A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tantawi: The Sphinx Speaks at Last

For the first time since Husni Mubarak stepped down on February 11, Field Marshal Muhammad Hussein Tantawi, the nearest thing Egypt has to a head of state at the moment, has given a 20-minute public speech, to a Police Academy graduation. He spoke about 20 minutes and it was broadcast on Egyptian television. He seems to have tried to encourage the cadets, comparing the police situation since the Revolution to the Army's disarray after the 1967 defeat. He may be trying to reassure them, given the fact that to a certain degree the Army and the police were on opposite sides during the revolution, and the former Interior Minister, instead of attending the graduation, is in prison, but the comparison is not likely to sit all that well with a lot of people.

I've noted Tantawi's total silence several times on this blog, and others had been struck by it too. Perhaps he felt he needed to make a public appearance.

1 comment:

William deB. Mills said...

My reading of limited English commentary on Tantawi's speech is that he did not give much evidence of sympathy for democracy, focusing instead on his willingness to use force and on calls on the people to restrain themselves, where one might have hoped he would complement Egyptians for their dramatic and courageous protests. No surprise, but nonetheless disappointing.

What is your reading of his full remarks in Arabic?