April 28, 2011

Mubarak.. Mubarak.. what have you done?

 Original Post: April 15th, 2011

Whenever we talk about Mubarak these days, it's in the context of him killing protesters, the money he stole and the corruption of his regime. What Mubarak has really done to this
country – in my opinion – is far worse than those crimes alone. He has over thirty years, methodologically and purposefully sabotaged the heart and soul of this country. THAT, I believe is his biggest crime: depriving an entire population of hope, dignity and the pride of belonging to this nation. Each one of us restricted themselves to an ever shrinking community of immediate family and friends a circle that could never include the rest of Egypt.

While division is his biggest crime, to achieve it he has used the most devious policies to ensure that we remain fragmented, lost and scared. How many people died in public hospitals because of malpractice? Lack of supplies? Absence of doctors? How many died in road accidents? How many contracted Virus C? Cancer? How many people are living with chronic diseases because of bad working conditions? Cancerous foods? Pollution? Infected water? How many died in crumbling buildings? Train or boat accidents? And how many died in police stations?

That was just with regards to health and safety, the list doesn’t end there:

I just had a discussion with a friend of mine about whether or not Mubarak intentionally corrupted education. I believe that he did. I believe that he wanted to ensure that nobody got "too good" of an education: it's easier to control the ignorant. The only ones who could get a good education are the rich and able; they would never rise against him. Well, much to your surprise Mr. Mubarak, they did. But how many people could've had a better life and didn't because they did not have access to education? How many are unemployed? How many have resorted to crime? Or worse to self destruction? How much potential has been oppressed in this country during his years? How many lives could have been saved by education and awareness? How many good calibers have left the country?

Not only did he intentionally ruin education, he has methodologically sabotaged all sources of information, art and culture: media, books, movies, music, etc. feeding us the poorest of principles and of ideologies. Systematically reinforcing those beliefs that not only are we a backward nation but that we also have no hope of moving forward. Mr. Mubarak censored all that is of value and let the cheapest of thoughts govern our values. How many people have we lost to radicalism? To crime?

As for the government, over the years of his presidency, he consistently ensured that the top layers of any organization would be either corrupt, incompetent or both. Honest, efficient and capable people had no space in his government: they're too difficult to manage. When we will start to rebuild those organizations, we will find that it is a challenge to find leadership or good calibers from within. Ones that can bring the change we want. Most of our government will require a full revamp. How many projects were cancelled due to bribes? How many "good" people have we lost to corruption?

Moreover, he has established a culture whereby political considerations govern technical decisions. Government policies were based on security factors more than what benefit they will bring to the country. Without a vision or a plan, decisions were taken randomly, promoting more confusion than clarity. How many investments have we lost? How many employment opportunities fled the country? How many resources were wasted not to corruption but to inefficiency and confusion?

Beside the intentional chaos in policy making, there was a clear promotion of corruption. That was not a simple turning a blind eye to wrongdoers, it was corruption planted and nurtured on purpose: Corrupt people are easier to control; they have dead bodies in their closets. These strategies lead to high level corruption going unmasked and it inevitably gripped the entire government. It even found its way to private sector employees and eventually dealings between individuals. The side effect is the law of the jungle, not a bad byproduct to create more division.

To further increase our sense of fragmentation and individualism, Mubarak sabotaged the legal system. Laws were written in such ambiguous terms, often conflicting with one another and with the constitution. The number of judges (10'000 I was told) is far too small for a country of 85 Million inhabitants. Civil court cases could take years, sometimes more than a decade and the party with the more corrupt lawyer wins. Many ended up taking the law into their own hands, relying on corruption and inefficiency in the government to get away with it. How many people lost their rights in Egyptian courts? How many have broken the law to take justice in their own hands? How fast can we reverse this culture?

On the political level, the appalling contrast between what the government said and what it did has resulted in such apathy and a lack of trust and hope. The cheap show that was put up by a parliament that came to power through rigged elections, did nothing but burn any hope that change can come through peaceful means. And the oppressive security apparatus made sure we believed that any option for an uprising would be bloody and violent. How hard do we need to work now to bring back faith in a government?

Even civil efforts by individuals who were hoping to make small change in less fortunate communities, had to go through organizations headed by Suzanne Mubarak to ensure that "threatening" efforts are killed at birth. Even straight forward poverty alleviation and charity work faced strict resistance by corrupt government officials. How many lives could've been saved by civil society? How many people could have had a better life?

For 30 years our ousted president had developed and managed a complex scheme to divide our people, oppress any hope for change and keep us under strict control. Obviously, those policies proved to be an empty bubble when faced with a popular uprising to the extent that his 30 years of rule through oppression turned against him when he lacked the language and the knowledge he desperately needed to save his position. Unfortunately, in the process he has ruined this country and has left us with 30 years worth of intentional sabotaging that will take years to fix.

Finally, I think that when we look at Mubarak now, we should not look at a man that has just created and maintained corruption, we should look at him as the tyrant that he really was, the man who intentionally destroyed this country in order to control it. We should not just look at the lives he took but - as importantly - at the lives he ruined.

Still, a good start is half the job and we just had a great. We need to work hard now and remember: a person with no resources and hope is better than one with resources and no hope. I am optimistic and enthusiastic.


  1. second time reading and i love it. It gives me energy in a way :)

  2. My only question after having the dubious pleasure of watching an unshielded military run this country with no face to hide behind is how much was Mubarak and how much was the military? At the very least, they were surely complicit.