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Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, Egypt's top democracy advocate returns to lead protests!

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Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 04:34 PM
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Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, Egypt's top democracy advocate returns to lead protests!

Egypt democracy leader returns to lead protests
Associated Press
January 27, 2011

CAIRO Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, Egypt's top democracy advocate and a key challenger to President Hosni Mubarak, returned to the country Thursday night after declaring he was ready to lead the grass-roots protest movement to a regime change.

Social networking sites were abuzz with talk that Friday's rallies could be some of the biggest so far calling for the ouster of Mubarak after 30 years in power. Millions gather at mosques across the city for Friday prayers, providing organizers with a huge number of people already out on the streets to tap into.

By Thursday evening, Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry Messenger services were interrupted, possibly a move by authorities to hamper protesters from organizing. Facebook reported a drop in traffic to its Web site from Egypt, the company said.

The protesters have already achieved a major feat by sustaining their demonstrations for three days in the face of a brutal police crackdown. Seven people have been killed, hundreds hurt and nearly 1,000 detained.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41288680


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Mohamed ElBaradei released the following public declaration before his return:

A Manifesto for Change in Egypt
by Mohamed ElBaradei


When Egypt had parliamentary elections only two months ago, they were completely rigged. The party of President Hosni Mubarak left the opposition with only 3 percent of the seats. Imagine that. And the American government said that it was dismayed. Well, frankly, I was dismayed that all it could say is that it was dismayed. The word was hardly adequate to express the way the Egyptian people felt.

Then, as protests built in the streets of Egypt following the overthrow of Tunisias dictator, I heard Secretary of State Hillary Clintons assessment that the government in Egypt is stable and looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people. I was flabbergastedand I was puzzled. What did she mean by stable, and at what price? Is it the stability of 29 years of emergency laws, a president with imperial power for 30 years, a parliament that is almost a mockery, a judiciary that is not independent? Is that what you call stability? I am sure not. And I am positive that it is not the standard you apply to other countries. What we see in Egypt is pseudo-stability, because real stability only comes with a democratically elected government.

If you would like to know why the United States does not have credibility in the Middle East, that is precisely the answer. People were absolutely disappointed in the way you reacted to Egypts last election. You reaffirmed their belief that you are applying a double standard for your friends, and siding with an authoritarian regime just because you think it represents your interests. We are staring at social disintegration, economic stagnation, political repression, and we do not hear anything from you, the Americans, or for that matter from the Europeans.

So when you say the Egyptian government is looking for ways to respond to the needs of the Egyptian people, I feel like saying, Well, its too late! This isnt even good realpolitik. We have seen what happened in Tunisia, and before that in Iran. That should teach people there is no stability except when you have government freely chosen by its own people.

Of course, you in the West have been sold the idea that the only options in the Arab world are between authoritarian regimes and Islamic jihadists. Thats obviously bogus. If we are talking about Egypt, there is a whole rainbow variety of people who are secular, liberal, market-oriented, and if you give them a chance they will organize themselves to elect a government that is modern and moderate. They want desperately to catch up with the rest of the world.

Instead of equating political Islam with al Qaeda all the time, take a closer look. Historically, Islam was hijacked about 20 or 30 years after the Prophet and interpreted in such a way that the ruler has absolute power and is accountable only to God. That, of course, was a very convenient interpretation for whoever was the ruler. Only a few weeks ago, the leader of a group of ultra-conservative Muslims in Egypt issued a fatwa, or religious edict, calling for me to repent for inciting public opposition to President Hosni Mubarak, and declaring the ruler has a right to kill me, if I do not desist. This sort of thing moves us toward the dark ages. But did we hear a single word of protest or denunciation from the Egyptian government? No.

Despite all of this, I have hoped to find a way toward change through peaceful means. In a country like Egypt, its not easy to get people to put down their names and government ID numbers on a document calling for fundamental democratic reforms, yet a million people have done just that. The regime, like the monkey that sees nothing and hears nothing, simply ignored us.

As a result, the young people of Egypt have lost patience, and what youve seen in the streets these last few days has all been organized by them. I have been out of Egypt because that is the only way I can be heard. I have been totally cut off from the local media when I am there. But I am going back to Cairo, and back onto the streets because, really, there is no choice. You go out there with this massive number of people, and you hope things will not turn ugly, but so far, the regime does not seem to have gotten that message.

Each day it gets harder to work with Mubaraks government, even for a transition, and for many of the people you talk to in Egypt, that is no longer an option. They think he has been there 30 years, he is 83 years old, and it is time for a change. For them, the only option is a new beginning.

How long this can go on, I dont know. In Egypt, as in Tunisia, there are other forces than just the president and the people. The army has been quite neutral so far, and I would expect it to remain that way. The soldiers and officers are part of the Egyptian people. They know the frustrations. They want to protect the nation.

But this week the Egyptian people broke the barrier of fear, and once that is broken, there is no stopping them.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-01-26/mohamed-elbaradei-the-return-of-the-challenger/
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thereismore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 04:43 PM
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1. ElBaradei dismayed at the US? Uh, oh. nt
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Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 06:07 PM
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2. Egyptian bloggers brave police intimidation
Egyptian bloggers brave police intimidation
Their ranks are young and their voices continue to be heard despite threats
By Suzanne Choney
msnbc.com
January 27, 2011

Their voices may not be the ones heard on the streets of Egypt, but what they're saying is coming through loud and clear over the Internet, via websites, blogs and social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter.

Egypt's bloggers are young, as much of the nation is, with the median age being 24. Noha Atef, 26, started blogging about five years ago, spurred by reports she read about Egyptian women who were being tortured in police stations.

She hasn't experienced such ugliness first-hand, but she and her family are threatened and harassed, she said in a recent interview with The Friday Bulletin.

Such is the case for thousands of others whose laptops and cell phones are always at hand. Most are protesting not only their country's politics and President Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power for nearly 30 years, but what they say are human rights violations involving torture and sometimes murder.

Their ranks include a support network, people like Ahmed Garbeia, a freelance software engineer who organizes workshops for bloggers, as well as human rights lawyers, and independent newspaper editors.

Read the full article at:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41285248/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets


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Meeting where they can

Egypt has the largest and most active blogosphere in the Arab world, and their work is done at great personal risk, facing arrest, prison, torture -- and even death, in some cases, says British photojournalist Anastasia Taylor-Lind, who is based in the Middle East. In this photo, the 'godfather' of Egyptian bloggers Wael Abbas, right, with fellow activists Kareem El Behiry, center, and Ahmed El Sayad, left, at Al Borsah Cafe in downtown Cairo, Egypt in 2010. Many bloggers are the children of Cairos intellectuals, radicals and activists and they gather late into the night in the shabby downtown street cafes their parents inhabited in the 1960s and 70s.


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Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 09:01 PM
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3. This is iimportant
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