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Foreign media doesn't get bigger picture in Egypt's turmoil: Presidential adviser

Mostafa Hegazy blames 'missing stories' in western media coverage for the widespread condemnation of recent bloodshed; says the roadmap to democracy is underway

Ahram Online , Wednesday 21 Aug 2013
Hegazy
Presidential adviser Mostafa Hegazy (Photo: AP)
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Egyptian presidential adviser Mostafa Hegazy said "missing stories" in foreign media coverage of events in Egypt prevent  the West from forming a complete picture of the situation on the ground in Egypt.

In an interview on CNN Tuesday, Hegazy added that the interim government is committed to holding elections soon.

Hegazy described the recent arrest of Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide and spiritual leader Mohamed Badie as a victory for restoring law and order in the crisis-stricken country.

"If you find the ones behind instigation [and put them] in custody for proper trials, this would be not just a victory from a retributional standpoint, but from [the] standpoint that we are restoring law and order in a country which has its own sovereign rights."

Badie, who was arrested on Tuesday, has been added to the interim government's list of Muslim Brotherhood top leaders now in custody. Egypt's toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi himself has been locked up, at an undisclosed location, since his ouster last month, and was slammed with a fresh two-week extension of his temporary detention.

Full picture

Asked about whether the arrest would help the reconciliation process with Morsi's once-ruling Brotherhood movement, Hegazy counseled looking at the "bigger picture."

He said violations committed by the country's first democratically-elected president Morsi and his Brotherhood justified his ouster, saying the overthrow was the result of a "creative democracy that has not yet been seen."

Citing a highly-controversial constitutional declaration issued by former Islamist president in November 2012, which shielded his decrees from judicial review, Hegazy said the president, his group, and "his militias" have been "terrorising Egyptians at least emotionally."

"Because we didn’t have a process for impeaching the president through a parliament, we had to do it [the overthrow] the way we have done it," Hegazy told the American cable and satellite television channel.

The Egyptian official went on to blame what he termed "missing stories" in the foreign media coverage for the flurry of international condemnation of a week of bloodshed in Egypt which ended the lives of at least 900 people, including 102 policemen. 

Hegazy, nevertheless, ruled out any return to the notorious suppression that had characterised the rule of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, himself swept away during the 18-day uprising in 2011.

"We did not see enough media coverage of the burning of our churches and the killing and mutilation of our men in their uniforms," Hegazy added.

In one of the deadliest attacks, 25 policemen were executed by gunmen in the Sinai Peninsula, near the borders with Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

Hegazy elaborated that the definition of peaceful protesters refers to "the Gandhi times and Martin Luther King kind of non-violent protests." Pro-Morsi protesters, however, erected barricades in the streets of Cairo, went out of protest camps with machine gunners sniping people and beating them up even before the dispersal, Hegazy stressed.

"That hasn’t been on CNN."

"There is a war of terrorism against the Egyptian people and the Egyptian state," the presidential adviser proceeded, "If this context is not clear, I think most conclusions drawn would be misleading."

Elections coming soon

The recent wave of political bloodletting in Egypt began when security forces dispersed two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo, leaving scores dead.  Days of clashes pitting supporters of the Islamist leader against security forces ensued, driving the death toll to nearly 900.

As the country yearns for stability, Hegazy said the first stage of Egypt's roadmap to democracy has been completed, with a new draft constitution now ready for review and a final charter scheduled to be passed in 60 days, "more or less."

He pledged parliamentary elections two weeks after a constitution is passed and presidential elections to follow two months later.

"The moment we have our constitution and the referendum is cleared, we will be calling for parliamentary elections in less than 15 days from that day," Hegazy said, adding that "once we have a parliament, in about two month we will be calling for presidential elections."

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