Egypt’s own law of the jungle

The current state of disregard for the law is unparalleled in Egypt’s history. The regime has managed to issue several notorious laws intended to suppress Egyptians, helped in its schemes by the ruling National Democratic Party’s rigged majority in the People’s Assembly.

The state is addicted to the Emergency Law. Obviously, the regime can’t survive for one day without this law, which enables it to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants. Meanwhile, the grip of the security apparatus is tightening beyond imagination.

Take Egyptian universities for an example. Nobody would have envisaged that the security apparatus would infiltrate Egyptian universities, as is the case nowadays. In fact, security forces now control and run Egyptian universities. For the first time in the history of teachers’ club elections, the names of some candidates were removed by the security apparatus.

In April 2009, some students hung posters on campus and were therefore subject to investigation and found guilty in January. The students were banned from sitting for final exams, only learning of their punishment in May 2010.

The list of students banned from taking exams included students that had already graduated, as well as one deceased student. How did we reach such a level of violence, oppression and chaos? Cairo University at least, with a better record for respecting academic freedoms, was able to ignore the unreasonable penalties.

Academic progress at Cairo University cannot be achieved unless the academic rights of professors and students are protected. There must be a minimum standard of rights that cannot be violated.

The powers of the deans and university presidents have shrunk while those of State Security Forces have expanded. Indeed, State Security personnel conduct personal interviews with potential college deputies and even deans. They even make decisions for disciplinary committees. The dignity of university professors, who now receive direct orders from low-ranking policemen, is at risk.

Soon we might see the security apparatus overseeing student exams and choosing topics for students’ theses.

Sometimes I wonder why the state needs the Emergency Law when it has been implementing its own law of the jungle for years. How is it that several thousand court rulings have been issued, yet failed to ever be implemented?

How can the Supreme Court rule that Egypt should sell natural gas to Israel at international prices, yet the ruling is never implemented? Worse still, the minister of justice doesn’t seem the least bothered about it, giving his implicit approval to the regime to go on neglecting court rulings.

This week an agreement with British Petroleum was amended. That agreement, published by Al-Masry Al-Youm, includes some unfair provisions for Egypt. So, I ask, why was that agreement not submitted to the People’s Assembly? Why was it never subject to legal review? And why was the agreement handled by people whose competence–even integrity–are in question?

The state doesn’t seem to be interested in either public opinion or the law. Given the harsh terms of Egypt’s current law of the jungle, the country might very well be on the verge of collapse.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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