In his campaign platform during the previous election, President Mubarak promised many reforms, the most important of which was the abolition of the Emergency Law. Then state-run TV channels began repeating that Mubarak’s platform had been fully implemented during his fifth presidential term.
However, none of these programs mentioned that Mubarak did not fulfill his pledge to abolish the state of emergency. Nor did Mubarak provide a good reason for why an entire generation of Egyptians should live under the Emergency Law from birth to death.
Mufid Shehab reassured Egyptians that the Emergency Law would not be implemented except in cases of terrorism and drug dealing. But Egyptians know quite well that when Shehab says something, he quite often means the opposite. Oddly enough, Shehab used to be an ardent socialist and then a dedicated liberal–now he’s a staunch advocate of capitalism.
When Shehab made such reassurances in parliament and was hailed by members of the National Democratic Party (NDP), I thought he was going to admit–at least from a desire to save face–that the government was deceiving the people after security forces arrested some young men from the National Association for change (NAC) in Damanhour and supporters of a Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council candidate.
These young men were only gathering signatures for an NAC petition that advocates democratic reform, while the Brotherhood supporters had not carried out terrorist acts or smuggled hashish. So were they arrested for being tough competitors to the NDP’s candidate? It’s well known to everyone that, if it weren’t for election rigging, the NDP’s candidate would have extremely weak chances of winning.
The Emergency Law will remain as it has been. The government was lying when it said the law is now restricted to cases of terrorism and drug dealing. All Egyptians are threatened with arrest, for the simple reason that they love their country and aspire for a better future for themselves and their children. The world around us is changing; dictatorships have transformed into democracies; leaders who stayed in power for decades are gone forever.
The Emergency Law is a blow to independent candidates. That is exactly why the government thinks it should be maintained. The leaders of this regime would like to secure power, and they don’t care much if the Nile River dries up, or if Egyptian land falls into the grip of another occupying power. What matters to them is their own personal security. So to hell with Egyptians–their civilization and historical struggles–and long live the Emergency Law!
Translated from the Arabic Edition.