Robert Fisk: ‘The real fight for democracy in Egypt has yet to begin’

A Cairo newspaper editor on why the elections will not prevent protesters from returning to Tahrir Square

Source: The Independent

When it comes to economics, you don’t mess with Wael Gamal. Before becoming a managing editor of Shrouq – Sunrise, to you and me – he was economics editor of the Egyptian daily, and he casts a cold eye on soldiers who don’t understand money. “Not a single one of the 20 generals on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces understands the economy,” he says, with a certain laugh infecting his voice, “and at their press conference the other day, all their numbers and conclusions were wrong. They wanted to scare the people off the streets by saying that Egypt will go bankrupt. The ministers were all trying to correct the statistics afterwards.”

Gamal had just voted for the secular “Revolution” list, and it was the first time he had entered a polling booth in his 40 years. “I never voted in elections before because they were all fraudulent. Before the revolution, our editor-in-chief was about to be jailed because of a report we carried on the rigged 2010 elections. I was chased by the police twice in 2003 because I was involved in the movement against the American war in Iraq.”

These are happier times, then. No police agents hover outside Shrouq’s front door. Not right now, anyway.

“The choice of [the new Prime Minister, Kamal] Ganzouri was very nasty,” Gamal says. “He intends to keep a third of the members of the old government and two of them – Hassan Younis, the Electricity Minister, and Faisal Naga, the Planning Minister – were Mubarak ministers. I think the people will return to Tahrir Square after the first voting results are announced.

“But what has happened is huge progress. Sure, people saw violations at the voting, but compared to what happened before, it was a great improvement. I am optimistic.”

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