Monday, December 14, 2009

Ayman Nour: The Parallel President

Ayman Nour

Freedom supporters in Egypt are urgently invited to read the following scenario, add their inputs, and get prepared: Mubarak senior or junior goes to the presidential election committee of Heliopolis district in September 2011 to submit his candidacy papers. He will not find the road clean from the supporters of other candidates, particularly the ones who the regime wants to exclude from the competition, upon illegal and undemocratic practices covered by the law.

The hypothetical scene on the morning of submitting candidacy papers, should be as follows: The headquarters of the presidential elections, which is based in a building in heliopolis, across the road from the War College, will mark the unprecedented turnout of supporters for all candidates, regardless of their political affiliations.

The supporters of El-Ghad party, in 2005 “forged” elections, were more than three quarter million of people! Some of them, in 2011, will accompany their candidate while he submits the candidacy papers. They will gather peacefully to express their opinion for the international and local public opinion.

The supporters of some independent candidates (e.g. Dr. Mohamed Elbaradie or Muslim Brotherhood candidate) or candidates of parties threatened by exclusion (e.g. El-Gabha Party) with claim that they started less than five years ago, and others will gather outside the committee headquarters to support the right of their candidates to join the race for presidential seat.

The horrible scene out there will not be the demonstrations or clashes, but the “unexpected” response to article 76 of the Egyptian Constitution, which stipulates that the candidate should be supported by at least 250 members of local municipal councils, Shoura Council, and People’s Assembly; provided that 10 of the supporters must be representing municipal councils in at least 14 governorates.

The presence of people at the election committee will not be artificial for popular pressure. It is also meant to be an execution to article 11 of law 174/2005 of organizing presidential elections; which stipulates that “supporting the candidate is allowed according to the model stated by the presidential elections committee.” In other words, the presence of supporters here is obligatory to know the model they should follow and respond to the committee.

It is also essential that the presidential committee should accept the papers of candidates regardless of the obstacles, according to articles 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 of presidential elections law. The committee should announce in two daily newspapers the names of all candidates who submitted their papers even before checking their submissions to see if they meet the candidacy conditions or not. This will give an opportunity to supporters of each candidate to wait for few days outside the headquarters of the committee before the final decision is made; i.e. approval or disapproval on candidacy papers.

The whole world should see the odyssey of steadfastness and determination made by the bare hands of people who will enforce their historical right to informed choice.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Ayman Nour invites El Baradei to form a constitutional convention

In his article today, Ayman Nour invites former IAEA chief, Mohamed El Baradei, to join Nour’s nation-wide door-knocking campaign. He also invites him to start a national campaign in order to establish a constitutional convention to draft a new constitution for the country. Here are the 3 basic suggestions Nour offers to El Baradei:

  1. I invite Dr.El Baradei to participate with us, as an Egyptian reformer, in the door-knocking campaign. It started last April as a nonpartisan nationwide campaign aiming at spreading the ideas of reform and change through direct contact with the people. He is invited to lead the campaign’s second phase starting next February. In the first phase we’ve visited nearly 20 governorates and 30 major cities. The second phase will include weekly visits to the countryside population centers.
  2. El Baradei is asked, as a law professor, to adopt a public campaign to form a national constitutional convention whose task is to draft a new constitution supported and signed by the people to achieve what we hope, and what El Baradei does, along with all political forces, for a constitution for a modern Egypt.
  3. We call upon Dr.El Baradei to modify what was labelled in the media as ‘pre-conditions to run for presidency’ to ‘national rights and demands’.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ayman Nour Biography

Ayman Nour

Ayman Nour was born on the 5 th of December 1964 to a father who was a lawyer and a Member of Parliament (MP) and a mother who established and supervised a number of charity projects in his birth town Mansurah.

He started his political career as a student activist during high school and University; and was elected as President for the Egyptian High School Students’ Union in 1980.

He won several awards in photography, school journalism & many other activities.

He graduated at Law School (Mansurah University) & started his career in journalism in the 80s, in one of the most famous opposition newspapers called “El Wafd” after “El Wafd Party” the oldest liberal party in Egypt. He was married to Gamila Ismail, who was a TV presenter, a political activist and who became his spokeswoman later on.

Nour's main concern was torture & corruption cases which led to his arrest & exposure to physical violence several times during his press campaigns.

