Saturday, November 27, 2010

Robert Fisk: The man who dares to take on Egypt’s brutal regime

Despite beatings and corruption, Ayman Nour still hopes for change. Ahead of new polls, our man meets him 

Robert Fisk, The Independent, Nov 25, 2010

AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Ayman Nour will continue the fight for democracy despite being beaten in jail

Ayman Nour touches his sideburns, just a shade grey beneath his black hair: not bad for a 45-year old, but not up to the standard of the absolutely uncompromisingly jet black hair of 82-year-old Egyptian President Hosni Moubarak, whose job – in theory at least – Dr Nour would like.

Mind you, being Mr Moubarak’s rival is not for amateurs. It’s cost Dr Nour more than four years in prison and here he is, on the eve of Egyptian parliamentary elections, sitting in Beirut – rather than Cairo – to express his disdain for the ‘moderate’, ‘pro-Western’ regime of America’s favourite Middle Eastern dictator (alongside King Abdullah of Jordan, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Bouteflika of Algeria, Ben Ali of Tunis, King Hassan of Morocco and the rest). So long live President Hosni Moubarak.

But how long? Dr Nour’s Ghad party – Ghad means ‘tomorrow’, which may never come – is not taking part in this weekend’s parliamentary elections which will, he feels sure, be as rigged as every election in Egypt since the early years of President Anwar Sadat. “I believe that what you are about to witness at the weekend is part tragedy, part comedy, a black comedy,” he says. “You want to go to Cairo on Saturday, Robert? You might just go there for fun.”

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