The Big Pharaoh
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Sunday, March 06, 2005

UPDATE: Letter by Ayman Nour

Opinion Poll

I found an opinion poll on Egypt's famous web portal. Here were the results:

Mubarak decision to allow elections with multiple candidates:

1. An Egyptian demand for democratic environment: 13.5%
2. As a result of people's will: 20.3%
3. Other reasons: 58.5%
4. I don't care: 7.6%
Total Votes: 10119

I am not surprised that the majority think that "other reasons" forced Mubarak and not a demand for democracy or the will of the people. Of course the "other reasons" are namely outside pressure. I blame Mubarak for that. His decision came very late especially after initially refusing to amend the constitution and putting Ayman Nour in jail. He could have made this decision earlier and gained credit for it.

Egypt Elections

The picture is still very foggy regarding President Mubarak surprising decision to allow multiple candidates elections. A lot of missing information is still not clear. Ayman Nour is still in prison but the official newspaper of his party will start circulating this Wednesday. Also emergency laws are still intact. They were introduced in 1981 right after President Sadat’s assassination and they give the government unrestricted authority to arrest anyone anytime anywhere. I am not sure how the candidates will campaign in light of the emergency law.

Also a candidate from an opposition party said that he will challenge Mubarak. I don’t know much about him. The Muslim Brotherhood sent mixed signals. First they welcomed Mubarak’s decision and said that they might present their own candidate. Later they said that they are willing to endorse Mubarak on certain conditions. I think those conditions might be giving them more freedom to operate.

We all believe that Mubarak took a huge step. I believe he will win in the elections and I am quite satisfied with this. Mubarak can have another term and then work on nurturing the democratic future of Egypt. He can enter history by doing this. All what I am asking him to do is give the civil society and other liberal voices more freedom to operate. The stifling of liberal dissent was a main cause in the rise of Islamists.

They said "terrorist"!!

Someone hit me now. Someone punch me in the face because I still cannot believe what I read today on the front page of Al Ahram newspaper. They published a picture of an Iraqi man rescuing a young girl right after a motorcycle suicide bombing in Iraq. The caption under the photo went like this: Iraqi man helps young girl after a terrorist attack in Azamiyah in Iraq.

My jaws dropped when I read this caption. This is the FIRST time Al Ahram, Egypt’s largest newspaper, uses the word terrorist to describe an attack on Iraqi civilians in Iraq!!! It never happened before. Such attacks were simply described as “bombings” without the word “terrorist”.

If such an attack happened in Algeria or Saudi Arabia then they would definitely describe it as a “terrorist attack”. The reason behind this is because Al Ahram and most of the Arab media do not want it to appear as if there is another enemy in Iraq besides the USA, not mentioning that there are many sick disgusting Arab commentators and journalists who still long for any destruction in Iraq as long as it will make the US unhappy.

I am 99.999% sure that a typo put the word “terrorist attack” in today’s photo caption. I will inform you if Al Ahram underwent a change of heart, something I really doubt.


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