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Ear to the Ground

Mubarak’s ‘Day of Judgment’

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Posted on Aug 3, 2011
Flickr / RamyRaoof (CC-BY)

In January, thousands of protesters in Egypt called for Hosni Mubarak to leave. Now many are watching his televised trial with hope for justice.

The criminal trial for Hosni Mubarak, televised for all the Arab world to see, began Wednesday with the once-powerful, longtime autocratic ruler of Egypt denying all formal charges against him of corruption and of complicity in the killing of protesters.

From behind courtroom bars, his frail body laid out on a medical gurney, Mubarak told the judge, “I deny all these accusations completely.”

Thousands of people gathered to view the proceedings, expressing doubt that the trial would go on under normal conditions. Some were concerned that Mubarak might not appear for fear of humiliation or because of his precarious health. Others feared the judge would quickly adjourn or dismiss the case. But opening-day proceedings for the trial took about four hours, and charges against Mubarak didn’t come up until well into the second hour. —BF

The New York Times:

Even the most ardent in calling for his prosecution doubted until hours before the trial began that Mr. Mubarak, 83, would appear in a cage fashioned of bars and wire mesh, a reflection of the suspicion and unease that reigns in a country whose revolution remains unresolved. As a helicopter ferried him to the courtroom, housed in a police academy that once bore his name, cheers went up from a crowd gathered outside.

“The criminal is coming!” shouted Maged Wahba, a 40-year-old lawyer.

The sheer symbolism of the day, covered live by television and watched by millions, made it one of the most visceral episodes in the Arab world, where uprisings have shaken the rule of authoritarian leaders. In a region whose destiny was so long determined by rulers who deemed their people unfit to rule, one of those rulers was being tried by his public. On this day, the aura of power — uncontested and distant — was made mundane, and Mr. Mubarak, the former president, dressed in white and bearing a look some read as disdain, was humbled.

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tropicgirl's avatar

By tropicgirl, August 5, 2011 at 6:23 am Link to this comment

The fact that our country can invade another country, and then arrest a sovereign leader for defending that country is disgraceful.

Don’t think, for a minute, that the whole world doesn’t see this for what it is. This should be Clinton and Bush on trial and everyone knows it.

May God intervene.

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Peter Knopfler's avatar

By Peter Knopfler, August 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

HANG THEM BY THEIR TOES IN PUBLIC NAKED JUST AS THEY
DID TO THOUSANDS OF POOR PEOPLE. TORTURING THE PUBLIC
FOR 35 YEARS WHAT DO YOU EXPECT! HANG THEM HIGH!

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By SarcastiCanuck, August 4, 2011 at 5:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In all the reading I have ever done concerning despots,they all show the same two characterisitics.Stalin and Hitler were masters.The two traits were denial and rationalization.It was always someone elses fault,usually the victims and they deserved it for whatever stupid excuse could be found.If he follows the usual route of the megalomaniac,he will now seek sympathy,play the innocent fool and blame others….Tell it to all of your people you and your stooges put into a grave Hosni….

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, August 4, 2011 at 2:59 am Link to this comment

I await Bush and Cheney’s ‘Day of Judgement’

It needs to be broadcast like Iran-Contra was.

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By gerard, August 3, 2011 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

Such events foreshadow the world-shaking unpredictability of modern possibilities.  Things appearing in print across the flitting ephemerality of TV and the Internet presage unknown outcomes which people conditioned to judge events from nationally controlled media are ill prepared to fathom.
  Events in Egypt or Norway or Japan knock down our doors and demand to be known, and we are asked
as never before in the history of the world:  “What, if anything, should we do about this?  What does it mean to us?  Whom can we believe?”
  If we are to participate fully in life, we must get a clue on how to answer such questions wisely.  Superficial nationalism and parochial beliefs will not get us through this next 100 years of transition. 
  Insular minds will still try to remain closed, and realistically they must be allowed time to “mature” and “internationalize”—whether they want to or not. Resistance is inevitable. But so is ultimate reconciliation, and for this a vanguard is sorely needed.
  Best to begin with the young, and establish broader and deeper educational goals than exclusive attitudes and culturally determined beliefs. The rate of change, and implications of those changes, press upon human intelligence everywhere.  Every country in the world has its “Mubareks” and “Assads” and its unarmed citizens moving toward its own Tahrir Squares. The world is alive with world-shaking opportunities for human wisdom, freedom and love. Suddenly we must answer to the divine in us all.

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