Transcript: Mohamed Aboul Ghar: Egypt in Turmoil | Apr 18, 2013

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a light gray suit, white shirt, and gray tie. Behind him, a wall screen reads “The Agenda, with Steve Paikin.”

Steve says THE PROTESTORS IN
TAHRIR SQUARE WERE FULL OF EGYPT.
BUT TWO YEARS AFTER HOSNI
MUBARAK'S FALL, EGYPT FIND
ITSELF ON UNSTABLE FOOTING.
HERE NOW WITH HIS PERSPECTIVE ON
THE CURRENT SITUATION IN EGYPT,
MOHAMED ABOUL GHAR, PRESIDENT OF
THE EGYPTIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC Party.

Mohamed sits in the studio with Steve. He’s in his late sixties, clean-shaven, with sparse white hair. He’s wearing a gray suit, striped blue shirt and patterned red tie.

Steve continues WE WELCOME YOU NOT JUST TO THIS
TV STUDIO, BUT TO CANADA, AS WELL.

Mohamed says THANK YOU.

Steve says I HAVE TO START THERE.
AND ASK YOU WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Mohamed Aboul Ghar. Egyptian Social Democratic Party."

Mohamed says I'M COMING ON A CAMPAIGN TO
TALK TO EGYPTIAN CANADIANS AND
TRY TO GET THEM TOGETHER TO WORK
TOGETHER TO SUPPORT THE SECULAR
PARTIES IN THE CURRENT SITUATION.

The caption changes to "Egypt in turmoil. Theagenda.tvo.org"

Steve says HOW ENGAGED HAVE YOU
FOUND EGYPTIAN CANADIANS IN WHAT
GOES ON IN YOUR COUNTRY?

Mohamed says 50 percent OF THEM FOLLOW CLOSELY.
THEY ARE INTERESTED.
BUT WE WANT TO BUILD A NETWORK
OF COMMUNICATION WITH EGYPT AND
WE WANT SOME OF THEM TO JOIN OUR
PARTY IN EGYPT.
AND TO SUPPORT US IN DIFFERENT WAYS.

Steve says YOUR PARTY IS THE
SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY.
MAYBE YOU COULD TAKE A MOMENT
AND TELL US WHAT IT IS YOU STAND FOR?

The caption changes to "Political transition."

Mohamed says We stand for private ENTERPRISE
AND REASONABLE TAXATION.
CONTROL OF THE GOVERNMENT ON
STRATEGIC THINGS.
AND ASSURING GOOD HEALTH AND
EDUCATION PROGRAMS TO EGYPTIAN.
THE END RESULT IS WE WANT SOCIAL
JUSTICE FOR OUR COUNTRY WHERE
THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE IS
UNDER THE POVERTY LINE.

Steve says YOU ARE ORIGINALLY A DOCTOR.

Mohamed says YES.

Steve says And a UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR.

Steve says HOW DID YOU END UP IN POLITICS?
ACTIVIST FROM 20 YEARS AND WE
STARTED WITH A PROGRAM WITHIN
THE UNIVERSITY OF OPPOSING HOSNI
MUBARAK AND ASKING FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM.
THEN I JOINED FORCES IN THE STREET.
I WAS NEVER ORGANIZED IN ANY
POLITICAL PARTY.
AFTER THE REVOLUTION, WE WERE
FORCED TO FORM PARTIES, BECAUSE
NOW WE HAVE TO FIGHT FOR SEATS
IN THE PARLIAMENT AND TO CHANGE EGYPT.

Steve says DO YOU HAVE SEATS TODAY?

Mohamed says YES.
NOW THERE IS NO PARLIAMENT, THE
PARLIAMENT WAS DISSOLVED.
BUT WE HAD 23 SEATS IN THE
PARLIAMENT WHICH WAS DISSOLVED.
WE RUN IN THE ELECTIONS WHEN WE
WERE ONLY THREE MONTHS OLD PARTY.
TO THOSE VERY HEADY DAYS TWO YEARS AGO.
OVER HERE.
WHAT DO YOU MOST REMEMBER ABOUT
THOSE PROTESTS IN LIBERATION SQUARE?

