Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim on CNN speaking about Egypt fate after Mubarak

April 28, 2010 Wednesday

And we're also joined by Saad Eddin Ibrahim, an Egyptian intellectual who spent three years in prison on charges of defaming the Egyptian state. He was later acquitted, but he's now living in the United States teaching at Drew University.

Tell me, Mr. Ibrahim, what you make of the current situation in Egypt. What are Mr. ElBaradei's chances of actually running for the presidency in a way that makes sense?

SAAD EDDIN IBRAHIM, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Well, he has a good chance. After all, the whole world has changed in the last 30 years drastically in ways that 40 years ago nobody would anticipated, that Eastern Europe, even the mighty Soviet Union will fall.

So everything is possible nowadays. And, therefore, I say Mr. ElBaradei, in the little time since he announced his intention to go back to Egypt and to engage in a political campaign for reform, has shown that it is possible. And I'm confident that if he persists, if he gets an organization going, if he leads by example--

AMANPOUR: Can he get an organization going?

IBRAHIM: Sure he can. There are a lot of volunteers. He spoke very well earlier this program. And I believe that he could, and there are hundreds of thousands of people.

The problem is, he is a challenger. And we heard from an apologist for the regime, Mr. Ahmed Ezz. The problem with regime is that it has (inaudible) for any competitor so much that it will take nearly a miracle to change. But miracles do happen in the Middle East. After all, that is a region where all the miracles took place.

AMANPOUR: As you know, in the last round, there was a movement, the Kefaya movement, "Enough." Now the leading candidate, the head of that movement, was basically roughed up. He was charged on what many call trumped-up charges of fraud. And he was put into prison.

Is that something that is still a worry? Does that have a chilling effect? Will that happen again to a challenger?

IBRAHIM: Well, you're talking to an example here. Mr. Ezz can talk the talk, but unfortunately, the regime does not walk the walk. Here I am, an intellectual, 70 years old or above, who could not guarantee his freedom when he expresses himself, never used violence, never called for violence, and yet the regime had, as you indicated, had put me behind bars in three trials, and now I have about seven cases pending against me in Egypt today, and that's why I'm in exile right now.

AMANPOUR: So what exactly do you think is going to happen in the next round of presidential elections a year from now? Will Mr. Mubarak run? Or will his son be the successor?

IBRAHIM: I think one or the other. Most likely he will be the one, because the son does not seem to have fired the imagination. The son does not seem to have created the kind of appeal that would be necessary for a sustainable and serious campaign.

Mr. ElBaradei will have a good chance. And I think millions of Egyptians are willing to rally behind him. And if external powers could also demand that election, next election be free and fair and transparent, under international supervision, I think we have a very good chance of changing Egypt--


IBRAHIM: -- and the Arab world.

AMANPOUR: On that note, right now we're going to continue talking with Mr. Ibrahim at So open your laptop, and let's keep the conversation rolling there.
That's it for our program on television right now. Thank you for joining us, and we'll see you online in a few seconds.