When we look at the present situation, we find there are two major threats to the future of our country. The first is neglecting work and production, and the second is losing respect for laws and national institutions.
The idea of the value of work has collapsed since the 25 January Revolution. With the pretext that we are still in a revolution, large numbers of citizens have given up work to protest and attend sit-ins; some even rioted and destroyed their workplaces!
As we all know, when production declines national debt increases. This forces prices of everyday goods higher, that is, the inflation rate rises. Now we find ourselves in a vicious cycle that makes earning enough to live harder every day.
The problem is not only at the level of ordinary citizens in the sense of their diligence in the workplace, but also at the level of the government which, to some extent has a tendency these days to be inactive, focusing instead on politics. Nevertheless, we may have reason to be optimistic about the projects of the Suez Canal especially after the prime minister confirmed that he would take into account the importance of national security in the planning of these projects and to choose carefully future partners.
We urgently need to consider initiating or continuing with major national development projects. I never understood how a series of such “mega-projects”, like those of Toshka and Salam Canal, were started during Ganzouri’s government in the late1990s and then stopped. I witnessed their beginnings and conducted studies on them through our Association for Economic Information “Europe-Egypt”. A huge effort and considerable investment was made in both of these.
After the completion of the first phase of the Toshka project, Egypt did not continue to the second phase which would have provided a return on the investment through millions of acres of agricultural land. And the Salam Canal project, which was supposed to transfer water from the Nile River to North Sinai, was discontinued after only thirty kilometers were dug. The only reason these projects were stopped was because the government changed and the new government adopted retaliatory policies against Ganzouri’s.
With regards to the second threat to the future of our country, which is the challenging of laws and national institutions, I want to emphasize that the law and the independence of the judiciary are two sides of the same coin. The conflict between the executive and the judiciary must come to an end. Let us be objective and hope that the next Justice Conference is a success. President Morsi has shown his willingness to negotiate by accepting to hold the meeting at the
High Court Complex not at the Presidential Palace. Morsi also agreed in principle, over the objections of the Shoura Council, to withdraw the draft law of the judiciary which would lower the retirement age of judges from 70 to 60.
Important to the force of law are the state institutions that protect the security of citizens by supporting the police who must be on standby, and instructed on how to handle exceptional situations proactively. By this I refer specifically to the criminal attacks on the mourners at Abbasiya Cathedral on Sunday, April 7, which could have been avoided if proactive measure has been taken to protect the funeral for the victims of sectarian clashes that took place on Saturday the 6th in Qalyubia governorate.
In addition to supporting the police, we must also respect the army and not expect it to get involved in our internal problems. We don’t need to get into hypothetical discussions about the role of the army as they surely will react if serious clashes threaten our national security. And we don’t need to question the importance of the Egyptian Homeland Security, as it supplies the decision-makers with the information they need to act.