…and in this Corner: Media Narratives and Sisi’s Candidacy

Egypt has yet to experience an issue-based electoral contest. Of course other nations, even with deep political history, are known also to sensationalize campaigns and demonize opponents. But as Egypt learns the best and the worst from these international examples, with which of these two commentators do you side?

Hamzawy (L), Sisi (C), Abou Taleb (R)
Hamzawy (L), Sisi (C), Abou Taleb (R)

In recent op-ed articles, both Hamzawy and Abou Taleb see media manipulation as the central feature of Sisi’s candidacy. But they aim in different directions.

Hamzawi, writing in Egypt Source, ‘Dismantling the Myth of the Candidate of Necessity’:

There is a myth now being promoted by intellectual, political and media groups who favor the regime that followed the July 3 2013 overthrow of Mohamed Morsi, and support former Defense Minister Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s run for president. While this myth deals with Egypt’s current situation, its structure is far from new. In fact, consecutive ruling elites have relied on this myth since the 1950s to justify oppression, human rights violations, restriction of freedoms, autocracy, and lack of democracy and sustainable development.

The “candidate of necessity” myth reduces Egypt and its issues to one person, the hero-savior, being introduced to the public before the presidential elections as “the only candidate” capable of “rescuing the nation from the current danger” and “the last hope” for “saving the nation from the evils and harms of the enemies, inside and out” and achieving its greater goals and objectives.

Abou Taleb, writing in Ahram Online, ‘Speaking about Rights, but Aiming for Chaos’:

We all know Egypt is being targetted and it is no longer a mere suspicion or hypothetical conspiracy theory but a reality we live day and night. This includes statements and threats by the terrorist alliance, sabotage and murder, and the ultimate goal — that will never materialise, God willing — of pushing Egypt into chaos and ruin.

Media personalities, politicians and alleged clergy who want Egyptians to believe this targeting is temporary and contingent on the removal of one very popular presidential candidate are a key and fundamental part of the plot to disrupt Egypt, and raise the price of transitioning into political and institutional stability. They also send a misleading message to Egyptians that their salvation is contingent on abandoning this candidate. But these people do not realise the majority of Egyptians have matured politically and now have an innate ability to sift through the political din.

One of the commentators speaks the language of the international community, the other the domestic. That alone does not lend credence in either direction. But it is noteworthy that their central argument is essentially the same: There is deep manipulation in framing the candidacy of Sisi.

One frames in favor, the other against. Both commentators indirectly expose the other. The reader is invited to provide the round-by-round scorecard for these two heavyweights, as both sides have come out swinging…

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