Egypt Independent

Sunday’s papers: Schadenfreude at civil disobedience ‘failure’



Most of Sunday’s newspapers aligned with the state or the Muslim Brotherhood gleefully reported on the failure of the call for civil disobedience Saturday, reporting that Egyptians disobeyed the calls for disobedience and other such puns.

“Egypt declares disobedience to disobedience” chirps even the opposition daily Al-Wafd, while state-owned Al-Ahram boldly declares “And the disobedience fails.” The Brotherhood’s newspaper Freedom and Justice declares it a day without disobedience. “Under the motto ‘A day of hard work,’ millions of Egyptian workers denounced the calls for civil disobedience and went to work despite it being a holiday to contribute in supporting the economy,” the paper reported.

Al-Ahram outlines in detailed fashion how everything was running in a proper manner on Saturday — trains, public transport, the airport and ports. The industrial sector was barely affected, it reports, and quotes “citizens” calling the action “incitement” aiming to harm the economy and shake stability.

State-owned Al-Akhbar continues in a similar vein, peppering its front page with people at work. A caption under a photo of two construction workers says, “The workers of Egypt did not stop work and continued building.” The independent Al-Tahrir newspaper is one of the few newspapers to offer different coverage on the day, even though it also readily admits that the call for civil disobedience wasn’t exceptionally successful.

It does, however, focus more on the many marches and strikes that took place Saturday, reporting that it was mainly students raising the chants high in universities and on the streets. They chanted against military rule in the first of several days of planned civil disobedience, which includes not attending lectures and is scheduled to culminate in combined marches to the Ministry of Defense on Tuesday, calling for the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to immediately hand over power to civilian rule.

Lest we forget, Saturday was the one-year anniversary of Hosni Mubarak’s resignation. A year later, Al-Tahrir gives us a glimpse of how Mubarak is doing now, reporting that he spent the night leading up to the anniversary in tears and was given sedatives by doctors to calm down. He apparently regaled his wife Suzanne with tales of what he has been through since that fateful day. Freedom and Justice picks up the story with Mubarak spending the day in court, with a plaintiff lawyer telling him and the others behind bars that “today is a celebration for all Egyptians because you have left.”

Onto more current matters, the Brotherhood paper reports that Essam al-Erian of the Freedom and Justice Party has declared that the Ganzouri government has failed, and that Brotherhood MPs are studying the possibility of passing a no-confidence vote through Parliament about it. The newspaper also reports that the Brotherhood party is working on forming a coalition government to run the country’s affairs until a president is elected.

And while Al-Tahrir newspaper reports on the matter as a possible confrontation between the Brotherhood and SCAF, the Brotherhood’s newspaper itself seems to be taking a page out of the military council’s book with a strange headline regarding Brotherhood activities during the revolution and talk of “a history we will not say now.”

The Islamist newspaper has a full-page spread interviewing the Brotherhood’s secretary general, Mahmoud Hussain, in which he states that the group had an operations room in Tahrir Square during the revolution and that it rented apartments around the square during the 18 days. Hussain also states that the Brotherhood was part of the revolution from the first day on 25 January, but that this wasn’t announced so as not to allow the previous regime to paint it as an Islamic uprising.

He also lauds the efforts of the Brotherhood on 2 February, the infamous Battle of the Camel, and says Brotherhood reinforcements were sent to the square to defend it from pro-regime thugs, most notably a group from Shubra headed by current MP Mohamed Beltagy.

Egypt's papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Youm7: Daily, privately owned

Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned

Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party

Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party