If he is vindictive, Mubarak would be jumping up and down in his cell and laughing with glee. He would be watching the current events unfold and saying, “I told you so, but you didn’t listen.” The tyrant has landed in Torra Prison serving a life sentence, and Egyptians are living a free and just life. Or are they? The reality is dismal: another more hostile and destructive tyrant replaced Mubarak.
Mubarak’s ousting was long overdue. But Mubarak never resorted to the blatant actions we are seeing today. Mubarak wasn’t a meek or subdued leader either, but today’s tyrant is performing in the open, on the street, and with total confidence and suppression. Might, it seems, is unequivocally right.
The new tyrant to replace Mubarak is the ultra conservative Islamic parties that are outright oppressive and overbearing. They seem to think that they are above the law, or maybe they are the law, and it is up to them to implement the new, yet extremely ancient, order.
After Jan 25, these movements emerged as winners. It’s a good thing since all Egyptians should have come out the other end as winners. However, to be the sole winner is another matter altogether. These radical Islamists believe that they are on earth to direct the world via the Koran and Sharia. Blindfolded into compliance, they find no other law, sect, religion, or course acceptable. It is Sharia or nothing. And they are willing to apply abhorrent sentences on those who don’t comply—in broad daylight for everyone to see and be forewarned.
It seems that we have replaced Mubarak and his men by the fundamentalists after all.
The incidents are numerous; the preachers, intense and ignorant; the course, narrow and ugly.
Fundamentalists are out and about, talking freely on Islamic TV channels and admonishing viewers for accepting the current blasphemous state. They claim that murals and statues, Egypt’s treasures, must be hidden from sight. They claim that singing the Egyptian national anthem is blasphemous, too, since it entails just that: singing. And they burn the bible claiming that it shouldn’t be insulting to Christians because it really doesn’t exist.
At the constitution level, they are adamant to adhere to Sharia only ignoring minorities, women, and civil rights in general. And the prohibition of FGM, female genital mutilation, is again on the table for discussion. While the most damaging matter in all this is that they are willing to shed blood to accomplish their goals.
These can be mere threats or ideologies up for discussion, but the chilling incidents on the street are more terrifying. A hardline Islamist stabbed a young man in Suez because he was walking with his fiancée. Two elementary school children had their hair, or part of their braids, cut because their parents refused to implement the teacher’s wish: to have them wear a headdress. Then two nine-year-old Copts were sent to juvenile detention because they destroyed the Koran, though they were let go a few days later.
This is all happening while many Coptic families are living in dire fear. Incidents in Rafah, Dahshour, and Amereya left them on the street having been evicted from their homes by emboldened Islamists while the security forces were unable to protect them.
The arts have also been under fire. The case against Adel Imam for ridiculing Muslim preachers in his movies is one of many. Elham Shaheen’s case is even more repugnant where she was demeaned to the level of a prostitute, again because of the roles she played on the screen. Then Gobran Khalil Gobran’s The Prophet and many other recognizable works are being censored today after they had been available in the Egyptian market for years on end.
These resolutions are quite extreme, but the slow, less obvious but enveloping changes nonetheless are more worrisome. No one was ever sworn in by using the Koran before. Now it is being implemented. I’m wondering how Copts will be sworn in from now on.
Then the changes to school textbooks are happening as we speak with images on book covers of men in beards—an image never seen before, or changes in the context itself directing the young readers to following the “party.”
How far will the new tyrants go? How downright aggressive will they become? And where will all this lead Egypt? This is the most petrifying matter of all.
Then again, Mubarak may not be vindictive, and if he isn’t, he would be deeply distressed and disheartened over what Egypt is going through today.