“Sha’arawy’s personality was irreplaceable,” said Engy Fares about her deceased colleague Sha’arawy Abdel Baqu Sha’arawy.
Sha’arawy was the Secretary General of the 6 October governorate secretariat of the Al-Dostour Party. He died in January during a brawl with Sameh Makram Ebeid, former head of the steering committee.
“Sha’arawy was very worked up about the structure of the party,” said Fares. He believed that the Al-Dostour Party’s main goal should be to reach the Egyptian people who created the 25 January revolution. In order to achieve this goal, Sha’arawy had a vision of a more democratic party structure. Steps to implement his vision were vividly outlined in a plan he developed and applied in the 6 October party secretariat.
“He wanted to restructure the entire party through democratic elections,” said Fares. Sha’arawy’s vision was basically to create a democratically-elected parliament in each secretariat.
“The parliament would be re-elected every three months,” said Nehal Atteya, Sha’arawy’s wife. “That way, the secretary would not be able to independently take decisions; he would have to consult the parliament.”
Sha’arawy’s main aim was to decentralise the party, Atteya said. He wanted any party decisions, such as the decision to enter an alliance, to be made collectively rather than by chairman Mohamed ElBaradei.
The vision was not welcomed by the Al-Dostour Party. “He was told it’s not possible to implement this vision until the parliamentary elections,” Atteya said. Sha’arawy was attending a meeting with leading figures of the party when the argument which cost him his life erupted. The meeting revolved around the possible re-structuring of the party.
Atteya criticised the party’s decision to hold a meeting attended by both Sha’arawy and Ebeid. “You can’t put people who have such grave differences in the same room and have them discuss their differences,” Atteya said.
After Sha’arawy’s death, ElBaradei visited Atteya and promised he would implement her husband’s vision throughout the party as soon as the parliamentary elections are over. “Meanwhile, the secretaries of Dokki, Mohandessin, and a few of the Alexandria secretaries have already begun implementing the vision,” Atteya said.
Sha’arawy was among the founding members of the Al-Dostour Party. “He donated his office in 6 October and turned it into a party secretariat,” Fares said. “He even organised a large public conference to introduce the party in 6 October.”
Part of the revolution since day one, Atteya said Sha’arawy was always among the protesters. After the revolution, he joined the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP). “He left it shortly afterwards,” said Atteya. “He couldn’t quite blend in.”
Even before the revolution, Sha’arawy was always concerned with the country’s affairs. “He was very active, spreading positive energy all around,” said Fares. “All his goals related to the country’s interests. He never pursued personal gains.”
In 2005, he established the development organisation ‘Horizons’. Through the organisation, Sha’arawy secured partnerships with technological companies such as Oracle and Sesco. He managed to train 7,000 youths to use technology, targeting youths who lacked the necessary capabilities to help them develop.
“He contributed to several charity acts,” Fares said. “Yet, he always believed he should help humans develop instead of just giving them money to help them get by.”
In memory of Sha’arawy, Horizons will be renamed after him. The organisation will expand to include a socio-cultural centre, as well as legal, health and educational centres to assist the families of the 6 October governorate.