Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ayman Nour: Egypt opposition versus the government

Egypt is the land of wonders. The first anniversary of the burning the headquarters of the el-Ghad Party coincides with the fifth anniversary of establishing it. I am astonished by the ability of those involved in burning my office to keep their self respect! I wonder how they dare to look right into the eyes of their children, spouses, and the whole of Egyptian society. I dare them to look into my eyes. No matter how mean and liars they are, they cannot stand long.
Some of the criminals, who committed the attack and the burning, claimed that they were in a “nonviolent” protest on Emergency Law. Others claimed that the purpose of the “nonviolent” rally was to condemn the allies of the US and the agents of Israel. Ironically, the leaders of the rally are mentioned on the CIA website. Some Egyptian newspapers – including the al-Wafd daily – condemned this already. At the same moment, this so-called “unbeatable fighter” who claims that his rally is against Israel was mentioned in Israeli media as an expected visitor after signing a business agreement with an Israeli agriculture company. One of the experts from this Israeli agriculture company is working at his office.
Egypt is the only country in the world where the ruling party selects its opposition groups and assigns its rivals. If they like an opposition activist, they will give him a license to launch an “opposition” party. If they dislike him later, they throw him in prison for years; sometimes for the same license they previously gave to him!
When Mostafa Kamal Helmy became the director of the Parties’ Affairs Committee, he infected it with some of his characteristics as a former teacher. PAC now applies the rule: good manners are preferred to intellectuality. I doubt that, one day, we might find a sub-line on the banner of the PAC reading: “discipline, pruning, and reform!” Currently, Pac director is the Secretary General of the ruling National Democratic Party. The members of PAC are the pro-regime officials from the ministries of Interior, Justice, etc. In case this committee rejected your request, you can yearn to the “Court of Parties,” which is run by judges, NDP members, and high profile governmental officials. If the PAC does not notify you with its decision, they have the right to put you in jail at any minute. Simply, the materials you submit are usually used as proof of you violating the law, in case they refused your request. If the committee chooses not notify you or send you to prison, they can plant thorns in your head. They send you someone who barely knows something about efforts you made for establishing your party and let him claim that he is a “partner” and even worse drag you down into a conflict of the leadership of your own party! Then, you find yourself obliged to prove owning a right of your own. This is the most successful strategy the government uses to exhaust you and sometimes cripple you, if you wanted to practice real opposition politics.
The judiciary cannot be of any help. If you file a claim, you have to wait for many years. If you wait and respect the rules until you finally have a verdict, the PAC still keeps the right to validate this verdict or not, and you have to wait for another supporting verdict to the first verdict. You can hold as many public conferences as you can, and the committee still keeps the right to pay attention or disregard you at all. This happens all the time in Egypt.
Egyptian political parties are either unauthorized, banned, or terrified from losing their license. The El-Ghad Party is a living example to this horrible disorder. Only 89 days after establishing the El-Ghad party, the PAC decided to solve the situation by imprisoning its leader and founder.
However, this did not lead to the results they were looking for, as we ranked second in the presidential election. Thus, the committee decided to shake us! One week after the presidential elections, they started the shaking game, but we stood strong in the face of the earthquake. Hence, the regime and its PAC decided to apply a new strategy: genocide. They arrested young members, besieged our activities, banned the party newspaper, and burnt its headquarters.
When will the regime and the so-called Parties Affairs Committee realize that political parties are not born by governmental decisions or killed by anonymous fires?

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