Mohamed says I REMEMBER VERY WELL THAT ALL
THE EGYPTIANS WENT ON THE 25th
25th OF JANUARY DEMONSTRATING.
ONLY THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD DID NOT.
THEY ANNOUNCE THEY ARE NOT GOING
TO JOIN THE REST OF THE
EGYPTIANS.
AFTER THE 25th, THERE WERE
SMALLER DEMONSTRATIONS ON 26th
26th, 27th.
WERE MASSIVE DEMONSTRATIONS.
AND THAT DAY THE MUSLIM
BROTHERHOOD JOINED.
BUT AFTER THE END OF 18 DAYS,
WHICH MYSELF AND MANY OTHERS
SPENT THE WHOLE TIME IN THIS
SQUARE, UNTIL HOSNI MUBARAK
RESIGNED AND LEFT HIS POST, NOW
THE WHOLE REVOLUTION WAS STOLEN
TO OUR BELIEF BY ONE PARTY.

Steve says HOW DO YOU THINK THEY
MANAGED TO STEAL IT?

Mohamed says WELL, THEY WERE THE ONLY
ORGANIZED FORCE.
WE WERE NOT ALLOWED TO FORM
PARTIES DURING HOSNI MUBARAK.
WE WERE NOT ALLOWED TO MEET
ANYWHERE, ANY ORGANIZATION.
BUT THEY ARE 18 YEAR OLD
ORGANIZATION.
AND THEY WERE WELL ORGANIZED.
AND PROBABLY THE ARMY AND MAYBE
OTHER INTERNATIONAL POWERS
PREFERRED TO DEAL WITH WELL
ORGANIZED GROUP RATHER THAN
MEETING WITH DIFFERENT GROUPS,
WHICH IS NOT YET ORGANIZED.

A panel pops up that reads “Mohamed Aboul Ghar. President and co-founder of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party. Graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University; obtained his PhD in 1969. Co-founded the 9 March Movement for the Independence of Universities in 2004.”

Steve says DO YOU HAVE ONGOING
DIALOGUE WITH THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD?

Mohamed says WE HAD ONGOING DIALOGUE TILL
THE CONSTITUTION WAS FINISHED.
SINCE THEN WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY DIALOGUE.

Steve says By who’s choice?

Mohamed says BY OUR CHOICE.
WE FOUND OUT THAT THERE IS NO
WAY TO HAVE ANY DIALOGUE.
THERE WAS A MAJOR PROBLEM.
I RECEIVE THE CALL FROM THE
PRESIDENT MORSI.
WE WENT AND WE HAD A LONG THREE
HOURS TALK WITH HIM.
WITH SUGGESTIONS TO SORT OUT THE
PROBLEM OF THE CONSTITUTION.
AND WE FELT THAT HE WAS VERY SINCERE.
AND SAID WE WILL MEET AND MEET AGAIN.
AND SORT OUT THIS PROBLEM.
I PROMISE YOU WE WILL HAVE A
SECULAR CONSTITUTION, VERY
MODERN AND VERY GOOD ONE.
I NEVER PUT A REFERENDUM UNLESS
ALL FORCES IN EGYPT AGREE ON IT.
36 HOURS THEY - IN TWO DAYS.
THIS DECLARATION WHICH GAVE HIM
MORE THAN DIE DID DIVINE.
TO CANCEL ANY COURT DECISION.
WE SAID - WE WERE TOLD ONLY
THREE DAYS AGO SOMETHING
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.
POWERS FROM THE MUSLIM
BROTHERHOOD, WHICH ARE VERY
CONTROLLING EVERYTHING.
EVEN THE PRESIDENT.

Steve says OK.
IN WHICH CASE MAYBE MORSI IS NOT
THE PROBLEM.
MAYBE IT'S OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE
THE PROBLEM.

Mohamed says THEY ARE ALL ONE
ORGANIZATION.
BUT WE FEEL THEY WERE NOT FAIR.
THEY SAID SOMETHING.
THEY DID SOMETHING ELSE.
AND SINCE THEN WE DON'T BELIEVE HIM.

Steve says YOU DON'T TRUST HIM ANYMORE?

Mohamed says NO.

Steve says YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES, I
GUESS, ARE PART OF A BROADER
ORGANIZATION, I GATHER CALLED
THE NATIONAL SALVATION FRONT.

Mohamed says YES.

Steve says PUT TOGETHER AS A
COUNTER BALANCE.
SO LET'S FIND OUT A BIT MORE
ABOUT THIS FRONT.
WHO IS THE LEADER OF THAT?

Mohamed says WE HAVE CHOSEN A COORDINATOR
OF THE GROUP.

Steve says YOU CALL HIM
COORDINATOR, BUT NOT LEADER.

