Mubarak behind barsFormer Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been detained by prosecutors for more than two weeks. Egyptian officials announced yesterday that Mubarak and his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, underwent interrogations by the prosecution for their involvement in corruption and killings while Mubarak was in office.
This is the first time in modern Arab history that a dictator has been detained by his people. Angry Egyptians now clamor to bring Mubarak to justice after their successful overthrow of his 30-year, iron-fisted rule last February. People Power has been seen in the past to launch the ship of democracy but sometimes it has also overturned the vessel. That’s an undeniable fact of history. And in the light of that fact, it’s not only Mubarak who’s fearful now.
Mubarak was an icon of absolute power for three decades. His regime ruthlessly oppressed the masses by using police force at will. He frequently violated the human rights of the people and suppressed their freedoms. No one could speak against his ruthless tyranny without risking their lives. And only a small, privileged class had access to the country’s wealth and power.
But the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia triggered an explosive wave of democratic yearning, and forced Mubarak to step down from power 18 days after protests swept his country.
The Egyptians’ demands, however, did not end there. The military committee that leads the provisional government accepted the people’s demand for punishment for Mubarak. Although Mubarak denies it, he is rumored to have siphoned off a huge amount of money, as much as $70 billion, to bank accounts overseas. He will also be scrutinized for his bloody suppression of anti-government protests, which already cost over 800 lives. His prosecution will be a milestone for a new world being born in the Middle East and North Africa.
Popular sentiment always prevails. If a leader follows it, a country prospers; if not, it perishes. There is no power in human history that has been immune from this principle. After taking power, a dictator falls into the unshakable delusion that his monopoly on power will last forever. And that is actually when he takes the first step toward his demise.
The Arab Spring began when the revolution in Tunisia led to the one in Egypt and then to Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan and Syria. This kind of energy will not be confined to the Arab world. We hope North Korea’s despot Kim Jong-il and his son Jong-un will make some wise decisions before it’s too late.