Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Big brother news

Note: I In the US, we generally associate state-run newspapers with the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's 1984. In the book, the hero Winston Smith works in the records department, 'rectifying' what had previously been written. When a former leader of the party was discovered to in fact be an enemy of the people, Winston would go into overdrive erasing that person's good deeds from the history books. When Oceania is at war with Eastasia, all newspapers, magazines and books are 'rectified' to show that Oceania had in fact always been at war with Eastasia. When the enemy changed to Eurasia, Winston and his colleagues would feverishly work to rectify the history books. Yesterday morning I woke up at 4 am (jet lag). After 3 hours of lying in bed, I decided to go for a walk and buy a newspaper. I picked up one of the many state-run Egyptian newspapers, Al-Akhbar (The News). What I found did not remind me of 1984. What is published, is what happens. But the definition of front page news may (no conclusions on day 2) be a little different for the state-run papers. What follows is a (rough) translation of the beginning of the lead article of Al-Akhbar from June 5, 2006. There is a 3X3 picture of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak sitting with new Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert underneath the headline: Header: Mubarak and Olmert agree on the necessity of resuming negotiations to realize peace. Sub-head: The President - "Negotiations for the sake of a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis push the peace plan on all tracks. If Israel arrives at a final solution the Arab world will not hold back from recognizing [Israel]." Olmert - "We are sorry for the accident on the Egyptian-Israeli border that killed two [Egyptian] security officers and we have decided to form a combined committee to determine what occurred and to make sure that there is not a repetition of the accident." Smaller sub-head: Israel is committed to the road map and will meet with Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] to move forward. Body: Sharm al Shakh - President Hosni Mubarak and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed during their diplomatic mission last night in Sharm al-Shakh on the necessity to resume peace negotiations. The president announced during a press conference his agreement with Olmert that a peace agreement between the Israeli and Palestinian people arrived at through negotiations is the principal requirement in order to arrive at a general peace agreement among all parties. Mubarak also announced his willingness to work with Olmert in order to realize this goal, and that he was sure that it is possible to change the current situation in the Middle East. He said that it is important to us to place the parties at the negotiating table, and that this is the principal option. He invited the Fatah and Hamas movements to solve their differences so that they could return to negotiations, that their internal problems make it more difficult to deal with the principal problem. Mubarak announced his belief that if peace was realized and the problem ended, the Arab world would recognize Israel and begin complete diplomatic relations. Olmert promised during the press conference that Israel wanted to arrive at a negotiated settlement and that if it cannot it will take its own path. He said that he agrees with President Mubarak that a negotiated settlement would be better for the sake of peace in the region. Additionally he said that Israel is committed to the road map..... This continues, but I must go. The above translation took about an hour. Hopefully I'll be able to do it faster as the year goes on. My conclusion: In Egypt, whatever the president says, it's front page news.


At 10:53 AM, Blogger Eva said...

"My conclusion: In Egypt, whatever the president says, it's front page news."

...and whatever is front page news makes is onto Reuben's blog...ergo Reuben is the mouthpiece of Mubarak. Way to go. 2 days in Egypt and you are an instrument of the state.



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