My advice to ElBaradei
My advice to ElBaradei
Thursday, April 22,2010 00:11
By Montasir el-Zayat

It often seems like they criticize him simply for the sake of opposing him or in order to wheedle their way closer to the regime. They claim ElBaradei lacks necessary political experience and hasn't lived among the people. They even go as far as to claim that his management of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) lacked political skill and mental competence.

ElBaradei is a politician in every sense of the word. He was an ambassador at the Egyptian foreign ministry and then managed to become chief of the IAEA, even though official Egypt didn't back his nomination. His father was the Lawyer's Syndicate head at a time when such a position had political significance.

Some opponents claim that ElBaradei hasn't lived among the people or the poor. But this claim couldn't be more comical, for have those who currently run our affairs ever mingled with the people? Has the government of businessmen and Policies Secretariat members of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), who live large and only smoke cigars, ever been out on the street with the people?

One thing people admire about ElBaradei is his interest in public affairs even though he can opt to have a quiet life after retirement.

Various segments of Egyptian society want change, but the desire for change shouldn't necessarily imply hostile feelings towards President Mubarak. We should create an atmosphere that allows free choice and free elections; only then will we accept the outcome of elections whether they bring an NDP candidate to power or someone else. It is no longer acceptable to direct people's choices--the world around us is changing and we can't continue to watch silently.

What I don't like about ElBaradei is, in fact, many of the people around him, from the so-called opposition, who are only good at appearing on satellite TV shows and meeting behind closed doors and in rich hotel meeting rooms. You only see such people where cameras are rolling. They attempt to pull any new movements that emerge away from official parties under their umbrella--leading to the continuous failure any new initiative.

The Holy Quran has described a group of people who, on Judgment Day, will end up neither in paradise nor in hell because they will have an equal number of good and bad deeds.

I don't know why those surrounding ElBaradei remind me of this group. They aren't any different from officials in power and businessmen in the NDP, for they haven't connected with the people.

Some of them might be genuinely struggling for reform and trying hard to interact with ordinary citizens. Unfortunately though, the majority of them are technocrats or employees operating under a political veneer, while having their own undercover political or business agendas.

I advise to ElBaradei to pick his assistants wisely and to make a sound start.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.