Brotherhood Morsi supporters reading Al Ahram 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
As a metaphor analyst I can say that images have powers that can kill.
Furthermore, analogies can constrain and direct our policies.
And, as a
general fact in cognitive science, when metaphors and frames don't fit the
facts, the facts will bounce off and the metaphors and frames will
Crucially, some days ago the most widely circulating Egyptian daily
depicted a group of jihadists as marionettes (string puppets)
controlled and manipulated by Uncle Sam. The metaphor, as can be seen,
highlights that the US, which from Al-Ahram
's perspective, backs the Muslim
Brotherhood, is behind the current violence happening in Sinai and other
Furthermore, America, the sponsor of terror here,
doesn't want peace and democracy in Egypt. This might be true. But what does the
metaphor hide? Egypt has two main opposing powers: one for Morsi, the other
opposing him. As such, the present Egyptian violence is natural, and America may
have nothing to do with it. Also hidden by the metaphor is that the US, whose
foreign policy might have manufactured terror, was a big victim of terror in
11/9, and, as such, has (allegedly) waged long wars against terror both in Iraq
and Afghanistan, killing al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
also suppresses the fact that, like any country in the world, the US is keen
only on its national interest, no matter who takes power in Egypt. And, in my
view, it’s not in America’s interest to add fuel to the fire in Egypt.
Furthermore, the Muslim Brotherhood activists themselves see that the US let
that military coup succeed; and, as such, the US has betrayed the ballot-box
legitimacy that brought Morsi to office in 2012.
nation-asperson metaphor hides here that terror cannot be represented by
countries, but rather by individuals and groups. Importantly, even if the
American government supports violence, America, the country, has many simple
ordinary people, who oppose the government’s policies.
In other words, to
depict America as a sponsor of terror is to encourage violence and terror
against its innocent people.
, understood as loyal to the state,
continued its demonization of the US yesterday, in a red sub headline on its
front page, arguing that it discloses the American conspiracy against Egypt and
the details of the final hours of Morsi’s rule.
Ann Patterson, the
American ambassador to Egypt, has denied such allegations today.
does all this denote? Al-Ahram
uses the conspiracy theory (deeply rooted in the
Egyptian mind in particular, and in the Arab mind in general) to dazzle the army
Gen. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, and portray him as a national hero, who, from
‘s perspective, would challenge America, as did Jamal Abdel-Naser, the
late Egyptian president (a military man too) after the revolution of 1952. It
would be legitimate for Al-Ahram
to support the coup; but it's not legitimate to
stigmatize America as a sponsor of terror.
The series on Al-Ahram
allies continued yesterday, when it said that Morsi is to be jailed for 15 days
pending investigation. And after very few hours the attorney-general has negated
Today, Abdel-Nasser Salam, Al-Ahram
’s editor-in-chief, is to be
Finally, I think the army has begun carrying out its road
map, including the element of creating a media code of ethics, hasn’t it? The
writer is an Egyptian artist and a PhD student.