An Indian model for Egypt



While many argue Egypt should emulate Turkey, India's style of democracy is a better blueprint

Many Egyptian elites, especially Islamists, are enthusiastic about the Turkish model despite the huge differences between Egypt and Turkey. The "Indian model", however, is today's most successful example for Egypt to take inspiration from, Mustafa Al Faqi argued yesterday in an opinion article in the UAE-based newspaper Al Khaleej.

Historically speaking, Egypt had not been less developed than India. In fact back in the 1960s following the establishment of the non-aligned movement, the bilateral ties between the two nations under Gamal Abdel Nasser and Jawaharlal Nehru saw a turning point when they jointly built an air plane. Egyptians would create engines while Indians the bodies, the writer noted, adding, "Now look where we are and where they are".

The Turkish model is very different than the Egyptian reality, where religion and politics have always been intertwined. India, on the other hand, shares with Egypt a great deal: issues like poverty, illiteracy, sectarianism and a weighty, exotic cultural heritage, the writer noted.

"The Indian dream", the writer explained, is best for Egypt to take a cue from for the following major factors: India is a nuclear-weapons state; it is fast-developing, industrial, has a space programme and is self sufficient in food grains, even with a population of more than 1.2 billion.

The giant Asian country did not reinvent the wheel. Without shutting eyes to ultra-consumerism and without failing to protect local industries, India has earnestly pursued clear, midway policies. And in parallel, it has preserved the spirit and character of Hindustan in its economic policies, even in its arts and culture.

India is the world's largest democracy. During elections, hundreds of millions head to the polls to cast their votes for whom they deem worthy, despite prevalent poverty and illiteracy. It was the Indian people who did not vote Indira Gandhi into office in her constituency before they voted her to power again when she realised why the electorate rejected her and corrected her mistakes.

Indian democracy has brought to power three presidents from the Muslim minority, and it relied on the Seikh sect to boost a struggling economy.

India is a country of paradoxes. There is excessive wealth and object poverty; coexistence and sectarian strife; and a sense of discomfort among the Hindu majority towards the historic transformation that came with the Muslim Moguls.

Maharajas or Dalit castes fortunately do not exist in Egypt. Still, there is a latent class struggle and an intense generational conflict that would now and then sound alarm bells. But India as a state treats all faiths and sects equally.

"The Indian model" is more relevant to Egypt, the writer suggested.

Is Geneva the end of Arabs' role in Syria?

The agreement of the US and Russia to hold the "Geneva 2" conference next month to solve the Syrian crisis marked the end of local and regional endeavours in favour of the world's major powers, noted Fahmi Huwaidi in the Qatari newspaper Al Sharq.

The deal implicitly favoured a political settlement over a military one that had been on the table for two years. It also meant that the Turkish role had dwindled and the Egyptian initiative had been placed on the back burner, he said.

The agreement came against a backdrop marked by three developments. First, the Syrian regime has been able to retake some areas following military supplies from Russia and Iran. Second, Hizbollah has openly stepped in to defend the Al Assad regime. And third, Israel raided critical military facilities in Damascus, sending a message to all that it would not allow Syria's weapons to be supplied to Hizbollah.

The Geneva meeting is bringing the Syrian crisis to a whole different level where the major nations will call the shots and Arabs will officially lose significant influence.

Until then, Arab nations can still do something about it if they manage to change the balance of power on the ground. Egypt, which so far has been timid towards the Syrian conflict, can change the game if it uses its clout to back the Free Syrian Army against the regime troops.

Army vote could spell disaster for Egypt

Egypt's constitutional court has ruled that members of the armed forces and police have a right to vote in the nation's elections, in line with the new constitution.

"Are we ready at this point for such a step? Will it benefit a democratic pluralistic Egypt right now," Emad Eddine Hussein commented in the Cairo-based paper Al Shorouk.

Yes, the police and army vote is not unprecedented. It exists in several nations. But democracy and stability there have come a long way, and most importantly their armies and police are not involved in politics, he said.

Allowing members of the army and police to vote in the coming elections, or even in 10 years to come, will spell disaster for Egypt. The good intentions behind achieving equality between citizens could pave the road to hell, the writer argued.

Candidates will have to talk the security personnel into voting for them. This will result in soldiers being divided between parties. The police and the army will probably have their respective favoured candidates. Thus political debate will be part of the armed forces.

But unlike politicians who have only dialogue to use against their rivals, soldiers and police have weapons that some might think of using to impose their beliefs, the writer said.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk

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The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
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The Mother

Director: Niki Caro

Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Joseph Fiennes, Gael Garcia Bernal, Omari Hardwick and Lucy Paez

Rating: 3/5

Barbie

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Blue Beetle

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Gulf Men's League final

Dubai Hurricanes 24-12 Abu Dhabi Harlequins

The Byblos iftar in numbers

29 or 30 days – the number of iftar services held during the holy month

50 staff members required to prepare an iftar

200 to 350 the number of people served iftar nightly

160 litres of the traditional Ramadan drink, jalab, is served in total

500 litres of soup is served during the holy month

200 kilograms of meat is used for various dishes

350 kilograms of onion is used in dishes

5 minutes – the average time that staff have to eat
 

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
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Number of staff: 120
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Temple numbers

Expected completion: 2022

Height: 24 meters

Ground floor banquet hall: 370 square metres to accommodate about 750 people

Ground floor multipurpose hall: 92 square metres for up to 200 people

First floor main Prayer Hall: 465 square metres to hold 1,500 people at a time

First floor terrace areas: 2,30 square metres  

Temple will be spread over 6,900 square metres

Structure includes two basements, ground and first floor 

Kandahar

Director: Ric Roman Waugh

Stars: Gerard Butler, Navid Negahban, Ali Fazal

Rating: 2.5/5

How to watch Ireland v Pakistan in UAE

When: The one-off Test starts on Friday, May 11
What time: Each day’s play is scheduled to start at 2pm UAE time.
TV: The match will be broadcast on OSN Sports Cricket HD. Subscribers to the channel can also stream the action live on OSN Play.

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Disturbing facts and figures

51% of parents in the UAE feel like they are failing within the first year of parenthood

57% vs 43% is the number of mothers versus the number of fathers who feel they’re failing

28% of parents believe social media adds to the pressure they feel to be perfect

55% of parents cannot relate to parenting images on social media

67% of parents wish there were more honest representations of parenting on social media

53% of parents admit they put on a brave face rather than being honest due to fear of judgment

Source: YouGov

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
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Friday's schedule at the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

GP3 qualifying, 10:15am

Formula 2, practice 11:30am

Formula 1, first practice, 1pm

GP3 qualifying session, 3.10pm

Formula 1 second practice, 5pm

Formula 2 qualifying, 7pm

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

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