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Thread: Egyptian leader out on bail, stirring international concern

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    Egyptian leader out on bail, stirring international concern

    CAIRO (AP) ó An Egyptian opposition leader and presidential hopeful whose imprisonment angered Washington and called into question Egypt's pledges of democratic reform was released Saturday on bail.

    Ayman Nour, frail and still wearing his prison jump suit, stepped out of Cairo's police headquarters and flashed a V-for-victory sign to a waiting crowd of supporters.

    Word spread fast of the 40-year-old lawmaker's release, and within 15 minutes, a crowd of 400 supporters swelled to a few thousand. Firecrackers popped on the streets and members of the crowd threw candy in the air and trilled with joy.

    "We are paying the price of our search for freedom" Nour said. "They tried for days to destroy a national project, the Tomorrow Party. But they failed."

    As the crowd cheered, Nour repeated last week's jailhouse announcement that he would run for president this year against 24-year incumbent Hosni Mubarak.

    "I announce that I will run in the presidential elections for you," Nour said.

    Nour promised to run for office shortly after Mubarak gave the surprise order that the constitution be amended to permit multi-candidate elections later this year.

    Mubarak, as the sole candidate, has won every presidential referendum since 1981.

    Nour and his political party have maintained that the accusations against him were an effort from the ruling party to eliminate him as a political rival. Nour has not been charged with any crime, but he was accused of presenting fraudulent signatures to a government committee to get a license for his party. He has denied the accusations.

    Washington called Nour's release a positive development.

    "We welcome the release today of Ayman Nour," said Lou Fintor, a State Department spokesman. "We look forward to steps Egypt will be taking over the coming months to expand political participation."

    Nour's Tomorrow Party was not approved until late last year, and was only the third to be legalized in the past 25 years. It has only seven legislators in Egypt's 454-seat parliament. Nour's detention since January drew wide attention, partly because he had championed the call for multi-candidate presidential elections.

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she raised "very strong concerns" about Nour when she met Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Washington last month.

    International human rights groups had also had called on Egypt to release Nour, saying his detention was politically motivated.

    When Nour was released, his wife, Gamila Ismail, quickly hugged him.

    "I am so happy. Ayman is of the people, for the people. He was never a stooge of the authorities," she said, watching her husband being carried on the shoulders of his supporters.

    Prosecutor-general Maher Abdel Wahed ordered Nour's release on $1,725 bail, saying the reasons for his provisional detention had ended. He said how to handle the case would be determined soon, insisting it was a "criminal" not a "political" case.

    "Now, we hope that Ayman will be referred to a fair and quick trial," Hmeida said.

    Egyptian security kept a low profile during Nour's release, with only two armored cars parked nearby as supporters chanted.

    The show of support was quickly translated into election campaigning. His party's deputy secretary general, Ragab Heilal Hmeida, called the welcome a "renewal of his popularity."

    "He has great weight, not only in the area, but in the whole of Egypt," Hmeida said.

    So much for any hope of democracy in Eqypt--despite his release.
    "If I see further than other men, it is because I stand upon the shoulders of giants."

    --Sir Isaac Newton

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    Staff Emeritus Confed999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucien LaCroix
    So much for any hope of democracy in Eqypt--despite his release.
    There's allways hope...
    No man is free until all men are free - John Hossack
    I agree completely with this Administrationís goal of a regime change in Iraq-John Kerry
    even if that enforcement is mostly at the hands of the United States, a right we retain even if the Security Council fails to act-John Kerry
    He may even miscalculate and slide these weapons off to terrorist groups to invite them to be a surrogate to use them against the United States. Itís the miscalculation that poses the greatest threat-John Kerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Confed999
    There's allways hope...
    Nour keeps his life at the whim of Egyptian powers that be.

    I just don't see democracy being able to take up permanent roots anywhere in the Middle East. That statement isn't merely stubborness in opposition to an alternative view on the subject, it is an admittedly non-expert analysis of the cultures and peoples of that region of the world.

    I truly believe that so long as there is no separation between church and state in Arab cultures that it will bode badly for any hope of true freedom. Their method has a system of checks and balances, but nothing like that of America. In their case, the system reinforces, first, the notion that injustice and brutality are acceptable methods for attaining and maintaining power. Second, that there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of the weak and the innocent. That is why, while there may be some politically weak leaders in the Middle East, there are no weak-willed ones. Intertwine with that barbaric system of 'government' a religion whose loudest proponents extoll the virtues of employing violence to achieve political and personal goals. Instances of individuals killing other family members as a matter of Islamic 'honor' without facing punishment are not uncommon (so long as the religious heirarchy doesn't have a problem with it). Again, judge, jury, and executioner all wrapped into one.

    It's like a giant ball of string that has been completely tied into knots. The only ones who are capable of untying all of the knots are the Arabs, and they also happen to be the least inclined to do so (the last 5000 years of their histories is proof of that). This isn't like the collapse of communism. Communist dictators rejected religion, believing it to be a challenge to their authority and control. But Arab dictators embrace it because they know that it actually increases their span of control. Dominating both sides of the spectrum--political and religious--makes them a helluva force within their own countries. Yet, their citizenry know their system and cultures are unjust for many--perhaps most--of them. But it is the apathy of the "I won't make any waves if you just let me go to my job in the morning" crowd, coupled with the hypocrasy of decrying American military actions while remaining silent over clear Arab/Islamic outrages, that dooms truth and integrity in their countries as much as the fiery rhetoric of the religious leaders/military strongmen in those countries.

    I guess that's why I look on with sadness at our democratization efforts in Iraq. Giving them elections won't change the mindset of those who would dominate through violence. Nor will it give the true essential courage to the Iraqi people as a whole to take the steps necessary to keep the maniacs and the mullahs from turning the country (back) into a military dictatorship--or a religious fundamentalist state.

    Believe me, I find no joy in making such pessimistic predictions.
    Last edited by Lucien LaCroix; 13 Mar 05, at 05:35.
    "If I see further than other men, it is because I stand upon the shoulders of giants."

    --Sir Isaac Newton

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    Staff Emeritus Confed999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucien LaCroix
    Believe me, I find no joy in making such pessimistic predictions.
    But that doesn't mean there is no hope.
    No man is free until all men are free - John Hossack
    I agree completely with this Administrationís goal of a regime change in Iraq-John Kerry
    even if that enforcement is mostly at the hands of the United States, a right we retain even if the Security Council fails to act-John Kerry
    He may even miscalculate and slide these weapons off to terrorist groups to invite them to be a surrogate to use them against the United States. Itís the miscalculation that poses the greatest threat-John Kerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucien LaCroix
    So much for any hope of democracy in Eqypt--despite his release.

    There is always hope dear. Look on the bright side.
    "Our citizenship in the United States is our national character. Our citizenship in any particular state is only our local distinction. By the latter we are known at home, by the former to the world. Our great title is AMERICANSÖ" -- Thomas Paine

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    Quote Originally Posted by Veni Vidi Vici
    There is always hope dear. Look on the bright side.
    Well, if you set "infinite future" as the time limit for the realization of such hopes, then I suppose I can agree with you.

    I have simply come to the disturbing realizaton that a large percentage of world's populations don't have freedom because their standards from freedom are a lot different than ours. And, believe me, their cultural principles and norms go back a lot farther than our political principles. That's not to say that there couldn't come a day where they could appreciate freedom and democracy in a manner that is consistent with our own. But such journeys must be paved with sacrifices made by those desiring such things--made in a quest for truth and justice. Arabs need famous leaders, not infamous ones. They need their own heroes, men and women who embody qualities of honor and integrity. They need their own George Washingtons and Thomas Jeffersons. Instead, we try to be the heroes.

    And in us doing so, they learn nothing about the STRUGGLE to achieve that freedom...the thing that makes it special...the thing that makes it worth fighting and dying for. We fight and die to give them a gift that can't really be given--at least not in that part of the world. We fight and die...and they whine and protest when a piece of American shrapnel scratches one of their mosque domes (while carefully remaining silent on the use of religious facilities by their Arab brothers to launch attacks to kill Americans). No society can hope to maintain freedom and democracy while such fundamental hypocracy exists within it.
    "If I see further than other men, it is because I stand upon the shoulders of giants."

    --Sir Isaac Newton

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    Staff Emeritus Confed999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucien LaCroix
    their standards from freedom are a lot different than ours.
    I don't have a problem with that myself, but if they start killing each other wholesale and threatening me, I'm going to pick a side. The method better than armed struggle is gradual change, and that's all I can truly ask for. As long as there is reform, no matter how slow or symbolic, I'll have hope.
    No man is free until all men are free - John Hossack
    I agree completely with this Administrationís goal of a regime change in Iraq-John Kerry
    even if that enforcement is mostly at the hands of the United States, a right we retain even if the Security Council fails to act-John Kerry
    He may even miscalculate and slide these weapons off to terrorist groups to invite them to be a surrogate to use them against the United States. Itís the miscalculation that poses the greatest threat-John Kerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Confed999
    I don't have a problem with that myself, but if they start killing each other wholesale and threatening me, I'm going to pick a side. The method better than armed struggle is gradual change, and that's all I can truly ask for. As long as there is reform, no matter how slow or symbolic, I'll have hope.
    And I, too, don't have a problem with employing direct military action against any nation/entity that threatens our security and way of life.

    Gradual change is something we can all hope for. But that is not what we are attempting in Iraq. We are engaging in social engineering in a massive effort to bring Iraqi culture down a path that it might taken decades or even centuries to journey down on its own. The culminating event in THEIR attainment of a truly just society might have been peaceful change through reform...or it might have been by armed struggle. We'll never know. And I think its fair to say that there is an armed struggle ongoing in that country. The problem is that it is OUR soldiers that are in the firing line.

    Our heroes, not theirs.

    They cringe indoors...or go about their business as if the war were just an inconvenience...or they protest, half hoping that we'll fail--not because they want Saddam back, but because they just can't bring themselves, as Muslims, to favor the Americans...and they learn nothing about what it meant--what it took--to even give them the opportunity that so few of them seem capable of truly understanding. It'll all be a second-hand experience for them. Standing on the sidelines makes for good gossip and whining, not fortitude and courage.

    Go in, do what we have to do militarily, provide some minimal transition time to a new form of government (60 days or so--if applicable), then leave. As a parting response, we can add "Behave yourselves or we'll be back." They can then settle it. Certainly there is a distinct possibility of more bloodshed after we leave, but I don't believe that should be used as a motivation for not withdrawing. As I said, let them sort it out. Arabs obviously haven't done enough killing and dying to motivate a truly public uprising to demand the changes necessary to progress up the evolutionary scale as a culture bound by the tie of etnicity.

    For the life of me I cannot figure out what is wrong with them. The despotism...the abuse...the heinous acts...and their response is meek, at best. If they are unwilling to fight clear evils, then what chance does something as noble as freedom have of taking hold. You can't have the latter without the former. Our intervention is allowing the Iraqis to skip the former.

    And that will make them very, very weak sisters, indeed. And that very, very weak sister is eventually going to be at the mercy of a pack of salivating Arab dictators in neighboring countries and maniacal Islamic fundamentalists within Iraq.
    "If I see further than other men, it is because I stand upon the shoulders of giants."

    --Sir Isaac Newton

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    The crux lies in the sentence:

    "but because they just can't bring themselves, as Muslims, to favor the Americans...".

    It is not a phenomenon applicable to only Moslems, it is applicable to anyone - taking sides with what they perceive as 'invaders', no matter how much good that invasion brings to them.

    Sad, but real!

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    Staff Emeritus Confed999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucien LaCroix
    But that is not what we are attempting in Iraq.
    Did for over a decade, with less than zero progress. There comes a time when an enemy has used up it's chances and greater steps must be taken. It would be wonderful if the world's tyrants played the game, but most cheat. Just the way things are.
    No man is free until all men are free - John Hossack
    I agree completely with this Administrationís goal of a regime change in Iraq-John Kerry
    even if that enforcement is mostly at the hands of the United States, a right we retain even if the Security Council fails to act-John Kerry
    He may even miscalculate and slide these weapons off to terrorist groups to invite them to be a surrogate to use them against the United States. Itís the miscalculation that poses the greatest threat-John Kerry

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