Ayman Nour interviewed a number of arab world leaders like Yasser Arafat.
He wrote a number of books like “Liberalism is the solution” in 1992 compared to the famous Islamic slogan “Islam is the solution”.

He wrote as well “The Black Soldier : Zaki Badr” who was at that time the Egyptian Interior Minister.

He received his Ph.D. degree in “History of Law” from Russia in 1995. Then he ran for parliamentary elections and won to become the MP representing “El Wafd” liberal party in an electoral district in the center of Cairo called Bab el Sha’rea.

Till now he is considered the youngest member in the history of the Egyptian Parliament as he had been elected only few days after I had reached the legal age for nomination.

As a Parliament member ( 1995 – 2005 ) he exposed lots of corruption cases, proposed a large number of laws, amended & monitored many International treaties which involved Egypt , stood against random laws, supported civil rights , visited many parliaments around the world & won many awards for his honorable parliamentary performance on both national & international levels.

In 2003, he demanded a war crime trial for George W. Bush & Tony Blair for the invasion of Iraq without the UN permission.

He was re-elected for Parliament in 2000 announcing his intention for running for presidency after having 186 votes in the internal parliamentary elections (more than the third of the parliament which was in this time the main condition for being a presidential candidate) but then one year later he was dismissed from “El Wafd” party together with many of his colleagues in Parliament & began establishing their own political liberal movement called “Al Ghad” i.e. "Tomorrow" in 2003.

In 2002 he wrote a political & economical platform for Egypt’s problems in a book called (Modern Egypt in 2020) which later on became the basis for “Al Ghad party” policy.

In 2003 he launched with his fellows a large political campaign to attract Egyptian youth & society elite to political life based on the old Egyptian liberal values of “Al Ghad movement “such as “tolerance” , “human rights”, “third way free market”, while respecting Egyptian & islamic traditions.

In 2004 after a lot of pressure on the government (by thousands of founders, demonstrations & well written platforms handed to the Court ) the Egyptian government finally gave the legal license for the foundation of “Al Ghad” party (announcing in the government-controlled public media that it was an underhanded deal).

The Party then called for presidential elections instead of the old fashioned presidential referendum.

Because of his calls for constitutional reforms as regards the presidential elections, he was targeted by the Egyptian regime when 3 months later he was accused of falsifying official documents related to “Al Ghad” party.

His parliamentary immunity was terminated in a 30 minutes session & he was brutally dragged to jail while coming out of the Parliament building.

Days later President Mubarak announced constitutional reforms that will allow other candidates to run in the 2005 elections against him. So he submitted his nomination papers from inside the prison & the government released him to run for the Presidential elections.

In only 28 days, he carried out his election propaganda campaign where he visited almost all districts of Egypt holding conferences in each one. He was subjected to a heavy smear campaign by the government-controlled media & newspapers accusing him of being an American ally.

Finally he came second in the elections by officially taking 540000 votes (8%) compared to Mubarak who has been in power since 1981, who took 6 000 000 votes.

After the presidential elections he was put once again in jail in a trial described by many observers as an unfair trial under the control of a famous judge – the one who sent Dr.Saad el Din Ibrahim to prison few years before.

He was sentenced for 5 years in prison for “knowing about the falsified papers” & months later one of the imprisoned partners in this case was found hanged in his cell (was said to have committed suicide ) a day after his announcement that he had been intimidated by the State Security to force him to lie during his confession.

In prison he was forbidden all his rights including the right to communicate through writing and seeing other prisoners, even the right for health care which led to a lot of health problems later on.

In February 2009 – 4 months earlier than the date for his legal release from prison the government set him free (announcing once again that it was another deal between him & the regime ).

After being set free in 2009 he launched a new campaign called “Knocking the doors” to complete the visits he had started in 2005 to Egyptian towns & cities ,, & even to millions of Egyptians living outside Egypt in Europe , US & in the Gulf region.

