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Egypt and the Rewriting of Mubarak

Egypt's political and economic crises under President Mohammed Morsi have led some Egyptians to reconsider the Hosni Mubarak era, writes Bassem Sabry.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak reacts during a news conference in Sharm el-Sheikh January 18, 2009. The leaders of Britain, the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Spain and Turkey, along with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, are meeting in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to coordinate policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after three weeks of fighting in and around Gaza. REUTERS/Amr Dalsh (EGYPT) - RTR23JNE

I could not believe my eyes, but he was actually crying. The man, whom I had closely known for more than a decade, had been sitting alone for the past hour watching videos of Hosni Mubarak and his speeches in melancholy and, eventually, tearing up.

I had seen him on several occasions over the years watching the more famous speeches of former presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat on his decaying yet unchanging laptop, as quite a few do. But he always seemed to view Mubarak as nothing more than a placeholder rather than a successor to that lineage of (mostly) celebrated Egyptian leaders. What’s more, this is possibly the 10th day in a row he has done this before my eyes. His interest in politics as well has generally been nothing noteworthy over the years. And though he was not particularly supportive of the January revolution when it began, he had wholly joined the national euphoria and excitement that ensued in the few months after February 2011, like many had. He had come back then eventually to the conclusion that the revolution was a good and necessary thing, and that “Mubarak brought it upon himself” as he had said in his own words, and that “it didn’t have to be this way.” Today, however, he sees the loss of Mubarak as the worst thing to have ever happened to Egypt.

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