Ever since that day in 1958 Watani has represented a valuable addition to the Egyptian press. It is a paper that is interested in Egyptian affairs in their entirety and in Coptic affairs in specific. In his book Al-Sahafa al-Arabiya: Nash’atuha wa Tatawuriha (The Arab Press: Its Establishment and Development) ; Dar Maktabat al-Hayat; Beirout; 1961, historian Adeeb Merewwa describes Watani as a weekly paper that offers powerful journalism as far as content, editing and appearance are concerned. “Basically,” Merewwa writes, “the paper represents—and defends—the viewpoint of the Copts and the Christians in
An unbiased observer of Watani realises that it is a paper of wide interests that prints material on political, economic, social and cultural affairs, on the local, regional and global levels. In addition, it includes articles on the Christian religion and occasions, as well as coverage of the news of the Church. All this endows Watani with a special character among
Since its establishment, Watani has taken it upon itself to defend several worthy causes; prominent among them is the Coptic cause, the problems and grievances of Copts. The paper tackles this issue from a thoroughly Egyptian perspective and calls for resolving it through home-grown answers. It advocates national unity between
Watani always took a strong stance against terrorism, whether in its physical or intellectual form, and has always tackled sectarian struggle with wisdom and self-restraint. Throughout its fifty years in the press, the paper never resorted to sensationalism or incendiary language; quite the contrary, it has always called for the sublime human values of love, good-neighbourliness, tolerance, co-existence, national belonging, pluralism, and gender equality.
Throughout the years, Watani’s pages have carried articles penned by some of Egypt’s most prominent writers, intellectuals, and enlightenment figures, among them Taha Hussein, Murad Wahba, Salib Botrous, Maher Shafiq, Atef al-Iraqi, Suleiman Nessim, Gawdat Gabra, Mossaad Sadeq, and Adel Kamel.
I wish Watani the best in the years to come. I hope to see it grow and develop and, more dearly, I hope to see it a daily paper. In this context I wish to remind Watani that this had been the original plan 50 years ago, but it never materialised. A news item printed in the
Ramy Atta is a writer and researcher; and has written several papers on the Egyptian press
30 November 2008