Putting Sentiments of the Egyptian People to Press

Category: World Affairs Topics: Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, Palestine Views: 756

Although mainstream Egyptian newspapers are strictly controlled by the government, when it comes to the issue of Palestine, the stand taken by many columnists and the stance of reporting differ from the diplomatic stand that is adopted by President Hosni Mubarak.

In black and white, the newspapers try to print the sentiments of the Egyptian man on the street. Oftentimes, headlines of happenings in Palestine are featured as prominently as news about the president. Many articles are written so passionately, that one might think these newspapers are owned by Palestinians.

The Al Ahram Weekly, which is the compilation of the official state news for the week, never fails to deliver articles that openly criticize Arab countries for having failed miserably in keeping Israel at bay. On a front page story last week, reporter Dina Ezzat provided a very objective and honest piece about the disagreements among Arab governments on how to respond to Israel's atrocities.

Her report also covered demands for a "total political and economic boycott of Israel", something the Egyptian government has thus far been successful in doing.

And in last week's edition, the weekly published a front page article titled, "While Palestine Burns", which strongly criticized the UN Security Council for doing nothing more than bring about "greater Israeli repression".

Below that was a very dry article covering Hosni Mubarak's "ongoing talks" with Arafat.

The focus page every week features on the Israeli atrocities, with much stress on the rage and spirit of the Palestinian women and children for having been evicted from their own homeland.

Palestinian writers such as Randa Shaath pens moving humane features about the "horror, hope and daily heroism" of the Palestinians - in refugee camps and worldwide - who day after day pines for the land that is rightfully theirs. This week saw her returning to Palestine almost a year after the the AlAqsa intifada began.

"The Israelis closed the borders with Egypt two days after I got back. I am in Cairo now, "safe" in my little apartment. I am not relieved though. My heart and mind are still in Palestine. Under constant siege, in the middle of fear and destruction, I felt the part of the determination to live, to resist and to hope. I feel home is back there, where the carnations still grow and thrive in the land of Palestine".

Now, if only the Arab leaders, such as Hosni Mubarak take their time to read the papers, Egypt or any other Arab country will not be still sitting, "trying to work out a diplomatic protest", much to the disappointment of Muslims worldwide.

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Zakiah Koya is a Malaysian journalist and filed this piece from Cairo, Egypt.


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