Wanderlust…

The International Reporting (and Life) Adventures of Vivian Salama

Embedded in the Mubarak Campaign

Posted by vmsalama on January 25, 2005

One of the most interesting events I’ve covered in my career thus far is the historic electoral campaign of Egypt’s President of then 24-years, Hosni Mubarak.  It was only 19 days long but with no sleep, and round the clock developments, it was certainly something I will always remember.  The TBS Journal asked me to file a personal essay documenting my experience.  Here are some photos of that and other correlating events to go along with the article. 

by Vivian Salama

In Egypt, the summer of 2005 found the nation’s political parties on the front lines of a battle for reform, as President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, under pressure both at home and abroad to democratize, staged its first ever multi-party presidential elections. Under the blistering late-summer heat, political veterans fired accusations and critiques back and forth, while the opposition struggled to agree on a unified strategy to face the incumbent, a 77-year-old ruler who was going for his fifth, six-year term in office. And of course, as on any major battlefront in this globalized world, there also were the journalists, strategically embedded exactly when and where the government wanted them.

That’s how I spent the summer of 2005—covering the ruling National Democratic Party’s (NDP) bid to get President Hosni Mubarak reelected. Actually, it could hardly be termed a reelection, considering that Mubarak had never before run for office in all his 24 years in power. Before Mubarak’s announcement in February 2005 that he would support amending the constitution to allow more than one candidate to run for president, Egyptians had simply voted yes-or-no in a nationwide referendum every six years. Having only been in Egypt about a year and a half at that point, it was tough not to get swept up in the excitement and the buzz about the possibilities of coming change. Was an Arab Spring dawning? Was I witnessing it unfold? 

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