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The People vs Hosni Mubarak

04/08/2011

When Saddam Hussain stood trial between 2004 and 2006, most of the Arab people, even those who hated him, found his tribunal unfair. They could not accept the scene of an Arab president being charged, jailed and executed while his country was under foreign occupation. We could not mark history either with these actions as it looked unfair and appeared to be an act of violation against Iraqi sovereignty.

On August 3rd 2011 however, we could mark history, the resigned Egyptian President Mohamed Hosny Mubarak showed up in court with his 2 sons, the ex-minister of the interior and six senior interior officials all facing crimes of killing peaceful protesters and corruption. If charged with the first crime, Mubarak could face the death penalty according to Egyptian law.

Many of us didn’t think that he would show up in court. The night before I could not sleep and I stayed up all night. I was thinking about the families of the martyrs who had been waiting outside the court room since midnight and what would they do if he did not show up. What kind of rift would that cause between the people on one side and the military council and the transitory government on the other?

At almost 9:30 am, Mubarak was pushed on a medical bed into the court room. I wrote on my Facebook status: I can’t believe my eyes he’s there.

Now we can ask the questions of who would rule Egypt and think of himself as untouchable? Who would question the sustainability of this revolution or think that we have no more to give?

The great thing about that trial is that it is a civilian, non-military, non-revolutionary and non-exceptional. It is running before a normal civilian judge according to the civilian penal code. Another great thing is that we managed to avoid charging him while he is absent – such as is the case of Ben Ali who is currently enjoying himself in Saudi Arabia.

Many of my friends in other Arab countries currently in revolt, like Syria and Yemen, said that they had great inspiration from Cairo today, an inspiration that told them to hang on in there. The Egyptians can do it. So why can’t they?

I looked at the TV and I remembered the faces of the martyrs. How would we ask for amnesty for those who killed hundreds and injured thousands? How would we have mercy for those old people who killed our peaceful and young protesters? Who could forget the look on the faces of their mothers who are spending their first Ramadan without their beloved ones? Thousands of Egyptian homes are still mourning and that is only a small fraction of what we owe them in return for giving us back our freedom and dignity.

We have to remember that this is not the end. On the contrary what happened today is a great push forward to remind that it is still only the beginning and that protests, sit-ins and strikes will help us clean our country further.

Today we should thank the martyrs, we should thank the Tunisian revolution, and we should thank the brave Arabs who still insist on turning these bloody revolts into an Arab spring.

Today’s lesson: Dear future Egyptian president… the Egyptian people are watching you!