• November 29, 2006

Hala Mustafa: My Clash with Security Apparatus, not Gamal Mubarak

Hala Mustafa: My Clash with Security Apparatus, not Gamal Mubarak

She is, as I know, veracious, clear, and full of political enthusiasm; she is amazing but is, sometimes, ambiguous; She is Dr. Hala Mustafa who restored the confidence as a member in the NDP’s Policies Secretariat after three years of full suspension due to her criticism at the Policies Secretariat and security services, according to her interview with ” Al-Misri Al-Youm” .

The Interview

-How is your relations with the security services?



-What do you mean?

-It is good because I have many friends from among them due to my partisan affiliation, I can not deny any relations with them.


-So, why have you attacked them fiercely in your article in the Washington Post?

-Because I saw many police practices which I have never imagined to see in Egypt


-Have you seen or experienced?

I experienced them to the extent that I feared that I may die, I suffered a siege that paralyzed the activities of my life: all my phone calls were tapped in addition to many threats from some officials, my life was under siege; this is the worst feeling that any one can ever feel.


-Can we say that the real clash was with the security?



.. Did they have anything official that may convict you?

   There is no thing official that can convict me, I challenge, it is completely based on a slander against me from my colleagues in the committee as they described me a collaborator to America.

-Has your clash with Gamal Mubarak abated?

  I had no clash with him, I always criticized the Policies Secretariat in front of him and he used to talk with me.


          What happened then? Why did he get angry at you?

          I don’t know… all what I know is that there is a lobby in the political bureau who slandered me before many officials.


          Do you mean Gamal Mubarak?

          Let me say officials


          Are these officials of the kind of people who give ears to slanders?

          Perhaps, however, unfortunately, I have no lobby to defend me.


          Some say that you demanded meeting Gamal Mubarak more than once but he refused?

          It never happened and you can ask Gamal Mubarak for a confirmation.


          Haven’t you tried to defend yourself?



          Don’t you see that this is a negative attitude from an “enthusiastic” politician like you?

          I am very shy, I am not the one in people’s imagination; I never demanded any favor from any one, I hoped to solve the problem, and I do believe that steadfastness and patience are not negative attitudes?


          What about complaining to Condoleezza Rice?

          Never happened, all these are attempts to defame me and depict me as a foe… yes, I have ties with Condoleezza Rice, yet, I never complained to her and I never planned to use her to exercise measures on officials as some report. I am proud that Condoleezza praised me at the American University of Cairo, because she praised my opinions and thoughts, and she said that my thoughts are heralding for democracy, and this is not a defect; why do we always regard any one praised by America as a foe and should be punished?!


          Don’t you feel that it is very strange that you face all this repression while you belong to the National Democratic Party?

          May be because my ideas are shocking to them.


          How can we understand their treatment to other different parties?

          I don’t know but I am very realistic, I know that, perhaps, there is some kind of idealism while propounding ideas, but this is not a condition; The National Party is not always that idealist Party.


          Is it the only reason?

          No, but I am well acquainted with the background and qualifications of some of those working with me and have joined the political field; so, they don’t want to see me all the time; most importantly, there is a lobby inside the party’s Policies Secretariat whose members have common interests so they had to exclude any one contradicting their interests even if this one is well qualified; so I was a threat to them.


          Your criticism to the Policies Secretariat exposed the silence of other members… do you agree on this?

          Criticism and silence are related to your own objectives inside the Secretariat, and whether you want a general or personal interest; add to this that the political practices are inseparable from the human personal reality so it is very hard to be an opportunist, while I am seeking others’ rights. In politics, you can never find a person who is coward on the personal level while he changes into a brave person in his political life… some members in the Policies Secretariat are like actors as if we are making a play, and I can not really grasp the gap between the form and the role … between man in his personal life and inside power… I wonder is it an inherited custom or a political legacy; generally speaking, I don’t have a private agenda, that’s why I was the best one to express my opinions frankly.


          Some said that you want to be appointed as a Shura Council member and that when this plan failed you sought revenge through a campaign of criticism?

          This is untrue, because I have no dreams or plans to be in parliaments because they need specific figures whom I don’t see myself able to be like, although I have political ambition which is my right.


          What about your ambitions and limits?

