Tuesday, October 24,  2017

Politics

Egyptians: Where To?

BY Karim Salama

If we want to hold someone accountable then everyone is to blame (the previous regime, the people, the media, the elite, everyone is responsible); the elite contributed to the decline in Egyptians’ taste through decadent movies, etc, and the media is responsible for chasing sensational scoops and not reform, and the ruler lacked vision and skillful administration, and the people treated public officials like Gods.  


Awaken people of Egypt! Enough bargaining with the blood of the martyrs, for the real martyrs did not forsake their lives for the exaction of justice or accountability, but they died for Egypt’s glory; they died for Egyptians to live in dignity, freedom and integrity. As an Egyptian citizen, all I observe on the political and media scene is cheap trading with the blood of martyrs and a blind heart, thirsty for punishment, and another vying for criticism and unjustified opposition, and yet another out to enflame Egyptians’ emotions by using worn-out slogans so as to distort historical facts, glossing over the necessity of growth and production and the advancement of Egypt, by creating an aura of skepticism and conspiracy theories.

I believe that the real revolution must begin by calling things by what they truly are and by adhering to historical facts without distortion, rather than beating around the bush or chanting empty slogans. Being an engineer, I prefer beginning with the scientific and historical facts and constants - away from theories - before deriving solutions and objectives.      


Consequently, I would like to list the following facts for which there is consensus among the majority of the discerning audience: 

• The only times when Egyptians enjoyed a share of real democracy was prior to 1952. 

"I call upon everyone to stop chanting slogans of retribution for the blood of martyrs and the lethal yearning for punishment, and to give priority to renaissance, reform and building"
• It is not enough to simply love Egypt in order to be a successful president. There is no disagreement regarding Gamal Abdel Nasser’s sincere patriotism; nonetheless, he caused severe damage to Egypt and Arab and African nations - as if he were their archenemy. Where Egypt and Arab and African countries are today is the result of Nasser’s actions: the loss of part of Egyptian territory and the loss of Jerusalem; the squandering of Egyptian gold in the War of Yemen; the establishment of powerful dictatorships; rule by military junta and the retardation of nations – all of these things happened due to Abdel Nasser. In fact, Hosni Mubarak himself is a direct result of that system of government. Hence the criteria for success cannot depend only on a person’s love of Egypt, but must extend to encompass shrewdness, able administration and a vision for the future.               


• History and facts have proven that real leaders must have vision, seasoned knowledge in administration, be highly cultured and in touch with the modern world.     


• Egypt’s losses over the past sixty years are not limited to wealth and money, but the heavier losses affected areas such as education, culture, taste, regional stature, dignity and decent living standards. 


• The previous administration was characterized by stupidity, lack of vision and a loss of any ”national project”. Contrary to all political analyses, I dare claim that the last five years of government in Egypt were the best in its entire history, albeit I concede that the Prime Minister and Cabinet were a mere secretariat for the President, but the economic group within the government led a reformist economic revolution that saw the reformation of the taxation system and augmented revenues and drew Arab and foreign investors to Egypt resulting in an increase in salaries and benefits that raised wages in Egypt to near the levels in the oil-rich Gulf countries. These improvements however only went to highly educated workers and speakers of foreign languages. But the important question is how many citizens were fortunate enough to receive this standard of higher education? This is the catastrophic political miscalculation that neglected prioritizing the education sector. Education must occupy top priority status in the national agenda. As for corruption, an insightful perception reveals that 50 percent of economic magnates and tycoons originated from the military or intelligence establishment. Only in the last 10 years did this trend change slightly but it witnessed rampant corruption in municipalities, the public sector and government institutions, etc. Moreover, the corruption - if found - in technocratic ministries, was mostly the result of presidential instructions, and I consider the amount of corruption in these technocratic ministries it to be less than the scale of overall government corruption during the past 60 years.              


• The scale of corruption remains unclear in the midst of an atmosphere of uncertainty and denials.  

• There is a state of opaqueness regarding the security situation; who was responsible for; opening prison gates during the first few weeks of the revolution, the ‘Battle of the Camel,’ the burning of the ‘Description de l'Égypte’ book (‘Description of Egypt’), and the rampant crimes perpetrated by thugs?    


The education of Egyptians, their culture, general taste and morality is what Egyptians were stripped of; and in my view this amounts to grand treason. If we want to call previous regimes to account under revolutionary justice, then the aforementioned is what the trials should focus on - not a few villas or bribes - because the loss in scientific and moral terms are difficult to recover, while material losses can be more readily compensated.       

 Egyptians now must choose between one of two routes:
1. To bury the past and look towards a better future that buoys Egypt to the ranks of modern, developed countries
2. Or to set our eyes on settling scores and allowing the past to bury us under a blanket of discord, conspiracy theories and demands for punishment

In 1980, if ten people came forward to compete for the position of president of Egypt, 60 percent of applicants would have met with the same fate of Mubarak due to the absence of solid foundations and fundamental and the lack of modern administration skills or vision compared to developed countries.  


The principal accomplishments of the revolution are so far: limiting the tenure of the office of president and prohibiting bequeathing of office, freedom of expression, and the rule of law and accountability on a legal basis - and this in and of itself is the greatest achievement since 1952. But due to the absence of scientific and cultural awareness and the dominance of criticism, dependency, and greed, people are coming to loggerheads with one another, fighting for demands that are almost impossible to accomplish in a short period of time, and the majority of the population have been transformed into “political scientists”. Words and empty slogans cost little and are reminiscent of ‘national education’ class back in primary school, but they are futile and only push people further away from reality into a world of make-believe.  


If we want to hold someone accountable then everyone is to blame (the previous regime, the people, the media, the elite, everyone is responsible); the elite contributed to the decline in Egyptians’ taste through decadent movies, etc, and the media is responsible for chasing sensational scoops and not reform, and the ruler lacked vision and skillful administration, and the people treated public officials like Gods.   


Egyptians now must choose between one of two routes: 

1. To bury the past and look towards a better future that buoys Egypt to the ranks of modern, developed countries, ignoring the various conspiracy theories - even if some  are true - because we can overcome Egypt’s issues by focusing on production, reform, and building; but we must have three essential elements in place if this is to succeed:

• A strong parliament to conduct monitoring and legislation. 

• Limiting the term of the presidency.

• Prohibiting the bequeathing of state authority to any individual or faction by ensuring free and fair elections are held every four years. 


2. Or to set our eyes on settling scores and allowing the past to bury us under a blanket of discord, conspiracy theories and demands for punishment (the saying goes: ‘if you want revenge, then dig two graves instead of one’).


I call upon everyone to stop chanting slogans of retribution for the blood of martyrs and the lethal yearning for punishment, and to give priority to renaissance, reform and building

Karim Salama is the Chairman of the Middle East Logistics & Consultant Group.  He lives in Alexandria, Egypt and received his B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Alexandria University in 1985



READ MORE BY:  Karim Salama

 

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