Sunday, November 30, 2014

Kangaroo Court for Pharaoh

Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s former President ruling for 30 years, could finally smile after hearing Judge Rashidi, who led a panel of three judges, read the verdict. The court cleared Mubarak’s charges against the killing of protesters in 2011 uprising. It was estimated more than 800 people to have been killed as security forces battled protesters in the weeks before Mubarak resigned on 11 February 2011. However, the court documents at the retrial related to the deaths of 239 people and injuries sustained by 1,588, across 11 of the country's regions. 

As well as the murder charge, Mubarak was also cleared of a corruption charge involving gas exports to Israel. While in a separate court charges, Mubarak’s sons Alaa and Gamal are also cleared from corruption charges. The court room which was full of Mubarak’s supporters cheered in jubilation. While the family of victims were frustrated knowing justice would not prevail.
Judge Rashidi did not elaborate from the bench on their reasoning why he dismissed the murder charges but pointing instead to a 280-page summary of their 1,340-page explanation of the case. He insisted that the ruling had “nothing to do with politics.” He also sounded sympathetic about the former president “To rule for or against him after he has become old will be left to history and the Judge of Judges,” he said. Many of the judges involve are the same judges who issued harsh sentence rulings to the dissidents crackdown under al-Sisi. Khaled Ali, a human rights lawyer and former presidential candidate said “it was not a trial, just a game they are playing with the people, to relieve them and then enslave them again”
Dissatisfied with the court’s verdict, protesters gathered around Tahrir Square at night. Tahrir Square was the same place when the Egyptians started their revolt on January 25, 2011 leading to the removal of Mubarak from power, who in fact was planning on to pass the mantle to his son on September that year. People's protests paved the way for General Sisi to his power now albeit Morsi won the election and happened to be in power for one year.  

The verdict implied that Mubarak still have strong supporters among the elite structures, including General El-Sisi, who is the product of military high command under former President Mubarak. The army propaganda combined with the General’s charisma and oratory skills induced Egyptians in euphoria thinking he was the savior and thus expected him to bring changes to the country. They all forgot, thirty years in power is long enough for Mubarak to cultivate strong influence from all walks of life including the military and build them into his circles. 

Al-Sisi, former general who led the military takeover ousting Egypt’s elected Islamist government, now has consolidated power and surrounded himself with former Mubarak advisers. The state-run and pro-government media now routinely denounce the pro-democracy activists who led the 2011 uprising as a “fifth column” out to undermine the state. Many of the activitists are still in prison, and the Islamists who won free elections are now jailed as terrorists along with thousands of their supporters. 

What occurred in Egypt after the revolt and what is happening now with the former figures and the cronies suggest democracy does not take over night, it takes many generations to go and there can not be any short cut for it. The January 25 revolt was not the end and not yet the beginning as well towards democracy, just like in 1952 when the Egyptian army ousted the prime minister. What Mark Twain said holds true that "history does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme".

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