Since he was ousted, Mubarak has been shuttled between one hospital and the other. Originally, after his toppling that is, he had thought that he could live peacefully in Sharm El Sheik, in his magnificent and opulent residence. He had also expected to be left alone to enjoy his retirement even if away from the glorious limelight. This, much to his chagrin, did not happen. Egyptians adamantly pursued his judgment.
Granted he didn’t get what he had hoped for, still, after his life-in-prison sentence, Mubarak didn’t see the inside of Torra Prison but for a few days. Soon afterwards, he was transferred to another hospital, yet again, the Maadi Army Hospital this time, where he will most probably spend his remaining days whether they are many or a mere few.
After every drastic measure against him—be it his being called in for questioning or his sentencing—Mubarak underwent a severe medical episode where his lawyers and protectors pronounced him “clinically dead” or suffering from life threatening complications. These sudden and calculated bouts landed him in one hospital after another instead of in prison. Once Mubarak was transferred to such a hospital—his home for the following few months, he always seemed to bounce back to life. This routine has occurred several times since his stepping down.
Though some may see protecting Mubarak from spending time in prison as the behavior of “feloul,” remnants of Mubarak’s regime, it is actually a poignant depiction of the Egyptian mentality, for many Egyptians would have found disgracing Mubarak hard to digest. To them, an ex-president should be judged and sentenced but never shamed. This translates to the following: Mubarak will never be a free man again. He will remain imprisoned for his remaining years, and yet, he may still not see the inside of Torra Prison once again.
Why would some Egyptians condemn mistreating Mubarak? Respecting the elderly is one reason; not stooping down to humiliating such a figure is another. It could also be because Egyptians are not bloodthirsty or viciously bitter by nature. From this perspective Egyptians have proven that they are truly different from other rebelling nations.
After the fall of dictators and tyrants, their peoples usually react with a vengeance. Saddam Hussein was touted as he was led to the gallows; after he hanged rumor has it his head was decapitated, and he was stabbed several time. A video of the exact moment when his neck broke and the trap door opened got circulated around the world. Gaddafi died an even more ghastly death—discovered hiding in a sewage pipe, he was brutalized and savagely abused till he succumbed to his death.
Fortunately, Egypt’s ex-president did not suffer from any ill treatment. Quite the opposite, he was tried, and he received a strong sentence, yes, but he was neither made a laughing stock nor paraded around Cairo begging for mercy, and he was most definitely not abused. Many Egyptians would have considered such actions appalling and would never have yielded to atrocities.
And by the same token and due to the same characteristics, the Egyptian revolutionists remained peaceful all along. Not one bullet was shot and not one pistol was drawn to have Mubarak comply with the people’s demands while all other revolutions turned bloody, be it the Syrian, the Libyan, or the Yemeni.
And even Mubarak himself avoided prolonging the agony and pain that people were suffering from and responded quickly to their demands by stepping down. It took only 18 days to have him end the ordeal. Compare this swift action to contain the turmoil to the choices Assad has taken—blood is being spilled on a daily basis in Syria 18 months after the Syrian uprising began. Only after making this comparison can Egyptians breathe a sigh of relief and appreciate their luck or better yet their nature.
It could be luck that left Egypt with fewer bloody episodes than other nations calling for change, but it could also be that Egyptians refuse to resort to bloodshed and other means of self destruction.
Some might disagree. Blood was spilled and lives were lost in Egypt in Maspero, Mohammed Mahmoud, Tahrir, and elsewhere, but it would take one only a few seconds of contemplation to recognize how extremely peaceful the Egyptian revolution was if compared to other uprisings. This makes Egyptians very lucky.
At least now, when Egyptians get frustrated by mediocre results, when things don’t go their way, and when worry about the future presides, they only need to remember that their Egyptian ways have saved them from much agony and bloodshed. Only then will they appreciate the outcomes of their nonviolent revolution and their own nonviolent nature.