Now, when he is supposed to be a free man, he is prevented from earning his living by resuming my job as a lawyer, or dealing with his bank accounts, or selling his property and finally he has been banned from traveling abroad.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ahmed Amar comment on BikyaMasr

Was a free man touring and flying in the sky, maneuvering and engage in dialogue, invalidate his intelligence on the spectrum of prey for upholding the right to
Sky country, which Amtlait corruption until he received a dream day and has the right to dream the dream,

it belongs to Falcon troublemaker contested space and the eagle in his kingdom, which occupied Bjbroch and power and tried to defend the site you Vdhaih solvency Eagle corruption and the assassination of the dreams of the rest of the birds and the determination to fight the battle

Falcon-style space-Sharif and offset Eagle all methods of deception and deceit and even highlighted by owls and crows to Inhishoa in his and did not leave a door in the deception, but it has been opened, and because a single Vhzmh Hawk Eagle of corruption and vote rigging toward economic because they do not powerless Falcon did not escape the eagle ..

commanded him to be incarcerated and isolated from the flight and the opinion of Falcon all forms of humiliation in his prison after he was a free man in outer space and prejudice against himself for a principle and the issue of Vdhaih site you want to purging of raptors Alnahph for the rights of other vulnerable birds until he came out he was sick of Aigoi the birds and because the eagle security Pferman himself and his decision to prevent Falcon Mnatahth rule space,

and the Falcon was trying to pick up desperate measures to continue flying and resisted the disease, and try again after another until recovery and when he tries to fly to the stage behind him and sends owls and crows to check on how it is measured in order to prepare him if completed healing time for elections,

the king of space every day Ivdad Falcon Guo and Ivdad number of crows that try to be thwarted by his determination and less even recovered from his illness and flew and flew and landed to the city he loves and is loved birds because he knows she loves him and interact with the birds in friendly love and discuss with them and teach them the realities of things and saw the truth of the meanings of words and committing themselves to support him as they were by his side at first and he left Falcon to return to his residence,

a joy is happy because he is supported in part by the Muslim Brotherhood ahead, if it is allowed to log on again and breathed a sigh of relief because he understood how much he is loved by birds, which supported the weak and will support him every step of the will to fly to fight Eagle hawk that Egyptian policy, Dr. Ayman Nour .. every year is a good people of Alexandria congratulates him happy birthday .. Ahmed Ammar, head of the labor movement democracy

Ayman Nour: Thank you Baradei for keeping my chasers occupied

In Egypt, when you oppose the regime, you will be labeled as either ignorant, a fool, or a hypocrite! If you introduced yourself as an alternative to the head of the regime, you will be labeled as either a criminal or a murderer! Opposing gods would bring their curse and anger upon you. But opposing the regime would shed your blood, lead you to death, and make you an example to scare whoever dares to do what you have done. Opposing the regime is disliked, but competing as an alternative is a big deal that shakes the seven heavens.
When Dr. Mohamed Elbaradei released a statement on his “faraway intentions” to run for presidency seat, the heat came up higher. The pro-regime journalists and media started an immediate urgent campaign of moral assassination of Elbaradie. They started only a few hours after the statement was released. They were referring to him as a reason of pride to the country, they are laughing at him with claim that he is a stranger who spent 28 years outside Egypt. They even accused him of being a spy for the United States of America and its regional ally. Then, they started looking for the other nationalities that Elbaradei might have; some claimed American and some others claimed Swedish!
In less than a minute, the Egyptian citizen, Mohamed Elbaradei turned into half citizen, or quarter of a citizen, or a few remains of a citizen. They made him a foolish student of Botrous Ghali, untalented employee who lacks experience on internal problems of Egypt, and above all a spy to other countries abroad!
I will not commit the foolishness of the pro-regime press. I will not listen to the intense statements of state officials and regime men against Elbaradie. I can understand this horrible process of mental assassination. I have been there before!
In 2000, I announced my intention to run for presidency during a TV interviewed with my late colleague and friend Magdi Mehanna. Before that date, the state-run media outlets used to interview me, almost daily, as a patriotic opposition figure. They used me as a proof of the understanding of the regime, who would accept those who say “no” sometimes; except for gods of course!
I won 168 votes (more than one third of votes) at the internal elections of parliament in 2000, and subsequently fulfilled the provision of article 76 of the Egyptian constitution, which was amended later in 2005. As soon as I won the votes, I found myself in hell. The first burn came from El-Wafd Party which, all of a sudden, cancelled my membership and removed me from my work as a journalist in El-Wafd newspaper.
When my wife ran in the elections of the Shura Council in 2001 against the leader, the details of the new era had been already established. We faced the widest process of forgery and violence, upon the demands of the big boss, as we were told!
Suddenly, they turned me from a good citizen and a patriotic Member of Parliament for ten years into an unpatriotic person with a wealth from unsuspected sources. I wonder where this wealth they are talking about is.
In the presidential elections of 2005, the regime fabricated a naïve and funny legal case against me. The official wing of the supreme authority was directly involved, while other authority tools were busy with assassinating me in cold blood. They are not done yet!
The fools of the regime are not ashamed of spreading rumors and lies about me. They claimed that my father is not my father! They said that I escaped military service, although I am a single child. Some had great ability for imagination. They claimed that I was a soldier in the US army during Vietnam War, although I was born in 1964.
Many thanks for Dr. Elbaradei for keeping the authorities, who were chasing me for years, busy!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Amr Hamzawy : Egypt's Opposition Misled by Fixation with Mubarak’s Son

