President Mohamed Morsy’s Assiut speech continues to occupy opinion writers in Egypt. Several writers analyse his intention to ask for more money for his Nahda (renaissance) project. Commentators scrutinise Morsy’s meetings with ex-rivals to discuss corruption and social justice.
The president’s job is to implement, not threaten
Emad Al-Din Hussein
Hussein discussed President Morsy’s last public speech in Assiut, in which he threatened “those who misused their money to tarnish the truth on their satellite channels.” The writer criticises the allusion to the ‘corrupt,” considering it would be better for Morsy to be transparent about who he is referring to. Enough with the hidden messages in presidential speeches, says Hussein.
He rests his argument on the conviction that ousted President Mubarak used similar oblique references to the Muslim Brotherhood and their unknown funding sources. If Morsy wants to threaten media professionals who attack him, then he is undermining their right to criticise the president publicly. The writer asks Morsy what lies between the lines, when it comes to talking about corruption. Certainly, the president is fully aware of the “corrupt” figures in the country. Egyptians have the right to know their identities, instead of being given mysterious and obscure statements.
The president and his competitors: serious talks or chats?
Reflecting on Saturday’s meeting between President Morsy and ex-presidential candidates, Qandil believes Egypt would have been spared this chitchat, if bridges between Morsy and his rivals had been built earlier. If views of prominent political figures like Mohamed ElBaradei, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, Amr Moussa and Hamdeen Sabahy had been taken into consideration earlier, Egyptian politics would have been a lot calmer.
Each figure is very popular, and could help alleviate numerous political conflicts. Although Qandil notes the cooperation between Morsy and former presidential candidates is a bit late, he still thinks it can be used effectively in the current climate of heated debates over the Constituent Assembly and draft constitution. Qandil hopes Morsy’s talks with ex-rivals will not result in nothing more than superficial diplomatic photographs of smiling faces.
Quoting a comment received on one of his columns, the writer mentions how an ordinary Egyptian listed questions that Morsy should have asked the former presidential hopefuls. Most of the questions relate to their views on the draft constitution, draft laws, and which political figures deserve to hold positions in the government. Qandil ends his column with the final words of the commenter, “asking the ex-candidates such questions would have been much better than discussing social justice and fighting corruption.”
Glory and stones
Khalil chides President Morsy’s preaching tone when addressing Egyptians. He recalls the president’s speech in Assiut, where he announced his intention to open a special bank account. Here the “corrupt” can return stolen money and Egyptians can donate money to Morsy’s Nahda (renaissance) plan to revive the country.
The writer commends Morsy’s “smart” way of thinking about corruption and the returning of lost funds. If a bank account is specially designed to receive stolen wealth, depositors will state their information, which in turn will help the government keep an eye on their finances.
The writer criticises Morsy for calling on ordinary citizens to donate and help improve the economic standards of the country. How would an average Egyptian, who has mouths to feed, be able to pay to aid the country from his own pocket? If the president is inviting his people to contribute to the state, Khalil sarcastically suggests Morsy starts up a charity organisation, which Egyptians can manage from their own homes.
The primary problem remains with the idea you can treat serious economic and social problems as minor issues, which can easily be resolved through charity work.
Fabrication of the Shari’a case
Following Salafi rallies in Tahrir Square last Friday, Al-Shobaki criticises the parochial views of those who focus on fabricated crises such the implementation of Islamic Shari’a law. Without a doubt Article two will be included in the draft constitution, Al-Shobaki concludes the entire issue is hoax.
He says the most failed and repressive states were founded by those pretending to be the guardians of Divine Law. While radical Islamism led Sudan towards poverty, separation, and totalitarianism, it plunged Afghanistan into religious tyranny, which offered sufficient pretext for the US invasion of the country.
Al-Shobaki sees the real issue not lying in religious texts, but in how their rules are implemented. The implementation of any doctrine, whether socialist, secularist, or even Islamist, is carried out by humans not angels.
The entire debate, according to Al-Shobaki, is purely political, with all of the associated “unholy” practices. What has granted emerging Muslim economies such as Turkey, Malaysia, and Indonesia their success, is the rulers, however Islamist-oriented they are, refraining from engaging in discussions of Shari’a. Instead, they took its general principles as a launch pad for their economic skyrocket.
The caliphate between truth and delusion
Fahmi Howeidi recounts how several years ago, a German-Turkish dervish proclaimed himself from Frankfurt as the Islamic Caliph. While the call of this man was answered by a dozen followers from the Turkish immigrant community in Germany, the German authority dealt wisely with the issue, and prevented it from escalating into a public controversy.
Howeidi considers this normal in societies where free speech, which does not breach the law, is permitted and protected. Consequently, the story of the self-proclaimed caliph hardly enjoyed any public attention, and ended up being lost from the German people’s collective memory.
With the rising tides of the Arab Spring, Howeidi criticises those who propagate what he calls conspiracies to establish a pan-Islamic Caliphate. These rumours have emerged following Rachid Al-Ghannouchi of Tunisia saying the Arab Spring opened the gates wide for a “Sixth Caliphate.” Several Arab religious voices claimed the time had come to establish the rule of caliphs.
Howeidi says such people lack the ability to distinguish between the truth and delusion. He sees a pan-Islamic Caliphate as unrealistic in light of the looming threats to Arab states, threatening their further disintegration. He considers the real pan-Islamic Caliphate exists, but with the United States at the top of its hierarchy!