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Egypt: Now it is an old man who is crying! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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My God, what an unfortunate paradox! Months ago it was Egyptian youth Wael Ghonim who was crying about Egypt’s elders, particularly former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian street cried out [against Mubarak], whilst the rest of the Arab world was brought to tears. However today, just a few months later, it is an old man who is crying, not a youth, namely [Egyptian Prime Minister] Kamal el-Ganzouri, and he is crying about the situation in Egypt, or shall we say the country’s youth!

This is a strange paradox, and a painful one; however this is something that reveals much. The Egyptian youth [Wael Ghonim] cried out at the burning agony of pain and humiliation [under the Mubarak regime], and his unwavering faith in drams that were perhaps unrealistic, particularly as countries are not built on tears. However the old man, the head of the current Egyptian government, cried out at the agony of Egypt’s current reality, and the threats it is facing, particularly as he is aware that Egypt cannot be built upon a million enthusiastic youth who are being weakened by the opportunistic Muslim Brotherhood. Rather, Egypt can only be rebuilt by serious and hard work, and most importantly rational demands and unity, particularly with regards to the revolutionary youth.

Egypt’s economic reality is verging on collapse, and its political reality is chaotic to say the least, whilst the most dangerous aspect is that everybody is seeking to exploit everybody else. What further ignites the situation – and makes it even more dangerous – is that nothing good can emerge from the intentions of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist. As for the youth’s reality; their disintegration and fragmentation, only further complicates the situation. There is another fear, and that is in the performance of the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces [SCAF], and particularly its political performance, which is characterized by hesitancy and the taking of decisions, only for them to go back on this. What is even more dangerous is that SCAF has begun to act – in the media – as if it were the Muslim Brotherhood, possessing a huge number of spokesmen, as well as those to explain the words of the spokesmen, and even those to explain the explanation of the words of the spokesmen! This is a state of utter confusion that benefits nobody; indeed it only increased the lack of confidence [in SCAF].

If the tears of the Egyptian youth, Wael Ghonim, inflamed the feelings and emotions of people, the tears of the old man, Kamal el-Ganzouri, must serve as a source of worry and concern for all the rational and wise people everywhere! The Egyptian people being preoccupied with every little detail of the situation in Egypt is nothing more than a waste of time, and an organized campaign to distract attention, in the same manner that the Muslim Brotherhood distracted the Egyptian youth over the past few months, disrupting their political activity, until the Egyptian youth emerged from the elections with disappointing results. Therefore, the best thing that Egypt’s youth can do today, as well as the country’s political forces, is to concentrate on what we have repeated time and again, namely the drafting of the Egyptian constitution; ensuring that its text is clear and unambiguous regarding the civil nature of the Egyptian state, does not include a religious approach, and also guaranteeing the peaceful transfer of power. The Nasserite disease, for example, greatly harmed Egypt and the region for nearly 5 decades, so what will the case be with regards to the “Muslim Brotherhood” disease?

The Egyptian youth, and the country’s political force, must also focus on ensuring that there are genuine checks and balances in place to prevent the next president becoming a new “pharaoh”, as well as preventing parliament from being transformed into a scene for extremism and immoderation. This must be a constitution that takes into account Egypt’s minorities, freedoms, rights, and justice, and which brings Egypt into the modern developed world, rather than a constitution that resembles the Khomeinist constitution in Iran.

The Egyptian youth cried yesterday, whilst today we saw a old man crying, and I fear – God forbid – that all Egyptians will be crying tomorrow due to the direction that the country is heading in, particularly with regards to the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists, as well as the chaos amongst Egypt’s dreaming youth. This is because a country cannot be built upon dreams, rather this requires hard work and a realistic vision, and this is something that must prevail in Egypt today!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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