Mubarak the undead

On 19 June, the state news agency MENA had said Mubarak was ‘clinically dead’ and I (and many others) noticed how irrelevant this was to the country he once dominated: the regime, after all, had shown a maddening ability to continue in his absence.

But who ever believed anything put out by the state news agency? Now it turns out it was all a scam, just another act of mendacity by the propaganda organs to protect their own: Mubarak is in sufficiently rude health, the public prosecutor has found, to be removed from the comforts of the military hospital which had been tending to his phantom ailments and returned to the rigors of prison. Thus far, Mubarak has served 17 days of a life sentence. Even the revolution lasted longer than that.

Does it matter?  Dictators, tyrants, bullies and strongman become yesterday’s men with astonishing speed.  Ariel Sharon once towered over Israel — this a joke since he was wider than he was tall — but has been in a coma for years and only his loved ones think about him from time to time.  Yasser Arafat’s mysterious death might have been caused by poisoning  — as I wrote about here — and the world shrugs.  There is symmetry to their fates because if Arafat really was assassinated it was presumably Sharon who ordered it.

And now there’s Mubarak, the last of the troika of old men: he played the Israel-Palestine card for all it was worth over the course of many decades, profiting from Israel, brokering a peace that never came  on behalf of the Palestinians, and all the while ingratiating himself to the Americans as their indispensable interlocutor.

But there are new actors on the stage now and no one cares anymore who used to play these roles before them

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