Egyptian parliament speaker approvingly compares Sisi to Hitler
The speaker of the Egyptian parliament has approvingly compared Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to the German tyrant Adolf Hitler.
In widely derided comments made at the opening of the latest session of the Egyptian parliament, Ali Abdel Aal stated that “Hitler had his mistakes, including those that made him expand eastwards and westwards, but he built a strong infrastructure for the German state that remains the source of its leading position in the first world”.
“Building nations in transitional times require harsh measures,” Abdel Aal added. “We don’t have the luxury of differing with each other. The Egyptian people are required to stand behind their political leadership, because no country can advance without a strong infrastructure.”
Abdel Aal’s comments came following the latest call for anti-Sisi protests by exiled Egyptian contractor Mohamed Ali. Last month, Ali said in a series of videos published on social media that Sisi had contracted his company to build several luxurious palaces for himself at a time when poverty rates were increasing and harsh austerity measures were being imposed on the Egyptian public.
Sisi did not deny the allegations but said that he was building the palaces for the Egyptian state rather than himself. The scandal has been dubbed “Palacegate”.
Thousands of Egyptians have protested against the autocratic Egyptian president since the allegations were made. Egyptian security forces have responded with a campaign of repression, arresting more than 2,000 activists and closing off potential protest sites.
Abdel Aal heaped praise on Sisi during his speech, while criticizing the Egyptian government. “The problem is that we have a president who leaps to achieve goals, and a government which walks with one foot,” he said.
He also told MPs to stand up for one minute of silence to show respect for Sisi.
Abdel Aal later tried to qualify his comments, saying of Hitler, “this person committed many crimes and there is no way I can praise him… my praise was for the infrastructure that he built which Germany is distinguished by, which the German people achieved and is a unique model of infrastructure on a global scale”
German industrial infrastructure was almost totally destroyed as a result of the Second World War, which began when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.
Germany’s current economic strength is attributed to the Wirtshcaftswunder economic miracle which took place in the 1950s.
It began when the West German government, which adopted a democratic constitution and distanced itself from the Nazis, enacted policies to encourage reconstruction of the war-ravaged country.
Abdel Aal’s historically inaccurate comments attributing German economic success to Hitler appeared to underline the authoritarian mentality of the current Egyptian government, which has killed hundreds of protesters and detained tens of thousands of political opponents since it came to power in a military coup in 2013.
The Egyptian parliament is largely powerless and is dominated by Sisi loyalists. It also contains token “opposition” parties which have also stated their loyalty to Sisi. It has previously approved changes to the Egyptian constitution allowing Sisi to remain in power until 2030