Daily Office: Matins
Pacem appellant
Thursday, 27 January 2011

As an unforeseen youth movement rocks Egypt more precariously than any previous opponents of Hosni Mubarak, the United States, stupefied by its fear of the Muslim Brotherhood, risks wrong-footing its relationship with the new régime, largely by hoping that there won’t be one. Mohamed ElBaradei,  a Nobelist and former head of IAEC as well as a champion of liberal reform, expected better of us.   

Dr. ElBaradei, with his international prestige, is a difficult critic for Mr. Mubarak’s government to jail, harass or besmirch, as it has many of his predecessors. And Dr. ElBaradei eases concerns about Islamists by putting a secular, liberal and familiar face on the opposition.

But he has been increasingly outspoken in his criticism of the West. He was stunned, he said, by the reaction of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Egyptian protests. In a statement after Tuesday’s clashes, she urged restraint but described the Egyptian government as “stable” and “looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.”

“ ‘Stability’ is a very pernicious word,” he said. “Stability at the expense of 30 years of martial law, rigged elections?” He added, “If they come later and say, as they did in Tunis, ‘We respect the will of the Tunisian people,’ it will be a little late in the day.”