Friday, September 09, 2005

Egyptians have been demanding a constitutional amendment for over 20 years. When Mubarak first came to power in 1981, the public was very generous and supportive towards since the country was in shock after Sadat’s assassination and wanted security and stability. Mubarak said he would only complete Sadat’s term in office and then leave; he has since overstayed his welcome.

Egyptian political life has been stagnant since Mubarak came to power. His opponents have been faced with severe brutality under the umbrella of the Emergency Law during his first 24 years in office. The establishment of new political parties has been extremely difficult. Even the parties that were granted a license were basically under siege in their own headquarters. Parliamentary elections have been rigged every single time by Mubarak’s party (the NDP) to guarantee an artificial majority in parliament and hence cripple the opposition. Not to mention freedom of speech that has almost been non-existent until 2005.

To make matters worse, Mubarak’s son, Gamal has dropped out of nowhere onto the Egyptian political scene “with a parachute” and became the de-facto orchestrator of the government policies since 2003 without any legitimacy. Rumors that Mubarak, the father was paving the way for his son to take over (probably through a theatrical play in the form of an elections in 2011 or perhaps earlier) have reached a peak in 2004 and caused extreme Egyptian anger and caused the resurrection of public demonstrations all over Egypt despite the banning of demonstrations by the government and the orders to use extreme force against protestors. Independent newspapers also elevated their criticism of Mubarak (and sometimes faced the wrath of the regime in the form of kidnappings and beating of editors).

Another blow to Mubarak was the change of heart by the Bush administration after September 11th terrorist attacks. Finally, the American government realized that siding with dictators in the Middle East was damaging to world stability and security, unlike what the previous administrations believed. President Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq also created a lot of anger in the region which soon deviated towards Mubarak and dictators in neighboring countries.

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