration of democracy. He said competition was healthy and civilized and has provided new blood for the party to keep its viability and activity.

In Al-Akhbar, Galal Doweidar said that there is a legal malfunction that endangers the stability of political parties, consequently affecting the route to democracy that depends on multi-party systems.

He cited several power struggles over party presidencies that have led to a freezing of the activities of the parties concerned until the conflict is resolved in court. A struggle over the presidency of Misr El Fatah Party has been in the courts for 15 years, he explained. He said that both Al-Ahrar Party and Al-Wafd are now subject to the same problems.

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