Columnists discuss a variety of issues, including the arbitrary nature of the Egyptian cultural and political spheres and the effects of the looming US presidential elections on the Middle East. Constitutional snags, disorganised opposition and the president’s most recent controversial decision are all discussed.
Destroying all frameworks
Emad El-Din Adeeb
Adeeb sarcastically refers to ‘Burkina Faso and developed nations’ as an example Egypt would do well to follow when it comes to abiding by legal or cultural frameworks. Adeeb describes the legal process common to any judicial system in the world, in which the refusal to accept a court ruling comes in the form of a legal appeal, after which the ruling is accepted absolutely.
Judges, the columnist writes, make their decisions based upon the evidence presented to them, rather than in accordance with the will of the public or any political entity or executive authority, and they can only be expected to do as such.
He states that the law is inherently a rigid, immovable, inflexible system which puts all citizens of all ranks, positions, classes and other classifications and distinctions on equal footing. Absolute adherence to the law is therefore necessary, in the view of the author, in order to achieve true justice.
The columnist notes that in Egypt people react to decisions and rulings that do not comply with their views with scorn and rejection, whether it be the ruling of a court of law, the verdict of a religious authority such as Al-Azhar, the decision of a football referee, or any other such authoritative assertion.
Adeeb warns that Egyptians seem to be refusing to accept and work within any structural framework be it legal, political, sporting, or otherwise, and that this poses a significant threat to creating a state based on the rule of law.
Once again: no to the ‘Okashisation’ of the revolution
Qandil criticises those who oppose President Mohamed Morsy’s recent attempt to remove the attorney general from his post, comparing it to the defence of eccentric TV presenter and owner of the Al Fara’een channel Tawfiq Okasha when his channel was temporarily shut down.
The columnist claims that those who taint and insult the profession of journalism and media are defended by some of their colleagues in sheer hypocrisy out of a mindless will to criticise and attack those in power, and that similarly, judicial circles are playing out their tensions with the president through the defence of a man whose removal was one of the primary demands of the revolution following the ouster of Mubarak.
Qandil states that Attorney General Abdulageed Mahmoud reached his position not through experience and hard work but rather through loyalty, as is was the case with most high-ranking officials during Mubarak’s rule. It is thus illogical, according to the author, to claim that his removal is a transgression on the independence of the judiciary.
No revolution requests permission from those it rebels against, Qandil writes, claiming that if that were the case the revolution in Egypt would never have succeeded in instigating anything.
The author labels current attacks on the president for his decision to be ‘political schizophrenia’ and claims that private interests and intentions have blinded some of those who participated wholeheartedly in the revolution.
Political contemplations in the issue of the constitution
Al Masry Al Youm
Issa evaluates the constitution-writing process so far and the challenges and obstacles it faces in the coming period. He expresses alarm at the clumsiness of the process and attacks those responsible for what he views as a messy affair.
The author points to the fact that the final draft of the constitution promised by the Constituent Assembly was not presented to the public, with the excuse that the assembly is awaiting the court ruling determining the legitimacy of the body itself in its current form. The ruling itself has been delayed, leaving the public in confusion, prompting the assembly to instead issue a “pre-final” draft so that public opinion, in Issa’s words, can “entertain itself for a while.”
The possibility of a verdict confirming the illegality of the Constituent Assembly, resulting in a dissolution of the body would prompt the president to re-form the assembly, which Issa believes would ultimately include the same members. The possibility of a continued boycott by a number of members would deprive the assembly of the number of members necessary to issue the final constitution for public referendum, which would also lead to the president re-forming the body with the same membership, according to Issa.
The columnist condemns attempts to create a constitution tailor-made for certain political forces and urges the president not to heed their proposal. He also blasts articles in the current draft, which he claims severely restrict the freedom of the press, sarcastically proclaiming that journalists seem to have achieved their freedoms through the new articles protecting the freedom of the press, which bear a striking resemblance to those that preceded them.
Hamdeen Sabahi and the problem off his popular current
Addressing Hamdeen Sabahi’s nascent ‘Popular Current’, Soliman criticises its formation as unnecessary and unwarranted, claiming that efforts should instead be re-directed towards building strong political institutions rather than weak semi-institutions and movements working outside legal and structural frameworks.
Soliman expresses his admiration for Sabahi as a politician, praising his creation of a political dialogue based on love and social justice rather than hate, but he claims that what Egypt needs the most at this point in time is strong political parties.
The author believes that all of the political parties currently operating in Egypt are weak, including the Freedom and Justice party, which are mere proxies to other entities and organisations. He writes that in the past the opposition has had to resort to weak, non-institutional movements due to the restrictions placed on forming political parties, but that the time has come to form parties capable of internal democratic functionality and transparency now that the restrictions have been lifted.
The formation of strong political parties is a difficult task, the author claims, but one that is well worth the effort.
What if Romney wins the US presidential elections?
Discussing the unlikely possibility that Mitt Romney could beat Barack Obama to become president of the United States, Wahba writes that we should look at the Republican nominee more closely in order to find out what such a result would entail. Wahba points to Obama’s weaknesses on issues such as unemployment and what may be viewed as a toothless foreign policy, as well as the incumbent’s uninspired showing in recent debates, to suggest that the probability of a Romney victory is not negligible.
The columnist focuses on Romney’s clear, unwavering support of Israel, evidenced in speeches, articles and actions. He recalls Romney’s visit to Israel, in which he insisted that Jerusalem is the true capital of Israel and implied its cultural superiority, as well as holding a fundraising event that the author suspects must have entailed certain promises. Wahba reminds the reader that Romney did not visit Ramallah or meet Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas on his trip. The columnist also recalls Romney’s remarks regarding the impossibility of the two-state solution due to the fact that, in Romney’s view, the Palestinians do not want peace.
Wahba goes on to state that American presidents often abandon pre-election promises once they reach office, and that Obama is still likely to be the victor according to polls. He advises the coming administration in Washington to pursue a foreign policy along the lines of the one currently adopted by Obama towards Egypt and the Middle East.