Cairo International Airport is used on receiving hundreds of visitors every day, but on February 19, 2010, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed El Baradie, who has announced earlier that he may run for the presidential elections in 2011, returned to Egypt.
The blog of the journalism students in American University in Cairo, Adham Center for Graduates, wrote here about El Baradie's arrival at the Cairo International Airport and the hundreds – or even thousands – who were there to receive him.
Mostafa El Naggar wrote here about the scene in the airport:
كانت الهتافات تهز المكان في صالة 3 بمطار القاهرة وقد اصطف مصريون من أطياف مختلفة ينتظرون وصول البرادعي أملهم في التغيير ، لقرب بيتي من المطار لم انزل الا عندما تأكدت ان موعد الطائرة قد اصبح في الخامسة والنصف بدل الثالثة ولكن عندما ذهبت ندمت انني لم اكن متواجدا منذ الصباح مع هؤلاء الرائعين
Those were the chants that rocked Hall 3 in Cairo Airport. People, from a wide social and political spectrum, stood there waiting for El Baradie's arrival. My home is close to the airport, so I decided to wait till they assured me that the plane's arrival will be at 5pm instead of 3pm. But when I reached the airport I regretted not going there in the morning, to be with those amazing people.
He then continued:
وجدت طلابا وخريجين من جامعات مصرية لم ينضموا يوما لجماعة ولا حركة ولا حزب ، وانما أتوا بحثا عن الأمل ، نعم الأمل هو ما جمع كل هذه الناس
ربما كان من اللافت للنظر هو عدد الفتيات والسيدات الذي كان كبيرا ويدل علي صحوة الفتاة والمرأة المصرية وكسرها لحواجز الخوف وتقاليد المجتمع التي تستغرب من اهتمام النساء بالشأن العام
I saw students and university graduates who have never participated in political movements or parties. They all just came looking for hope. Yes, it's hope that gathered all those people there.
The number of females there was notable, this big number proves the awakening of Egyptian women movements, and how they had broken the barriers of traditions and fear than backed off their participation in public matters.
Zeinobia published here some videos taken at the airport during El Baradie's arrival and the masses who were there waiting for him:
Egyptian Wish also wrote here about El Baradie's arrival and his own wishes regarding El Baradie's next moves:
I wish he accepts the Wafd Party invitation, that he runs in the next election with the rules the NDP has put to make it impossible for any one to win. and finally I wish that he wins despite all that.
Meanwhile, Eyad Harfoush mocked the Egyptian governmental newspapers here and how they dealt with the incident:
Great, keep acting this way, at least will have some rest from your provocative articles.
Sarah El Sirgany wrote in her blog about the state of opposition parties here in Egypt, and the rise of El Baradie as a suitable opponent in the upcoming elections, because of what she describes as his “Star Power”:
But until then, it doesn’t need a genius to pinpoint the ills plaguing our opposition, supposedly those at the front-line of the battle for change. No single coalition seems to hold its original members for more than six months, regardless of the idea that first brings them together. Popular movements lose momentum almost instantly. Political parties are either too inconsequential to make a difference or are waist deep in internal conflicts between power hungry ‘politicians’, concerned with nothing more but their share of an imaginary power pie. Even the Muslim Brotherhood, whose solid structure and strong social presence had once refuted any allegations of internal rifts, is now seeing these rifts materialize and spiral out of control.
That’s on the institutional level.
On the more individual one, there isn’t a single charismatic leader that enjoys the approval of the majority, at least among the circles of politicians and journalists closely following the rickety non-ruling-party political scene. In fact, it seems that it’s only those in these small circles of activists, politicians and pseudo politicians, journalists and few interested intellects that actually know any names of Egypt’s opposition landscape.
She then elaborated her “Star Power” theory in more details.
That’s why it was surprising that many opposition politicians and political parties opposed his emergence on the scene with the same enmity in which the government launched its attack on the Nobel Peace Prize winner, often with false unfounded accusations.
And at the end, she stressed on the fact the El Baradie is more than just an opponent, but he is also a driver for change in the Egyptian political scene.
Even the Egyptian write Alaa El Aswany wrote here in his blog, why people should stand behind El Baradie in the upcoming elections:
Reader, if you want your children to live in a country which respects their human rights, where people are equal before the law and have equal opportunities in education and employment, if you want change and reform in Egypt, come with us to the airport on Friday to welcome Dr Mohamed ElBaradei
Ahmed El Doreiny wrote here about an experience he vividly recalls from 2005:
وعندما قام الرئيس بتسليم البرادعي درعا ما أو قلادة ما، لا أتذكر، جاء دور البرادعي لإلقاء كلمته، ولم أجد ساعتها وأنا طريح الفراش مصابا بدور برد من الطراز الفاتك، ما يدعوني للاستماع لهذا الخطاب الإنشائي الذي سيلقيه البرادعي في حضرة مبارك، فقررت على الفور تغيير القناة، وما بين هذا القرار وبين اللحظة التي بدأ فيها البرادعي خطابه شغلني شيء ما لا أتذكره.
أقل من خمس دقائق كان البرادعي قد ألقى خلالها كلمة عاصفة في وجه الرئيس، لا يمكن تصنيفها أخلاقيا سوى أنها “خطاب توبيخ” ولا سياسيا إلا ب “حيثيات إدانة نظام”.
أتذكر مما جاء فيها قول البرادعي لمبارك :”سيادة الرئيس، ولنعلم أن الدول لا تتقدم إلا باحترام حقوق الإنسان”.
President Mubarak awarded El Baradie a medal or a certificate, I can't remember, and then it was El Baradie's turn to give a speech. I was suffering from a strong flu, and wasn't interested at all in listening to that rhetoric speech he was about to give. So I decided to switch the channel, and while I was about to switch the channel, I got distracted by something else.
In less the five minutes, El Baradie has delivered a strong speech, that can only be categorized morally as a “letter of reprimand”, or it can be categorized politically as a “condemnation to the regime”.
I remember then that he addressed Mubarak saying: “Mr. President, It has to be known that nations cannot develop without respecting human rights”.
He then ended his post saying: