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'Egypt is fine!'

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Athens on 19 October 2021. [ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images]
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. [ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images]

Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has fascinated us with his astonishing skill in lying and claiming the opposite of what the country has experienced since he seized power in the July 2013 coup. The man lectured us recently on his great achievements, which would not have happened without what he described as the army and the police working side by side with 104 million Egyptians. Al-Sisi asserts that Egypt is fine, and that the Egyptians are optimistic and "have hope for tomorrow".

However, under his rule, Egypt has gone from being like a village that felt safe and reassuring, with abundant sustenance from the Almighty, to being hungry, scared and poverty-stricken due to the failure of Al-Sisi's policies and the absence of any economic vision.

He talks about overcoming the coronavirus pandemic successfully, but he did not tell us how many Egyptians died of Covid-19. Around the world, daily reports were issued detailing the number of cases and deaths; meanwhile, Al-Sisi's regime hid the real figures. No Egyptian home was free from Covid, but the Ministry of Health did not record the numbers so that Al-Sisi and his regime would not look to be incapable of confronting the pandemic.

When talking about security and stability, he did not tell us that there has been a high crime rate throughout his time in office, or explain why murders are more frequent under his jurisdiction. According to the NUMBEO global database, crime rates in Egypt have increased by 45 per cent in the past three years. Figures from the Public Security Authority of the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior show that in 2021 "intentional killing" has risen by 130 per cent.

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Al-Sisi's wife talks about her focus on girls in Egypt and providing them with full support, but she fails to mention the 226 documented cases of violence against women in just the past three months. We can thank the Tamkeen Law Firm's September report for that statistic.

What's more, Al-Sisi forgot to tell us about the security, safety and stability experienced by the people of Al-Warraq Island, Arish, Marsa Matrouh and the Maspero Triangle. They have been abused, displaced and arrested, and have had their homes demolished, for no other reason than that the man failed on the economic front and ran out of hard currency, so looked instead to displace people and sell their land in exchange for foreign investment.

Egypt protesters call on Sisi to step down - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Egypt protesters call on Sisi to step down – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

How can Al-Sisi claim that Egypt is fine, when the country's foreign debt has risen to $157.8 billion, and foreign exchange reserves have declined to $33.141bn as of August this year? The total public debt during the Sisi era, in relation to GDP, is 130 per cent, according to an article by economist Mamdouh Al-Wali published by Arabi 21.

The Egyptian president talks about his success in combating terrorism, but he didn't tell us why this terrorism has not stopped in Sinai, and why we still hear and see news reports about the targeting and killing of police officers and soldiers in North Sinai. Recently, the Africa Report website published an article about Al-Sisi's suffering in Sinai: "The Elephant in the Room" was a reference to the problems that the Egyptian army suffers at the hands of militants in the peninsula.

The man claims that Egypt is fine, but do the 30 million Egyptians living below the poverty line feel fine? Do six million Egyptians feel fine eating garbage? Do teachers, doctors and civil servants feel fine when they are paid so little that they can't afford their daily needs? A report by CEOWORLD Magazine ranks Egypt at 100 out of 105 countries in terms of net monthly income per person.

Under Al-Sisi's rule, Egypt suffers from a flour and bread crisis as 800,000 tonnes of wheat is piling up in the ports because of the shortage of dollars to pay for it, the Chamber of Cereals Industry in the Federation of Industries has reported. Signs of a rice crisis and a possible price increase to 20 Egyptian pounds per kilo have emerged due to the government's closure of private mills and cuts in the purchase price from farmers. The price of one tonne of sugar rose by 1,000 Egyptian pounds ($50) in one go during a single month.

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These successive crises related to the most important basic food commodities confirm what was included in the Food Security Index issued by the Deep Knowledge Analytics Foundation in July, which indicated that Egypt had fallen to 110th out of a total of 171 countries. Egypt ranked below countries such as Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Iran and even the besieged Gaza Strip.

The established truth is that Egypt has not been fine since this general seized power. And another fact is that Egypt will not be fine as long as it is ruled by a failed military officer named Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Arabi21 on 14 October 2022

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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