The Baradei thing

I am still being asked for my opinion on Baradei’s decision to quit the presidential race, which has left his fans and supporters lost and traumatized. As someone who was never a supporter for his candidacy for President in the first place, but one who still respects the man, I figured that someone must encapsulate why his fans are so disappointed, even though I expected him to withdraw his candidacy way back last march, as anyone else with half a brain working in Egyptian politics did. This is why I am writing this short-take.

I believe in the minds of his supporters, they were waiting for the time of the Presidential election, so he can finally launch his campaign and travel all over Egypt to deliver his message of Baradei-ness, which in this fantasy would have “Eye of the Tiger” as its the background music. He would go to all the governorates, visit all the small towns and villages, talk to the people, find out what the problems of the people were and realize the true size of the cluster-fuck we are in. He would then appear on TV, dismayed, sometimes even crying, over the injustice he sees all over our fair land. He would rage so much about what’s going on, that he would deliver heartfelt speeches that would turn the people who came to his rallies to attack him into Baradei-ites, and even then the applause to him would feel hollow, since he is not a man going after applause, but a serious man who understands how grave our situation is. And sometimes, when he is in his house all exhausted, he would doubt himself, and his ability to shoulder this responsibility. At those dark moments of doubt, he would tell his beloved wife that he is not sure he would be able to do this, and that the situation is much bigger than him, and his wife would tell him “Don’t doubt yourself. YOU ARE BARADEI! YOU STOOD UP TO THE STATES AND U NEVER BACKED DOWN. YOU CAN DO THIS”, and he would find strength and comfort in her words, and would gather himself, and go on the campaign trail the next day, more determined than ever. And on election day, he would get maybe 5 million votes, and wouldn’t win, but he would’ve inspired millions and became the winner in all of their hearts. (End “Eye of the Tiger” montage)

That’s what I believe his supporters expected, but not me. For me the reason why Baradei would have to withdraw wasn’t that his image was maligned and tarnished by Mubarak’s media, even though it was; or that the game was rigged, even though it is; or any of the reasons he mentioned in his candidacy withdrawal statement, even though they are all true reasons, and he is completely justified in withdrawing for them. Nahh.. To me, there was a much simpler reason why he would withdraw from way back then, and it really just comes down to this:

Being a Presidential candidate would’ve required him to move and leave his house. A lot. And he is very much opposed to that notion.

That is all.

25 Comments on The Baradei thing

  1. Bob Munoz
    February 11, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Was there any pressure from the military or a political party that may have convinced him to dropout.

  2. Jon Aalborg
    February 11, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Sad to hear you talk like this, Sandmonkey. Your comments have been so important in this process, since long before the January events of last year and long before we all got to know who you actually are. They have ceen scathing, incisive and to the point; a strong, sane voice in a world of conspiracy theories and squabbling.

    Now it seems you have become part of exactly that disease which has made the young Liberal and Secular revolutionaries lose out to Islamists: Being more interested in heaping dirt on each other than on standing up to the common adversaries. This is about as productive – for Egypt! – as throwing a hand grenade on El-Baradei’s front lawn, in other words not at all. Sad.

  3. WF
    February 11, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    I’m sorry can you elaborate please on what you mean by your conclusion. Are you actually serious or is this supposed to be a comical analysis? So you honestly think that he pulled out because he didn’t want to leave his house?
    Hahahaha! Classic… So you were right about one thing in your tweet “I am gonna get so much shit for this”
    Yes you probably will, but not from me. I can’t even take this column serious enough to give you any shit honestly.

  4. DementedBonxie
    February 11, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    It would be nice to see someone like Baradei as Egypt’s President, astute, principled, determined, no pushover, yet a negotiator. But the cut & thrust of political life is not his game, is it?

    He’s a powerful backroom operator. He’d wither in the heat of the limelight.
    Presidential office would take him out of his comfort zone. As @Sandmonkey suggests, he’d have to leave home, move a lot, be a different kind of person.
    He’s a wise man who recognises and accepts that there are other, more effective ways of supporting the cause than holding public office.

    • Sambuntu
      February 15, 2012 at 2:30 am

      DementedBonxie, sounds almost you were describing Sandmonkey there.

  5. Publicola
    February 12, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Dear Sandmonkey,

    as to ElBaradei it definitely has to be taken into account
    that ElBaradei has managed to be a focus of international confidence, trust,
    and that consequently is held in high esteem by the international community
    – and that means also: he is held in high esteem by lots of individuals abroad, people abroad, perhaps nearly everyone abroad,
    who cannot be expected to be an expert ‘in rebus aegypticis’ (‘in things Egyptian).

