Egyptian Protestor: Candidates Don't Represent Me
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And we're going to hear now from a human rights activist and blogger in Egypt. Dalia Ziada was part of the protest movement that led to the downfall of President Mubarak. Dalia, welcome back to the program.
DALIA ZIADA: Thank you so much.
BLOCK: And we just heard calls from Egyptians to boycott the election this weekend, people who say it's a sham, that it's all rigged by the military. Do you agree with that?
ZIADA: I agree with the boycott, but I don't agree that they were rigged by the military. Actually, the military purposefully did not interfere into the voting process. However, they prepared the public opinion toward selecting one of the two candidates who are now qualified for the runoff, and everyone will be forced to choose between them tomorrow.
BLOCK: You said you do agree with the calls to boycott. Why is that?
ZIADA: I agree with the boycott, for sure. The two candidates who are now qualified for the runoff does not represent me, not only as a revolutionary but as an Egyptian who's looking for a liberal democracy country and who's looking for a brighter future and dignified life.
One of them belongs to the former regime, which had established a police state that continued for 30 years, and the other one is the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, and actually he's even worse. He belongs to the group that has stolen our revolution.
BLOCK: Does it make you question, Dalia, whether the revolution was worth it in the end if this is the result, if these are the choices you have?
ZIADA: I don't regret the revolution for sure, but - you know what, actually although I completely disagree with the results of this election, and I have a horrible psychological breakdown after the first round, I was really disappointed. I stayed at home for two days, unable to see anyone or speak to anyone. I got really sick. You know, it's somehow really bad.
But in fact, when I give it a second thought, I found out that we should be proud of what we have achieved, regardless of the result. The winner here is the Egyptian people. The Egyptian people finally have the privilege of choosing their president.
BLOCK: You're saying that after the first round of voting in this presidential election, when the centrist candidates all lost, you had a psychological breakdown, you didn't come out of your house for two days.
ZIADA: I was very disappointed. I voted for a third person, actually it's someone who belongs to - more to the revolution. He's one of us. But unfortunately, the number of the people who voted for him did not qualify him for the runoff. That's why I was disappointed, that my choice did not end up being one of the final candidates.
BLOCK: The new president will be coming in with no parliament because it was dissolved by the court yesterday. There will be no constitution to define or limit the president's role. How worrisome is that to you?
ZIADA: You know what? You may be surprised if I said it doesn't worry me because although there is no constitution, and there is no parliament to protect us against any misbehavior this new president may have, we still have our nonviolent struggle. We still have our nonviolent tactics and nonviolent power. We were able to bring down Mubarak, who has been keeping power for more than 30 years.
I think it would be easy for us to bring down any other president who would think he can mistreat us. I believe that, you know, the next president also will keep the image of Mubarak in his mind. They will always remember that when the people decided to bring down a dictator, they did it.
BLOCK: Dalia Ziada is executive director of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Democratic Studies in Cairo. She'll be leading a team monitoring the presidential elections in Egypt this weekend. Dalia Ziada, thanks so much.
ZIADA: Thank you so much.
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