Egypt…retelling the untold story

Abu ZeidAs Egypt is purposefully embracing a new and momentous era of political, economic, social and religious renewal, and as the Egyptians are regaining their destiny, resolved to realize a better tomorrow for themselves and the next generation, one can sense a buoyant spirit of hope and optimism despite the mounting challenges the country is wrestling with. After years of uncertainty, Egypt managed to make major strides towards building a democratic state that embodies the values of modernity and enlightenment. After years of uncertainty, Egypt managed to re-position itself in a fast changing geopolitical environment, to re-emerge as a capable and indispensable partner that offers a wise and rational voice in a tumultuous neighbourhood.

Progressively, there is growing recognition that Egypt is back on its feet. Its role as a beacon of stability and security, and the appreciation of its leading efforts in the face of the rising tide of terrorism is growing intensively. It continues as it has always done to stand at the forefront of the fight against this vicious phenomenon and the perverted ideology that drives extremism. Open lines of communication and fruitful meetings with several leaders across the globe are all perfect display of Egypt’s rising role on both regional and international arenas. On the Economic front, the story is more telling. The government is receiving encouraging outlooks from International financial institutions and credit agencies for its unprecedented structural reforms, as boding well for the economy’s long-term prospects.

All this comes, however, to the displeasure of some western media outlets, which are used to paint a gloomy picture of Egypt and its role in the region, and always opt to place their emphasis on purported areas of excesses or derelictions, even with no clear evidence to substantiate their claims.

Lately, the “Guardian” ran an editorial, which made reference to a fabricated documentary about the Egyptian Army, without pressing to validate its authenticity or accuracy. A fair review and scrutiny of this twisted documentary, the attitudes of the men featured in the film, how they are dressed would lead anyone to easily note how fake it is. But it seems that the editor is not aware that it is against the long held tradition of the Egyptian army to have bearded men in uniform! Another example is Robert Fisk’s latest article in the “Independent” where he cited the same unauthenticated video not only to support an erroneous narrative about the Egyptian Army and the situation in Sinai, but to draw wrong parallels with other countries, in total disregard for the heroic efforts exerted in the long and ferocious fight against terrorists, now besieged in a remote and small area in North Sinai.

Moreover, media outlets chose not to mention another documentary that was produced by Islamic Militants and broadcast on Al-Jazeera TV station earlier this month, showing the shooting of Egyptian army officers on duty by terrorist snipers. Of course, there is no need to report on a documentary that might stir unwanted sympathies towards the Egyptian army, nor to highlight incitement to and glorification of terrorism!

One would wonder why those media outlets insist on descending to such manipulative journalism when it comes to Egypt, all while ignoring major excesses in other parts of the World.

While it is not fair to discount the political and economic challenges the country is wrestling with, it is crucial to see the whole picture, to understand that the moment in Egypt is replete with enormous opportunities for a better future. We are moving ahead to get the best out of these opportunities. Yet, some media outlets prefer to intensify criticism of the government in order to justify their ludicrous assumptions, even if they have to take things out of its context.

Any positive reporting on Egypt would hence prove baseless assertions and accusations wrong. For example, the Youth conferences, currently being held under the auspices of the President, have received minimal media coverage. The open political climate playing out during the conferences apparently did not correspond with the negative discourse some outlets are trying to give. Another case is the situation of civil society in Egypt, where there are almost fifty thousand NGOs operating with total freedom. A fact hardly pointed out in any foreign media coverage, which only focuses on citing cases of illegal organizations that do not comply with Egyptian law. The series of Presidential pardons issued to release prisoners, also run counter to the mounting criticism of human right violations.

Economically, some outlets are casting ominous doubts on Egypt’s trajectory, in a startling disregard for the wide international recognition and high praises the government receives from the IMF and the World Bank for the major and steps and reforms taken to address the State’s macroeconomic imbalances.  In fact, the wide popular support for these reforms is another clear example of the nation’s resolve and resilience. The Egyptian people are coalescing around their leadership and placing all their confidence in its ability to steer the economy through rocky waters.

Stereotypes of a deteriorating Egypt always come to the surface with any semblance of success in the country. This is apparently part of a smear campaign that is merely obsessed with producing a doom laden analysis about Egypt; an analysis that smacks of prejudice and animosity. But in doing so, some media outlets are not only drowning out voices of prudence and reason, they are also insulting the intelligence of their own readers.

Finally, it is critically important to highlight that no one is against criticism. Every Egyptian is mindful of the problems his country is facing, but one looks for a criticism that recalls the difficulties the country is passing through; the difficulties that are still inflicting high political and economic cost. Egypt needs an objective and credible analysis that would give its people more insights as they optimistically move ahead to rebuild and rejuvenate their own all- inclusive, forward looking democratic state.


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