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Thursday, June 02, 2005

El Ghad’s New Website

Ayman Noor’s El Ghad Party has a new website. It is very appealing yet still has some technical problems. The interesting part is that now El Ghad has its own radio station that beams via the website. I heard that Ayman Noor approached the government in order to get a license to start an FM radio but they simply told him “see ya”.

All Egypt’s media is government owned and controlled. The only 2 private FM radio stations are Negoom FM and Nile FM. Both are entertainment stations that literally changed how Egyptians view the radio as a medium of communication. Before those 2 stations, the radio was dull and boring. Today, almost every car that has a radio tunes in to Negoom FM (in Arabic) or Nile FM (in English). Both stations are owned by the media tycoon Emad Eddin Adeeb (our Robert Murdoch). Emad was the guy who did the 3 parts interview with President Mubarak and he is very close to the ruling establishment. No wonder the government trusted him with 2 FM stations!!

Now I am glad El Ghad is becoming tech savvy while trying to use every venue possible in order to reach people. I still believe however that Ayman Noor should seriously think about why a number of high profile party members left El Ghad. I also believe that the most effective way of reaching out to people and winning them over is by satisfying their basic needs.

Groups such as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Hezbollah rely on a huge network of civil services infrastructure that directly serve the people and replace the government when it is absent. For example, one of the MB’s smartest moves is how they reach out to the disenfranchised college students who left their rural villages to go into Cairo’s universities. They provide them with housing, educational support, and of course the all mighty religious peppered with politics rhetoric. The result is that they win over the student who notices how the government is not supporting him as well as the student’s extended family back home.

The logic of all this is very simple: you cannot talk about freedom and ballot boxes to people with empty stomachs, diseases in their bodies, and other far more serious problems. I hope and pray that progressive/secular political parties such as El Ghad will start copying what those groups are doing. In nearly all developing countries, basic needs is what people are striving for. Help them satisfy those needs and you are most probably going to win them over. The logic is very simple, even Muqtada al Sadr understands it.

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