News from the Arab Press

How will Mubarak be remembered?

March 8, 2017

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Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, March 4

Last week, Egypt’s top appeals court acquitted former president Hosni Mubarak from charges of killing protestors during the January 2011 Revolution. This ruling was long overdue. Mubarak was many things, but a murderer was not one of them. He surrounded himself by cronies. He allowed corruption to take place at all levels of governance. He rigged the elections time and again, and refused to vacate the president’s seat. But he never ordered his security forces to kill Egyptian civilians taking to the square. At the beginning of his trial, a lot was unknown. Like every other person facing trial in Egypt, he was brought into court and placed behind bars. The prosecution even attempted to push forward a death sentence. But this, to be sure, was never the intention of the average Egyptian citizen. Even those who took to the streets and flooded Tahrir Square did not want to see their president killed. Mubarak, after all, was an Egyptian just like them. What they wanted was dignity, justice, and freedom. Egyptians wanted political representation. Since the revolution, Mubarak spent over six years in prison. He witnessed his trial — a trial he could have avoided — become politicized. New allegations were presented against him, new charges were added and dropped, and new rounds of court sittings were held. These six years have undoubtedly been a long sentence to serve for someone who was eventually acquitted. However, it is the price that Mubarak paid for his intransigence. Had he noticed any of the signs around him during his six terms as president he would have avoided this fate. But he didn’t, and he paid the ultimate price for his obstinacy. For a man his age – nearing his 90’s – there is not much time left in the world. This trial, however, was never about Mubarak’s future. Rather it was about his past. For the sake of history, Mubarak wanted to be remembered as an innocent president. Not a murdered. This week he finally achieved this goal. — Abd al-Rahman al-Rashed

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