News / Africa

Egypt: Analyst Questions Motives behind Prime Minister’s Apology

Egyptian state television Al-Masriya shows new Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq holding a press conference in Cairo, February 3, 2011
Egyptian state television Al-Masriya shows new Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq holding a press conference in Cairo, February 3, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

Egypt’s Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq addressed the nation Thursday to apologize for Wednesday’s violent clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters.  Mr. Shafiq described the violence as a “disaster.”

University of Notre Dame Political Science Professor Imed Shahin, an Egyptian scholar, says, “He tried to do two things.  One, to extend an apology to the Egyptian people about what happened and second, he promised that…these kind of violent events are not going to happen again.  And I believe what he tried to do is disassociate the government from the brutalization of the pro-democracy protesters.”

Credibility

But professor Shahin says the question is whether the prime minister appeared credible.

“I think that he left so many questions unanswered.  And to me the biggest question is the role of the military in all this,” he says, “We know as a matter of fact that the military refrained from protecting the pro-democracy protesters and left them subject to intimidation…[by] what I call, the pro-Mubarak thugs or Mubarak’s thugs.”

Shahin says they were not actually supporters of the president because their purpose was not to express a political opinion.  “They came to intimidate, disperse and brutalize the demonstrators.”

What’s more, he says, there may have been other motives behind Thursday’s speech by the prime minister.  He says government officials “are still maneuvering, are still buying time in order to regain the initiative."  On the one hand, he says they’re offering to talk with pro-democracy demonstrators, while on the other, they’re still carrying out repressive measures.

“Not only against Egyptians and protesters,” he says, “but against Amnesty International.  They are arresting human rights advocates.  They are also harassing reporters.  They are forcing state civil servants to go out and protest in order to support Mubarak.”

The military

Since the protests began, many observers and analysts said the Egyptian people held the military in high regard, just the opposite view they hold of police.

“The latest response by Mubarak and his insistence to cling onto power is creating a major rift between the state institutions, including the military, the state security, the police, the intelligence [service] and so on and the rest of the population,” says Shahin.

He says the military is a “highly respected institution, but people also know that is a highly privileged military.  This military is still a pro-Mubarak military.  It has not sided with the people.”

Shahin says if there is going to be a peaceful solution to the Egyptian crisis, then President Mubarak “has to leave and he has to leave now.”

He says two major protests are planned for Friday.  One by pro-democracy suppoters, the other by pro-government demonstrators.  The Notre Dame professor says he's concerned about possible violence.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More