Sisi criticizes media for coverage of floods in Alexandria during televised speech

In a lengthy televised address on Sunday, Sisi criticized media coverage of the deadly floods in Alexandria and observed a minute’s silence for the victims of Saturday’s Russian plane crash in Sinai.

 

Sisi began his hour-long speech by offering condolences to the Russian people for the plane crash that killed 224 passengers and crew, asserting his willingness to work with any international teams that can provide assistance in uncovering the truth about what caused the tragedy.

 

Speaking at Cairo’s Galaa Theater to a full house of police and military officers, Sisi claimed that the Armed Forces had succeeded in reclaiming its authority over the embattled peninsula through security operation “The Right of The Martyr,” which he said has restored “security and stability following attempts to bring down the state.”

 

Referring to armed Islamist groups operating in the country, he commented, “We are safeguarding the state, not merely the government. We are protecting Egypt — not anybody else — from an evil which God wanted us to be aware of.”

 

He added that security operations in the area had sought to minimize civilian casualties, but didn’t mention the forced displacement of thousands of local residents in the peninsula, nor the killing of 12 Mexican tourists and their Egyptian guides by police and security forces in the Western Desert in September.

 

Moving on to media coverage of the heavy rains in Alexandria, which resulted in the deaths of five civilians, and the displacement of many from their homes, he called for understanding in covering the issue.

 

“One journalist reported that the president is sitting with officials from the Siemens Company while abandoning Alexandria. Such talk is inappropriate. This is inappropriate,” Sisi asserted, referring to television host Khaled Abu Bakr’s comments during the floods. 

 

Frowning and waving his hands, he continued: “What is this? This is overstepping all boundaries … By God this is not appropriate. We mustn’t do this to each other.”

 

Addressing journalists he asked: “Are you tormenting me because I am standing here?”

 

He continued: “I feel the people are neither conscious nor knowledgeable, nor anything at all. All they do is hold a microphone, or write in a newspaper. No. No, we will lose the state if this continues.”

  

Sisi argued that the media reports ailments and crises in every sector, asking, “Does not this sector suffer from a crisis too? Or what?”

 

Sisi went on: “You’ve been hearing me talk for the past two years. Tell me of one incident when I used inappropriate language regarding anybody, even those who transgress against us, or who plot against us. Take note of this.”

Raising his finger he said, “I am not trying to justify this,” before going on to explain that the crisis in Alexandria is the result of poor planning and infrastructure from informal housing both before and after the 2011 revolution. He claimed the floods were dealt with swiftly, “within a matter of two days.”

The military leader also addressed the issue of investment. “We had energy and electricity related problems. Now this problem has been entirely resolved. Now we have an infrastructure which allows people to invest in the country with ease.”

 

He asserted, “By the end of November, there will be no factory suffering from natural gas shortages,” omitting to comment on why foreign-owned cement companies are importing coal to fuel their factories. 

 

The president argued that Egypt’s network of roads require further development and extension in order to meet the needs of investors. Several billion pounds are still required to execute such projects, he said.

 

“I have nothing but honesty and transparency to offer you, because I am one of you. You entrusted me to take care of this, so I am taking care of this.”

 

Sisi praised the government’s performance over the past 17 months since assuming the presidency, to which the audience applauded loudly.

  

“Are you still talking about 25 and 30?” he asked, referring to the January 2011 and June 2013 uprisings. “Yet again? Are you looking for trouble or what? This was the will of the populace. I hope that we do not do this to each other again.”

 

He pleaded: “Please never disagree with each other. We want one unified society.”

  

He asserted that plans for building infrastructure are more urgent than building the state and financing factories.

 

“And don’t think that the issue of inflation has passed me by,” he added.

 

“I tell all needy people that, God willing, by the end of this month, the state will have lowered prices,” he asserted, adding that essential commodities would be provided by the state and the Armed Forces, which he said would use their economic clout to provide the lower-priced goods.

 

 

He concluded by speaking about the parliamentary elections, the first phase of which witnessed the lowest turnouts since 2011.

 

“I thank those who participated, and for those who didn’t, I ask them to participate,” he said, referring to the upcoming second round of voting.

 

He attributed the low turnout to electoral burnout, “as there have been eight or nine” elections and referendums since the 2011 uprising.

  

He claimed the next parliament would be an expression of democracy, and would lead to the surfacing of new political parties.

  

Sisi finished up with a closing note to Egypt’s media: “Don’t let people lose hope. The media and the state should not disagree. Beware, let us not disagree.”

 

He concluded, as with all his other speeches, “Long live Egypt. Long live Egypt. Long live Egypt.”

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