The Big Pharaoh
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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Positive Developments in Egyptian Media

I noticed very new developments in the newspapers that belong to the opposition. They are becoming increasingly bolder in directly criticizing the president by name. For such a long time, the office of the presidency here was like the pope or the Grand Ayatollah, a position with a lot of reverence and fear. I can see this barrier crumbling down.

Two major newspapers were allowed to circulate this month, Al Ghad and Al Destoor. Al Ghad is Al Ghad party’s official paper and Al Destoor is headed by a brilliant author who was on the terrorists’ death list back in the 90s because of his anti-radicalism writings. Al Destoor is not a new paper, the government shut it down before. The fact that the government allowed it to circulate is an indication that something is happening here.

Al Ghad’s latest issue had a very interesting report on what a number of President Mubarak’s party members did when Ayman Noor was released. They put up banners in populated areas that shouted slogans such as: yes to Mubarak the leader, no to every coward Egyptian who is an American agent / Yes to Mubarak the leader, no to foreign financing. Of course they want to falsely proclaim that the “American agent that gets foreign finances” is Ayman Noor, an accusation that kills the future of any political activist here.

Al Ghad paper responded by saying: is that how Mubarak’s party will kick off its campaign? / the minister of interior asks us to avoid cussing yet will he obligate his party members first? I loved what they said next: are we allowed to respond by the same manner?!!

I am glad that the opposition is getting a little bit bolder because as I said before I am sick and tired of having Islamists and radicals as the only vocal dissenting voices here. I think this is something that President Mubarak should encourage for the sake of the country’s future. I still strongly believe that we are not ready for changing the president but we definitely need more dissent that doesn’t have a religious tag attached to it.


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