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Why did Saad Eddin Ibrahim sign the Gamal Mubarak for President petition? Why would a dissident who went to prison for his opposition to the regime endorse a campaign promoting the president’s son’s yet-undeclared bid for presidency?

I’ve been trying to figure out the answer to this question since the news came out last month. Ibrahim explained his motives by saying he only signed in support of the right of Gamal, as any other citizen, to run; and this doesn’t mean he has endorsed the president’s son.

Meanwhile, there is no shortage of theories explaining this surprising move: He had struck a deal with the regime to avoid going back to prison upon return to Egypt. He’s old and senile and was duped into signing it. He did it as courtesy to the campaign coordinator. There’s even the possibility that his whole career, or the 10 years at least, was nothing but a meticulous Orwellian plan where an opposition figure introduces and denounces the inheritance scenario to the public, only to come back and endorse the concept.

A bit of a stretch? Probably yes.

And I’m resigning to the belief that I might not get a satisfying answer to this question. Ever.

There’s another question though that I’d like answered.

As an opposition figure, Ibrahim has an exquisite record. Whether or not you agree with all his ideas or approach to reform (I don’t), his impact on the local political scene is undeniable. But could this gaffe — or this explainable, unforgivable blunder to be exact (if you don’t know or not convinced, that’s why) — be the defining moment of his career? Twenty years from now, how would Saad Eddin Ibrahim be remembered? As the man who first noticed and condemned the plans for inheritance of power in Egypt or as the man who endorsed it?