Mr. Misr

For those who dig the ‘Egypt’ tag on this brog, you may be interested to read doomspirals’ article in the new issue of MERIP. (For those without a subscription, a PDF of the article is here.) The article discusses police violence during the revolution in the Cairo neighborhood of Imbaba (beloved locale & former doomspirals HQ). The article tells the story of a young man killed by the police and follows his family’s pursuit of justice within the wider context of security sector reform since the revolution. The unfinished business of ‘Police Reform’ & ‘Transitional Justice’ are not exactly Hot Topix in the media but, I believe, they are the measure by which we may rightly call the Egyptian Revolution a revolution.

Since the article was written there have been two developments that update the story:

(1) New Minister of Interior. The article faults the Morsi administration for failing to confront the Ministry of Interior—the backbone of Mubarak’s police state—illustrated by Morsi’s appointment of Mubarak-era insiders to helm the Ministry. “At all turns, while paying lip service to significant police restructuring, Morsi has sought to accommodate the security apparatus. Despite broad calls for independent leadership at the Ministry of Interior, Morsi replaced the SCAF’s Interior Minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, with Ibrahim’s deputy, Ahmed Gamal al-Din, an insider with an equally tainted reputation.” After the recent wretched violence against demonstrators at the presidential palace Morsi was compelled to appoint a new Minister of Interior. And who did Morsi name to replace Gamal al-Din? Yup, Gamal al-Din’s deputy! Out with the old, in with the old! And, the new guy? Previously in charge of Egyptian prisons! R U SRIUS? Same window-dressing game.

(2) New info about police violence. If we recall: In the sham trial that sent Mubarak (briefly) to jail, the former president and his top security deputy were not found guilty for the deaths of protesters, but guilty for “not preventing” these deaths. The courts ruled that while Mubarak was responsible for public safety, the Old Man was unaware of what was going on in the streets.

The NYT has an important article about new testimony purporting that indeed Mubarak personally oversaw the violent suppression of protesters during the 18 Days of the uprising. Crucially, the testimony comes from Mubarak’s co-defendant, Habib al-Adli (the former Minister of Interior), who is serving a life sentence and, unlike Mubarak, is not treated to staycations at plush military hospitals. Presumably, the once-loyal henchman is somewhat disgruntled at his former boss.

A primary reason the Mubarak trial collapsed is that no senior level officials would provide testimony against Mubarak. However, what is most interesting about this new testimony is not the revelatory information (confirming what everyone already knew) or even that Adli turned against his boss (mafia drama), but the document where this testimony appears.

Though the NYT doesn’t name the document, the Adli testimony is coming from a leaked copy of the final report of The Information and Evidence Collection Fact-Finding Commission, which was established by President Morsi to “gather information and evidence and investigate the facts of the murder, attempted murder and injury of demonstrators in the period from 25 January 2011 to 30 June 2012. Its purpose is to expose the full truth about those involved in the aforementioned incidents, whether original perpetrators or accessories to them.” The doomspirals MERIP article discusses the potential importance of this report, should it ever see the light of day. Hopefully, attention from the NYT will help add international pressure to ensure that the report is published—and acted upon.

***

On the subject of promotion of recent releases: Friends of the brog, The Babies, recently swept through town and their new album is tite. Fav Track is perhaps the first, “Alligator“. To tie it with the above theme, here are two pics of an awesome street-mural in Alexandria, Egypt. (And no, I don’t know the difference between alligators and crocodiles… something with spiky backs? One’s from the bayou, one’s from the Nile?)

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The alligator/crocodile is being lasso’d by a guardian god…

(This mural was mentioned in an earlier post about revolutionary street art.)

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…for stealing the heart of {?}. [Did I not retain anything from grandma’s stack of National Geographix? Resolution: Must learn more about Egyptian Mythology.]

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