    A political position of ElBaradei within the higher levels of the future Egyptian political structure thus would be helpful for Egypt to acquire the international support and international recognition Egypt definitely deserves – and needs
    (e.g. I am thinking here for example also of such ‘trivial’ things – relevant to the Egyptian economy – as international tourism, international preferential treatment in numerous respects like e.g. financial and trade agreements etc. etc.)

    Best wishes

  6. Seldom
    February 14, 2012 at 12:11 am

    How shallow and superficial, yet not unexpected from someone who suffers from the very pervasive “I know it all/ I have got it all figured out” Egyptian cultural syndrome. A quick scan of your posts over the last year shows how you have been off the mark on almost everything, which very expectedly led to your ultimate embarassing defeat in parliamentary elections despite your confidence that the libreals/ seculars would govern the new Egypt. You seemed to finally get it in your last few posts; yet looks like you are back once again to your political smugness.

    Old habits die hard I say.

    • Sambuntu
      February 15, 2012 at 2:26 am

      Couldn’t agree with you more.

  7. Publicola
    February 14, 2012 at 4:19 am

    ” … someone who suffers from the very pervasive “I know it all / I have got it all figured out”-Egyptian cultural syndrome …
    … despite your confidence that the liberals / seculars would govern the new Egypt … ”

    That reproach (by the commentator ‘Seldom’ – see above) to Sandmonkey is definitely not justified !

    The different opinion polls conducted by reputable and respectable opinion research institutes during the course of the year 2011
    indicated indeed
    a comparably rather strong outcome for the secular side (if accumulated!) and
    in comparison more or less (rather) moderate results of the islamist votes,
    – assessments, that made the final, actual, factual election results look highly surprising and unexpected – :

    A 9–20 March poll survey by the International Peace Institute (IPI) showed that
    • New Wafd Party, the oldest liberal party, had the support of 23 percent,
    • 12 percent of Egyptian voters would vote for the Freedom and Justice Party, and
    • 10 percent still supported the now dissolved National Democratic Party.

    A Gallup poll from June 2011 showed that
    • the Muslim Brotherhood had the support of 15 percent of the survey group,
    • with over 60% of the people undecided.
    • The dissolved National Democratic Party would have scored 10 percent,
    • the liberal New Wafd Party 9 percent, and
    • the newly launched Wasat Party 5 percent.

    July 26 survey by Newsweek/The Daily Beast showed following results:
    • 29% Not sure/Undecided,
    • 17% Freedom and Justice Party,
    • 11% Al-Wafd Party,
    • 7% National Democratic Party,
    • 7% Free Egyptians Party,
    • 5% Justice Party,
    • 4% Freedom Egypt Party,

    An August 2011 survey by the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS) and Danish-Egyptian Dialogue Institute (DEDI) showed the following results: Egypt can expect a large turnout of voters in the upcoming parliamentary elections – more than 80% say that they are likely to vote, only 17.7% would not go to the polls.
    More than half of the voters (57.1%) are still undecided.
    • The Muslim Brotherhood’s “Freedom and Justice Party” has support from 31.5% of the decided voters.
    • The Revolutionary Youth Coalition has a double digit support of 17.2%.
    • The Wafd Party received 14.8%,
    • Free Egyptians 7.5%,
    • Nour 6.0%,
    • Egyptian Social Democratic Party 5.2%,
    • Nasserites 3.7%,


  8. Sambuntu
    February 15, 2012 at 2:25 am

    I personally thought he backed out cause he realized this was “SRS BIZNIS” I can understand how he actually might think of having to move and change his national id occupation from whatever he was to president. The fact that even though he doesn’t have to wait in line, he still has to be fingerprinted using that awful godforsaken ink that never comes off.

    Or just simply he was paid/threatened/both to leave and let those that have the stamina and balls to work on that slice of cake.

  9. southpro
    February 15, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Egypt is still looking for a Zaéim, a leader.
    Someone who -like Baradei- cares deeply. But someone -unlike Baradei – who has the courage to fight for what he cares for. Someone with cohones.
    Rabena Mahana Kolena!

  10. el walad
    February 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    The problem here is that not one single person in Egypt knows anything.

    I was in Tahrir on Feb 2nd and it taught me that Egyptians are 99% Balls

    but only 1% brains. There is great intellectual capacity in Egypt but when it comes to politics even the smartest Egyptians do not think, they refuse to do it as a matter of birthright it seems…

    Before this movement can be a revolution it must be a truth movement first.

