Mohammed Khalid Alyahya Headshot

Ghonim and El Baradei Must Speak Up

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"All it takes for evil to succeed is for a few good men to do nothing..." - Edmund Burke

One of the rights of living in a democratic country is having the freedom to assemble. The protection of this human right is what allowed for hundreds of thousands of protesters to assemble in Tahrir and demand that Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammad Morsi, step down and allow for new elections. This demand echoed through many segments within Egyptian society. Those who opposed Morsi were privileged, impoverished, Islamists, and liberal--they came from all walks of life, just like those who assembled in Rabia against the coup and for a democratic Egypt.

Egypt is now at one of its lowest points in history. Months ago it had a democratically elected president (who admittedly was quite far from perfect), a constitution, and a Shoura council. Today it has a military dictator in a red beret who drove Egypt into chaos and assumed a role akin to an emperor's in its concentration of power. He succeeded in doing this, in part, after seeing some popular support for a military coup against Morsi.

A whole book , let alone a short article, dedicated to investigating the misjudgement and shortsightedness of Egyptian so-called "liberals" and their alarmingly polemical and unwarranted criticisms of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood would barely scratch the surface of an extremely complex and multi-layered self-orientalist, self-hating, and Islamophobic trend that has recently began to plague the Middle East, and especially Egypt.

We have so frequently been lectured--and by "we," I mean any reasonable people that have read on the Middle East.. whether American, British, Congolese, or an Arab, like myself--about not understanding Egypt. Egyptian 'liberals' so adamantly insisted that Egypt was different, that it was exceptional, and that what applies in the rest of the world, and what history has taught us, has no bearing on whatever senseless developments that happened in Egypt.

This is no time for those who predicted the denouement of events in Egypt to be gloating over the accuracy of their predictions. What is done is done; a very forseeable and avoidable disaster has befallen Egypt as a result of the blindness of a few. What matters now is correcting this historic mistake.

Egypt's state media has reached new lows in its deceitful propaganda. Mohammad El Baradei has been smeared and attacked for abandoning the interim government and fleeing to Vienna after SCAF's bloody crackdown on the pro-Morsi/anti-coup protests in Rabia. Egypt's prosecutor general has even agreed to further investigate an indictment against El Baradei that accuses him of being an agent of the United States and colluding with the Muslim Brotherhood. El Baradei has been silent since his departure.

Wael Ghonim, a young ex-google executive who's bravery and activism was at the foundation of the January 25 revolution is also silent. He last tweeted on the 3rd of July, admonishing Morsi for failing to live up to his promises and polarizing the population. He then prayed for Egypt to be safe and prosper to the country that "we all dream of." Egypt couldn't have gone farther from the direction any decent Egyptian would wish for his country. It has regressed beyond where it was under Mubarak's dictatorial regime.

While Ghonim and el Baradei's silence indicates that they cannot morally support what is going on in Egypt, this silence is far from praiseworthy. El Baradei's endorsement gave General Sisi's coup much needed legitimacy, and his participation in the government gave it some credibility given his international stature. El Baradei is an influential man in many circles and his words have the potential to influence public opinion and cause positive change in Egypt. The same goes for Wael Ghonim. He is a young, liberal activist that people listen to.

Ghonim and Baradei have a moral obligation to speak up against this coup and do whatever is within their capacity to reroute Egypt from the path that is leading it to a dark abyss. They must speak up.