          My ambition should fit my capabilities, I have many ties with the regime for a long time, and I have also contributions, studies that qualify me to be among political decision makers or political consultants.


          You said that you faced a fierce siege, how was it?

          They excluded me from any TV programs and they concocted a campaign against me in the local press and some security bodies.


          Who issued the decision for blocking you?

          I don’t know


          How did they depict you in the press campaign?

          They depicted me as a foe who works for US interests and as if I have no loyalty to my homeland; I was so much oppressed.


          Suppose that they prevent you from the governmental outlets, so how do you interpret canceling the debate in Al-Hura liberal channel after announcing that you will join the debate?

          I don’t know and don’t forget that there are many Arab and foreign channels that have many bureaus in Egypt that you can practice measures on.

…..I said that there are some people from within the Secretariat who want to destroy Gamal Mubarak’s project.


          Who are they?

           Those who want to exclude many people and those who have huge influences.


          Don’t you see that the crisis is bigger than your contributions to the Party?

         Contributions can’t be measured by kilos or meters, in addition to the fact that one idea may constitute a comprehensive study, it is relative; however, the most important thing is that there are- within the committee- 129 members who give important opinions, yet there is another selected elite who represent the political bureau; they have the right to have their opinions approved; I am not a decision maker and this closed circle is a monopolized one. What is so strange is that some of them failed in elections and they are still in the committee. Many still depend on them regardless of the old group who hasn’t changed for years, this indicates stagnancy.


          Why have they targeted you, in person, how far do you represent a threat to them?

          My colleagues in the secretariat imagine that the best gain is the “US support “, so they felt that I top them because my ideas are applauded in America.


          Which is most important: to be praised locally or to be praised by America?

          Both are important, and I enjoy both because President Mubarak knew me in the 1980s, and he praised me and I worked with Usama Al-Baz after I got a PhD in the political Islam in Egypt in 1994, which witnessed the peak of the terrorist activities in Egypt.


          What about praising you at the local level?

          My writings- Praise be to Allah- are greatly applauded among people.


          I don’t think so because there is an established hatred among people towards America and every one dealing with the Americans?

          This is the weapon which my enemies used to fight me although they pant after American satisfaction, they are aware- like me- that we have many similar stories proving what I am saying, all those who slandered me and said that I have ties with America, are already seeking to prove that they support America.


          Is it true that the nearer they are to America the more acceptable they are in the Policies Secretariat and the National Party?

          They think so


          How do you interpret the great ado around having confidence in you, although you confirmed that you didn’t quit?    

          Many people thought that because I severely criticized some practices inside the Secretariat I will be excluded from the new reshuffle.


Was it a surprise to you?

-No, because I had contaacts with the committee and I did not resign as people circulated.


-But you admitted that they did freeze your activities?

-Yes, but I had contacts with some leaders inside the Secretariat and I did not desolate my self at all.


-Are you happy because they renewed your membership?

-I did not quit in order to be back.


-So, you are happy because the blockade is lifted?

-actually it is not clear; I don’t know what will happen in the future.


-Does the punishment have an impact?

-They are the ones who can decide, not me.


-Did you want to change your previous attitudes after renewing membership?

-No, I will not change anything, unless I am a liar.


-If this scenario is reloaded, will you stop short again of resigning or will you give a decisive answer?

-The future is in the hands of the Almighty.


-I will not repeat my question, so kindly reply?

-I will not resign because I am optimistic and I believe in many pledges


-What did they promise you of?

-“As if she realized her slip of the tongue” she said, “No body promised me of anything”


-Will you write in the same courageous way against the policies secretariat if they perpetrated wrong practices?

-I can not reply


-Reply or ask for no comment?

-“After a long silence”: I won’t change my ideas


-I did not speak about ideas, my question is clear: will you criticize the Policies Secretariat in your articles, as you used to do before, after renewing the membership?

-“She wanted to reply in order to evade embarrassment”: I will write.


-Will you change other terms and ease a little bit the fierce tone in your writings?



-If something opposed your views while you are on the political arena in Egypt, which one will you choose?

-I have no political post to fear about.


-In other words, if they made me choose between the partisan commitment or blockade, which one will you choose?

-Both are kinds of blockade; the first is indirect while the other is direct, will I leave what is bad in order to go to the worst; by the way, it isn’t to their interest to force me to repeat their ideas.


