This is the first Eid celebrated by Egypt under a new regime that has managed to extend its power to all aspects of Egyptian life. Every Egyptian has now harnessed the right to hold policymakers accountable without the fear of being referred to a prosecutor or attacked by a militia, whose leaders are no longer anonymous.
However, only the governing camp claims to ignore the identity of this militia and denies any tie or link with them. All Egyptians have the right to hold their governors accountable, the right to criticize and to expect from those who claim to serve the interests of Egypt; to show their alleged good intentions.
In this year’s Eid celebration, we are living in a condition that takes us back to the times younger generations have read about. But the current situation brings back the past and gives not one sign of the future. Even the existing signs of hope have started to lose color and fade away.
However, Eid is the occasion to search for some hope for the upcoming days, even if this hope does not exceed ambitious wishes. In this context, I would like to seize the occasion to greet all the Egyptian people, without any exception, and all those who govern and are governed in Egypt. But I would like to particularly congratulate our parents and people, the families of the martyrs of Rafah who paid the price of a mistake they did not commit but who gained the honor of martyrdom while performing the most sacred duty of protecting the borders of our nation, everybody’s nation. They were killed by the hands of treachery and greed. To the families of the martyrs who are no longer remembered amidst the crowded battles of empowerment, I pay a special tribute and tell them that the memory of their sons will stay alive in the hearts and souls of every Egyptian citizen who values the concept of a nation. I would also like to pay tribute to the families of the Egyptians who fell at the hands of terrorism during the past decades, those who were killed by the prisoners of extremism. I bestow high praise to those who commemorate their lost sons despite the amount of times they have watched the murderers of their sons released under presidential pardons, even if the killers are sentenced to death. To those families, I say: Your sons paid the price of the survival of the country; their blood was not shed in vain even if sometimes reality says otherwise.
There are many ways to greet people on Eid El-Fitr, however. I received a greeting card this year that has rooted deep concern and fear in my heart. I prefer not to mention my friend’s name although he is affluent and well-known. I felt that the bitterness of this greeting was dedicated to us all and that is why I decided to publish it:
Although you are quite aware of the happenings here, I have some impressions from my last visit to Egypt and here are some of the facts that are happening lately in the country, which are not all stated by media:
The Brotherhood is now controlling everything, the executive and legislative powers, the Constitutional Reform Committee and now the armed forces.
The Brotherhood’s militias had surrounded the studios of two television stations last Saturday because presenters were criticizing the president.
The Brotherhood’s militias have attacked and beaten a group of liberal demonstrators and civil state advocates who were demonstrating in front of the presidential palace. The militias had beaten and chased them.
Three men and one woman were arrested and incarcerated for 15 days for insulting the president.
Around 25 thousands Egyptian citizens were banned from travelling without a court verdict.
Only the economy is alive, but the finance and business scenes are highly split and divided.
A large number of prisoners affiliated to the Brotherhood, the Jihad and Islamic groups were pardoned and released, one of them was sentenced to death after being convicted of murdering a police officer.
In August, the Egyptian authorities, under the rule of President Mursi, have banned Ms. Afaf Ezz from travelling. She is a 25 year old women who graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science, works at Morgan Stanley and who is now prohibited from leaving Egypt. Afaf is the daughter of detained businessmen Ahmed Ezz.
Daily power outages remind Egyptians of the 1973 war. There is no lack in food resources but we are expected to face a huge deficit in the state budget.
Egypt is in a state of uncertainty, the situation is very gloomy as liberals, civil state advocates, Muslim centrists and Copts are feeling defeated in the maneuver of the Muslim Brotherhood.
This is the end of my friend’s greeting for Eid El-Fitr.
Long live the Egyptian people and long live Egypt.
(Abdul Latif Minawi is an author and multimedia journalist and the former head of the news department at the Egyptian Radio and Television Union. He can be reached on @AlMenawy on Twitter. This article was first published in al-Masry al-Youm on August 20, 2012.)