Amr Hamzawy
The National
1 December 2009

Political opposition in Egypt has been stirred by a recent campaign against Gamal Mubarak, the son of the president Hosni Mubarak, becoming Egypt’s new president in 2011. In particular, Ayman Nour, a key opposition figure and a presidential candidate in 2005, has mobilised a wide spectrum of political groups to present a united front in upcoming legislative and presidential elections in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

Upon closer look, however, Mr Nour’s rallying cry is troubling. In gearing up for elections, the opposition has demonstrated a near complete inability to prioritise the issues essential to its political future, and has squandered its efforts trying to prevent Gamal Mubarak’s succession.

Egypt’s opposition groups, including both legal parties and the Muslim Brotherhood, have been in disarray since the regime introduced stifling constitutional amendments in 2007. These measures limit the oversight powers of the judiciary in elections, fail to set term limits on the presidential mandate, and ban religiously affiliated political activities.

While opposition forces have been exclusively focused on the one issue – Gamal Mubarak’s possible ascendancy – the Egyptian regime has been carefully creating an environment which will sustain its rule. The ruling elite is no newcomer to this game. They have consistently manipulated the political process by preventing the opposition from registering candidates in elections, obstructing the campaign process, and fomenting violence on election day.

In contrast to the ruling elite’s clear direction, the opposition has no guiding compass and is left wandering through the challenges posed by the political agenda in Egypt. Their failure cannot be solely attributed to the regime’s repressive measures – a great part of the responsibility belongs to the opposition parties themselves.

Since 2005, parties including the liberal Wafd party, Ayman Nour’s Ghad party and the Democratic Front, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood (which is banned but has de facto representation in parliament) have all failed in two major tasks: formulating an elections platform and clear vision for Egypt’s political development, and applying sufficient pressure on the regime for political and economic reform.

Despite its acquisition of an unprecedented 88 parliamentary seats in the 2005 elections, the Muslim Brotherhood has yet to push for serious reform of the political system. Several concerns also remain unresolved in Egyptian and international public opinion regarding the Brotherhood’s positions on equal citizenship rights for Copts and Muslims, women’s participation in politics and freedom of expression.

The opposition parties urgently need to tackle several issues to position themselves for the 2010 and 2011 elections. First, groups have to clarify their stance on the question of domestic and international monitoring of elections. Especially with regard to the latter, the opposition remains divided.

Second, they have to prioritise calls for the abolition of the emergency law in effect in Egypt since 1981. Finally, parties should be more attuned to new political opportunities, expanding grassroots activities to capitalise on growing protest sentiment among wide segments of the population who are suffering from deteriorating social and economic conditions.

With Egypt’s declining GDP growth, the unemployment rate reaching 10.3 per cent, a poverty rate of 20 per cent, and an alarming level of debt – 76 per cent of GDP – citizens are in desperate need of competent political parties.

The implications of the upcoming elections will, of course, extend beyond Egypt’s borders. In light of the regime’s recent political manoeuvring and the opposition’s stagnation, the 2010 and 2011 elections in Egypt will test the Obama administration’s stance on democracy in the Middle East. Its position will either demonstrate a commitment to the incumbent regime of the Mubaraks as a strategic ally in a turbulent region regardless of its domestic behaviour, or signal pressure to create better conditions for democratic reform and political competition in Egypt.

The first signals from the Obama administration are not encouraging; the administration has so far put the promotion of democracy low on its list of priorities. Washington has only raised the issue of reform in the context of concessions that Mr Mubarak has already made. The Obama administration has also cut aid to numerous actors and organisations in civil society.

The campaign organised by Mr Nour is a step in the right direction for the opposition in Egypt, but he and other activists would be wise to adjust their agenda. Only by letting go of their obsession with Gamal Mubarak’s succession and addressing other issues at the core of the upcoming elections can opposition groups counter the regime’s hegemony.