-Do you think that that renewing your membership indicate any hegemony on you in order to indirectly freeze your activities?

-“She guffawed” and said: perhaps they won’t hold a truce with me… then she added: we can say that they tried to contain the situation; by the way, this is not difficult as it comes from a top partisan figure like Safwat Al-Sheriff who has strong ties with me and he was the first one to introduce me to the party.


-Is it a kind of containment or just attraction?

-No comment.


-You said that politics is mimicry and that you don’t master mimicry.

-Yes, the politician should not only imitate the reality but should also change it.


-Then you are an unsuccessful politician?

-They said I have more than one face


-Do you mean that you have a talent of political hypocrisy?

-No I did not mean so, because my opinions and stances are one and do not change but there are different aspects in my character like idealism and realism.


-If there is another stronger party rather than the National Party will you seek its membership?



-Even if it belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood?

-No I will never co-operate with Muslim Brothers as they know very well my opinion about them, I have different ideology from them and I won’t deal with any group that contradicts with my trends.


-How many parties in Egypt do you differ with?



-Then, you agree with the ideology of the National Party?

-The differences between us are not so many.


-Why did not you reconsider your affiliation to the National Party while you know that the National Party has a very low popular rating among people?

-This low popular rating is due to the performance of the party, that’s why we started to reconsider change and reform in order to ameliorate the performance and restore the popularity and trust.

Then she asked me“: do you have clear statistics to prove the low popular rating of the National Party: I asked her: how do you account for the Muslim Brotherhood’s 88 seat-win in parliament?

-We have a huge political passivity and there are no parties or groups that have a vast popularity.


-Even the Muslim Brothers?

-They may have popularity but some exaggerate their popularity because the organization of the Muslim Brothers is bigger than their popularity, and the phenomenon of veil in streets and press do not indicate its high popularity; by the way, sometimes the National Party adopts the Islamic slogans because they have become a black horse nowadays.


-What is your opinion about the circulation of power and that the president is still in his post for such a period of time?

-President Mubarak inherited the regime from President Sadat who put many obstacles before partisan practices and who was the one who devised article 77 which left the presidential term open ended.


-Do you mean that President Mubarak added nothing new?

-Yes, there has been nothing new since he assumed power; that’s why we are trying to further anything new.


-Is it rational to start change after remaining 25 years in power?

-Your question highlights the change that took place during the last three years after many years of stagnancy.


-Who is the one responsible for this stagnancy?

After the assassination of Sadat, the regime was panicked and decided to move on the same trend as a goal without furthering any change.


-Do you mean the president?

-I mean the security services.


-Are they separated from the president and his interests?

-There is a misconception among people that every thing is in the hands of the President; I am against attributing all faults to the president, how can we imagine that every thing is in the hands of one person.


-But he is  the one who frames the entire policy of the state?

-This is not true, what is the role of the security services.


-Which party will you co-operate with if you assumed power?

-I do not think that there is any party that can reach power and I believe that Egypt will not change away from the current trend in any way because the National Party will continue whether during Mubarak’s era or during his son’s.


-Then you support that Gamal Mubarak be a president?

-I believe that since I agreed to be under his leadership in the Party so I agree that he assumes power.


-Do you think that his mindset qualifies him to be a president?

-I think that he plays a political role that qualifies him to be a president and the post of a president doesn’t necessarily require a long experience and deep political practices like an encyclopedia because this is the role of the suite surrounding him who must have certain qualifications.


-What are these qualifications?

-He should have high abilities in making decisions, on the local or foreign level and to evaluate matters, to be able to choose a good suite, I mean consultants, to be able to rectify deviation and to enjoy high flexibility; for example, no one can say that the US president, George Bush, knows everything.


-If not Gamal Mubarak who can be then?

-I can’t see any alternative for Gamal Mubarak.


-Why do you see no alternative for Gamal Mubarak?

-This is due to the ongoing events and the status quo.


If you think that Gamal Mubarak is qualified to rule Egypt, who can be his consultants to help him?

-This is the main point of view, because if Gamal Mubarak continued to rely on the current consultants he will further no change.


-Will Gamal Mubarak assume power through a popular choice or through ascension?

-Through elections.