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Big landmines about to explode.

Summary: Egyptian football icons have been pushed off their pedestals by the local media. Gone are the days when the red-jersey Ahly wizard Mohamed Abu-Treika was a household name, even for the supporters of his team's arch rivals, the white-jersey Zamalek players.

By Mohssen Arishie - The Egyptian Gazette Abu-Treika was also dubbed 'the Saint' in acknowledgement of his religious devotion, his excellent code of conduct on the pitch and beyond, and his exemplary modesty.

Zamalek striker Chikaballa, who was called a fearless panther, has equally disappeared from the media. The former manager of Egypt's National Team, Hassan Shehata, has lost his lustre as a national hero, who successfully led the country to win three African cups in a row. Shehata is now the coach of Zamalek, which is limping across the African Nations' Cup tournament. He is ruminating on why the nation has forgotten his glorious history instead of concentrating on his team's tactics and techniques.

Shortly before the revolution, Egypt's football stars were at the centre of everybody's attention, including Mubarak and his family. These football players were part of the richest segment of society in a country, where 70 per cent of people don't know what they will eat tomorrow. Before the revolution, photos showing Mubarak decorating the chests of football players with gold medals and slipping cheques with big figures into their pockets were published next to the news of a poor man, who sold one of his kidneys to feed his children or pay his debts.

The January 25 Revolution and its dramatic political, social and economic aftermath has led to the emergence of new faces and introduced them to the public.

These new faces belong mainly to chief justices of top Egyptian law courts. Shortly after the revolution, political activists and outspoken politicians caught the attention and admiration of many ordinary citizens.

In recent weeks the chief justices have been given the floor; Chief Justice Ahmed el-Zend, for example, who heads the powerful Judges' Club (an independent judicial union), is now constantly mentioned everywhere.

El-Zend's fans are calling him a national hero due to his confronting the presidential palace over its alleged contempt of law. El-Zend's opponents, who mainly belong to the Muslim Brotherhood's (MB) Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), are attempting to have him charged in the criminal court for 'addressing the President impolitely and for falsely accusing Morsi of treason'.

El-Zend is retaliating by threatening to impeach the President unless he withdraws his republican decision that reinstated the dissolved parliament. The Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) and its chief justices are also being heavily bombarded by the MB and FJP. The SCC touched a raw nerve when it dissolved the People's Assembly. The previous head of the SCC, Chief Justice Farouk Sultan, and his deputy Tahani el-Gebali are receiving the heaviest blows from their sworn enemies, the MB's supporters.

What is quite interesting - regardless of the shameful fact that half of Egypt's population remains illiterate - is that a huge number of citizens defiantly claim to possess such exceptional knowledge of administrative and constitutional laws that they aggressively and endlessly debate the rulings issued in this respect. But there is more.

A lawyer belonging to the MB shocked the nation when he filed a lawsuit with the criminal court, accusing the SCC's chief justices of being the victims of political manipulation and bias. Nasser el-Hafi also accused SCC's chief justices of falsifying the ruling that dissolved the parliament.

The Administrative Court is facing similar disgraceful charges. The Islamists are haunted by suspicions about the Administrative Court's reaction to their rise to power in post-revolution Egypt. They are afraid that the Administrative Court was prompted by SCAF (the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces) to dissolve the Constituent Assembly assigned to draft the nation's new constitution. The court is expected to announce its ruling on Tuesday. The Salafists threaten to launch a sit-in and nationwide mass demonstrations if the court ruling goes against their wishes. It seems that big landmines are about to explode all over Egypt.

Copyright Eltahir House 2012

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Publication:The Egyptian Gazette (Cairo, Egypt)
Date:Jul 15, 2012
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