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It’s facts on the ground that matter

xx Al-Ahram Weekly Editorial , Wednesday 18 Sep 2019

Since President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi took office more than five years ago, his relationship with Egyptians has been based on trust, openness and transparency. When he speaks to Egyptians, he does so with an open heart, without hiding any facts or information that the people need to know.

In our current age and time, many false reports are spread on social media, and the mainstream traditional media no longer controls the scene. Recognising the growing influence of social media, and the fact that millions nowadays depend on it as a prime source for information and news, the president insisted that he had to address some of the recent false reports based on fabrications that were widely circulated on the Internet.

In the latest round of the Youth Conference held early this week, Al-Sisi insisted that online videos aired by an Egyptian contractor living abroad, alleging malpractices in contracts and projects carried out by the Egyptian army, were nothing but “lies and fabrications”. He confirmed that a strong Egyptian army is the backbone of stability in the region, and of development in Egypt.

He added that the parties that highlight those videos and circulate their false content are aware that his relationship with Egyptians was based on trust in his integrity and devotion to rebuilding the state after years of chaos. Therefore, he did not think it useful to ignore the allegations, leaving them unanswered.

Egyptians can see for themselves the tremendous efforts that have been exerted by the current president and government to restore security and stability in Egypt. According to the president, at least LE4 trillion was spent on infrastructure projects and building new cities since he took office. Egypt’s Central Bank reserves reached unprecedented levels, and Egypt is currently one of the most attractive developing economies for foreign investors.

Such achievements would not have been possible without the heroic sacrifices offered by Egypt’s army and police in fighting terrorism, whether in Sinai or the mainland. With ongoing developments and infighting continuing in Syria and Libya, fleeing terrorists who come from all over the world remain an imminent danger. However, all security experts agree that security conditions have improved tremendously in Egypt over the past five years, providing the necessary environment not just for local and international investors, but also for millions of tourists to come back and feel welcomed and safe.

Major improvements in the supply of electricity, gas exploration, thousands of kilometres in new roads, and serious efforts to offer government digital services, are all major achievements seen and felt by millions of Egyptians. No recent government devoted the present funding and effort to improve education and healthcare. Aware that necessary economic reforms will have a negative effect on millions of poor Egyptians, the government launched several mega social projects to provide basic assistance to the unprivileged.

Such facts, and trust in the president’s sincere efforts, cannot be shaken by a few videos aired by a person who admitted himself that he has hardly received any education, and has no political knowledge or understanding whatsoever. 

In confronting the many difficult challenges facing Egypt, Al-Sisi, the government and the majority of Egyptians are fully aware that there are those who hate to see Egypt progress, particularly terrorist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and others, as well as regional countries that provide them with much needed funding and logistical support, such as Turkey and Qatar.

Turkey and Qatar-based television channels run by the Muslim Brotherhood dealt with the absurd videos aired on social media by the Egyptian contractor as if they were major, breaking news, more important than the many dangerous crises all over the world, such as the growing confrontation between the United States and Iran, ongoing wars in Syria and Libya, or the trade war between the US and China.

However, the president insisted that no lies or fabrications would divert him from his goal of rebuilding a modern, strong Egyptian state. Egypt will continue to confront terrorism in full force, and will not compromise in protecting its security and territorial integrity.

Soon, Egypt will also witness more economic reforms, while noting that the markets have already started reacting positively to recent decisions to reduce the interest rate in order to encourage Egyptians to invest their savings. Moreover, three years after the tough decision to float the local currency, the Egyptian pound is clearly on the right track to restore some of its value, offering hope that the prices of many vital imports will go down.

Indeed, social media has a growing impact on how people circulate information and news. But what counts, at the end of the day, are facts on the ground. From that perspective, there is a lot to celebrate and to feel proud of.

 *A version of this article appears in print in the 19 September, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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