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Mubarak's Rise and Fall

Posted on the 29 November 2014 by Warigia @WarigiaBowman
They say that if you are going to commit a crime, you should commit a big one, like the Savings and Loan scandal, or the Wall Street Credit default swap debacle, or in the case of former Egyptian President Mubarak, perhaps, loot a country for a generation. 

In the run up to the verdict, the main response of Egyptians was a big yawn. 

The Washington Post reported that  the "trial of the century" for Egypt has largely dropped from people's attention, partly because of its length, and partly because of the massive protests that began in June 2013, during the retrial. After the protests against the domination of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood that brought to his ouster, TV and newspaper dropped their criticism of Mubarak's old regime and shifted the blame for the violence on Islamists and foreign conspirators. Issandr al-Amrani, North Africa Project Director at International Crisis Group declared that "there's been a steady narrative to say 2011 wasn't a real revolution, the real revolution was June 30, 2013".  (Mubarak verdict due, but Egyptians' interest wanesby Associated Pess,The Washington Post, November 27, 2014)  But Mubarak got off in any event. The New York Times reported today that
" An Egyptian court dropped all remaining charges against former President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday, raising the possibility that he could go free for the first time since being removed from office in the 2011 uprising that defined the Arab Spring revolt."(Kirkpatrick and Thomas, 11.29.2014 NYT)  Most bizarrely, Mubarak was acquitted of corruption charges, which seemed to be a slam dunk. It makes one wonder. Here are two reasons why. First, the judiciary is widely rumored to be full of "feloul" Mubarak allies. Second, the government is currently run by a new military-backed strongman, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi. Mubarak is from the military, so it is no surprise that they are taking care of business. 
This verdict seems to bode well for another not-very-well liked Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi. 
A committee was appointed by Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour to investigate the violence after Morsi's ouster. The committee will present a final report divided into five parts, and it will cover 11 files. The most important part, entitled "Gatherings and sit-ins in public squares and roads in Egypt," will document events in support of Morsi during which several supporters were killed. Marawan announced: "The report will give a complete list of the names of the victims from the dispersals and where and how they were killed". He also announced that "the report tried to be as neutral as possible". (Committee to announce reporton Egypt's post-Morsi violence on Wednesday by Gamal Essam El-Din, Ahram Online, November 24, 2014)

Given the Mubarak verdict, one can expect that impunity will be the order of the day, although you never know. 
Women may have been a major beneficiary of the Arab Spring, along with some release of restrictions on the press. 

In Egypt, more than 90 percent of women are estimated to have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM), although the practice, also known as "circumcision", has been penalized in 2008. Some still  still consider whether to circumcise their daughters or not, because without it she could be "sexually voracious", and this could be "dangerous for her". The tradition is practiced because "it is seen as needed for cleanliness or to prevent a girl's sexual desire from running out of control". In fact, a widely used Egyptian Arabic term for it translates as "purification". In southern Egypt, Manal Fawzy runs the Assiut Childhood and Development Organization, a UNICEF partner organization that "takes a community approach to getting people to abandon the practice". She and her colleagues go from village to village to talk to the residents, but also to religious leaders and doctors, encouraging the latters and the families to speak publically about their rejection of the tradition. (Egypt making slow progress on genital mutilation by Associated Press, The Washington Post, November 25, 2014)
Many thanks to my fabulous GA, Paola Cavallari, for doing much of the research that helps me stay on top of things.

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