Monday, 7 February 2011

Egyptian regime 'amazed, taken by surprise'

Wael Ghoneim, the young Google executive who helped organise the January 25 protests in Cairo and has spent the last 12 days in detention with State Security, gave a very emotional interview with Mona el-Shazli on Dream TV on Monday evening. The new secretary general of the National Democratic Party, Hossam Badrawi, took him home to his family earlier in the evening. It was fascinating from a personal point of view in itself but Wael also make some interesting remarks about his contacts with Badrawi and with the new interior minister, Mahmoud Wagdi. 
    Badrawi told him that all the bad elements in the party had been cleaned out and the party was making a fresh start, he said. Wael was not impressed and told him the party was rotten to the core and Badrawi should abandon it.
    His interrogators, apparently xenophobic and ill-informed about the mood of ordinary Egyptians, were initially convinced that there were foreign and Muslim Brotherhood elements behind the organisation of the protests on January 25 and wanted to know who they were. Wael thinks he managed to convince them that it was an entirely indigenous and spontaneous youth initiative.
    I repeat in full his version of what Wagdi told him because of the light it throws on the thinking of the security establishment.
The (interior) minister said 'I've only been minister for seven days. You have achieved gains, and no one expected that. How did you do all that? All of us, those inside the party, inside the political system, were amazed, taken by surprise. We couldn't understand what was happening. Now the situation is over. We won't go back again. We are going forward. We'll all build the country, which we are all worried about it and which we love. There was a particular way (of dealing with people), but that way is changing now.'
    Wael said he has blindfolded and held incommunicado for 12 days. State Security didn't even inform his family that he was alive and in their hands. He broke down in tears at the end of the interview when the TV station screened photographs of some of the young people killed by riot police and by thigs during the protests.

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