So can you write “Arab Spring,” free elections, democracy in Egypt, and such things 100 times? Might this be somewhat in contradiction to the fact that:
Muslim Brotherhood President al-Mursi has just named the editors of the top Egyptian newspaper and other media outlets. They are state-owned, you know, there are a half-dozen good little independent newspapers.
But one of them, al-Destour (ironically meaning, The Constitution) has just had a full issue seized on charges of “fueling sedition” and “harming the president through phrases and wording punishable by law.” We know this through a report in the Middle East News Agency, the state owned monopoly.
And what was the inflammatory report? That the Brotherhood was going to seize power and that liberals and the army should join together to stop the country from being turned into an Islamist regime.
Seems to me that if it weren’t true there wasn’t any need to confiscate the issue, right? After all, everybody would have seen that it wouldn’t happen and all would have shared a good laugh!
Other columnists are charging that the Brotherhood is trying to turn their newspapers into reliable house organs rather than let them be free.
Reminds me of a personal experience I had in Cairo over thirty years ago. An al-Ahram newspaper editor was well-known for being the highest-ranking Christian in journalism. I went to see him and mentioned that I knew he was a Christian. He launched into a long lecture about how wonderfully Christians were treated in Egypt, there was no discrimination against them, etc.
After a while I mentioned that I heard he had been on the television the previous evening but I had missed it. For no particular reason, I just asked, “How long were you on, fifteen minutes?”
Without missing a beat, he shot back: “Fifteen minutes! You’d think they’d let a Copt be on for fifteen minutes! I was on for three minutes.”
Reported by me word by word as it happened.
About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.
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