x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

The constitutional predicament in Egypt was an expected confrontation

The political conflicts between the Muslim Brotherhood and the regime are a continuation of a long battle, writes an Arabic-language columnist. Other stories include: the Arabic press debate the death of French political writer, and the impact of Israeli censorship on the media.

It can't be interpreted as a counter-revolution or even a coup against the rebels. It is simply a conflict taking place outside the bounds of the revolution and far from its public and political scope, said the columnist Satea Noureddine in the Lebanese daily Assafir in reaction to the constitutional crisis in Egypt last week.

"It would most probably reinforce [the revolution's] identity, reveal its leadership and determine its next agenda that would lead to the realisation of its real objectives," he said.

What happened in Egypt this last week was a normal confrontation between two substantial political blocs that the Egyptian people took to the streets to rally against. On one hand, a spoiled regime that indulged in corruption, and on the other hand, political Islam that sought to challenge the regime with ideologies, tools and ways that are no less despotic and that don't begin to reflect the level of awareness among the new Egyptian generation yearning for freedom, democracy and pluralism.

Each of the competing camps showed a different reaction to the revolution. While the regime resisted it and continues to attempt to bring it down, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists turned away from it at first before they sought to overtake it at a later stage.

"In both cases, there was common malice and hypocrisy in interacting with the revolutionary situation," opined the writer. "The remnants of the regime went as far as pledging to protect freedoms and rights while Islamists took it a step further and promised a civic, democratic state. But in truth, both sides were, and still are, hiding their yearning to resurrect dictatorship to serve their own agendas."

Since the January 25 revolution in Egypt, the adversaries have been perpetuating a political battle that began in the mid-20th century. They exchange public threats of retaliation for altercations, assassinations, arrests and liquidations that have been taking place among them for more than six decades and led to the destruction of the political, social and economic sectors in Egypt and in various other Arab countries. It was a course of action that produced ruling scandals as well as shameful terrorist Islamic phenomena that caused great damage to the Arab nation and to Islam.

The battle never stopped. The revolution merely channelled it through political frameworks and electoral centres which resulted in a negative draw that brought about feelings of frustration among the majority of the population that didn't expect that the presidential race would be reduced to two of the least educated and the least experienced of the old regime's and the Brotherhood's candidates.


Garaudy's legacy is still hotly debated

The Arabic-language press has allocated considerable space to the death last week of Roger Garaudy, the French author and philosopher who converted to Islam and is notorious in the West for denying the Holocaust.

Garaudy was an one-time atheist on the lookout for truth, wrote Nidal Hamdan in an article for the UAE-based Al Bayan.

Garaudy, who passed away on Wednesday aged 99, was born a Catholic, but later became an atheist and member of the French Communist party, and afterwards converted to Islam.

A prolific author, Garaudy left 66 scholarly works, including 14 after his conversion to Islam. His last book was Le terrorism Occidental (Western terrorism).

His most infamous work remains Les myths fondateurs de la politique israélienne (Founding myths of Israeli politics). This 1996 book denied that Nazis used gas chambers to kill Jews during the Second World War, and cast doubt on the figure of 6 million Jewish victims, which caused him to be blacklisted in many countries.

For his part, Shaker Nouri, a contributor to the London-based newspaper Asharq Al Awsat, said the negative "buzz" about Garaudy's opinions has often been "manufactured".

He wrote that campaigns against him often omitted to mention the fact that he "repeatedly declared that he condemned Zionism not the Jewish religion".

Democracy does not work with occupation

Like those who believe that Israel is an oasis of freedom, some believe that Israel has a free press, but the truth is democracy and occupation are mutually exclusive, commented Amjad Arar in the Sharjah-based Al Khaleej.

"A nation which enslaves another cannot be free," the writer noted. "The issue of press freedom in Israel is a big lie, for media outlets are ideologically-driven, and what appears otherwise is just part of the game."

The Israeli journalist in Channel 2 Ilana Dayan uncovered days ago crimes committed by the occupation forces against Palestinians particularly in Israeli jails and in Lebanon, and she admitted being banned by military censorship from airing the programme on "security grounds".

The atrocities shed light again on the imposed media blackout in Israel. She said that she had to wait a year and a half for the military censor to issue her a permission to air a programme on Israeli maltreatment on Naqeb prison, after having cut a scene where a Palestinian father talks about his son who died in the abuse.

Israel has always known the importance of the media, which is why it put it under the implicit surveillance of intelligence services, while globally, "Zionist lobbying" was used to manipulate events to Israeli's advantage.

* Digest compiled by Translation Desk