From Paul Attallah, a roundup of reactions to the verdict acquitting former president Hosni Mubarak from responsibility for the deaths of protestors during the January 25, 2011 revolution. His perspective is evident, and he is a decent representative of local, non-Islamist opinion:
According to Professor Said Sadek of California Miramar University, there is a mixed reaction as Egypt Court drops charges against Mubarak. The 86-year-old former leader’s trial generated sympathy after his supporters said the charges against him were a conspiracy against Egypt.
However, Sadek also said some Egyptians are displeased with the court’s ruling. “For the victims of the 2011 revolution and those who feel he was responsible for a lot of the legacy of corruption, religious extremism, bad education system, they feel justice has not been done,” said Sadek.
The people said this revolution was a conspiracy against Egypt’s stability, security, safety and future. “People are fed up with revolutions or any attempt to call for big demonstrations.
Percentage of pro and against Mubarak verdict
What’s the percentage of those who are against Mubarak’s innocence? I would say that it is equal to the percentage Hamdeen Sabahy got during the presidential elections (about 3 to 4%). In fact, Hamdeen Sabahu said: Shame for the tyrants even if they had been unpunished and glory to the martyrs.
This tone cannot get more than 4%.
It’s amazing to see that the West media goes to the MB, 6 April, Ayman Nour and Alaa el Aswany to get the Egyptian reaction forgetting that they represent just a minority, but a minority which gives to this media the statements they are looking for:
“The politicized decision to acquit Mubarak is a declaration of the collapse of the judiciary,” the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, said on its website. The party called upon what it described as “revolutionary forces” to unite and respond to the ruling in squares. “Rise up to proceed with the revolution and resist injustice,” the statement read.
The April 6 Youth Movement, one of the most prominent activist groups against Mubarak’s rule, said on its Facebook page that one of its members, Mahmoud Hussein, was arrested at Faisal Street in Giza for writing “down with Mubarak” on his bare chest. “Down with Sisi Mubarak rule,” read a post on the page.
“I offer the sincerest condolences to the families of the January revolution martyrs,” Ayman Nour, chairman of Ghad al-Thawra Party, who was jailed following his presidential quest against Mubarak in 2005, said in a tweet. “Justice is dim and injustice is glowing… protesters get 15 years, hundreds are executed for murdering one person, while those who killed hundreds are acquitted.”
“The plan’s last stage is executed successfully. Lobby spies and media drumbeaters. People, never raise your chins before your masters again,” tweeted prominent author Alaa al-Aswany, who is known for his fierce criticism of Mubarak.
The Muslim Brotherhood are trying to ride the popular anger again to repeat the 25 January revolution scenario. This brotherhood is the real enemy of the Egyptian people
Arab Gulf double reaction
He twitted: The Muslim Brotherhood must put all their weight to support the revolution. They must bandon their slogans (?) and not to make a distinction with the people. By God’s will the revolution will succeed even if thousands killed
(what’s the matter of your mother ya Faysal Ben Gasem)
In his first published comments since being found not guilty of graft and cleared of charges of murdering protesters demonstrating against his rule in 2011, former President Hosni Mubarak said in a phone call with Sada El-Balad TV he “didn’t commit any crime,” and gave no orders during the January 25 Revolution.
One has been confirmed dead and 8 injured according to Health Ministry spokesperson Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar after Egyptian security forces dispersed over 3,000 protesters who had gathered near Tahrir Square on Saturday evening to protest a court verdict that dropped charges against Hosni Mubarak of killing protesters.
(The “ultras” had been politicized becoming a destructive political group under a Muslim Brotherhood and 6 April control. Actually, all football games are not attended by people).
Security forces arrested 85 protesters, after storming Abdel Moneim Riad Square on Saturday evening during demonstrations against the acquittal of Hosni Mubarak, according to a Cairo Security Chief Ali al-Demerdash.
