Articles, Speeches, Interviews

All Articles, Speeches, Interviews

The Post Opts to Blow Terrorists’ Horn

The following is a letter to the editor submitted by the Embassy to the Washington Post regarding their editorial board’s recent commentary.

The Washington Post’s 16 June editorial, “A strongman’s empty promise,” continues the paper’s longstanding pattern of playing fast and loose with facts to further its determined campaign to undermine the efforts of Egypt’s popularly elected president, Abdel Fatah El Sisi, to build a better future for his people.

Rather than fulfill its professional duty to provide its readers balanced coverage of the President’s first year in office, the Post’s editorial board elected to drop discussing economic developments in Egypt altogether, presumably because they were too positive for the editors’ palate.   The editorial even blamed the Egyptian government for the acts of terrorism that the country has suffered. Not only is this offering terrorists a gratuitous justification for their crimes, but it, is in fact, supporting their greater goal of destabilizing Egypt and, sooner or later, the world.

A more objective newspaper would have mentioned the fact that Egypt’s economy grew by 5.6 percent in the first half of FY 2014/15, that the Big Three credit rating agencies—Moody’s, Fitch and S&P—have all upgraded Egypt’s standing and positively revised their outlooks, and that Egypt recorded $1.8 billion in foreign direct investments in the first quarter of FY 2014/15, double the equivalent quarter of the previous year. It would have congratulated Egypt on the tremendous success of the expansion of the Suez Canal on time, a project, financed exclusively by ordinary Egyptians, demonstrating the level of the people’s confidence in and support for their president.

Instead, the Post opts to blow the terrorists’ horn by promoting their failed plots to target tourists. A more even-handed publication would have sounded a more positive note as tourists once again flock to our shores and historic sites. The first quarter of 2015 saw a 6.9 percent increase in tourist arrivals over the same period last year, with a notable 30 percent increase from the United States and 20 percent increase from the UK.

The economic indicators are overwhelmingly positive, and investor confidence is soaring. Obviously, this would have been impossible without a marked improvement in the security environment. No matter how hard the Post tries to twist the facts, the numbers speak for themselves. The Muslim Brotherhood’s indiscriminate violence, despite the suffering it has caused, has not succeeded in hindering Egypt’s progress.

The Post recently met with Muslim Brotherhood leaders (something both the State Department and Congressional leaders refused to do at a time when the organization is openly calling its followers to violence) and these leaders reportedly told the paper that “we are against any kind of violence from a very practical point of view.” We wonder if the editorial board challenged them with their own rhetoric. The editorial does not suggest that any such challenge was mounted. The Brotherhood’s claims seem to have been unreservedly accepted by thePost. Did the Post ask these Brotherhood leaders about a statement on their official website in January in Arabic that called for a “long, uncompromising Jihad” against Egypt, or about the call on Brotherhood-controlled TV for the assassination of President Sisi and for attacks against foreign nationals, diplomatic officials and business interests in Egypt? Or did the Post, at the very least, ask their Muslim Brotherhood interlocutors to publicly condemn their youth’s “slippage” toward violence?

When the victims are westerners, the Post never hesitates to condemn terrorism. But when the victims are people from other cultures, this newspaper is quick to lay the blame on their respective governments. Whether out of sheer hypocrisy, or a misguided belief that appeasing violent groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood will spare the West their wrath, it is a deluded approach that will ultimately backfire.

Mohamed Tawfik

Ex-Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt