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Mohammed El Baradei: We Are Born with a Call for Freedom

Posted on the 07 April 2011 by Warigia @WarigiaBowman
Dear Readers
Sorry to gush, but today I met Mohamed El Baradei. One of the really cool things about my current job is that I work with Dr. Laila El Baradei, who is the sister of MEB. I attended a lecture today organized by students. It was called the Leadership for Education and Development Program. The theme was Political Activism. Mohamed El Baradei was one of the speakers. Here are the best effort I could make of notes from this event. The event was in Arabic, so I listened to the translator. Notes are mostly verbatim, but some places I summarize. These are indicated by [..] Cheers, WMB
"We do respect the Army's role because it was the protector of the revolution. Today, the Army could appoint a consultative council to help it govern. Transparency is the road to Democracy."
"Do we have the kind of parties that enrich the debate? No, we do not. It does not matter if we have a parliamentary or a presidential system. There is no perfect democracy in the world. Every day, we learn something new. It is so important to be critical, to think critically. The important thing is that you think. This is something the previous regime killed in us."
"[Law must change with the times] In the US, in 1954 they said segregation was constitutional. The Highest Court said segregation was constitutional. The same court in the 1970s said we need integration. In terms of politics in Egypt, we need a coalition. We don't necessarily want a proportional system if it will result in distortion. We want everyone to be represented. The electorate should feel you represent their interests."
"The recent law requiring that a party have 5000 signatures from 29 governorates and publish in two state owned papers is an obstruction. Each of these signatures must be publicly notarized.: This is an obstruction, an impediment. [The new parties should be allowed] Before we promulgate the laws, we need the laws to reflect the views of the people. We are still holding the old mindset. The laws are not like the scripture, or the Bible. We should be able to change. Do not restrict freedom of association."
"Democracy means respect of the majority while protecting the rights of the minority. The judiciary must be independent. Open the windows of democracy for freedom. Give the people the right to debate."
"In the 1971 Constitution, it said freedom of religious affiliation or belief is absolute."
"One half of Egyptians are below the poverty line. People went to the referendum because for the first time, they felt their voice was heard. One year when I finished working at the agency [IAEA] I defended the right of the Muslim Brotherhood to participate in politics. Each citizen should have the same rights or duties. Turkey has an Islami party but the country is completely secular. [This is the model we should follow] No one should impose his or her religious affiliation on anyone else."
"The youth are ready to hold office. I visited all the Eastern European states, their leaders are young, between 30 and 40."
"In a press conference, I said Egypt would live in this malady unless Mubarak was tried, or left the country. We should start with the head of corruption who is the former president."
(to be continued)

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