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Whatever happened to dialogue ethics?

Soliman Shafiq

09 Jan 2013 7:52 pm

President Mursi is forever speaking of the importance of sympathy and dialogue. So, apart from the political and economic turmoil in Egypt, and the mistrust between the seculars

 and the Islamists; why does the National Rescue Front refuse the President’s initiative for national dialogue?
I have learnt that the issue lies in the absence of any dialogue ethics, not—as was suggested by the former Vice-President Mahmoud Mikki—the proposed agenda.  Here are some examples that highlight this point, and please accept my apologies in advance if they refer to the president directly.
In one of his speeches, President Mursi, spoke about the opposition “gathering in ill-reputed places to conceive conspiracies against the president”, and added that the public prosecutor was in possession of “confessions from thugs who had been paid to instigate the massacre in front of the presidential palace in Heliopolis, Cairo,” on that infamous Black Wednesday. This was the day Mursi’s supporters viciously attacked his opponents who had been peacefully demonstrating in front of the presidential palace to protest Mursi’s grab for power last November; that day ended with the security forces detaining more than a 100 of Mursi’s opponents on allegations that they were the attackers. Unfortunately for the President, the public prosecutor ordered the release of all the detainees because there was no proof whatsoever of the conspiracy the president claimed. After this, is it logical that any of the opponents would engage in dialogue with the President?
Yet again, prominent members of the ruling Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) made claims the party was in possession of recorded phone calls by opponents, that had the potential to implicate them criminally. Essam al-Erian who heads the FJP, said the President’s office had recordings of phone calls, including one made by the former public prosecutor Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud—and Khairat al-Shater, deputy to the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, announced in a press conference that he was in possession of information gained from recorded phone calls on satellite channels, and not one member of the FJP questioned this information. It now seems to be a fact that phone hacking is acceptable and supported by the government and ruling party.
Last but not least, videos by Sheikh Yasser al-Burhami broadcast over satellite channels and the Internet showed him with a group of his supporters, where he confirmed that the Islamists have managed to hoodwink the liberals and Church representatives into agreeing to and signing the draft constitution with some articles that had the potential to totally transformed the country into an Islamist nation. Even though the seculars and Church representatives realised the trap they were being made to walk into and withdrew from the assembly that was drafting the constitution, does this make for what we call the language of dialogue? Have deception and trickery now become a virtue?
President Mursi, after all of this, do you still wonder why the seculars refuse to take part in the so-called free dialogue you are calling for?  


WATANI International
9 January 2013


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