Mohamed says NO, CALLED COORDINATOR.
IT IS FORMED OF OLD SECULAR
PARTIES FROM THE RIGHT TO THE LEFT.
FIVE OF THEM ARE RELATIVELY BIG.
AND THEY HAD MEMBERS IN THE PARLIAMENT.
MEMBER IN THE PARLIAMENT.
PLUS SOME INDIVIDUAL FIGURES
WHICH ARE PROMINENT, KNOWN TO
THE PEOPLE AND PEOPLE LIKE THEM.
SO ALSO THEY JOINED THE NATIONAL FUND.

Steve says HE IS WELL KNOWN IN
THE WEST.
BUT I THINK HE MAY BE MORE
POPULAR IN THE WEST THAN IN EGYPT.
IS THAT TRUE?

Mohamed says NO, HE IS POPULAR in EGYPT.
LIKE ANY POLITICIAN, THERE ARE
PEOPLE WHO LIKE HIM.
PEOPLE WHO DISLIKE HIM.

Steve says DO YOU THINK THIS
NATIONAL FRONT HAS THE POTENTIAL
TO TURN INTO SOMETHING?

Mohamed says SOME OF THE PARTIES I THINK
THEY WILL JOIN A COALITION
TOGETHER IN THE COMING ELECTIONS.
AND POSSIBLY THERE WILL BE
MARRIAGE BETWEEN SOME PARTIES.
THIS WILL BE THE BEST SOLUTION.
WE WILL HAVE ONE STRONG SECULAR
PARTY WHICH CAN WIN AGAINST THE
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD.

Steve says DID THE IDEA TO MAKE
HIM PRESIDENT SOME DAY?

Mohamed says I DON'T THINK SO.
HE HAD THE CHANCE TO BE THE
PRESIDENT IN THE LAST ELECTIONS.
HE WITHDREW HIMSELF.
PEOPLE WERE UNHAPPY THAT HE DID THAT.
AND PERSONALLY WHEN I TALKED TO
HIM, HE SAID HE WILL NEVER RUN
FOR ELECTIONS.

Steve says EGYPT TODAY COMPARED
To Egypt under HOSNI MUBARAK.

The caption changes to "Egypt today."

Mohamed says THE FUTURE WILL BE BETTER.
BECAUSE WE SHOULD COME OUT OF
DICTATORSHIP.
WE SHOULD COME OUT OF MILITARY
CONTROL WHICH LASTED FOR ALMOST
60 YEARS.
EGYPT SHOULD HELP CIVILIANS.
FROM THIS POINT, WE ARE MUCH
BETTER.
BUT ON THE OTHER HAND NOW WE ARE
IN GREAT DANGER OF CHANGING A
DICTATORSHIP TO A FASCIST
REGIME, WHICH COULD BE EVEN WORSE.
NOW, MAJOR ECONOMIC PROBLEMS,
MAJOR SECURITY PROBLEMS.
AND VERY VAGUE FUTURE.
WE WANT A DEMOCRACY TO BE
PRESENT.
AND WE ARE NOT SURE THAT
DEMOCRACY WILL BE THERE.
WE WANT FAIR ELECTIONS.
MONITORED BY INTERNATIONAL
FORCES.
PROPER RULES ARE THERE BECAUSE
WE ARE VERY SCARED THAT THE
COMING ELECTIONS WILL BE RIGGED
AND KNOWN FOR RIGGING ELECTIONS
BY MANY DIFFERENT WAYS.

Steve says WOULD YOU LIKE FORMER
PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER AND HIS
GROUP IN THERE?

Mohamed says THEY ARE COMING BUT WE WILL
HAVE MORE THAN THAT.
WE WILL HAVE THE EUROPEAN UNION
MONITORING THE ELECTIONS.
WE WANT MORE THAN THAT.
WE WANT A NEUTRAL GOVERNMENT,
BECAUSE WHATEVER MONITORS YOU
WILL HAVE, WITHOUT A NEUTRAL
GOVERNMENT, IF YOU HAVE A
MINISTER AND PUBLIC PROSECUTOR
WHO IS ALIGNED WITH ONE GROUP,
YOU WILL NEVER HAVE FAIR ELECTIONS.
SO WE WANT REALLY NEUTRAL PEOPLE
TO BE THERE.

Steve says MY HUNCH IS THE WEST,
BY THAT I MEAN CANADA, THE
UNITED STATES, YOU KNOW, THE
EUROPEAN UNION COUNTRIES, WOULD
MUCH PREFER TO SEE YOUR GROUP IN
POWER THAN CERTAINLY HOSNI
MUBARAK OR THE MUSLIM
BROTHERHOOD.

