The brilliant Al-Ahram columnist Salah Montaser began his career in journalism in 1953 at the Akher Saa magazine that was bought by Mustafa and Ali Amin from Mohamed El-Tabii who continued to write the main article entitled “From Week to Week”. Mohamed Hassanein Heikal was made the magazine’s editor in chief.
Salah narrates that a heated battle between El-Tabii and Mustafa Amin began in the summer of 1955. The former wrote for Akher Saa and defended the idea of a one party state and the latter wrote for Akhbar Elyom and defended the idea of a multi-party system. Amin wrote that a one party state failed in Germany, Turkey and Italy. El-Tabii responded by saying that Mussolini, Ataturk and Hitler rebuilt their countries and rid them of corruption.
El-Tabii said that Italy saw a major architectural and industrial movement under Mussolini’s rule just as Germany did under Hitler. Amin responded with an article entitled “No Mr El-Tabii, One Party Means One Man” the week after. It is clear that both of them were talking about the situation in Egypt after the July 23 revolution and how the country was moving towards a one party state. Amin said “Mr El-Tabii believes that the one-party system is a panacea for all ills and diseases. We may soon hear about the invention of a wondrous medicine that cures blood pressure, anaemia, diabetes, colds, fevers, constipation and diarrhoea. He imagines that a single party which would rule us for at least ten years would be able to make miracles happen and turn the desert into a paradise and corrupt rulers into angels. When a single party enters through the door, the law goes out of the window and there is an absence of justice, equality and freedom. Ten years without freedom means ten years without the press, and therefore ten years without Mr El-Tabii”.
El-Tabii completes his observation by saying “In times of crises, the people need a single and united decree, not several parties competing and wrangling with each other. Today, Egypt is experiencing a difficult phase. Abroad, it has a tenacious and intractable foe. At home, it is burdened by the legacy of past sins and corruption. So don’t talk to us about parties and their return. If it is necessary, I will be satisfied with a general referendum”.
The editor in chief Hassanein Heikal exploited El-Tabii’s proposal and put the matter to a referendum in Akher Saa and asked its readers “Are you with El-Tabii or with Mustafa Amin?” However, El-Tabii had already challenged the results of the referendum and said that the magazine would not dare publish them. He said that “In any case, the referendum will not express the views of all citizens as peasants and workers do not read them. As for the real voters in the referendum, they are flattering Mustafa Amin, the owner of the magazine.”
El-Tabii was surprised by the result – the vast majority voted to abolish the parties and for the declaration of a single party. He commented on this by saying that he would not change his opinion according to referendums under any circumstances; he believed they are neither accurate nor reflective of the truth.