The Conniving Judicial-Military Bedfellows in Egypt

3 06 2012

Ahmed Shafiq, the former Mubarak regime’s Prime Minister and one of the current presidential candidates, declared that “no one is above the law,” in reference to the recent verdict sentencing Hosni Mubarak to life in prison, and acquitting his two sons Gamal and Alaa and a number of senior officials and police officers responsible for killing numerous protestors.

Either Shafiq is delusional, or he is vying for an Oscar, all the while symbolically showing the revolutionaries his middle finger.  Well, the middle finger is representative of what the un-autonomous judiciary and current military regime (SCAF) in Egypt are engaging in with each other, for mutual benefits and advantages, in the combined effort to undermine the revolutionaries and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), as the presidential election approaches in a couple of weeks.

In a press conference, Ahmed Shafiq said this about the MB (Al Jazeera Egypt Live Blog):

“Shafiq also attacked the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate Muhammad al-Morsi, saying that his party represented ‘backwardness.’

‘I represent all Egypt, they represent an isolated category.  I am national reconciliation, the Brotherhood is revenge. I represent tolerance, the Brotherhood is isolation and discrimination.  My history is known, theirs is dark,’ he said.”

As if that will win the hearts and minds of Egyptians!

The rumor on the street is that Shafiq and SCAF plan to shoe him in somehow as the presidential election winner, after which he will acquit Mubarak and establish rules and policies that will continue the regime’s status quo ante.  The rumors might not be too far off the reality.  Egyptians know their politicians and political games well, warts and all.  As Mona Eltahawy put it in a recent CNN interview:  “The people are not stupid.”

These developments are a travesty of justice.  Many are rightly pointing out, what else should we expect?  The judiciary consists of the same characters and judges that worked for the Mubarak regime, and there is no light between them and SCAF.  Why should we expect any impartiality and judicial ethics?  Someone correctly tweeted, this is not a trial at all, it’s “black comedy.”  The Washington Post quotes a Tahrir Square protester:  “All of this is a charade, and we don’t accept it,” said Amal Ramsis, 40, as she protested in the square.

The same article by Leila Fadel states the following:

“Dissatisfaction with the ruling could push revolutionaries who had planned to boycott the runoff election for president into grudging support of Morsi, an uncharismatic conservative Islamist, experts said.

‘The Brotherhood might be able to capitalize on this to push the line for revolutionary unity against the regime,’ said Michael Wahid Hanna, an Egypt analyst at the Century Foundation. ‘The anger could push those planning to sit it out to cast a vote for the Brotherhood against the old regime’.”

In the case of Egypt, I’m afraid the cart was placed before the horse, although given the SCAF’s control over everything, I understand how difficult it has been for the revolutionaries to chip away at that rock-solid boulder of the former regime.  Ideally, the constitution should have been revised first, the judiciary purged completely and personnel and judges replaced with more reputable and credible people, and then the presidential elections should be held.  However, the complexities of the situation are understandably formidable.

Clearly, SCAF and company have not heeded the lessons of Tunisia and Libya.  The public is not demanding cosmetic changes, as regimes have done in the past, but complete overhauls of their dictatorships and institutions.  It’s unfathomable that, given all the events of 2011, SCAF still does not get it.  Instead, they continue to play underhanded tricks to remain in power and perpetuate their influence over institutions and the elections.  Sad to say this, but they are proving to be as blind and zealously power-hungry as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.

Perhaps they should be reminded of some of these great quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“A lie cannot live.”

“A right delayed is a right denied.”

“In the absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organized robbery?”

“The first duty of society is justice.”

And certainly the revolutionaries do not need reminders about their resolve, but nonetheless, I leave you with this MLK quote, which is very inspiring:

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.  And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.  A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.”

NOTE:  Everything I write in this blog constitutes my personal opinions and views.

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The Road to Hell in Egypt

5 02 2012

I was traveling when someone told me what happened at the Port Said soccer match in Egypt last week.  My shock and disbelief are indescribable.  As soon as I returned home, I checked the news, and the Egypt Independent reports an alleged sinister conspiracy by former NDP (Mubarak’s ruling party) figures, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), and the Interior Ministry to exact revenge on the revolutionaries.  Here’s what one of the articles alleges:

“‘I do not rule out a conspiracy and believe that there are some security officials and policemen involved in this. How else do we explain the complete lack of security interference during the game to protect fans who were being slaughtered and thrown off the bleachers for over an hour and a half?’ said Ahly player Mohamed Abu Treka in a touching interview published in the independent daily Al-Shorouk.

Parliament’s fact-finding commission has released some information from their ongoing investigation that implicates security officials and members of the defunct National Democratic Party, particularly Gamal Mubarak’s close friend and business associate Gamal Omar, according to state-run Al-Akhbar. Port Said residents reportedly captured a known criminal and ex-convict who was inciting protesters to attack a police station in the city after someone there recognized him as one of the perpetrators of the stadium massacre.”

Another piece in the same news source says:

“Reports of decapitations, bodies being thrown from the stadium’s uppermost bleachers, and defiled corpses come pouring in across news and sports shows, while live images reveal rows of central security officers watching from the sidelines, doing little, as had come to be expected of them.

The scene left a gash in the national consciousness, and questions piled up immediately.  As retired goalkeeper Nader al-Sayed lamented during his televised sports show’s live coverage of what has been since repeatedly referred to as a massacre, ‘This is not normal. This is the result of a malicious and sinister plan, carefully plotted and expertly perpetrated, and we all know by whom.’”

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party has announced support for SCAF’s timeline for the presidential elections, rejecting calls for expediting the civilian transition of power that so many are pressuring the current military officials to uphold.  Plus, two high-profile figures have been charged with “insulting Islam.”  A famous comedian actor, Adel Imam, has been given a three-month jail sentence “for insulting Islam in films and plays.”  And, Naguib Sawiris, a telecom tycoon, “also faces trial on a charge of showing contempt for religion in a case brought by another Islamist lawyer. Sawiris, a prominent figure in Egypt’s Coptic Christian community, was accused of showing contempt by tweeting a cartoon seen as insulting to Islam.”

What does all this tell us?  It indicates a merging between ultraorthodox Islamist puritans with military power-mongers, a very, very dangerous combination, which can lead Egypt down the path of fascism.  In other words, Egypt might be on the road to hell.  For many, it already has been hell.

The Port Said massacre comes on the first anniversary of the “Battle of the Camel,” when Mubarak unleashed thugs on camel and horseback into Tahrir Square, ambushing the protesters.  Now, with the 2012 Port Said massacre, I would say that the Egyptian people, and especially the revolutionaries, should remain on high alert.  There’s no telling what kind and when the next onslaught and ambush might await them.

NOTE:  Everything I write in this blog constitutes my personal opinions and views.