Although I have dedicated my whole life to Egyptian antiquities and I have made discoveries, stayed awake at night, travelled, and written books and I have felt like I am living amongst the pharaohs and watching them as they talk and move and work hard out of love for their homeland, I often return from this exciting world to reality. I see what is going on around me, whether politically, socially or economically in Egyptian society and I cannot help but draw unrealistic comparisons between today and the ancient times. This is what my mind and conscience always do. When I sit with friends we mostly talk about the present and future of Egypt and our Arab world.
In my last discussion with friends, we touched on a new experience in our society that was only rivalled by the US elections and that was the experience of the Al Wafd party. In this election, the party chairman Mahmoud Abaza and Dr. El Sayyed El Badawi were competing for the position of party leader. I came to know Mahmoud Abaza through parliament and there is a general consensus that he is a truly respectful man with a cause. Although I have never met Dr. El Badawi, we have spoken on the phone and all I have ever heard about him is that he is a man with a conscience and good intentions.
I watched [these two men take part in] numerous debates on Egyptian television including one that was presented by my friend Khairi Ramadan and the famous presenter Mona El Shazly on the Cairo Today television show. The debates were all honest and respectful and so I held both El Badawi and Abaza in high esteem. I did not witness any transgressions as each of them presented their reformative programs simply, freely and with no defamation.
One of the most amazing things that I noticed was the position adopted by Mahmoud Abaza and the Al Wafd newspaper which remained completely neutral despite that Abaza is the Al Wafd party candidate and the chairman of both the party and the newspaper. Nevertheless, he did not abuse his position and sought only to create a democratic climate within the party. For the first time, we saw an [internal] party election that was not tarnished. Dr. El Sayyed El Badawi was announced the winner and at that moment, the two candidates declared the result in a wonderful democratic climate in which Abaza congratulated his rival without a hint of jealousy or even disagreement.
Dr. El Badawi announced that he adopted a programme to promote the party and once again revive it amongst the masses and to bring back the former glory of Al Wafd. He also wants to develop the Al Wafd newspaper and to restore the trust of all Egyptians, not only party members and to make it a real mouthpiece for all Egyptians and one that best expresses the hopes and dreams of the people of one homeland. Dr. El Sayyed El Badawi did not announce that he would only work with his supporters; rather he declared that Al Wafd is for everybody and that if he failed to implement his program within 18 months, he would leave his post for someone else to fill.
I think that in the upcoming days, Dr. El Sayyed El Badawi will be Egypt’s number one opposition figure because he respects others, works without seeking retaliation from anybody and has no long-established enemy. El Badawi owns satellite channels and I never saw a single negative reference to anybody on any of those channels. This is what happened in Egypt and we are still waiting for more.