A presidential apology to Mohamed ElBaradei

Mohamed ElBaradei is no traitor, because a traitor, according to my perception and limited legal knowledge, is a spy at war with his homeland and people.

ElBaradei is none of that. Rather, he endured a lot to secure the victory of the 30 June revolution. I suspect that ElBaradei’s criticisms of the the Muslim Brotherhood and Mohamed Morsi's government led the way for the vast majority of liberals.

Later, the man shifted his position, due to the bloodshed in Rabaa al-Adaweya and al-Nahda squares, just like many Egyptians. I am one of many people who felt that what happened in Rabaa was a crime, one that President Sisi should not have ignored, but rather tackled transparently, holding accountable those who shed the blood of Egyptians.

A man of international standing with opinions that cannot be ignored, ElBaradei was the one who defied the United States and told the truth about Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.

In which case, omitting the man’s name from the education ministry syllabus is both a crime and a political error, for which responsibility falls upon not only the ministry, but also the government and the country’s president.

Concerning this topic, I see a good opportunity before the president to take two decisions.

Firstly, to remove the education minister citing political justifications, namely the manipulation of history. I remember I never knew that Mohamed Naguib was the first president of the Republic of Egypt until the end of secondary school in the mid-1980s. I never understood why the photo of late King Farouq, omnipresent in the background setting of many classical Egyptian films, was obscured. Time has changed; the current regime cannot repeat that manipulation; and Sisi should not okay this.

The second measure I am calling upon President Sisi to take is to apologize to ElBaradei for that mistake, a step that would bring about more positive than negative consequences. Sisi needs to get closer to all social stripes. He did make a positive gesture by meeting with intellectuals recently. In my opinion, however, he ought to make a political breakthrough that shakes things up. Indeed, a comprehensive reconciliation is difficult amid the current political tensions and the growing violence and extremism. So, a few concessions by the president in favor of the nationalist current would be important.

The president needs to be spared the sins of others, even those committed by his most devoted men. Mistakes are on the rise, challenges escalating and the president needs to make more friends — and at least to neutralize opponents and enemies.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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