It was a very brief written in-advance speech made by [President Abdel Fattah] Al-Sisi at the New Suez Canal inauguration celebration, where his improvisation was very brief and close to the context.
What grabbed my attention, though, was when he spoke about the war on terrorism, or more clearly, the state’s war on the Muslim Brotherhood. It was very easy to see that anything that involves reconciliation or reaching an understanding to end the fighting is more like imagination that the president considers nonsense.
His message was clear, as he said: “History will remember that Egypt and its people have fought against the most extreme terrorist mentality that would have burned down our land if it could. The people have completed the New Suez Canal project in very hard circumstances on both the economic and security level where terrorism forces were fighting against Egypt and Egyptians…We are beating terrorism with life, and hatred with love.”
There is no reconciliation, and no drawing back, from fighting until extremists are eliminated.
Exhaustion was clear on the president’s face, however, when he spoke about terrorists, the exhaustion was gone. He made it clear through his message that there will be no reconciliation with the Brotherhood. He then continued talking about the New Suez Canal’s inauguration, and started thanking everyone who contributed to the project.
The predictions of all people who said that there might be a solution for the issue between the state and the Brotherhood were wrong. Perhaps they have not heard the latest information, as the information flow for all of us stopped at the presence of a dialogue between representatives of both the Brotherhood and Military and Public Intelligence. However, we never received information about an initial agreement or a clear solution for the crisis. With his words, the president eliminated all the speculations.
I’m not trying to eliminate the possibility of reaching a resolution; I’m just interpreting what I saw between the president’s lines and on his facial expressions when he talked about this matter. I still believe that the Brotherhood is losing its chance of a return to Egypt’s streets day-after-day, and soon, they will lose all their chances, and will turn into a group like Mujahideen Khalq (Khalq Jihadists) and the like, who fight the state outside borders with terrorist organisations, mottos and begging from countries that don’t like Egypt. Despite my sorrow for their youth, life is all about choices.
That was the president’s first message that dominated most of his speech, in what seemed a lot like a speech at a conference about terrorism. He wanted to deliver a strong message to all regional and global forces about his final attitude towards the Brotherhood and everyone hiding under its cloak, including those with the jihadi and expiatory mentalities.
The second message that was no less important than the development message was summarised by Al-Sisi in the sentence: “Egypt is not a one-project country.” He was brief by using it, and highlighted that there are many projects to be implemented in the Suez Canal Axis. Of course, we hoped to hear an announcement about another national project like the Suez Canal project, but he did not talk about anything apart from the new canal and terrorism during the celebration day.
The third message was general and did not have details about the implementation of the project, where he went back to talking about the reclamation of 1m acres and establishing new cities as well as a national roads network – but then maybe this is the core of the whole matter. The president needs to pay attention to the fact that in the army, there are hands building and hands carrying weapons, and similarly in life, there are brains that think and mend, as well as others that prepare for the future and fix the basic services, perhaps by think of establishing a giant national network of roads. These brains should think of ending land wastage, beginning land reclamation, and stopping the rise in unemployment rates, as well as attracting working energies once future projects are finished. I do not want to spoil the happiness I feel about the canal’s inauguration, so I will not go into this too much.
The president finished his speech before giving his signature of approval to the permission to start the new canal’s operation, with a sentence that summarised much, which we wish would turn into a reality. Al-Sisi said: “If all the people are able to dream, only the free people are capable of achieving those dreams.”
Freedom, the way I see it, has a very wide meaning and real significance that cannot be broken down into pieces. We want to feel this freedom and we want the president to make decisions that achieve it. The president must explain precisely his definition of “free people” that he used in front of the whole world.
Of course, there are many other matters that were not revealed to us, but days will uncover all that the upcoming events are hiding.
Emad El-Sayed is an Egyptian journalist and the Editor of Daily News Egypt