Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 14, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
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XXL c-As above, average leg. White. M.L.XL. XXL FASHIONS Designed with you in mind Ferment under Sadat IRENE BEESON London Observer CAIRO A regular service ot information, wrilten by hand j by teams of volunteers, is pearing in Egypt. The mcs-1 sages come from university fa- j cultics, groups of women, era and peasants. They are an j atenipt to fulfil the tradition- i at rale of a free press and are to be found all over the try. They report on the latest ac- by students, describe conditions in the prisons, and give detailed accounts of dem- onstrations in support of the students. One docu m e n t nine, tightly written foolscap pages in length was written by a group of mothers and gives a detailed account of the efforts they have been making since the beginning of the year for the release of their de- .ained children. It records their demonslrat ions, representa .ions, petitions to the author- .ties, sit in strikes at the uni- versities and confronta t i o n s with Egypt's secret police and security forces. It appeals to all women to join together to fight for the release of their children and for democratic freedoms for all the people of Egypt. All these are symptomatic of a ferment that is threatening ;he regime of President Anwar Sadat. And the regime is not STORE HOURS: Opon Daily ci.m. to p.m. Thursdoy and Friday n.m. lo p.m. Cenlro Village Mnll. Telephone 328-9231 ignoring it. Official moves to bridge the yawning gap be- tween Egypt's students and the regime have broken down in renewed disturbances and clashes. But in a surprise move, on Feb. 14 after four days of running battles between police and students in Cairo ar.d Assiut in Upper the State controlled Press took what appeared to be a 5tep towirds conciliation by publishing some of the militant students' demands and criti- cism. A statement, reportedly sign- ed by 855 students and ascribed to the "Sutdent official- ly described as "sound, patrio- tic, with a mature sense of re- appeared in all leading newspapers. It express- ed confidence in President Sa- dat and condemned "what a minority of students has done to distort facts and state our views in a disorderly manner." The document rejected the slate of "no war no peace" and went on to voice some o! the demonstrators' demands: that the investigation of stu- dents under arrest should be completed without delay; Uiat formal charges be made and that students against whom there were no charges should be released immediately; that a delegation of university stu- dents should be allowed to visit the detained students to make sure they were enjoying their legal rights. Reversal puzzling lv called for freedom of ex- pression in universities and the right to publish university pa- pers without having to secure the approval of committees; for journalists to be allowed to write about student affairs, ac- tivities and opinions which, the statement urged, should be giv- en full coverage in the national Press. This reversal ot the official attitude disconcerted many Egyptians. For the previous day, several thousand demon- strators had been described by the minister of the interior and the press as "a dissident "renegades serv- ing the plans of the enemy." Now tho "sound, patriotic" broad student base had appar- ently rallied to the disorder- ly few and published an official- ly sanctioned statement ot "extremist" criticisms, de- mands and the rejection of new rules laid down by a special committee of the People's As- sembly (Egypt's only legal one party ruling body) to gov- ern university lite. Was the move a step by the regime to find a face-saving compromise with the activist students? Was the stalemcnt a genuine document expressing the views of the student ina- j o r i t y, supporting Oie dissi- dents' demands but not their methods of expression? Or was it a cunning manoeuvre to dis- arm the demonstrators and halt the landslide of public opinion j in favour of the rebels? The ministry of the interior promised to "study the student it was proposed thai student delegations should hoK "periodical meetings with members of the People's As- sembly" to discuss the situa lion in the universities. A dele- gation of university not students was appointed i to visit the detained students The rebellious students re- used a dialogue with the Peo- ile's Assembly claiming that my thing they said would be distorted or refused publlca- ,ion. Disturbances broke out he following day in Cairo and Assiut. In Cairo a procession of between and Cai- o University students, led by secondary schoolboys, attempt- ed to march on the People's Assembly, shouting: "You say there is democracy, prove and "We are the three hun- dred." (Mocking the official claim that only about 300 dissi- denis were involved hi the stu- dent They clashed with a police detachment sent to disperse them. When secondary school stu- dents in northern Cairo came out in support of the demon- strators, ordinary citizens join- ed in and fought the police with the students. In Assiut, in Up- per Egypt, the authorities were forced to close down the uni- versity alter and protest meetings had de- generated into batnes the police and students armed with stones, sticks, bottle bombs and, according to peo- ple reaching Cairo, even rifles and machine-guns. The students aimed, in this latest outbreak, to "get to the people and tell them the to "exert pressure on the regime until our fellow stu- dents are and "to force our issue into the national Press." Only the first of these alms has been achieved so far. Dem- onstrators succeeded in break- ing through the heavy police condons, to take their message in.words, printed bills, pamph- lets and posters to the people. They began their regular ser- vice of statements and com- muniques covering the whole country. Regime 'trapped' "What is happening can no longer bo considered a student problem, it is a popular move- a veteran Arab diplo- mat told me privately. The re- gime was trapped, he said. The situation would not calm down until the students and their sup- porters were released. If they were released, however, they would resume their rebellion with renewed vigour. If the cle- i lained students are not relcas- i ed, and student demands were i not met, pressure on the re- gime and disturbances would grow and spread. Support for the rebels is growing and spreading already, in a population whose .every section has reasons for i being disgruntled. Basically, it Is the stale of "no war, no peace" the immobilism that Is eating away at the moral fibre of the country. Whether they believe in a war of liberation or a negotiated peace with i Israel, Egyptians have come to j the dismal realization that the I crippling price they have paid for .six years, financially, econ- omically, politically, emotion- ally and in every way, has merely secured Israeli occupa- tion of Sinai and a bankrupt regime. Prospects for a negotiated settlement appear to Egyptians to appear to be bleak. "The most we can hope to achieve is the humiliation of seeing the Israeli flag sail through the an Egyptian cynic re- marked. According to university sources more than stu- dents were arrested in the re- cent troubles. About 500 were detailed after questioning and the police are on the look-out (or 300 "wanted students" on the run. "The regime is clutching at the straw of an American mi- racle to shore it an Arab diplomat told me. "Sadat has dispatched his Kissinger Ha- fez Ismail to Washington he- cause, paradoxically, it is the only door he has left open for a possible means of wriggling out of Ms dilemma."