Prime Minister Essam El-Sharif’s Response…رد رئيس الوزراء عصام شرف

Given that it is now 4:35am my time, I have failed in my efforts to resist the distraction of the revolution. This evening Field Marshall Tantawy issued a response to the tens of thousands who gathered in squares throughout Egypt this past Friday. (The following is a late night translation from the Arabic text posted on Facebook by RNN News).

To the masses of the great Egyptian people,

Over the past twenty-four hours, I followed with much concern and interest the revolutionary actions in various squares and provinces and what the masses of Egypt demanded during their demonstration yesterday in Tahrir Square and all other squares in Egypt. I read the statements, demands, and mottos that the people drafted and raised. With pride, I accepted the commission from the heroic people of Egypt and with respect I had previously accepted criticism before support from the people who are the owners of sovereignty and the source of all power. As such, I have decided the following:

1. To undertake the necessary actions within the government to meet the demands of the people as soon as possible in keeping with the requirements of the current situation.
2. To direct instructions to the Interior Minister conveying the necessity to issue the directive to terminate the service all the officers and leaders accused in the cases of the killers of revolutionaries. Additionally, I entrusted him to rapidly achieve the maximum degree of discipline in the Egyptian streets in order to ensure safety and security with care for the dignity of the nation and citizen. Moreover, I emphasized that security is a societal necessity and that the masses are looking forward to the active security roll returning necessary security and stability to practice normal life.
3. To finish coordinating with the high chancellor of the Cairo appeals court to empty of all other cases the departments that are dealing with the cases of the killers of demonstrators and trials of the corrupt in order to guarantee the rapid execution of these causes without limiting the judicial holidays associated with such cases.
4. To work with the Attorney General to choose a team of the most satisfactory men from the public prosecutor’s office to finish the trials of those who killed demonstrators and finish the referment of all the accused to criminal trials. Moreover, we agreed to appeal all the innocent verdicts in the cases of corruption and the killers of demonstrators.
5. To form a sustainable mechanism for dialogue with the political forces and youth of the revolution to address all that these forces are expecting and what might be able to be achieved in the short and long-term.
6. To issue direct and serious instructions to cover the expenses of those martyred and injured during the revolution without delay or administrational challenges, as they are rights rather than charity or gifts from the state.
7. To entrust the Minister of Social Solidarity to form a committee whose head will research the demands raised by the masses in Tahrir Square that are associated with the achievement of social justice – especially those of rising prices, treatment, health, housing, education, employment, retirement, and rent. The committee will include two types of representatives: those from the political forces and those from the youth of the revolution. The committee will present the results of its work as soon as possible.

Lastly, long live the inspiring and leading masses of the revolution. I thank all who expressed confidence in my person and I confirm that I will not withhold any effort to execute all that the masses of the revolution have determined. I pledge to you all that I remain loyal to the revolution and loyal to the country.

May God guide us in the service of the country. May God preserve Egypt, her people, her revolution, and its honorable goals.

May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you all.

My initial (and rapid) impression is that this speech is full of symbolic concessions: payment of the expenses of the revolution’s casualties and the trial of the police officers associated the killing of demonstrators. The modicum of real potential reform is extremely vague. The dialogue committee is limited to economic reform and does not specify from which specific groups its representatives will be drawn. (Given that there are more than one hundred political parties, coalitions, committees, etc, this is an important specification.) Most importantly, there is no mention of reforming government ministries especially the Central Security Forces and the Interior Ministry.

In other news, class is still on for tomorrow despite the sit-in in Tahrir Square. I’ll be getting up a little earlier than usual to make sure I can make through all the popular committees’ check points in time for class.

For now, Good Night.

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