CAIRO: The Journalists’ Syndicate refused to open one of its halls Sunday night to host a seminar commemorating the publication of Abdel-Halim Qandil’s new book “Red Card to the President.
This is a follow up by the Kefaya movement coordinator and former editor of Sout El-Umma to his previous outing “The Last Days, also an indictment of the reign of President Hosni Mubarak.
After the refusal of the syndicate head Makram Mohamed Ahmed to open one of the halls in the upper floors of the syndicate, an impromptu seminar and book signing was held in the foyer of the syndicate on the ground floor.
Kefaya member and journalist Nada Kassass told Daily News Egypt, “When the syndicate head is affiliated with the government, then where will freedoms come from? It shows that people with a different opinion are prevented from expressing that even within the syndicate itself.
“It was expected, and it is an indication of the age of democracy in which we live, she added jokingly.
Ahmed could not be reached for comment on this matter by press time.
Qandil has long been an outspoken critic of the regime, and he has stated in the past that his removal from Sout El-Umma was related to his stance on the government. He currently heads the Kefaya Movement for Change, which is calling to an end to Mubarak’s rule.
“Rule in Egypt has progressed from one party rule to one family rule, a triumvirate of power . which emerged from behind the veil of republican rule, Qandil had told Daily News Egypt earlier on Sunday.
He has also been a vocal opponent of the possibility of National Democratic Party policies committee head Gamal Mubarak succeeding his father as president.
“There is a conflict between the old guard concerned with security that wants to keep things as they are and the new guard of businessmen who want Gamal to rule now, Qandil said, “I think the current status quo will hold for now.
Amongst those present to speak on behalf of Qandil at the seminar were novelist Alaa El-Aswany, television presenter Hamdi Qandil and singer Samir Al-Eskandarani.
Three trucks filled with central security forces were stationed outside in case the attendees exited the syndicate building en masse.
“Red Card to the President is composed of a series of articles Qandil wrote for various publications between 2008 and 2009. Chapter titles include “Egypt’s First Thief, “Egyptians’ Blood is on Mubarak’s Neck and the “Inheritance Curse.