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Egypt: El Baradie Has Arrived

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.

More than two thousands people were waiting at Cairo airport last Friday for the arrival of Mr. Mohamed Al Baradie. Ordinary citizens, media figures and even movie stars gathered trying to show public support that might convince Al Baradie to run for the presidential elections in 2011.The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has said before that he was willing to run for the presidential elections as a separate [independent] candidate, the thing that contradicts with the constitution, which confirms that any candidate should be a member of a political party.

Mostafa El Naggar wrote here about the scene in the airport:

البرادعي قالها قوية …مصر عايزة ديموقراطية…مصر فيها الف بديل ..والبرادعي اهو دليل …شد الصفوف يا برادعي …مفيش رجوع يا برادعي
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
El Baradie said it loud, Egypt needs democracy … Egypt has thousands of suitable alternative candidates, and Elbaradie is the proof for that … Baradia, go on, we will never give in.
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:

شاهدت ريفيين بسطاء جاءوا من محافظات مصر ، يحملون لافتات باسم محافظاتهم ، لم يدفع لهم البرادعي كي يأتوا ويستقبلونه ، شاهدت أسر مصرية لأول مرة تشارك في فعاليات سياسية ، اكثر من اسرة الزوج والزوجة والاطفال ، اناس لا علاقة لهم بالسياسة ولا بالتيارات السياسية

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
There I saw peasants, who came from various parts of Egypt, carrying banners with the name of their governorates on them; People whom El Baradie had paid nothing to come to welcome him. I saw Egyptian families for the first time taking part in political events. There were many husbands and wives who came with their children. There were people who have nothing to do with politics and political parties.

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:

Below a collection of videos showing ElBaradei's reception at the Cairo airport and his departure to his villa at Cairo Alexandria desert road. I post them to show you what the official media ignored and tries to underestimate.


Egyptian Wish
also wrote here about El Baradie's arrival and his own wishes regarding El Baradie's next moves:

El-Baradie is back in Cairo as you know. Reports say his goal is to change the political life in Egypt and not to be the president.
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:

الصحف الحكومية: مفيش حاجة، الراجل طلع معاش وجاي يريح في بلده شوية: طيب هايل، خليكوا كده في دور اللي عامل ميت، على الأقل نرتاح من مقالات فقع المرارة شوية
Governmental Newspapers: Nothing special, he has retired, and has came here to take some rest.
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”:

It’s safe to say that the countdown has officially begun. This year’s parliamentary elections will pave the way for the presidential elections in 2011, drawing clearer image of what to expect the following year.
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 Mohamed ElBaradie is perfect for the job; he has the star power that most of our opposition lack. Yes star power; like the entertainment industry, politics is all about star power. He has the mass appeal required for any candidate to challenge the current rulers and advocates pretty much the same political platform promoted by the opposition.
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.

Supporting ElBaradie doesn’t mean supporting Mubarak’s next presidential opponent; it’s uniting behind one man that has the potential of greasing the wheels of change, setting them in motion.

Even the Egyptian write Alaa El Aswany wrote here in his blog, why people should stand behind El Baradie in the upcoming elections:

Dr Mohamed ElBaradei has a number of impressive qualities which have made him popular. He is highly qualified academically, with a doctorate in law from New York University in 1974, and through his efforts and his exceptional talent he has held high-level international positions. He has won numerous international awards and acquired extraordinary legal and political experience. Elbaradei proved how much he loves his country when he donated all his Nobel Prize money to help people who live in shanty-towns, and then publicly criticized corruption and oppression in Egypt, opening for himself the gates of hell. With a little dissembling he could have stayed friends with the regime and obtained a senior position in government if he had wanted, but his devotion to the truth outweighed his personal interests. On top of that Dr ElBaradei owes the Egyptian regime no favours, in fact to the contrary. The regime refused to nominate ElBaradei to be director of the IAEA, but ElBaradei nonetheless won the position unanimously in a fair election. So in the eyes of Egyptians, Elbaradei is a patriot who is competent and honourable, whose hands are not tainted by corruption, and who has never taken part in rigging elections. They say he has not kept quiet about the detention and torture of innocent people, has not taken orders from State Security, has not flattered President Mubarak or sung the praises of his momentous and historic achievements, as sycophantic ministers do. All that earns ElBaradei the esteem of all segments of the Egyptian political spectrum, from the Muslim Brotherhood to the leftists and the liberals, and even the Copts of the diaspora

He continues:

Mohamed ElBaradei is arriving in Cairo in the same week that Egyptians were killed, not on the battlefield to defend their country but in a miserable brawl to obtain cylinders of cooking gas, so they could cook food for their children. That’s how far Egyptians have been abased.
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:

على القناة الأولى صباح أحد أيام 2005 كان التلفزيون المصري يبث وقائع حفل تكريم د.محمد البرادعي بعد حصوله على جائزة نوبل، والذي اشتمل على مراسم بروتوكولية سخيفة مثل معظم الفعاليات التي يحضرها الرئيس مبارك.
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”.
One the Egyptian first channel, back in 2005, the television was airing the ceremony of honoring Dr. Mohammad El Baradie after he had received the Nobel prize of peace. It was a dull event, just like most of the events that are attended by president Mubarak.
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:

مرحى بك يا محمد مصطفى البرادعي، آملا ألا يخذلك أنصارك وألا يلتهمك خصومك..لست متحمسا لشخصك المحترم، لكن المبدأ يروقني ويدهشني.
Welcome Mohammad Mostafa El Baradie. I hope that your supporters won't turn you down, and that your opponents won't swallow you. I am not very excited for you, but I like the idea itself, and it amazes me too.

6 comments

  • yehya elnahry

    Frankly from America , I strongly believe that , the Egyptian President H.Mu bark, if he love his country really and wishing goodness for her, and to avoid more sins , and to remember that no body lives forever ,and one day he is going to be asked in front of GOD, He should issue an order to establish a Comity made of :1- A group of Law professors
    2- A group of the Egyptian Supreme Court Justice.
    3- Members from each party including the ruling party
    4- Members from the Independent including;
    a- Muslim brothers
    band Egyptians Christians
    This group within one year should form a new Egyptian Constitution .and , the comity should should have on the table :

    1- the old versions of the constitution
    2- The US constitution, and especially the Bill of Rights .
    3- A copy of the French constitution.
    4- A copy of the Austrian constitution .

    This comity should emphasise that :

    1- President should serve for four years period .
    2-president should serve the maximum of two periods (8-years) and then OUT.
    3- President and his cabinet are Serpents of the people .
    4- Members of the legislation should be elected , not appointed and We need them to be law graduate

    5- Its time for reforming the political activity , by forming only two major parties :
    1- the Egyptain National party.
    2- The Egyptian Peoples party

    Then a clean transparent election for the Legislators under supervision of observers from the United Nation, USA , Egyptian Judges ,and European Group, and human rights watch .
    and as Mr Elbaradie stated EVERY EGYPTIAN have the right and is qualified to be a president

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  • zak

    اين الاستاذ البرادعي

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