Believe me when I tell you deep from my heart that I will not be able to pretend to be a priest, nor will you be able to pretend to be a pharaoh. For people can read us. They will immediately know what we are trying to hide.
On behalf of myself and all the priests, from the highest to the smallest editor, I say to you, unfortunately, that the time of the priests has ended. We no longer have that extraordinary ability to mislead people, play with their minds, bedazzle them or adorn the ruler for them to worship.
People have destroyed the halo around the ruler. They have broken the fear barrier. They have proved to be no longer dependent on priests and rulers.
It is the herald of a new history. And we priests must recognize the new reality and know our limits because we live among the people and we cannot but wish to win their acceptance and avoid their anger. For they are the supreme sovereignty and the supreme legitimacy.
The current tension between the media and the regime is not good for us or for you simply because we cannot criticize you as long as you work within the framework of the Constitution, respond to demands in the street, enjoy popularity, meet your promises and achieve your tasks.
It is only the people, not the priests of the media, that can bring you to account because it was they who brought you to power in the first place.
It is not good for us or for you to summon the chairman of a private newspaper for investigation into freedom of publication issues related to the Interior Ministry. And when the chairman refuses to pay bail, he is kept overnight in custody with criminal detainees to give him a lesson. Then he is released, but not before patronizing him to be a friend of the state and a patriot.
It is not good for us and for you to confiscate 50,000 copies of another private newspaper for something it has published. And even if that newspaper made a mistake, it was part of its diligence and no more.
In fact, what those newspapers published was for your own good because they pointed to daunting challenges that you and us face together. Those papers have been and will remain with you all the way. It was not they who have changed. It was the mood of the street that was with you, then began to fade out of suspicion and distrust.
It is the duty of the press to reflect the rhythm of the street. If we only catch the rhythm of the ruler, we will only sell one copy, which is the free copy that goes to the presidential palace, unless the budget of the presidency can afford to buy the million copies that the papers print.
Perhaps the Supply Minister, who takes a picture with each and every loaf of bread that is produced to the extent that we are no longer able to distinguish between his face and the face of the loaf, can then forcibly distribute the copies to the citizens on their ration cards.
In the last 5,000 years of tyranny, we priests have decorated rulers for people to worship, sometimes relying on the ignorance of people, other times on the power of the rulers. But those times are gone. Now, you cannot protect us from the wrath of the people.
Hear my words. The people are my master and yours. They can bring me and you to account.
And I hope that God forgives us all on doomsday.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm