The ‘inheritance project’ and Mubarak’s last hours

The gripping, sordid story of Mubarak’s last hours as president was just published in the Times of London (which I came to via the Arabist) and it is worse than we imagined: a spoiled First Lady holding up the flight into internal exile for a film hindi moment of weeping self-indulgence and an arrogant Prince dithering at the moment of reckoning and — as the director of state television Abdel Latif el-Menawy reveals below (and, presumably, in his book) — making last-minute edits to his father’s disastrous final speech trying to turn resignation into defiance:

“Mubarak finally strolled into the picture after 20 minutes, flanked by his two sons, his spokesman and Anas. He started reading, made mistakes, stopped and started again. They stopped him to adjust his tie and he then read the rest of the speech, shook hands and left.
“When it was over, I had a grim feeling in the pit of my stomach. This was the end. The speech was just awful — the worst speech he’d ever made in his life. It was arrogant. It was senseless. It was a disaster.”
Mr el-Menawy adds: “Immediately upon broadcast, protesters across the country began to vent their rage, screaming into the night sky.”
Gamal, it seemed, had edited the speech that his father was meant to read, omitting all talk of resignation. It was the final gamble in the “inheritance project” pushed by Gamal and his mother, so that he could succeed his father as President.
The next day the protests grew. Crowds were trying to break into the television station. Rumours circulated that Mr Mubarak was not in Cairo but in Sharm el-Sheikh or Saudi Arabia. Just before midday, an army spokesman called Mr el-Menawy to say that television should spread the word that Mr Mubarak was leaving.
Soon after that, Mr Mubarak took a helicopter to Sharm el-Sheikh.

Read it and weep.


Leave a Reply