Steve asks It’s not true?

Mohamed repeats IT'S NOT TRUE.
WELL, THE AMERICAN
ADMINISTRATION, DEFINITELY
SUPPORTS THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD
VERY, VERY STRONGLY.

Steve says THE U.S. SUPPORTS THE
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD?

Mohamed says NOT THE WHOLE COUNTRY, BUT
THE GOVERNMENT.
THE ADMINISTRATION.
THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION
SUPPORTS THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD.

Steve says WHY WOULD THEY WANT?

Mohamed says FOR TWO REASONS.
FIRST REASON, THEY HAD THE IDEA
THEY ARE A STRONG GROUP.
AND THE COUNTRY WILL BE STABLE.
THEY WANT STABLE EGYPT AND
STABLE AREA.
AND THIS PROVED TO BE WRONG
BECAUSE WE ARE THE MOST UNSTABLE
COUNTRY IN THE WHOLE WORLD RIGHT NOW.
THE SECOND, BECAUSE OF THE
SECURITY OF ISRAEL.
THEY PROMISE THEM TO ASSURE THEM
SECURITY OF ISRAEL.
BUT OUR GOAL, ALL THE SECULAR
EGYPT NEVER SAID THAT THEY ARE
GOING TO DO ANYTHING WITH THE
PEACE TREATY.
WE SUPPORT THE PEACE TREATY.
WE WANT COMPLETE PEACE.
WE DON'T WANT WAR.
THAT'S VERY CLEAR.

Steve says YOU TOLD THE
ADMINISTRATION THIS?

Mohamed says OF COURSE.
EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS.
BUT HAMAS IN GAZA ARE VERY CLOSE
TO MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD.
SO THEY COULD INFLUENCE THEM TO
HAVE AN AGREEMENT WITH ISRAEL.
OF COURSE WE ARE NOT FRIENDS
VERY MUCH THE SAME FRIENDSHIP OR
ANY FRIENDSHIP WITH HAMAS.

Steve says DO YOU THINK THINGS
ARE - YOU POINTED OUT THE
INSTABILITY IN EGYPT TODAY.
IS IT SO BAD THAT YOU THINK
PEOPLE WOULD APPRECIATE THE
MILITARY COMING IN AND IN EFFECT
TAKING OVER OFFICIALLY AGAIN?

Mohamed says THERE IS A VOICE SAYING THAT.
BUT WE DO AGREE ON THAT, BECAUSE
WE BELIEVE THAT THE ARMY SHOULD
BE AN ARMY AND SHOULD PROTECT
THE EGYPTIAN BORDERS AND EGYPT
SHOULD BE RUN BY CIVILIANS FROM
NOW AND FOREVER.
THIS IS ONLY REAL SOLUTION WHICH
WILL BRING STABILITY.

Steve says YOU SEE WHAT'S
DO YOU FEAR THAT COULD HAPPEN IN EGYPT?
I'M WORRIED IF COMING ELECTIONS
WILL START TO BE IN OUR FAVOUR.
THEN SOMETHING LIKE THIS MAY
OCCUR FROM ISLAMISTS.

Steve says FINALLY, YOU POINTED
OUT EARLIER THAT YOU THINK
THINGS ARE NOT BETTER TODAY THAN
THEY WERE TWO YEARS AGO, BUT
THEY WILL BE.

Mohamed says YES.

Steve says HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU THAT
EGYPTIANS ARE ACTUALLY GOING TO
BE ABLE TO PUT THIS BACK ON TRACK?

Mohamed says WELL, HISTORICALLY, ALL THE
REVOLUTIONS WERE CORRECTED.
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION TOOK OVER 20 YEARS.
THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION TOOK MORE
THAN HALF A CENTURY.
ALL THE REVOLUTIONS FINALLY,
BECAUSE THOSE DICTATORSHIP REGIMES.
EGYPT SHOULD NOT BE UNDER ANY
FORM OF DICTATORSHIP.
AND THE DANGER OF FASCIST, WE
SHOULD STOP IT AND WE HOPE THE
WHOLE WORLD WILL HELP US STOP IT

Steve says DR. MOHAMED ABU GHAR,
FROM THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC
PARTY OF EGYPT.
WE'RE GRATEFUL YOU SPARED SOME
TIME ON YOUR CANADIAN ADVENTURE
TO COME IN AND VISIT US AT
TVO TODAY. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Mohamed says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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