The Dictator behind bars

How do I feel about today’s trial? I wrote this in July 2008:

Some people are wishing for the ailing Mubarak to die tomorrow. I don’t wish that at all (though the thought is tempting). I want him to live a little bit longer, because the revolution is coming, and he will be tried and executed in a public square for all the crimes he committed against our people and against the Palestinians. I repeat, Mubarak is a traitor and should be executed in Tahrir Sq, together with his State Security pigs who have enjoyed torturing and sexually abusing us for 27 years now.. Enough is Enough..

No words can describe my feelings honestly as I watched, together with millions of Egyptians, our former dictator, with his two corrupt sons including the man he was grooming for succession, his torturer-in-chief Adly and co, in a court cage today, as accused criminals in a live aired trial.

I became politically active in 1996, as a university sophomore, and went on later to join the Revolutionary Socialists in 1998. Mubarak has always been a big taboo. You could not talk about him in public without looking around lest someone was ear dropping, you couldn’t chant against him in protests or else you’d disappear, couldn’t crack jokes about him over the phone coz they were tapped, and could not even write a mild criticism of him in any newspaper. I recall times when I chanted against Mubarak, only to find protesters behind me had started running for their lives out fear. Each demo we organized in the 1990s against Mubarak and the first years of this millennium, usually meant we did not sleep in our homes after, went into hiding for a week or two to avoid arrest.

Baba Mubarak was everywhere. His State Security gestapo listened to your breathing. His ugly cow-looking portraits decorated all our squares, streets, public institutions, schools, and even parking lots!

For years activists have been trying to break the Mubarak taboo, and this set off a ten year chain reaction that led to the January uprising.

For people like me who saw the 1990s, what happened today made us speechless, even when we have been involved for years in trying to make this day happen, with many of us losing hope at some point or another that they would live to see it. As for me, with all honesty, I never doubted I would see it. I’ve always felt somehow I will see the revolution in my lifetime, and desperately wanted Mubarak to live and see it too. I wanted to see the man who have ruled us with torture chambers for three decades humiliated, exposed (and executed).

And how ironic… Mubarak is being tried in the Police Academy he built, formerly known as “Mubarak’s Security Academy.” And to complete the irony, the court room is nothing but the conference hall he and Adly addressed senior security leaders two days before the revolution, celebrating Police Day.

Today’s public trial was the result of the wave of protests that has been engulfing the country, and no credit should be given to SCAF, Mubarak’s own army general. They were pressured into it.

9 thoughts on “The Dictator behind bars”

  1. Dareen Sawan

    Wow! I honestly got goosebumps reading that quote from 2008. Keep up the great posts. It was great watching you o Tahrir tv today finally some good commentary

  2. Hossam, very well said, you tend to capture all what in our minds and hearts.. can’t relate more to each and every word u uttered, I feel envious of all you activists for the role u played pre and after 25th Jan… i too had certainty that youth will change the path of Egypt and they did.. God Bless our beloved Egypt

  3. I agree with Dareen… the quote from 2008… remarkable to read just three years later… the secret was to tempt fate into the remarkable, to whisper to justice seductively so that she can come nearer and nearer, so near that nothing is left to say to her… and she, Justice, realises what she must do… thank God there were people like you who gave a damn when it was so much easier not to.

  4. Powerful piece of information and thank you for sharing your celebration with the all of us. Looking forward to much better things in Egypt as long there is true freedom lovers who stand up for what they believe in.

  5. azlan mclennan

    solidarity from australia comrade. may you forever savor this sweet victory. i hope the same fate awaits all the scaf bastards soon. all victory to the arab spring!

  6. ArabSpring Forward

    This was such a moving piece, thank you!! Seeing Mubarak behind bars was very good for the Egyptian and Arab psyche in general, fair trial or not. But I did not cry until I saw the joy on the faces of those who lost loved ones at Mubarak’s hands and the hands of his regime, as they watched him.

    A few years ago, I sort of gave up on Egypt. What I saw on TV and read in the papers made me think that Egyptians have been brainwashed and made superficial beyond repair. Seriously, what you saw on Nile and ESC whether news or programming (like when they played bits of a stupid movie and some woman “discussed” the movie for an hour) made me think that it was OVER. Even the trait for which Egyptians are known — humor — seemed to have disintegrated and what remained was this stupid unsophisticated comedy that to me became symbolic of the disintegration of everything in Egypt.

    And then with the advent of blogs and citizen journalism a different picture of Egypt started to emerge. I started to learn that what I saw before may have represented some part of Egypt but that the real Egypt was still there. I stumbled upon this blog among others and started reading about activism in Egypt. The voices of those like you, Hossam, and many others came through despite all attempts to muzzle them. Egypt’s living heart and mind came through the Mediterranean and across the Atlantic.

    As for predictions of the revolution and people being taken by surprise, only those that were making the revolution or were themselves the living breathing revolution, like you, could predict it. As though someone like me could have predicted the revolutions just sitting in a coffee shop in the US and reading about Egypt and the Arab World, just like others pretended that they did.

    As things continue to be rough for those that want to reach the goals of the revolution despite all the pressure, your resolve reminds of a Ghassan Kanafani saying: “لن أرتد حتى أزرع في الأرض جنتي أو أقتلع من السماء جنة أو أموت أو نموت معا
    And you the youth of Egypt are indeed creating a paradise for people even though they do not know it and may not know it for a while. In fact you made me believe that one day not so far away justice will come to Palestine.

    Finally, when I visit Egypt later this year (since I can only spend my vacation money on worthy places) I will bring all the good karma I can muster! But more importantly, I hope that Mubarak’s trial will still be going on and still being televised (I know it is selfish of me to hope for a long trial) because I want to sit in the street with everyone and watch history…

  7. “The evidence for Mubarak and co’s crimes are everywhere, from the scars we hold on our backs, to those we buried in the cemeteries, to those who burned to death in trains, to those drowned in ferries.

    Mubarak, you are guilty.”

    This passage is beautiful.

  8. I’ll never forget the joy on your face when on January 29 during the battle outside the Ministry of Interior you told me: “It’s happened, the revolution is here.”

  9. Mamoudinijad

    It won’t matter if we executed Mubarak publicly in Tahrir square IF we don’t fix the environment that made people of Mubarak’s kind, the value system that made him is still out there. The environment that produced Mubarak is still out there. Our next step should be fixing those variables in the environment to assure this kind doesn’t happen again.

    “If you change the environment, that in turn will change people. But if you change people without touching the environment, it will slip back.”- Jacque Fresco

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