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تقرير (وول ستريت جورنال) عن توفيق عكاشة

تقرير (وول ستريت جورنال) عن توفيق عكاشة

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Published by Bassant Zein El Din
تقرير (وول ستريت جورنال) عن توفيق عكاشة
تقرير (وول ستريت جورنال) عن توفيق عكاشة

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Published by: Bassant Zein El Din on Jan 04, 2012
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01/04/2012

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Among the thousands of candidates in the final roundof Egypt's parliamentary elections Tuesday, TawfiqOkasha, a nationalist talk-show host, has done morethan most to define the public debate over themilitary's political role.The Islamists who have dominated the first tworounds of Egypt's first postrevolutionaryparliamentary elections look set for a large lead in thethird. Final results will be declared after runoff elections next week before the new legislature facesthe task of nominating an assembly to draft a newconstitution.Mr. Okasha's success or failure against the popular Islamist parties, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood'sFreedom and Justice Party, will offer an earlyindication of whether Egypt's silent majority puts itsloyalty behind the military Mr. Okasha champions or the Islamist politicians who promise an alternative tomilitary-backed autocracy.The Islamists' looming legislative majority sets thestage for a possible confrontation with an interimmilitary leadership that has guarded its control over the constitution-drafting process.Mr. Okasha's millions of viewers hear him accuseantimilitary activists and liberal politicians of workingin the thrall of Zionists and Freemasons—a globalinstitution he says hopes to take over Egypt for noother reason than its talisman quality as the oldestcountry in the world."One of the ideas in Freemason belief is that Egyptwill be the second capital," he said in an interview.
 
"Egypt would be the center of governing while theU.S. will be the center of the army."Perhaps more than any other media personality inEgypt, Mr. Okasha's divisive diatribes defending themilitary and slamming antimilitary protesters havegiven a voice to Egyptians with little education whohave seen few benefits from their country's politicalopening and feel alienated by a complex politicaldiscourse.Mr. Okasha's show, "Egypt Today," on his AlFaraeen, or "The Pharoahs" satellite channel, showoffers a traditional vision of Egyptian strength thathas been lost in the political turmoil."One of the aims of introducing this channel was torevitalize the idea of nationalism amongst Arabs," Mr.Okasha said.In Mr. Okasha's shows, delivered in his signaturecountryside patois that contrasts sharply with theformal Arabic spoken by other Egyptian TV hosts,viewers find an appealing and digestible version of complex events.He absolves the interim ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces, or SCAF, of any guilt for the violenceand economic stagnation that have persisted sincethe revolution while echoing the military's claims thatblame a nebulous foreign-born conspiracy for seeking to destroy Egypt.Mr. Okasha displays an earthy appeal on air,dropping bits of knowledge about small villages andarcane countryside customs that fly below the radarsof Cairo's political class.
 
In contrast to the Muslim Brotherhood and hard-lineSalafi candidates who have captured broadparliamentary support, Mr. Okasha considers himself a liberal nationalist.He advocates a nonreligious state grounded inconservative Egyptian values.He draws his popular appeal from his unyieldingdefense of the Egyptian citizen and Egyptiannationhood, with the military as its protector."There's something about the Egyptian army thatAmericans need to know," he said. "Most scientificstudies and theories proved that the Egyptian soldier is the most capable, most enduring and the fastestsoldier in the world."Despite such unprovable claims—or perhapsbecause of them—Mr. Okasha's star is rising. After several years as a reporter for state-run television, helaunched his Al Faraeen channel in June 2009 with a12 million Egyptian pound (nearly $2 million attoday's rate) gift from his family of wealthy Nile Deltalandowners.Both Mr. Okasha and his critics say that it was onlyafter the revolution that he hit his stride.Since protesters felled former President HosniMubarak in February, Mr. Okasha has called at leastthree Friday rallies to support the interim militaryleaders, drawing thousands of military backers.Mr. Mubarak and his two sons were back in court onTuesday facing capital murder charges for suspicionsthat he ordered police to fire on protesters during therevolution last year.

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