Egypt’s former VP lambasts ‘fascist’ media campaign

WHOSE SIDE?:ElBaradei quit in protest over the crackdown on Morsi’s followers, but his leaving drew harsh criticism from his former supporters


Tue, Oct 01, 2013 - Page 7

Former Egyptian vice president and democracy advocate Mohammed ElBaradei lashed out on Sunday against what he called a “fascist” security-organized media campaign against him because of his calls for an inclusive political process.

ElBaradei was apparently reacting to reports accusing him of working from abroad to undermine Egypt’s transitional road map in collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Brotherhood is facing a security crackdown since the military deposed former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, a member of the group, in July. The interim government accuses the group of inciting violence and seeking to undermine Egypt’s national security, and has rounded up hundreds of its leadership on such charges and detained Morsi.

ElBaradei, who was a vocal opponent of Morsi and was appointed vice president after his ouster, had argued that a security crackdown on the Brotherhood was counterproductive. He said its members who have not been accused of violence should be integrated into the military-backed political process. However, reconciliation efforts have failed and Morsi’s supporters insisted that he be reinstated.

ElBaradei resigned and left Egypt nearly a month after he took office in protest after security agencies moved in on two weeks-long sit-ins held by Morsi supporters, in a violent crackdown that left hundreds dead.

When he resigned, ElBaradei said he opposed bloodshed and “exclusionary” policies like those adopted by the Brotherhood while Morsi was in office.

However, his resignation earned him harsh criticism by supporters of the military coup and some youth groups who had originally rallied around his call for change.

The media campaign against him has intensified, with newspaper articles and talk-show hosts accusing him of plotting with the Brotherhood to undermine the new political road map and cause chaos to destabilize the country. Reports of meetings between him and Brotherhood officials abroad were floated in the local media, often quoting security officials revealing the secret meetings.

“An organized fascist campaign from ‘sovereign security sources’ and an ‘independent’ media against those who insist on valuing life and the necessity of national reconciliation,” ElBaradei tweeted. “Violence begets violence.”

Many view ElBaradei as the leader of the uprising against then-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. However, he has lost much of his clout by leaving Egypt at a critical juncture, said Abdullah el-Sinawi, a political columnist in newspapers and TV shows, adding that his statements do not offer a solution to deadlocked reconciliation efforts.

“The situation in Egypt is much more complex than a 140-character tweet,” el-Sinawi said.