Sunday, May 8, 2011

Egypt's History Repeating Itself

By Ahmed al-Jarallah 
This commentary was published in The Arab Times on 08/05/2011 

Egypt always stands out among its peers across the globe. The country is popular in a way that one regime overrides its predecessor in leadership and religion, resulting in a disastrous end for its leaders. The former leaders of this great country were ill-fated because they did not stay long in power. One of the Pharaohs perished in the sea, while the popular Cleopatra is said to have committed suicide.
During the Islamic era, the situation of the leaders did not differ from that of their predecessors. Qutuz, Al-Zaher Rukn Al-Din Baybars and Ezz El-Din Aibak were assassinated. The Ottomans engaged in severe fights over the leadership in Egypt until they got rid of one another.

Other Egyptian rulers also faced a similar fate. Mohammad Ali Basha suffered senility, while Abbas Helmy the First was assassinated. Al-Khedewi Ismail spent years in prison before fleeing the country, the British ousted Al-Khedewi Abbas Helmy the Second, and then the revolution led to the exile of King Farouq in 1952.

The first Republican President Mohammad Naguib did not spend more than 18 months in power before Gamal Abdul-Nasser toppled him and put him under house arrest until his death several years later. The popular belief is that Abdul-Nasser was either poisoned or strangled to death, while Anwar Al-Sadat was assassinated during a military parade on Oct 6, 1981. It is now the turn of former President Hosni Mubarak to face trial and imprisonment after rendering meritorious service to the country.

Whoever ventures into ruling Egypt has enough examples to get discouraged or lose passion for leading the country. Anyone aspiring to take on the mantle of leadership must be ready to risk his future or meet a tragic end. He needs to ponder on the fate and strange stories of the Pharaoh, the Al-Khedewis and other previous leaders.

Will the Jan 25 Revolution change the pattern? Nobody can predict the future until now, but the fact remains that the aftermath of the revolution on July 23, 1952 is similar to the current situation. It seems history is repeating itself. Amidst the noises and propaganda, we cannot help but ask, “What will those people say in the future when the pros and cons of the revolution become clear, especially since all that we have seen so far is the negative aspect?”

Undoubtedly, tracing the history of the previous Egyptian leaders heightens fear for the future, considering that the previous government is better than its successor. It does not include positive expectations, especially if the current fever of revolution is taken into consideration.

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