Electoral Propaganda

Campaign propaganda from the Ittihad Party

Cairo—A couple of noteworthy examples of campaign propagnda I came across today, less than 48 hours before voting is scheduled to begin on Monday, November 28:

  • 1) “Your Country is in Danger!” screams the headline in a full-page advertisement in the November 26 print edition of al-Masry al-Youm.  The ad notes that 14 million Egyptians work in the private sector and asks “who benefits from destroying the free economy?”  Egypt needs a million new jobs every year for the next decade; “who benefits from continuing economic stagnation…and the flight of foreign investment?” In case you had not guessed, this ad was for a party (Ittihad) headed by former NDP Secretary General Hossam Badrawi.

The logo along the bottom of the ad shows the silhouette of a mosque, church, skyscraper, pyramids, the Zamalek tower, and sailboats—with an army tank nestled comfortably in the middle.  Had I been consulted on the logo, I would have advised against having the tank’s gun turret aimed directly at the church.

  • 2) Here is an excerpt from a leaflet distributed by the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, which is organized in a question and answer format and seems to be aimed at the uncommitted voter:

    Q: "Will America, Israel, and the West leave us alone if you come to power?"

    A: "Why this fear of America, Israel, and the West as though they are the prime movers? Don’t you look at America and see what is happening to it amidst the global financial crisis in which they have gotten themselves? They cannot think about anything but themselves.  Here they are announcing that they will leave Iraq at the end of the year, and after that Afghanistan, without having achieved any of their goals. Instead they are suffering damage that might destroy their economy and divide America itself into several states, according to some studies.

    Brother, trust in Allah…you have in front of you an honorable model in Turkey, which we see progressing day by day despite its differences with American and Israel.”

I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

Campaign propaganda from the Ittihad Party warns voters, "Your country is in danger!"

Campaign propaganda from the Ittihad Party warns voters, "Your country is in danger!"

Michele Dunne is the director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and an official observer of the first stage of the parliamentary elections. She can be reached at mdunne@acus.org.

Photo Credit: Michele Dunne

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