Mubarak on trial

So, after considerable doubt that he would in fact make it to the courtroom, Hosni Mubarak, former President/dictator of Egypt, stands accused of corruption and of the unlawful killing of protestors. If convicted, he faces the death penalty. It’s a situation that could unite Egyptians or tear the country apart, could be seen as justice done, or an eye for an eye.

Anthony Shadid, in the New York Times, writes that it could also complicate efforts to resolve the situations in Libya, Syria, and Yemen, sending a message to the incumbent authoritarian rulers that they will face trial if they back down, and strengthening their resolve to resist to the death.

Does Mubarak’s trial mark a moment of liberation? It’s hard to say with any certainty just yet. He ruled Egypt with great ruthlessness, that’s for sure, presumably on some level believing that what he was doing was for the best (dictators tend to believe that, we find). And yet, he was staunchly backed by the West because he was pliable to their/our demands. We don’t see George W. Bush or Tony Blair on trial for aiding and abetting him.

It’s both difficult to forgive him and difficult to wholly condemn him. Difficult to absolve him of blame, and equally difficult to accept that he deserves to bear the full brunt of ‘justice’ proceedings when Western nations continue to view invasion as a legitimate means of pursuing foreign policy, when we’re still bombing Libya on the strength of nothing more than a UN resolution to protect civilians.

It’s a little like sacking a fairly high-ranking executive of a corporation when said corporation has been found to be breaching human rights on the say-so of the CEO. Sure, the man on trial has committed many atrocities, and deserves to be held responsible. The question is, when’s anyone going to notice that the CEO is still getting off scot-free?

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