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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Dirty Tactics

Ayman Noor said that the ruling National Democratic Party is trying to tarnish his image by calling him an "American agent"*. He added that members of the NDP burned the American flag in front of his party's office so that they cunningly convey their refusal to accept someone "who America supports".

Ayman Noor responded to such accusations in the past by saying something so funny. He said "I don't know Miss Condolezza Rice, I never met Miss Rice, and I am not the one who goes on an annual pilgrimage to the White House".

I think President Mubarak should take immediate actions to stop such behavior. I believe he is bigger than that.

I am afraid the government's efforts to paint Ayman Noor with the American brush got them some results. Several of my colleagues at work told me that they believe Noor is "America's favorite to lead Egypt after Mubarak!"

It is a dilemma. If America called for the release of any dissident in Egypt, the government sanctioned media will immediately seize this opportunity and tarnish the image of this dissident by cooking up charges such as "he is backed by the White House" or "he gets funding from the US". However, if the US and Europe did not call for the release of this dissident, he/she will probably be left to rot in jail.

It was President Bush's move of cutting extra aid from Egypt that played a huge role in getting Egyptian-American human rights advocate Saad Idden Ibrahim out of jail. And consequently, it was Condolezza's red eye, the EU, and the immense international media attention that Noor got that helped in his release on bail.

I hate to see the government put itself into such awkward positions. And I hate to see that up until today they cannot grasp the fact that this country is dying for voices who truly believe in liberal democracy.

* Source: Radio Sawa (Arabic)

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