Egypt’s fixation on dictator Mubarak trial wanes
CAIRO — Amal Shaker’s 25-year-old son, Ahmed, was fatally shot in the back on the “Friday of Rage,” one of the bloodiest days of Egypt’s 2011 uprising against longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Nearly four years later, Shaker said she still is waiting for justice. “We want blood for blood.”
Her wait could end Saturday, when a verdict is expected in Mubarak’s trial on charges connected to the deaths of more than 900 protesters.
Initially watched with excitement, Egypt’s “trial of the century” has dropped largely from public attention — partly because of how drawn out the process has been with a trial and retrial and partly because subsequent upheaval has flipped the political narrative.
The revolutionary fervor of 2011 has been largely extinguished, replaced among many Egyptians by exhaustion from nearly four years of turmoil. Many of the pro-democracy activists central to the uprising are in prison for attempting to protest against the new president, former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Others are dismissed in the media as troublemakers. And the police, who in the revolutionaries’ eyes were the hated tools of Mubarak oppression, are now lauded in the press as heroes in a fight against Islamists.
When the trial began in 2011, Egyptians initially were transfixed by TV images of the former strongman who ruled for 30 years being rolled on a gurney into the defendant’s cage. He was convicted in 2012 of failing to stop the killing of protesters and was sentenced to life in prison. The conviction was thrown out, and a retrial began in 2013.
Officials now routinely blame all violence on Islamists and foreign conspirators. TV stations and newspapers have dropped criticism of Mubarak’s old regime and focus all their venom on Islamists. They also promote a revised history, painting the 2011 uprising as part of a conspiracy to destabilize Egypt.
that the 2013 “revolution” corrected.