Sunday, April 18, 2004
Do you know of any other Egyptians that feel the same as you do about Iraq and the U.S.?
Yes but very few though. Nearly every news outlet that an Egyptian is exposed to is fervently anti-America and so it is quite normal for such an attitude to develop.
"strong balanced man of peace" isn't good enough .. what about the economic and social failure of his (President Mubarak) 23 years of authocratic reign?
I totally agree with you, however, I tend to compare Mubarak with other Arab leaders and he’s surely doing a much better job. For example, you cannot compare Mubarak with Saddam or Syria’s Asad. I support Mubarak because of 2 main points. First, he is strong. Second, he is a man of peace who doesn’t want Egypt to plunge into other proxy wars. Despite all the economical and social problems that we’re facing, I’d rather have Mubarak forever than a single day with the radical Muslim Brotherhood in power. This is my priority.
Are we arabs just reduced to accept such low standard of regimes just because it stands to islamist extremists ?
Yes, again, it is a matter of priorities. Islamist extremists do not believe in democracy yet they use it to reach power (does Hitler ring a bell). That is the reason why I totally reject the “ballot box democracy” and cry for social democracy instead (freedom of speech, expression, etc). When we are well grounded in social democracy, then we can speak about the ballot box democracy because anyone elected will be forced to follow social democracy.
I didn't understand whether you agree that no Palestinians refugees should be let back in to Israel/Palestine. If you think they shouldn't be allowed in, why not?
No they shouldn’t be back in Israel but to the West Bank and Gaza instead. Israel could however offer compensation or accept a symbolic number of refugees. That is the most realistic approach I guess.
I have read that 90% of Egyptian women have clitoridectomies. If this is true, are there any groups opposing the practise in Egypt?
True, I’m not sure of the percentage though. Feminists and even the first lady are against this inhumane practice. People do it to their girls because of their tradition. Others do it because of religious reason so that the girl would be a nice holy virgin with no sexual desires. Both Muslim and Christian leaders have spoken against the practice.
How do you feel about the Emergency Laws that were just renewed in Egypt? Do you think that they're good? Do you think that they're necessary? When (if at all) do you see them being lifted?
That’s a very interesting question. I am torn between wanting it removed and my fear that extremists might exploit its removal. The Emergency Law gives the government the right to arrest anyone anytime and incarcerate him indefinitely. This draconian law is definitely against all human rights and many innocent people were victimized. However, the law is a great tool to limit extremists. Again, back to the point I made earlier, I’ll support its annulling only when I’m confident that no one would turn Egypt from a dictatorship to a ruthless theocracy.
Will Gamal Mubarak become President of Egypt?
The President said no, Gamal himself said no. However, I will support the guy if I am not sure of who might follow his father. We have a saying in Egypt that says: what we know is better than what we do not know. Gamal was educated at the American University in Cairo, he’s modern, he’s hip, and I personally like him.