Beyond the Cusp

January 14, 2013

If at First You Don’t Convict, Try Try Again

Well, Egypt is opting for their first of what may become a series of do-overs as they prepare to hold a second trial for deposed President Hosni Mubarak. Not satisfied with the result of life in prison sentencing, the Court of Cassation, Egypt’s top appeals court, has accepted the State’s appeal for Mubarak as well as his two sons Alaa and Gamal, his former interior minister Habib al-Adly and top security chiefs on their numerous charges including responsibility for the deaths of protesters during the revolution that led to Mubarak stepping down from power. The new trials will have a high probability of attaining the desired result of executions of those responsible for years of oppression. If we study this presumptive oppression it will reveal everything one needs to know about the impetus driving these new trials.

When we take a sober and somber view of Egypt under President Morsi and the large influence of the Muslim Brotherhood against the Egypt under the long running Mubarak regime we find two diametrically opposed governments that share a remarkable but eerie sense of similarities. Under President Mubarak Egypt held the Muslim Brotherhood under limits bordering on repression while Coptic Christians were sheltered from directed hatreds and violence by the Muslim majority. Under President Mubarak Egypt had a sense of balance where every group knew they had a feeling of guaranteed minimum of rights and freedoms as long as they minded their politics and did not challenge the ruling elites. There was an excess by the ruling elites under Mubarak which was mostly financed by an officially accepted level of corruption. Perceptions of the new Egypt under President Morsi with a strong Muslim Brotherhood influence over the mechanisms of power are coming into focus despite their short time ruling the post-Mubarak Egypt.

The first and most obvious difference is the influence wielded by the Muslim Brotherhood and the precarious position those remaining Coptic Christians who have been unable or unwilling to leave to escape the new and dangerous position in which they find themselves. The Coptic Christians and the Muslim Brotherhood have changed positions in an uncomfortable manner where the Muslim Brotherhood has gone from facing repression to enforcing repressions while the Coptic have gone from protected minority to repressed and despised minority under an uncomfortable level of perfidious suspicions. Another difference is that under Mubarak the average Egyptian knew the rules and could live their lives under a relative comfort that they would be safe provided they stayed within the laws while the laws are under a slow but building transformation which will eventually end with the Sharia, or at least a Sunni interpretation of the sharia will come to be the law of the land and along with it the fear of falling within the crosshairs of any cleric who has a sufficient following. This will be particularly true for any non-Muslims, especially the Coptic minority.

The one improvement thus far has been a definitive drop in the amount of corruption. This perceptible drop may be due to the near collapse of the Egyptian economy which will become a severe problem if measures are not instituted to allow for a return to normal economic opportunities. One main sector of the Egyptian economy that has suffered from the turmoil and unrest resulting from the uprisings has been the tourist industry, a mainstay of the Egyptian economy and essential if Egypt is going to restore their economic engine. This retrial which will be perceived by many outside of Egypt as simply a viscous and vindictive witch hunt to satisfy a demand by the most hateful of the anti-Mubarak forces for their blood revenge. Where there is quite likely a kernel of validation of their desire for retribution but their desire to retry these officials from the Mubarak era rather than be satisfied with the life sentences most of them received have the aroma of a form of tribal vengeance. One must question if a retrial and the emotions it will bring back to the fore and the possible unrest with rekindled conflicts is worth the price that will be played by the currently so fragile Egyptian economy. It would appear logical that getting Egypt to move on rather than retrying the past and getting Egyptians back into a normal cycle of life, work, and moving forward with healing would be better than reopening recent wounds and cleansing them with salt, fire and executions simply to satisfy the revenge of those who were denied the power they now wield would be preferable. But that is my feelings from afar; perhaps those closer to the flames will take somewhat longer to cool from the recent fires of change.

Beyond the Cusp

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