In an editorial today in Al-Masry Al-Youm, the editor-in-chief put forth his opinion about the recent controversy surrounding his censorship of the newspaper where I work, which is (confusingly) the English-language sister (cousin? resentful stepson?) of his newspaper. I’m posting an English translation for people who are unfortunately like me and require many hours with a dictionary in order to sort of understand a long opinion article in Arabic. (The translation was done by an excellent translator. I can put you in touch if you want.)
For background on the whole situation, you can read our own editorial on the whole fracas here or an article by the author of the censored article here. The original article is here. You can read a parody of the editorial below here. I’ll add my own thoughts at some point, but wanted to make sure that the English translation was available in all its glory. Also, I want to add that this is far and away not at all the most important thing in Egypt right now or even of interest to many people.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
By Magdi el-Gallad
I thank God for his several blessings, one of which is that I am thick-skinned: I only contemplate objective criticism. Another of God’s blessings on me is that I do not fear but my Creator, for no harm can befall me unless God has written it.
Yet another of the blessings God has bestowed on me is that, like you all, I was born of Egyptian land and have learned to cherish my Egyptian nationality and to act in the belief that my country is a major power.
The fact that we have survived decades of degeneration should not make us think of ourselves as standing in an inferior position with regards to the West. Half a century of events will eventually be written in three lines in history books and Egypt will rise, because we will not abandon it, no matter what crises we face.
Neither American writer Robert Springborg, nor British Independent’s correspondent Alistair Beach are able to grasp this culture, belief or that kind of loyalty to a nation that has taught its people to die for its defense.
Both of them, as well as others who live among us but are bedazzled by the lights of the West, are not aware that a genuine Egyptian cannot be blackmailed, pressured or threatened. They heaped pressure on Al-Masry al-Youm to publish an article for Springborg in the pilot English supplement inciting Egyptian army officers and Sami Anan, the chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, to mount a coup and seize power, particularly following the results of the first phase of elections, claiming Field Marshal Tantawi is allied to the Islamic wave.
Believing the English supplement staff were well-intentioned, I assumed they lacked sufficient experience or did not recognize who the American writer was. But because I know who he is quite well, I stopped at the article, read it over and over and decided not to run it.
I did not take into account the writer, the country he belongs to, or to its bloody practices across the world. Nor did I fear his ensuing bellowing in the Independent or Foreign Policy.
I could not care less for the broken record about freedom of speech, employed by the West to achieve its nefarious ends against us, when it suppresses those freedoms to protect its interests and national security.
Springborg and those backing him are unfortunately faced with a man who cannot be blackmailed, who is not West-struck or ultra-impressed by Western press. I think of myself as equal to them, even superior, most of the time.
For those who do not know, Springborg is the Program Manager for the Middle East for the Center for Civil-Military Relations, a government center affiliated to the US naval forces and a branch of the Pentagon. So, do you now know who the writer is and who is inciting Egyptian officers and the Chief of Staff to launch a coup?
He believes that the attack he and some people in Egypt are launching against me will push me to change mind on a choice I have made based on national interest. But for me, one black strand of hair from an Egyptian child in the heart of Upper Egypt is of greater value than his country or the entire West.
He works for the US Pentagon, whereas I work for the simple Egyptian citizen. He derives his arrogant power from the American arsenal, while I find protection in satisfying a poor man in some impoverished Egyptian neighborhood.
He and those allied to him are using the internet to arouse people against, while I seek refuge in the soil of may land which they want to occupy through creating chaos and inciting military coups, squishing Egypt back to square one.
He thought that our occasional disagreement with the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the Islamic wave were going to pave the way for him to realise his evil schemes. But to him I say, “Our beliefs and civilisation teach us that disagreement is a mercy but the army, Islamists, liberals and all 87 million Egyptians are citizens are breastfed to love this homeland which the West wants to hijack.”
To that Springborg and those behind him I say that we insist on refusing to run his article. Al-Masry Al-Youm’s opinion writers, of whom I am one, criticise the SCAF extensively–but they are free Egyptian citizens who do not work for the US Pentagon.
Those in the US and its servant Britain who are not happy with what I have written might as well put that in their pipe and smoke it!