Revolving Reflections of a Revolution: Trying to Absorb Mubarak’s Trial

Dear Seif,

Beyond the 18-day saga of uncertainty during Mubarak’s crumbling regime, came a movie that is seared in my mind.  The day Mubarak and his two sons were on trial.  Your dad, my reference on everything to do with politics, told me that Mubarak would most likely not be put behind bars “due to health reasons”.  I didn’t make plans, therefore, to watch the trial.  Instead, I needed to go to work to get my salary before the cashier closed.  You were coming along with me to see your Teta afterwards.

The TV happened to be on, and right before switching it off to go to work, I caught a glimpse of something that made me do a double-take.  Was that Mubarak? Surely not! Oh my god, it was Mubarak, Alaa and Gamal behind bars!!! I felt an army of ants tingle up my arms and neck – the same feeling I got when the Vice-President announced that Mubarak was stepping down.  It’s not just in cartoons that your jaw drops down from extreme surprise.  I had one of those cartoon-like jaws extended as far south as possible.  My eyes were also bulging… not a pretty sight, I’m sure…

I looked at their white prison clothes that replaced the suits I was accustomed to seeing.  How did they feel changing out of their clothes and lives, I wondered… What was behind that poker-face look Gamal was wearing? I remembered how dignified he was as a speaker in my own graduation.  I remembered how I wished he’d become president one day.  Something didn’t look humble about his expression; I wish it had.

Alaa seemed to be a little less harsh.  It amused me to see that he was holding a Koran.  At first, it pulled at my heart.  Then I realized that its purpose was probably to do the very thing that I had felt – to gain people’s sympathy – so I hardened.  I don’t like it when people use tactics to toy with my emotions; I feel manipulated. Ironic coming from someone who worked in advertising for 9 years, right?

Mubarak had my full attention.  He was on a gurney, propped up by a pillow. He looked bored.  He looked like he was watching a TV series right before going to bed.  I had so many emotions rushing through, getting tangled in each other.  Astonishment pushed away by sympathy, elbowed by anger.  I had to pack my emotions away as time was running out and I needed to get paid.  The cashier was going to close for many days as there was a long holiday coming up.  It took everything in me to lift my finger and switch off live history.

“Come on, Seif, let’s go! Quickly!!!! I want to catch the rest of the trial at Teta’s house!” You sensed the urgency, but you were pushed out the door and down to the garage anyway.

The streets were reflecting the sun’s brightness, uninterrupted, as far as the eye could see.  Our car was almost the only thing that moved.  I reached work in record-time.  The guards whom I usually greet at the gate were not to be seen.  I could hear a loud TV coming from their small room; people were huddled inside.  I didn’t have to wait in line as usual to get my salary.  I was worried not to find the cashier, but sure enough, he was there.  I asked him how he could tear himself away from seeing the trial; he told me that he left his wife adhered to the TV, but that he had no interest whatsoever to follow what was going on. “Whatever will happen will happen,” he said in a nonchalant manner.

Watching the rest of the trial with your Geddo was quite entertaining as he was very animated.  We watched, to our horror, Mubarak picking his nose. I remember thinking, “No! No! No!!!! You don’t DO that when you’re televised to the world!!!” When you pick your nose, it most certainly means you will be picked on… How undignified. Gamal and Alaa were doing a cha-cha with the cameras, trying to shield their dad from the camera lens. That drove your Gedo crazy.

I remember feeling so disappointed when I saw Gamal’s expression as he walked towards the truck that was to whisk them away to prison. It was full of cold conceit; a calculating look – the kind of look that you see on the face of a serial killer or something. I used to respect him. I guess I didn’t know anything about him. Your Geddo started shouting at the TV in disgust after seeing that look and was more furious when some officials talked to them with what seemed like sympathy.  Alaa covered the camera with his hand. Oh how your Gedo resembled Warner Brother’s Taz at that moment!

That night, I bought 5 copies of the Al Ahram newspaper still warm from the press, that featured a picture of Mubarak and his sons behind bars.  Having it in my hands, holding paper that was the mouthpiece of the ex-regime, made it so much more real.

Guess what, Seif? Just yesterday, Mubarak’s lawyer announced that since Mubarak didn’t sign a paper indicating a formal resignation, he is still legally the president.  So far, people have turned this news into sheer comedy as is typical of our country.  I am worried, however, what after tomorrow might bring… the first anniversary of Jan. 25.  Fireworks or fire bombs? I wish I knew… I wish I knew… Your father is going to be joining one of the processions. Here we go again!


Love you,

Your mother, Rania, caught in what seems to be a saga…

Published in: on January 23, 2012 at 7:00 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great stuff Lano, Mom and I are soooo proud of you. Ijsut hope I don’t get mugged or arrested with your references to me:). Love youuuu

    • If ever in danger, just put mama in front of you. No one in their right mind would dare come near!!! 🙂

      Love you so much, I can fill a thousand blogs with reasons why.

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