| by Raymon Kondos
- A group of intellectuals have formed a party called Masr Al-Om
(Egypt the Motherland) which highlights the Pharaonic
identity of Egypt at the expense of other identities.
The group intends to present an official bid to the Political Parties
Committee seeking an official authorization of their political entity.
Queen Cleopatra: Pharaonic heritage forms the basis
of the new political party.
The principles of the party call for emphasizing the Egyptian identity
and undermining any Arab or Islamic identity for the country.
Mohsen Lotfy Al-Sayyed, nephew of famous Egyptian patriotic poet
and a co-founder of the party, thinks Hieroglyphics and Coptic
language should be nationally adopted and be taught in schools.
“(Our) party believes we are Egyptians not Arabs. Arabs are
our friends, neighbors and allies. We have a common fate …
but still, we are not Arabs,” Al-Sayyed says.
Another member, Talaat Radwan, called for dropping the word Arab
from the official name of Egypt for the name to be “The Republic
of Egypt” instead of “The Arab Republic of Egypt.”
Moreover, the party founders called for the adoption of the ancient
Egyptian calendar which starts from 4241 BC, and usage of Pharaonic
month names instead of –or side by side with- current Gregorian
The founders stress the reasons behind Arabic being made the official
language of Egypt is historic, which shall not make Egyptians at
anyway Arabs, just like the Francophone African countries speak
French but none of them claims to have a French identity.
The party’s bid have sparked controversy among Egyptian scholars
in a society whose majority still believes in the Arab nationalism
laid out and adopted by late Egypt President Gamal
Abdel Nasser who died in 1970.
Attempts to emphasize the Egyptian identify were made several times
afterwards, most notably in the early 1980s after other Arab states
severed relations with Egypt following its peace
agreement with Israel in 1979.
It is worth mentioning that since the introduction of the multiparty
system in 1978 by late President Sadat,
only 14 parties were authorized by the Political Parties Committee
which rejected more than 50 other bids.