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Saad Eddin Ibrahim - Speaking out for Democracy

02/22/2004

Saad Eddin Ibrahim was jailed by Egyptian authorities for blowing the whistle on election fraud, and sentenced to seven years in prison. Thanks to an international effort and pressure from the USA, Dr. Ibrahim was freed and is now touring the USA, speaking out for democracy. I was gratified to get the letter below from a friend.


Thanks for springing Sa'ad Ibrahim from prison. Thanks to you and many others, I had the opportunity to hear him speak at the University of Utah this afternoon. It was an awsome event. Profesor Ibrahim riveted the audience with his call for democracy and peace in the Middle East. His intellegence, optimism, humility and humor were inspiring.
In the Q and A session after his speech he was asked about the supposed incompatibility of Islam and democracy and replied that most Moslems live under democratic regimes. He pointed out that the spectre of Islamicists coming to power is being exploited in the same way that Communism was used during the Cold War, as an excuse to scare democratic nations into supporting dictatorships in the Middle East.
To a questioner who complained that America is standing in the way of democracy and justice in the Middle East he rejoined that while there is plenty about America that should be criticized, he studied in America in the sixties and saw the civil rights, womens rights and anti-Vietnam War movements achieve their goals through popular dissent. He pointed out that while it is to be hoped that America will some day support democracy movements in the Middle East, the success of democratic movements everywhere will rest primarily on the shoulders of the people in each country.
He also told about a meeting he had with Anwar Sadat in 1981 after Sadat allowed him to return to his homeland. He explained that he had disagreed with Sadat about some aspects of the peace treaty Egypt signed with Israel and that it turned out that Sadat was right and he was wrong. "I can always be wrong," he said, "and by the way, that applies to everything I have said today."
Professor Ibrahim ended by quoting Churchill's saying that democracy is the worst political system there is except for all the others that we know about. The audience was clearly inspired by his words and his persona, and rose to its feet to give him a standing ovation as he concluded his presentation. It was an unforgettable experience of being united with fellow human beings all inspired by a person who epitomizes humility, humor, hope and humaneness.

salaam and shalom, Guy

We are proud that MidEastWeb played some small part in helping to free Saad Eddin Ibrahim. and we hope to do the same for others. Please don't forget Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, in jail in Bangladesh for speaking his mind. Please write to officials and human rights groups, and sign the petition. Click here for details.

Thank you.

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000196.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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