Why people sympathize with ElBaradei

Why people sympathize with ElBaradei

The sudden emergence of Mohamed ElBaradei on the political scene has provoked a variety of responses. While some have felt uneasy, others have felt jealous of his presence and others still couldn’t help feeling surprised at how much ElBaradei has been welcomed.

No other member of the opposition has gained as much acceptance as ElBaradei–a fact which can be explained by many reasons. First is ElBaradei’s well-timed appearance, before the 2011 presidential elections in which President Mubarak might not run and where power may be transferred to the president’s son, Gamal Mubarak.

Second, ElBaradei isn’t a product of the current Egyptian political scene, which is steeped in crises. Egyptian politicians have been operating in a political context forcing them to have conflicts among themselves rather than with the regime. Unfortunately, those inter-party squabbles have come at the expense of reform and the public interest.

Third, ElBaradei is an “outsider” to this political scene, and thus he hasn’t committed the political sins of others in a country where law has taken a back seat in favor of unprecedented chaos, leaving people skeptical of the competence of their elites and opposition leaders.

Indisputably, ElBaradei’s profile as a man of law and the former chief of a prestigious international organization has aroused a genuine interest in him. Any accusations that ElBaradei headed an organization whose function was largely dictated by the red lines drawn by the US administration are of no significance since the Egyptian regime’s foreign policy is itself influenced by the red lines laid down by the US and Israel.

People in Egypt have come to understand that the US and the West–excluding Israel–will accept and respect any regime headed by a leader who respects democratic values and human rights and aspires to create a state governed by institutions. They are aware that countries drowning in corruption and mismanagement are no longer respected.

Despite a combination of bad ideas, false religious values and football mania, Egyptians have sympathized with a man who has witnessed Western values of modernity first-hand and who desires democracy. If anything, this proves that our society is still beating with life and wants reform.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.