And, here is an interesting take from blogger Maged Atiya at Salama Moussa, resident in the US but a keen and sympathetic observer of Egyptian affairs:
The author of this blog will note that he never liked Mubarak. It was not a reasoned response, but a visceral reaction. Mubarak seemed to embody the worst aspects of Egyptian male misbehavior, controlling, domineering, occasionally indifferent, sometimes sneering, and at other times self-pitying. The reaction was enough to persuade this former Egyptian to avoid the country for the duration of his rule, and beyond. Mubarak made being born in Egypt a congenital condition worthy of seeking cure in a larger and perhaps less visible identity. Of course, it is wrong to pin all the blame on Mubarak; but he was case 1 of what has gone wrong in Egypt. He lived on to see himself, and by turns, his country humbled. Yet one senses that no grand understanding came his way. His derisive survival mocked his country as poor and humble and incapable of greatness.
There were some positive aspects to the long years of Mubarak. The Army was persuaded to stay away from politics. Infant mortality was reduced dramatically. He made deft moves diplomatically in the 1990s to have the country’s external debt wiped off. He tried to open up some political room for the Muslim Brotherhood. He made stumbling steps toward liberalizing the economy. Yet, every positive step lived in the shadow of greater errors. But few of his errors match his performance in February 2011, and none of his successes are as great as his final acquittal in court.
Mubarak insisted that he stood between Egypt and disaster. We are tempted to think of this as the refrain of a humble and limited man who rose above all he ever expected to be, only because he never did much about it. He was not delusional enough to expect immortality, yet he never developed leadership to follow him and stave off disaster. He never even appointed a Vice President, until he was nearly gone. He raised his palms against a nation, insisting that it should not look behind him where abyss looms, but did nothing to point to a better direction. He got away with it because his opponents were too pious or too foolish to point out this simple fact. They railed against him as a dictator, but demonstrated little liberality themselves.
Mubarak’s greatest sin came in February 2011. He attempted to stay in office by a patronizing display of self-pity. He begged his nation to respect him as an elderly father. He should have taken a different tack. He should have simply explained that to shove him off with 6 months remaining in his term would legitimatize arbitrary transfer of power to the Army by street mobs, and God help a country that sets up such a precedent. He should have begged to stay on as the elderly humble Bawab, who would sweep around while younger men built a better structure. His final magic act would have been to finish his term humbled for the sins of his errors. But a man capable of such reach would not have stayed in office for so long, nor left a vacuum in his wake. His final atonement and redemption would be to offer his country a Shakespearean tragic denouement. He went for the tawdry television serial.
If Mubarak’s greatest error came in February 2011, his final success came afterwards. We should praise him for what he did not do. He did not flee the country. He did not beg for mercy. He stood in court, judged by men we judge inferior, even by his lowered standards. There was indeed the flood after him. A torrential downpour of errors, and blood. Nowhere near as much blood as the rest of the cursed region, but far too much by Egypt’s perceived gentle standards. In the end he was acquitted of charges that could not be proved, but not tried for errors that he demonstrably made. Those errors were that of a nation; formed of its clay and shaped by its humiliation.
In the end Mubarak was acquitted, and acquitted himself perhaps better than the mercurial and damaged country that sought his removal and now longs for his reign.
And finally, here is the reaction of CNN. After recapping the first trial and the political situation at the time, the author concludes:
The defendants appealed and the retrial began in January 2013. It would take more than 50 sessions to arrive at a verdict but this time Mubarak’s trial would be overshadowed by growing turmoil in the country.
Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court dissolved the first democratically elected parliament after declaring it unconstitutional. The Egyptian military ousted Morsy on July 3, 2013 following another popular uprising. Security forces began arresting the Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership and thousands of their followers. The following August, security forces would clear Morsy supporters from two squares in Egypt resulting in more than 1,000 people killed. Morsy now stands trial over the death of protesters as well as an array of other charges.
From the chaos emerged Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. He served as the head of military intelligence under Mubarak and was promoted by Morsy to be minister of defense. He oversaw the overthrow of Morsy and handover of power to Adly Mansour, although many believed al-Sisi remained the power behind the throne. In May of this year, Egyptians elected him president and thus the fourth recent leader of Egypt.
Today’s verdict reflects the times. Fewer people were outside the courthouse for the trial. Small bands of protesters took to the streets. Most Egyptians vented their anger online. Talking to Mubarak supporters and protesters on both sides, they did agree on one thing. They told me the revolution is dead.
With whom do you agree?