x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

'Tamed citizens' blamed for damaging the revolution

An Egyptian columnist says the revolution in that country has laid bare the gross ills left by the Mubarak regime. Other Arabic-language newspapers comment on UAE child custody laws and the hunger strikers in Israeli jails.

Like all revolutions in human history, Egypt's does not have unanimous support, novelist Alaa Aswany wrote in the Cairo-based daily Al Masry Al Youm. There are always lackeys waiting to counter any revolution.

Following the uproar that forced Hosni Mubarak from power in February 2011, Egyptians were split into three major groups about the issue.

First, there were those "who have been determined to accomplish their revolution, come hell or high water".

Next, the remnants of the old regime, who are "fighting fiercely to restore it, in pursuit of their own interests and in fear of standing trial under the revolution".

And then there are "tamed citizens", those who had come to terms with the corrupt regime and had found a way to lead their lives without having to pay the price of change.

Now, the vast majority support the revolution but the third category is a significant minority.

These tamed citizens were "taken aback by the revolt, watching it on TV like a football match. Once certain Mubarak was toppled, they visited the squares to take souvenir photographs."

These indoctrinated citizens were most affected by anti-revolution propaganda, and most incensed by the concocted crises.

Why don't they show anger toward the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces?

The Scaf has undertaken the duties of the president, and so should be held responsible.

"These lackeys may lacking political awareness, but when it comes down to it, they have never liked the revolution."

They toed the line of the corrupt regime, and had their minds perverted so that "courage becomes foolishness, cowardice becomes wisdom and hypocrisy becomes decorum".

The tamed citizens' interests are not necessarily entwined with those of the Mubarak regime, but these people have their own network of corruption. Examples are public employees taking bribes, doctors in public hospitals forcing poor patients to go to their private clinics, teachers blackmailing pupils into private sessions and media outlets blacking out public opinion.

"So it is only natural for them to hate the revolution because it has left them exposed after they had persuaded themselves of the impossibility of change."

They were happy to relinquish all values and accept humiliation to "live and bring up their children peacefully. But then all of a sudden they saw other Egyptians staking a claim to freedom and dying for dignity."

The Egyptian revolution has laid bare the gross ills left by the Mubarak regime. While revolutionary youth set an example of courage and sacrifice for freedom and dignity, tamed citizens could not fathom the revolution.

But the truth is they do not deserve it, being lackeys pursuing narrow self-interest.

In Israeli jail, hunger strike reaches 90 days

The hunger strike of Mahmoud Al Sarsak, a Palestinian prisoner held in Israel, has entered its 90th day, with Israeli authorities not showing too much anxiety about it, columnist Amjad Arar wrote in yesterday's edition of the Sharjah-based newspaper Al Khaleej.

Before 2012, the longest hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails lasted 20 days. That was in 1987. The strikers then had most of their demands met.

"This year, however, hunger strikes have become a much grimmer ordeal," the columnist said. "Now they last for far longer periods of time … as Israel's arrogance has substantially risen to match the radicalism of its new leaders and voters."

The hunger strike of the Palestinian prisoner Khodr Adnan, who was kept in Israeli detention without charge, lasted 66 days before he was released earlier this year.

After him, Hanaa Al Shalabi, a female prisoner, went on a 44-day hunger strike. And when about 3,000 Palestinian prisoners in various Israeli jails followed suit, their hunger strike lasted 28 days before their jailers responded to some of their demands for better treatment and incarceration conditions.

It amounts to so much suffering for just shreds of dignity, let alone freedom, the writer went on. But don't expect the "free world" to speak out against this, he added, for "it is not a Gilad Shalit type of case".

Wadima's tragic death will mean a better law

Following the recent tragedy of Wadima, the eight-year-old Emirati girl who was tortured and killed by her father before being dumped in the desert, the UAE's personal status law couldn't remain unchanged, observed Sami Al Reyami, the editor of the Dubai-based daily Al Emarat Al Youm.

Amendments to the law that is currently in effect must be introduced, in such a way as to grant the mother, in case of divorce, custody of her children even if she chooses to remarry, and even after the children reach the legal age.

"This is a procedure that is likely to abolish 90 per cent of the social problems from which the children of divorced parents suffer," the writer opined.

The new child protection law that the ministries of interior and social affairs introduced last week did not come as a reaction to the Wadima case, although the case did serve as a catalyst for it, the writer noted.

The law deems guilty anyone who fails to report a case of child abuse, including family members, school officials, social advisers, maids and even neighbours.

Thus, it closes a legal loophole and ensures that any violations of the safety of children will be duly punished.

 

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk

translation@thenational.ae