The American Ambassador to Egypt, David Welch, has criticized the Egyptian press several times. On the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks, he published an op-ed in the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram in which he criticized conspiracy theories in the Egyptian press.Recently, Ambassador Welch met with Jalal Daweidar, editor of the daily Al-Akhbar, and complained about the paper's extreme positions (such as the article accusing American forces in Iraq of cannibalism.)On October 20, 2003Ambassador Welch delivered a speech at the American University in Cairo in which he again addressed the conduct of the Egyptian press that celebrates martyrdom attacks and blamed the U.S. for the Najaf bombing in Iraq.The following are excerpts of the Egyptian media's response:
'Egypt is Not a U.S. State Ruled by the Pentagon'
Al-Gumhuriya columnist Gamal Badawi wrote "… Egypt is not one of the American states which are ruled by the Pentagon, and it is not subject to the influence of the Zionist gang that dominates the White House. Instead of frequenting coffee-houses and clubs, the American Ambassador should have analyzed the content of the Egyptian papers, because they accurately reflect the rage and fury that are simmering in the popular cauldron against America's policies. He should have related [the missive] to his country… Maybe he thought that he could perform in Egypt the same role that Bremer is performing in Iraq, or that he could act like Cromer the British Governor who used [in the early 20th century] to manage Egypt's affairs as if it were a British ranch…"
'The Arrogant [U.S.] Ambassador Represents the Imbecile George W. Bush'
Columnist Jamal Fahmi wrote an article in the pro-Nasserist opposition weekly Al-Arabi titled, "The Ambassador from Hell in Cairo." He wrote: "The American Ambassador in Cairo, David Welch deserves to be punished for being the representative of the gang that escaped from the Trash Museum of the Old Colonialism and entrenched itself in the White House. 'Brother' Welch has the arrogance that befits an ambassador representing that imbecile in Washington, George W. Bush. The latest deplorable act of the honorable ambassador was his abhorred attack against the Egyptian press, especially Al-Gumhuriya, because that paper described the recent martyrdom operation in Haifa as a Fedayeen operation and not a terrorist one, which is what the ignorant President would have liked, based on the instruction of the blood-spilling Nazi, Sharon."
'The Egyptian Press won't be Silenced in Cursing the Neo-Nazis in D.C. and Tel Aviv'
"Even though the audacious Ambassador, contrary to his President, does not lack the necessary intelligence to understand the difference between the behavior and statements of a respected ambassador and those of a jailer in Guantanamo, and even though – undoubtedly – he knows that his audacious act against the Egyptian press will not be helpful and will not make it [i.e. the press] take a stand contrary to the feelings of the Egyptian people and describe the heroic acts of the Palestinian people as terror. Despite all this, Mr. Ambassador does not want to abandon his terrorism and his disgrace, hoping to fulfill the desires of the murderer Sharon and [hoping] to be promoted from the ambassadorship to the position of a Zionist caretaker in charge of shackling and silencing us, so that we do not curse the neo-Nazis in Washington and Tel-Aviv…"
Under the headline "Two Israeli Ambassadors in Cairo," Adli Barssoum wrote in Al-Gumhuriya: "Sometimes, Ambassadors go to the government of the country in which they work and declare war with a smile on their faces… Mr. Welch thinks that part of his responsibility is to smack the hands of Egyptian journalists to teach them a lesson in discipline…"
All Egyptian Papers Support Martyrdom (Suicide) Operations
"Mr. American Ambassador knows very well, just like us, that the American press… is a press carefully orchestrated from above. In contrast, the Egyptian press is guided only by the national conscience, and when it determines that martyrdom operations [i.e. the suicide bombings] for the sake of liberating Palestinian territories are acts of courage – it is an historical testimonial… Al-Gumhuriya does not pretend to be the only paper describing the heroism of the Palestinian martyrs; this is the position of all the Egyptian papers because it accurately reflects the feeling of the Egyptian people…"
In Aqidati, the religious weekly magazine published by Al-Gumhuriya, columnist Bassyouni Hilwani wrote: "… It is surprising that the U.S., 'the sponsor of democracy in the world,' wants the world, and especially our Arab world, to praise its crimes in Iraq… and [wants] the media to describe these honorable Fedayeen operations against the criminal occupiers [in Iraq] as terrorist acts that should be condemned… This is the lie that the U.S. is demanding from the Arab media. But it will not get it here in Egypt… where the blood is boiling in its son's veins, who witness every day the aggressions in Iraq and Palestine and the crimes [committed by] American weapons in the hands of the savage warriors ['Ulouj - the nickname for the American soldiers, coined by the former Iraqi information minister Muhammad Said Al-Sahhaf] on Iraqi land, and by the Zionist pigs on Palestinian land."
Criticism is a Badge of Honor Al-Gumhuriya columnist Lutfi Nassif added: "… What David Welch did is in harmony with the new American media policy following September 11, 2001. Since then, the American media took a new direction that has nothing to do with objectivity and impartiality. It persists in supporting the American strategy to dominate and impose it hegemony on the world, so it distorts the image of the rest of the nations… The ambassador's statements concerning the editor of Al-Gumhuriya are a badge of honor to Samir Ragab [the editor] …"
Al-Ahram (Egypt), September 20, 2002.
See Ambassador Welch's lecture at http://www.usembassy.egnet.net/ambassador/sp102003.htm.
See Egyptian Government Daily Al-Ahram: The U.S. is Behind the Najaf Bombing, September 1, 2003.
Al-Gumhuriya (Egypt), October 3, 2003.
Al-Arabi (Egypt), October 26, 2003.
Al-Gumhuriya (Egypt), October 26, 2003.
Aqidati (Egypt), October 26, 2003.
Al-Gumhuriya (Egypt), October 25, 2003.