Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Curious Un-Death of Hosni Mubarak

Yesterday afternoon, the wire news services began reporting that former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak was clinically dead. Those initial reports were based on unnamed individuals quoted in the Middle East News Agency (MENA), citing medical sources, said he was declared clinically dead shortly after arriving late Tuesday at a military hospital in Cairo, where he had been taken after suffering a stroke and cardiac arrest earlier in the day.

Yet, a few hours later, other reports began disputing those claims.

It now turns out that he indeed suffered a serious health issue - a stroke and was in need of a ventilator to breath, but he's now breathing on his own but in a coma.

So, what does this mean for Egypt? For most Egyptians, the news doesn't change their reality. The economic conditions are just as bad as they've been, and the formation of a new pluralistic government is being held up by machinations by the military junta that took over power from Mubarak and included disbanding the parliament and placing curbs on the power of the new president.

That hasn't stopped people from musing about whether the health reports or disputed death were part of a conspiracy to spirit Mubarak out of the country:
The former president’s health has been a source of constant speculation and suspicion since his imprisonment. Mr. Mubarak has had health problems for years, but the flood of reports and scares in recent weeks led many Egyptians to believe that the military rulers, determined to move Mr. Mubarak out of a notorious prison, were using those accounts to prepare the public for such a move.

Low ranking security officers, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, speculated that the previous night’s reports that Mr. Mubarak was on the edge of death were part of a scheme to transport him out of Egypt for care. Indeed, many Egyptians on Wednesday wondered if the state news agency reports of his near death were all a morbid hoax.
While many Egyptians had hoped to see Mubarak executed following his conviction on crimes against the Egyptian people during the crackdown against protests that ultimately led to his ouster, the life sentence means that Mubarak will never again take power.

It's far more troubling that the military junta is not relinquishing power and is working against the ideals of the protesters. In other words, Egyptians rebelled and replaced one bad regime with another. It doesn't have to be like this.

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