Wednesday,19 June, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1176, (12 - 18 December 2013)
Wednesday,19 June, 2019
Issue 1176, (12 - 18 December 2013)

Ahram Weekly

Limelight: Three cheers for Amr Moussa

A tidal wave of tributes now descends on one of modern history’s legendary figures, whose loss is deeply felt by all. Nelson Mandela taught love, laughter and forgiveness. His struggle and sacrifice raised his people from slaves to masters, from submission to self-rule. We hope to explore further the Father of South Africa on a future occasion.
This week we chose to acclaim one of our own, who also dedicated his life to serving his country.  
Amr Moussa came that close to becoming ruler of Egypt, but something happened on his way to the presidency. A man of outstanding diplomatic skills, well-known and well regarded by world leaders and statesmen, he was the front runner among a bevy of candidates in the race. None could match his knowledge and experience, his expertise and savoir faire in world matters.
Suddenly, he was pushed back to fifth place after leading the pack for weeks. We know now of the dirty tricks and fraudulent games the Monstrous Brothers so deftly play. Undaunted by the defeat, Moussa kept going. He remained visible on the political scene, formed a new party, joined the opposition against violence and terrorism that called for the removal of the inept Mohamed Morsi, and his custom-made Islamist constitution.
Having been saved from the presidency turned out to be an advantage. The country was in a state of ruin. An ever-growing, well-funded, Islamic terrorist movement spread havoc throughout the land. We were in dire need of a new constitution that would restore stability and security to the populace.
Destiny called once again to Amr Moussa. He was selected president of the Committee of Fifty that would virtually re-write the new constitution from A to Z.
One can hardly think of another leader who could have handled this mammoth task with more dexterity, sagacity and political acumen. He settled quarrels, calmed nerves, reconciled differences producing a civil and harmonious discourse between representatives from every walk of life. He toiled with intricate delicacy like a jeweller carving his precious metal; like a captain steering his vehicle through bumpy seas and jagged rocks, and never lost sight of his goal — a new constitution for Egypt.
Three days ahead of schedule he handed the draft constitution to President Adli Mansour. Nothing is ever all-pleasing to all parties, but this comes close. Naysayers abound, but it must be remembered there is room for amendments in all constitutions. Moussa hopes, as we do all, that the public will vote with a resounding ‘YES’ in the upcoming referendum.
Since graduating from Law School at Cairo University in 1957, he devoted his life to a diplomatic career, and what an illustrious career it turned out to be. He served in almost every post in the Foreign Ministry; was ambassador to India, Switzerland and permanent representative of the Egyptian Delegation at the UN. In 1991 he was called back to Egypt to head the Foreign Ministry. He combined his battle against the evil forces, within and without.
Audacious was how he was described by many, tinged with charm and humour, which endeared him to the common man. He spoke his mind freely against the US, Israel and even president Hosni Mubarak. He became a sort of folk hero and songs of affection and admiration were sung by the public about their premier diplomat. He became so popular among the youth that an “online” campaign gathered tens of thousands of petitioners urging Moussa to challenge Mubarak in the 2005 elections. Feeling threatened, Mubarak removed him as foreign minister, appointing him head of the Arab League of Nations, well away from the spotlight.
It was not Amr Moussa who sought the spotlight. It was the spotlight that sought him.
He recently declared that he will not run for any executive office anytime soon… but it is doubtful that Egypt will forego the services of such an accomplished leader.
Fiercely loyal to friends and loved ones he has often been accused of favouritism. He has been especially loyal to this publication since its establishment and would often call its founder and first editor-in-chief, Hosny Guindy, to compliment him on a certain lay-out or special feature.
Slender, with the grace of youth, he betrays no sign of fatigue. Age has not hampered his enthusiasm, agility and joie de vivre. He delights in plunging in dangerous waters, usually coming out on top.
Sophisticated and worldly he treats all with equal warmth, be it peasant or prince. The decency of the common man is perceived in his every pore.
Affluent and comfortable, he has every right to bask in the glory of an illustrious diplomatic career that spanned over half a century, but his love for his country and his fellow countrymen is sure to draw him back to the struggle and strife of a life in politics.
We are betting that Amr Moussa will not withdraw from the battlefield. A brute force within urges him to keep going; to rise and fall and rise again until his dreams for Egypt all come true… his dreams for liberty, equality, dignity and bread on every table.
Mandela has changed South Africa.
The cool polish and burning passion of Amr Moussa will help bring the desired change to his beloved Egypt.

“Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom”

General George S. Patton Jr.

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