The Big Pharaoh
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Friday, February 11, 2005

Saad Eddin Ibrahim in Wapo

Here is a very interesting article by Egyptian-American human rights activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim that appeared in the Washingon Post today. Ibrahim stated eloquently that the closed political system that Mubarak maintained helped in the rise of the Islamist forces. He wrote:

"Why does the Mubarak regime continue to resort to these heavy-handed tactics against its peaceful opposition? Here is an attempted answer. Over nearly a quarter of a century, it has perfected the art of scare politics, at home and abroad. Those in Mubarak's regime argue that if he allowed democratization to proceed unchecked, with fair and honest elections, Islamists would undoubtedly take over.

None of his Western listeners ever answer this argument with some very pertinent questions: What, Mr. Mubarak, have you done to preserve the popularity of non-Islamist forces in the country? What has your regime done with more than $100 billion in foreign aid and remittances from Egyptians working abroad? Why has Egypt's ranking during your rule steadily worsened on every development index -- from that of the U.N. Development Program to the World Bank to Freedom House? And why does Egypt now rank with Russia, Syria and Nigeria among the most corrupt countries in the world?
Isn't it these dismal failings that feed popular discontent and contribute to the Islamists' growing numbers? And isn't it Mubarak's repression of secular civil forces that has kept the field empty for the Islamists in Egypt, where there are now more than 100,000 mosques where they can freely preach their message -- but only a handful of registered political parties and human rights groups?"

I totally agree. This is why I reiterate that Mubarak must be pressured from the world community to:

a) open the political system and cease the intimidating of his security apparatus.

b) Hold elections once we have secular alternatives along with the Islamists we have today.


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