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memri
March 22, 2001 No.
195

The Egyptian Press and Colin Powell, Part II

In the March 5, 2001 Egyptian Media's Account of Powell's Visit, "Egyptian Media's Account of Powell's Visit," MEMRI reported on the harsh criticism from government-sponsored newspapers directed at US Secretary of State Colin Powell following his first visit to the Middle East.[1] The Egyptian press, now including the opposition press, continues its attacks on Powell, with one notable exception.

Government-Sponsored Press on Powell

"Just as he came, so did Secretary of State Colin Powell return to his country," wrote renowned columnist Anis Mansour, in the government sponsored daily Al-Ahram, the largest circulation daily in Egypt, "I don't know what made us expect any change in Powell's policy from Madeleine Albright's. There is no difference between them, with the exception of height and color. Madeleine is of Czech origin while Powell is a Negro [sic.]. That's it...!"[2]

Galal Duweidar, editor of the government-sponsored daily Al-Akhbar, who had previously described Powell as being a hypocrite and forgetting justice, has apparently received some "constructive criticism." Duweidar changed his approach and published an article commending Egyptian-American relations, and praising the US Congress.[3]

Al-Akhbar columnist Muhammad Abd Al-Muni'm Murad, however, who a week earlier wrote that Powell had "the brain of a bird," continued in this tone. He wrote: "With the American general as US Secretary of State and Sharon as the new Israeli Prime Minister, this region's mornings have become black, and its nights pitch black..."

"I don't understand how this Colin Powell can be the third most important man in the US, after the President and Vice President; as if in all of the great wide US, there isn't one man who understands politics or a woman, like the one who left [Albright] and, to tell the truth, was a hundred times better than this new general."

"He is a man of war... This man fools himself into thinking that, since the Gulf War... he can play [with the Middle East] and rejoice in it and say things that have nothing to do with politics and that testify to his stupidity, his ignorance of the rules of diplomacy and his intervention in what is none of his business..."

"With this minister, the US has become a joke and everyone has begun to say: 'We miss you, oh Madeleine, in spite of all of your initiatives. Truly, you were a hundred times better than this arrogant general.' We Arabs must restore this man's wisdom, if he has any, and awaken him from his slumber, if he can be awakened. We must teach him a lesson so that he understands that his command of the forces that opposed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait does not qualify him to be king of the Arab world and the Gulf. The last thing we needed was that this general would come to dictate to us what the Israelites dictate to us..."[4]

Opposition Press Reacts

Slanderous articles against Powell also appeared in the Egyptian opposition press. In the editorial of the weekly Al-Usbu', for example, editor Mustafa Bakri wrote[5]:

"...Powell and his masters in Tel Aviv must know that we have grown tired of the American arrogance... Washington is the greatest devil in the world, and the devil, undoubtedly, does not strive for the benefit of our nation or for our security and stability."

"They destroyed Iraq and its military forces, killed one and a half million Iraqi children with their cruel siege, ruined Iraq's economic infrastructure and returned it to the Middle Ages. And yet, the American wolf is still thirsty for blood and destruction... Do not believe [their claims] that they want peace and stability. They are murderers who isolate us one after the other. Today they slaughter Iraq, and tomorrow they will slaughter the Gulf [states]. They are full of ill will against us and do not want Arabs or Muslims on this land."

"Let us examine what is happening in Palestine, and you tell me if you see a difference between Bush and Sharon, or between Sharon and Peres and Barak. They are all murderers, and their hands are soiled with blood..."

"Are we afraid of war? But war is forced on us. Are we afraid of Jihad? What is life worth without Jihad? What is the value of a life of humiliation and submission? Is this not our nation, which the Koran proudly named: "The best nation made for mankind...?"

"Let Colin Powell tell us why his administration renounced Clinton's humiliating proposals. Why does it leave Israel to play alone in the arena, disregarding the law and the resolutions of international legitimacy?..."

"Oh Mister Powell, you [Americans] are cheaters and liars. You are our true enemies. This is how every Arab, every Muslim feels. Leave the leaders who stand in the same trench with you, openly or in secret. Leave those who have become puppets in your hands. The roar of the people can be heard everywhere, and it curses you and promises to pay you what you deserve."

"If you do not know Jerusalem's importance to us, read the history books. You must understand that Jerusalem is one of the holy places, and that whoever touches it with water, we will touch him with blood... Jerusalem is both East and West Jerusalem. Palestine is Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, from South Lebanon to South Palestine. This is our land and not the land of foreigners who came from all corners of the world..."

"Yes, we will beat you and turn your lives into hell...Don't be misled by your false power, because among us there are people who are not afraid of death. These are the same people who forced you to withdraw humiliated from South Lebanon, from Vietnam, from Somalia and from the Sinai."


[1] This material was cited by The Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen in his Tuesday, March 13, 2001 column, "The Ugly Arab Press."

[2] Al-Ahram (Egypt), March 3, 2001. MEMRI The Arabs Bid Farewell to Albright, "The Arabs Bid Farewell to Albright," January 5, 2001, is a compilation of personal attacks on former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright from media throughout the Arab world.

[3] Al-Akhbar (Egypt), March 11, 2001.

[4] Al-Akhbar (Egypt), March 11, 2001.

[5] Al-Usbu' (Egypt), March 12, 2001.