    The solution to raising up Egypt is quite simple. First we need leaders and before we can have a leader we must have an educated populace to support that leader, instead we argue about nonsense in cafes all day….. Israel loves that.

    Read that and accept it or just shut up and go home

    • lynne
      February 20, 2012 at 9:45 pm

      I think that Egypt needs leaders first, to help the populace become informed and educated, to lead Egypt and the people in the right direction. Leaders set the path really.

    • Ruth
      February 22, 2012 at 9:32 am

      As an Israeli I can assure you that Israel would much prefer the Egyptian population to be educated and thinking instead of people who can be pushed into a frenzy with all sorts of sterotypes and clichees.

  11. lynne
    February 20, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Why are you all heaping all this criticism on SandMonkey? He did not create these problems; these are long-standing issues. In his optimistic posts, he was obviously hopeful that the divisions within Egypt and the animosity toward other countries, such as Israel, would be put aside and replaced by an earnest examination of the problems that are facing Egypt and proposals and the solutions to these problems formed without a blame game, just moving forward to a better future for the Egyptian people. Confidence in the Egyptian people, a recognition of the real issues and barriers to a better future—I find that refreshing. It gives me hope for the future of the world when I know that there are people like the Sandmonkey. You guys, spend some time criticising those who cause these problems, not those who try to make Egypt better.
    El Walad, yes, I do agree. Egypt —like the rest of the world—needs good and effective leaders. We all do.

  12. Publicola
    February 21, 2012 at 4:49 am

    SandMonkey? He did not create these problems
    I agree wholeheartedly with lynne’s entire contribution

    [although, what the (Arabic) world doesn’t need, I think, is a leader – there have been much too many in the past, who misled the people in the past;
    what people (really) need, is to think for themselves and to plan for themselves,
    without resorting to any excuse and without any reference to any scapegoat meeting their eyes;
    and i think that is exactly that, what is happening presently]

    • lynne
      February 22, 2012 at 4:22 am

      Publicola, I do agree with you. Unfortunately, most of the leaders in the world, past and present, are concerned with their own prestige and power, not with the people. It would be wonderful if there would emerge true leaders who could guide the people to more rational thought and in a positive direction. As you point out, that seldom—if ever—happens. Unfortunately. Without some direction though, I fear that the people (sheeple, as a friend from Lebanon calls them) don’t think properly. They are easily manipulated and led in the wrong direction. They are led to identify others as enemies and causes of their misery. We cannot put our hope in leaders. You put it so accurately: “what people (really) need, is to think for themselves and to plan for themselves, without resorting to any excuse and without any reference to any scapegoat meeting their eyes…” Yours is an eloquent statement of fact. Very persuasive and accurate.

  13. شات عربى
    February 21, 2012 at 6:30 am

    realy iam loving monkey ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  14. Publicola
    February 22, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    @ lynne – Thanks for your answer – you are one of the few fine characters rarely to be found nowadays!

    • lynne
      February 29, 2012 at 10:00 pm

      Thank you for your kind remarks!

  15. Your Friendly Phantom
    February 26, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Your way of getting people to like Baradei even more? Neat trick!

  16. jack
    February 29, 2012 at 12:38 am

    According to Islam Q&A “islamisc scholars” … burning them is the prefered method.


    Burning, i.e., burning old copies of the Mus-haf in a careful and respectable manner, in a clean and safe place, whilst ensuring that the words are consumed by the fire and the pages are changed.

    The scholars based this view on what ‘Uthmaan (may Allaah be pleased with him) did with the Mus-hafs that differed from what the Sahaabah were unanimously agreed upon. Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) narrated (hadeeth no. 4987) from Anas ibn Maalik that ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan (may Allaah be pleased with him) ordered Zayd ibn Thaabit, ‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-Zubayr, Sa’eed ibn al-‘Aas and ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn al-Haarith ibn Hishaam to make copies of the Mus-hafs. ‘Uthmaan said to the three Qurashi men: If you differ with Zayd ibn Thaabit concerning anything of the Qur’aan, then write it in the dialect of Quraysh, for it was revealed in their tongue. They did that, then when they had copied the pages in Mus-hafs, ‘Uthmaan returned the pages to Hafsah, and he sent to each country one of the Mus-hafs that they had copied, and he ordered that all other copies of the Qur’aan on pages or in books be burned.”

    Ironic isn’t it when muslims go bezerk over burning a Quran.

  17. Ashraf Ezzat
    February 29, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I think you’re right in your judgement about El-Barardei.
    He thinks he could, while sitting behind his desk, tweet his way to presidency.

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