Now we can finally sit back and breathe a sigh of relief. Let us enjoy a cold drink, have friends over for a movie night, or go shopping before the new summer collection is sold out… or even better, plan a weekend trip and get some vitamin D and a nice tan, maybe take a dive in the Red Sea to explore the beauty of the undersea world now that the one above has practically turned into a heaven on earth.
Our troubles are over and only now can we really claim we have made a revolution because only now is this revolution arriving at the objectives for which it initially broke out and only now can Egyptians rest assured that their long years of suffering have not gone to waste and that the tattered dignity they have lived with for decades is now fully restored and as good as new. O ye people of Egypt, rejoice! The president hath ask for thy forgiveness!
The news to which I wake up determine to a great extent how the rest of the day—maybe a few days to some, depending on the magnitude or even absurdity of this news—would be like. This morning, I was stunned, with all the feelings of shock, astonishment, and resentment this word could carry, to read in one of the newspapers, and later all over the internet and TV, that our former, in fact I prefer “ousted,” president is planning to give another of his “moving” speeches to the Egyptian people, this time asking for their forgiveness.
It is not only the nonsensical nature of this provocative piece of news that got on my nerves, but also the fact that a rather annoying yet catchy disco/techno song I heard a couple of times on the radio while I was stuck in Cairo traffic one crazy afternoon has been resonating in my head ever since I was made aware of the president’s upcoming feat. The song, performed by some British band, is entitled “Audacity of Huge,” and I think now you might have guessed why, even though nothing gets further from what I call music, this was the first thing that hit my mind upon opening my eyes to such a surprise. The song is basically about a man who has everything it takes to live a good life, yet is unable to grab the attention of this one woman he likes and keeps wondering why is it not possible to get her when he always gets all what he wants. So, he enumerates several of the privileges he has then ends with the refrain,
I got it all,
Yes it’s true.
So why don’t I get you?
Regardless of how different the two situations are, the title of the song says it all and the new version—excuse my lousy rhyming skills—would be,
Screwing your lives is what I’ve always done,
So why don’t you let me get away with this one?
What is it exactly that the president wants people to forgive him for? Let’s see… may be for sucking dry the country’s resources and piling the revenues in Swiss banks and worldwide mansions … or for being the direct reason for making 40 percent of the people live under poverty line and for having Cairo surrounded by a belt of shanty towns that offered a perfectly thriving environment for crime and terrorism… maybe for suppressing freedom of expression, clamping down on activists, jailing journalists, and embarking on elaborate charter assassination processes against whoever sounded the alarm bells over the dark pit into which the country was nose diving with the speed of lightening… possibly for the innocent civilians beaten, raped, and tortured to death in police stations by the Interior Ministry’s henchmen who were given green light to take out any soul that threatened the regime grip on power in one or another… how about for a messed up foreign policy that dwarfed Egypt’s role in the region, created of Egypt the puppet mouthpiece of Israel and the United States and the major hurdle in the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, and compromised Egypt’s share in Nile water… and don’t forget the dilapidated infrastructure, the soaring rates of unemployment, the deplorable medical services, the rampant corruption in government institutions… Oh! And one more insignificant thing: a dignity-less existence.
I have consciously decided not to include firing at and killing peaceful demonstrators because this requires entire volumes on tyranny, brutality, and lack of conscience.
The next question is: What is he offering to Egyptians in return for their forgiveness? The money he took? Is that a confession to the theft in which he and his family have been involved for decades? Or is he giving this money by way of charity and out of the kindness of his heart?
According to the story that reported the former president’s intention to give this speech, he and his wife will give all “their properties” to the Egyptian people. Do I take it that they still insist they wealth they accumulated is “theirs,” and that it was obtained by legitimate means but that they are noble enough to waive it to the people if that’s what they want? Wait… it gets better… he will also announce that they will live on whatever pension the state allocates to them. A definition of the word “pension” might help to underscore the absurdity of this condescending statement. Based on my limited knowledge of the English language, a pension is the state’s way of rewarding a civil servant for spending years in the service of the country. I guess it goes without saying that this “reward” is not granted to employees charged with graft, corruption, and abuse of power, let alone murder, torture, and slander.
One more question, the easiest in fact, is left: Does Mr. Hosni Mubarak think he will still be able to emotionally manipulate the Egyptian people in a way that makes them give up their persistent demands for having him brought to justice? Well, he tried it several times since the start of the revolution and it relatively worked—on a very small scale though and not with the revolutionaries—not because he managed to play it right, but owing to the fact that it is easy to appeal to the emotions of Egyptians. However, even those who were deceived by the former president’s pledges to introduce political reforms and not to run for another term and were moved by his “deep sorrow” for the way he was being treated by his own “compatriots” and by his reiteration of the “sacrifices” he made for the country, realized the emptiness of his promises and falsity of his pleas.
In fact, it is quite interesting that in all the speeches in which he tried to press the people’s emotional buttons he had only one achievement to brag about when it came to what he gave to the country: being the architect of the air strike against Israel in the October 1973 War. Three little points I would like to underline here: One, Mr. Mubarak’s most outstanding accomplishment—according to him—did not take place during his three-decade presidency. Two, Mr. Mubarak was commander of the Egyptian Air Force at the time, so it was part of his job description—not a sacrifice he offered to make—to carry out an air strike in a war. Three, even the magnitude of the October air strike and its role in granting victory to Egypt are currently being questioned.
Egyptians will indeed forgive their president on one condition… and it’s not if he is genuine in his apology or if he offers the proper compensation or if he discloses any information that might help in bringing down other members of the cartel. Only if he could compile a list of all the crimes he had committed against his people since the day he assumed power till the day he was relieved of his undeserved position—that is exactly 29 years, two months, and 17 days just to save him the hassle of calculation—will Egyptians probably think of considering, not necessarily granting, his request just in recognition of the fact he tried doing some self-judgment, of course provided that the information he submits are accurate. Actually, saying “Egyptians” in the previous sentence is quite unfair and dishonest because that is how I see and I don’t represent all Egyptians. In this case, I have a better idea. Let’s ask what each and every Egyptian would like Mr. Mubarak to offer in order to forgive him. Each citizen is allowed to request reparation for something that he/she suffered as a direct or indirect result of the regime’s despotism or for any of the offences that inflicted damage upon the country and its people in general… or for both!
After collecting the requests and after the president fulfills—for the first time ever— all the requirements of the Egyptian people and after each of them acknowledges that the wrong done to him/her and/or to the country is finally redressed, we can issue one collective statement:
“We hereby forgive thee, Mister President!”