Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Egypt‘s Ramadan 2011

It is my fourth Ramadan in Egypt, I figured out today. Every year, shallow programs are being broadcasted on TV.

Yet this year, a much more exciting program is on: ex-president Hosni Mubarak, two of his sons, the former Minister of Interior Al Adly and others are together on trial. The hearing is being broadcasted live on TV!

In Hurghada as well as all over Egypt, people are sitting in front of their televisions as if the two football teams Zamalek and Ahly played against each other; those who cannot watch TV are listening to the radio. In Cairo, the happening can be followed live on large screens. Incredible!

To be honest, I didn’t believe until yesterday evening that Mubarak would be transferred to Cairo and that this hearing would ever take place. It has been postponed several times. Yesterday, the motorway between Cairo and Sharm El Sheik was blocked and in Cairo pro and anti-Mubarak supporters scuffled with each other. Yet, right now, this spectacle is going on on TV; millions dreamt of it and hoped and wished for it. However, what a disgraceful sight: ex-president Mubarak on a stretcher, aged and declined, his pale-faced sons dressed in white prison uniforms are standing in front of his father, protecting him from gaping into the cage. Yes, in the cage! Like animals … or like felons …

These pictures remind me of those about Saddam Hussein’s trial and this is exactly what many pro-Mubarak supporters wished to avoid.

I also remember those many hours I spent watching TV at the End of January and in February and all the terrible news broadcasted about this country since then. At that time, a huge wave of energy shook the country up – six months later, it is economically in a sorry state, is still fighting against remnants of the old regime and only slowly takes to cleaning up. That this trial is happening is to my opinion a huge, historical step for Egypt. Nile TV titles the live broadcasting “trial of the century”. I think Egyptians will never ever forget this Ramadan.

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