A Breeze of Political Possibility Arouses Egyptians

GlobeTracker| A low-level media frenzy has swept through the media, as a large group of Egyptians waited hours for the delayed arrival of Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei. in his first visit to Egypt since leaving his post as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Al Jazeera calls the reception a ‘hero’s welcome’. Ahead of his arrivial speculation was that the authorities would try to ban receptions for Mr ElBaradei.

Two members of opposition group the April 6 Movement have already been arrested for organising a reception for ElBaradei and distributing leaflets encouraging people to attend, Egyptian media reported. via Al Jazeera

It not known whether current president Hosni Mubarek, who has ruled for three decades and is 81, will seek reelection in 2011. Speculation is that Mr. Mubarek intends to hand over power to his son Gamal.

Abdul Rahman Yusuf, who runs a Facebook social networking site group called “ElBaradei for Presidency of Egypt 2011”, said the group would work in the streets and over the internet to build backing for ElBaradei.

“Our aim is to bring together activists on the ground who can galvanise a popular base through peaceful means,” he said.

“We do not seek to whip up a frenzy. We seek amendments to the constitution.” via Al Jazeera

The NYTimes writes that people gathered at the airport represented a wide range of Egyptians and many people who had never before been involved in politics.

Those gathered included people who said they had never been involved in politics, prominent actors and writers, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, men and women, as well as leading members of groups calling for democratic change. via NYTimes

Both newspapers report that it’s not at all clear that ElBaradei will run. Current Egyptian laws and ElBaradei’s call for open elections under the supervision of the judiciary and in the presences of international observers are obstacles for his candidacy.

Still, a gust of air is blowing through Egypt with people singing the Egyptian national anthem and chanting “Long Live Egypt” and anti-Mubarak slogans.